Adventures in Chicago continue…and the suburbs. Never, in a million years, did I think I would say 32 degrees felt warm…but I did on Saturday! Everyone had a little extra “pep” in their step…walked a little slower to get into buildings and seemed a bit hopeful that the Siberian Express might soon be departing. (It came back the next day, but there’s hope.) I suppose I should backtrack to last weekend for our outing review. (The church review will follow the food/outing reviews.) Does that mean food comes before Jesus? No, but as a Southern Baptist…food and Jesus do seem to go hand in hand. After church last Sunday, we were feeling a tad adventurous. We had really wanted to attend the Chicago Car Show and thought we could grab lunch downtown and then head over. I cannot tell you how many people told us to make sure we visit Eataly. So, to Eataly we went. Two stories, 63,000 square feet. You walk in and your are in the “fresh produce” type market to the left, kitchenware’s ahead and then to the right…nothing but desserts and delicious coffees. To be honest, this place had me at “Nutella.” No, really….a Nutella bar. Toss in Italian roasted coffee…and I could have just stayed downstairs and justified that a banana and Nutella crepe was a healthy meal option. (Although, I had to walk past the candy that was $49.50 per pound. It looked lovely though.) Upstairs we go. One word….overwhelmed. This is the Super Bowl of Italian foods and eateries. Stand-up eateries, bar top eateries, sit-down eateries….any type of Italian food you could want…it’s there. If you are into wine, that section looked very impressive. I don’t know what I am looking at in that area, but it looked legit to this uneducated eye. After aimlessly wandering around….no seriously…you just can’t take it all in. The fresh meats, the fresh seafoods, the hard meats, the cheeses, the pastas, and oils and on and on…we finally settled on the sit down area with pasta/pizza.
We had such a lovely waitress! She was fun, informative and you could tell she loved working at Eataly. Our little table for two overlooked the Magnificent Mile Nordstrom’s…so you know this girl was loving it! Italian and a view of one of my favorite stores…super day! When it comes to Italian food, my Lee is well…rather reserved. The basics..nothing more. So he quickly settled on a pizza with hard salami. (Pepperoni isn’t a pizza option.) I, on the other hand, LOVE Italian food. I had too many choices! I finally settled on a lovely fresh pasta with braised short ribs. While waiting for our food, we had a quality Italian bread with wonderful Olive Oil to dip it into. Good olive oil doesn’t require a bunch of pesto or basil if it’s quality…the flavor is there. Wonderful. Then our food came…….Lee’s pizza had freshly cut Mozzarella on it. Looked wonderful. Then there was my Tagliatelle al Ragu di Manzo. Delicious. Perfectly al dente, perfectly sweet with just the right balance of seasonings and olive oil. So delicious. I could have licked the dish. After walking around the upstairs a bit more, we headed downstairs to grab something sweet! You know where I went….is that even a question??? I was full from lunch, so a Hazelnut cookie with a Nutella center was the order for the day. So perfectly crispy with an ample amount of Nutella in the middle. What’s not to love there??? From there, we thought..ok..car show. We get into the car and head that way….well..we are Chicago rookies…we had NO idea what a HUGE deal this car show is/was. Just the line on the off ramp would have taken at least thirty minutes…so…it was snowing and just turning into a yucky day so we opted to just come on back to Wheaton and save the car show for next year. Next year as in …. take the train and go in that way! A week passed and then the beautiful Saturday came with a high of 32!!!!! It was delightful! Having tried the pizza at the rival a couple weeks back, we thought it would be a great night to try Lou’s. Walked in about 4:50 with no wait…twenty minutes later…the place was packed. I ordered the deep dish with the Buttercrust and Lee ordered a thin. Ok..here’s our little verdict. For thin…go to Giordano’s. Thick…Lou’s. Salad…go to Giordano’s. I guess that means we are Giordano’s fans. People here are very opinionated over their pie…and I guess we are in that group now. The best part of our night was after pizza….Le Chocolat du Bouchard in downtown Naperville. Seriously, some yummy hot chocolate and the best carrot cake I have ever eaten. We opted for the toasted marshmallow hot chocolate. So creamy, so yummy….what’s not to love with a cup of chocolate mixed with WHOLE milk (gotta have the whole milk), marshmallow fluff and served at the perfect temp and topped with a toasted marshmallow? Toss in a piece of carrot cake for the ages….more stuff than cake and the perfect balance of cream cheese icing……seriously…think the next outing we will just start here. (PS, the carrot on top of the cake has the added detail of “dirt” to make it appear it’s sprouting out of the cake. Details make food enjoyable and fun!) On the other side is the candy and there are truffles for days and so many yummy treats….including freshly made macaroons. Ya’ll these things are hard to make and I plan to get back this week to sample one.
I seriously need a trainer…..all this yummy food is well….I need a trainer or self-control. Given the later is not likely to occur with food…let’s stick with the trainer. I think the church review will be another blog….now I’m wanting something sweet and there’s a small sliver of leftover carrot cake in the refrigerator.