The excitement began two Saturdays ago when Lisa S. came to town. We spent a quiet night in with some homemade pimento mac, then woke up bright and early Sunday morning to head to Chicago, where we were meeting her sister, Jenny, and super awesome nieces, Megan and Brooke (who were taking the train [yes, train!] from Texas). Unfortunately, the train was delayed, but Lisa and I took advantage of the down time and grabbed brunch at the Gage.
We kind of just stumbled upon it, but the Gage ended up being the perfect brunch spot. Housed in a 1920s hat-making office building, the restaurant had a ton of history and was decorated perfectly to its art deco past. And the food was super tasty and super affordable (although the $11 skinny skinny mimosa was a little overpriced).
Perhaps the most delicious smoked salmon I've ever eaten. It made me make oooey ahhey noises.
A few hours and some missing luggage later (luckily it turned up for the girls the next afternoon), the group was finally together and we headed out for dinner. Sushi at Japonais. I'm grateful for world's coolest teenage girls that like sushi. I HAD to have sushi. I don't have sushi here. Mmm sushi.
I still stand by my hometown Godaiko as the most delicious sushi around. The spicy is spicy, the rolls are big. I could never get enough. But the specialty rolls at Japonais are almost indescribable. If you're in Chicago and looking for a hip swanky night of sushi, I don't know that you can beat it. Brad and I went a few years ago and I've been dreaming of the tuna tuna salmon roll ever since.
The top roll in the boat, the tuna tuna salmon is salmon tartare topped with sliced tuna, avocado sauce, and wasabi tobiko sauce. It is melt-in-your-mouth delicious. I could have eaten five of these rolls. Unfortunately, at $17, just one tuna tuna salmon for me. Luckily, there were delicious cocktails for me to drown my sorrow in.
Jenny drinks her MUCH earned floating orchid.
After some ice skating up high...
Up top the Hancock building.
And some sleepy sleep at our awesome hotel...
It was Monday morning and time to go to the aquarium. Here fishy fishy fishy!
I see you, Brad.
I could go to Shedd over and over again. It's one of my favorite places. I love fishes.
And I love the big city with my Lisa!
We'd basically planned our day around a final stop at Franks 'n Dawgs for Chicago-style hot dogs for the girls. We drive over there, park, walk up, yank on the door.... and it's closed on Mondays! What is this, St. Joe? Sheesh! We were short on time and had already paid for parking, so we wandered over to Goose Island, which, honestly, was way better for me!
Black bean burger with spicy cheese, chipotle aioli, and salsa. And a side of cous cous with pumpkin and goat cheese. YUM. Seriously. Yum. My plan for tomorrow is to re-create this meal for dinner. If I could ever make it to the store....
Then it was time to head back to Michigan. Since the girls missed out earlier, we decided to make our own Chicago hot dogs. Surprisingly, our local grocery store had everything we needed, including sport peppers and a very strangely colored pickle relish.
Funny-looking relish, pickle spear, sport peppers,
tomato hunk, yellow mustard, onions, celery salt, hot dog.
I didn't have a Chicago-style dog... Relish? Pickle? Ugh! But I did eat a delicious veggie dog. With cheese. And everyone seemed to enjoy their fancy dawgs.
As much as I enjoyed our time in the big city, I loved having everyone at our house for two days, and I loved showing them our beach and our little town. Who doesn't love sand dunes and the five and dime store?
We really loved having everyone here... Even Georgie eventually made friends. And the house has seemed a little empty ever since.