Mom, Sis, Godmom and I decided to converge on Chicago for a girls weekend and to celebrate Mom's bday. They flew from KC and Minneapolis (crazy cheap airfare!) and I drove from Iowa. I got amazing Priceline rooms in the most perfect location and we were off! Their flights got in early Friday morning and I didn't arrive until about 3:30 where I rescued them from the TGIFriday's they had converged on for "happy hour" while waiting on me. Their excuse was that it was one block from the hotel and it was cold. That was the last bad eating/drinking decision they made!
We went to Gino's for dinner - Sis and I split a small pepperoni, mushromm and green pepper. Mom really wanted Italian beef - it looked wonderful, but was so darn spicy it was almost inedible. Not sure what they heck they did to it, but it was HOT - we think it was something they put on the bread, because the meat that had not touched the bread was fine. Odd. Moral of the story - stick with pizza at Gino's! I also tried a new to me beer - a black IPA called Wookie Jack. It was perfect with the pizza and just right for the cold weather!
Saturday we slept in then had "brunch" at the Grand Lux Cafe where I had some of the best blueberry pancakes I've ever had. They were fluffy, not to much blueberry, and the syrup was this buttery mapley stuff that I would have been happy drinking! Sis and I split those and an egg white omelette which was fine. Godmom had traditional eggs, hashbrowns, meat and Mom had Eggs Benedict which were perfectly done. A great place to shore up for a day of shopping on Michigan Ave.
Mom wanted Italian for dinner, so we ended up at Coco Pazzo Cafe. Started with the mozzarella salad, which was better than I anticipated. the cheese itself was really good and they had roasted the tomatoes so they actually had some flavor in the dead of winter! We also shared some calamari. I ordered the pasta of the day, which was by far the best choice of the night. Homemade mushroom ravioli with a black truffle butter cream sauce and pine nuts. It was creamy, rich, vevelty comfort food and with a portion big enough that everyone got some! We pretty much shared everything - other entrees were rigatoni with sausage and peas in a creamy tomato sauce, spaghetti with tomato, garlic, olive oil and chile flakes and roasted veggies over polenta. I thought all the pastas were good. The veggies were meh - asparagus, portobello, zucchini, summer squash and peppers none of which are exactly in season over a disk of polenta that had little to no flavor. Not my favorite, but it was Sis's dish and she was happy with it. Tiramisu with four forks for dessert. I'd go back for pasta for sure.
Sunday morning Mom really wanted her Chicago dog fix, so we headed to Portillo's for her official birthday "breakfast". I had the Maxwell Street polish and cheese fries, which I really needed after staying out way to late with Sis the night before!
After Portillo's we wandered over to Eataly - and spent the next hour or so drooling and wishing we had more stomach room. What a fun place! We did take some desserts with us to have for later - a blackberry semifreddo, a triple layer chocolate thing and a limoncello cake. The semifreddo was the best in my opinion - Mom liked the chocolate.
Dinner was Godmom's pick - her fave Chicago restaurant, Lawry's. I had never been and truly it was the best prime rib I've had. The tableside theater was pretty fun and it was a great old school experience. Sis and I shared a meal, which comes with salad, mashed potatoes and Yorkshire pudding - we added a lobster tale, sauteed mushrooms and asparagus with Hollandaise. Medium rare prime rib. It was all perfectly fine and was a fun experience.
We then headed to a showing of the First Wives Club which was entertaining enough to keep us all awake after that meal! Great weekend of food, laughter and girl time, even if it was subzero temps all weekend. Can't wait to come back!