Thurs. Dec. 28, 2017:
Second day in Chicago today!! After waking up at 8 ish a.m., we headed out for a small breakfast in the area. We popped into Pot Belly Sandwich Shop (209 S LaSalle St). I got an egg and cheddar breakfast sandwich while Ken got a bagel with cream cheese (because their oatmeal wasn’t ready yet). I also grabbed a bag of their Zappa chips (later tried it and it wasn’t as spicy as it advertised on the chip bag).
The Egg & Cheddar Sandwich on multi-grain bread was so-so. The egg was small and there was barely any cheddar in the sandwich.
After this, we headed about 15 minutes on foot towards Millennium Park to see the Bean!!! 😀 There was a small skating rink too where people were skating with pink coverings on top of their skates. It was another cold day in Chicago with temperatures reaching -18°C. Double layering of pants was necessary as well as thick scarves and knit hats.
The Bean!!!! It was so cool to see it up front and take tons of photos and selfies with it. It was like tourist central there. So many people. 😀
After this, we headed for lunch and took the subway towards Howard Station on the red line. It was my first time taking the subway in Chicago!! ^_^ We bought the single-way tickets on the self-operating machines. The ticket price was pretty much the same as the TTC in Toronto except in USD of course. The subway reminded me of the ones in New York. In fact, the turnstiles were exactly the same too.
In two stations, we reached Grand Station. We walked towards the restaurant where Ken had booked a surprise location for us to eat at :D.
Before long, we arrived at Gibson’s Bar and Steakhouse (1028 North Rush Street)! It was one of the restaurants we had seen on YouTube which advertised good food spots in Chicago. It was also a top 15 steakhouse apparently. It wasn’t easy to eat a reservation for dinner so lunch it was. We were led inside to the heated patio of the restaurant. It was an old style kind of steakhouse where all the interior looked so classic and historical and the wait staff were all professional and looked the part.
Our seating area was so nice since it was looking out onto the street. We were served three types of bread with butter: sourdough, multigrain, and raisin bread — first time I’ve seen raisin bread served pre-meal! We were served water to begin with as well. I asked for hot water.
Our server that day was the best!!! I believe his name was David. He came out to warmly welcome us to the restaurant and did a quick introduction about their popular steak and how their steak was prepared in-house as well as other dishes that they had. He was incredibly energetic and passionate throughout the meal and so attentive and not just friendly but radiated a warmness and accommodating energy not usually seen in even the most friendly servers. He made our stay such a pleasant one!
We ordered the W.R.’s Chicago Cut 22 oz steak in medium rare which came with two sides for us that day, a five bean soup chowder and a house salad, the Garbage Salad, and two glasses of Ferrari-Carano Siena, a Californian wine.
We were quickly served the house salad and five bean chowder first. We had fresh pepper sprinkled on both dishes and I have to say that their ground pepper is incredibly strong and spicy in a good way! The bean chowder was so hearty and yummy. 🙂
I hadn’t had thousand island dressing in a while and this went well with the iceberg lettuce salad.
After this, our Garbage Salad was served. I ordered this specifically because I was curious about its contents due to the interesting name. Our server had told us it would contain a shrimp on top, salami, bits and pieces of salad, and other seafood items too.
I really liked it! It was tarty and helped to open up the appetite before our large steak came.
Our W.R. Chicago Cut steak arrived! It was pre-cut into strips on the plate and served with two serving plates for us to share. It was incredibly fine meat, red in the centre and cool, juicy, just a tad fatty — a good ratio — with a crispy exterior. I hadn’t had a piece of steak in a very long time due to not wanting to eat a lot of red meat anymore, but this steak was good in that it wasn’t fibrous or chewy at all, it was so tender and juicy, so well cooked and delicious. It practically melted in my mouth. I also couldn’t believe that we finished the 22oz steak completely. It wasn’t greasy or fatty and went down so easily. I was impressed. 🙂
After this when our plates were cleared and we denied desserts since we were full, we were surprised with a dessert on the house for us because the restaurant knew it was our anniversary! Ken had indicated that on the booking when he made the reservation. What made this extra special besides the dessert itself was how nicely and wonderfully our server wished us happy anniversary. He was so sincere and again energetic about it. He made the meal feel so special and pleasant. Best server ever!
We got a lit candle on top of our dessert too which further added to the specialness of it. We got to blow out the candle together. 🙂 It was a vanilla ice cream bowl with chocolate fudge and whipped cream. The chocolate fudge was delish with the vanilla ice cream. I couldn’t believe I actually finished it all too. :D’
After our satisfying and happy lunch, we walked on the streets of Chicago towards the Water Place Tower where the Chicago Sports Museum was. Water Place Tower was itself a gigantic mall with seven floors of retail shopping stores! We visited The Lego Store and Garrett’s Popcorn.
The Chicago Sports Museum (835 N Michigan Ave) was so much more fun and entertaining than I thought it would be. Usually when I hear the word “museum,” I think of boring historical facts. But this museum was more like an entertainment E-sports place than a typical museum. We got to do a lot of hands-on activities like jumping to reach a ball, comparing wingspans with Scottie Pippie, play soccer, hockey goalie and shooting, basketball ball throws, football throws, baseball pitches, and more. It was so fun!! We spent more than an hour inside. It was only one floor so it definitively wasn’t that huge.
We also visited the Art of Dr. Seuss museum.
We continued strolling along the mall and street (the Magnificent Mile) until we took the subway back to Monroe Station and went for dinner. We decided to again eat at Native Foods Café since we were still full from lunch and I wanted soup.
I found it so funny that we were back at Native Foods Café exactly 24 hours later again. This time though, it wasn’t deserted and had so many more customers dining in too. Most of their chairs were already stacked up though and ready for closing.
I chose the Paella dish that Ken had yesterday — I wanted rice and something hearty — and a cup of Native chili. The Paella was just as good as yesterday and I thought it looked better too. The Native Chili was fine; spicier than I thought.
Ken ordered the Sunflower Butter & Chia Jam Sandwich and the Ensalada Azteca salad. The Ensalada Azteca salad looked amazing and so colourful. It had so many veggies like jicama, avocado, etc.
The Sunflower Butter & Chia Jam Sandwich was essentially a vegan take on a ‘peanut and butter sandwich’. It was sweet like a dessert. The sunflower butter was so smooth! The bread was also encrusted with cinnamon too. It came with organic apple slices.
That wraps up another day; second day in Chicago! 🙂