We left Columbus early Friday morning and arrived in Chicago around 2PM. It was a 5 1/2 - 6 hour drive. We were very glad to get there. We checked into the hotel, which ended up being very nice besides the fact that their parking lot/garage was closed for renovations and we therefore had to use complimentary valet, which ended up being really slow even when you called ahead to get your car. The room we stayed in was great - king sized bed, small kitchenette, sitting area, and a pretty cool view of the surrounding area. Anyway, we stayed out by O'Hare (the first time Mark took me to Chicago we actually stayed in the city) and it was nice because even though we had to fight traffic quite a bit to get into the city, I felt like I was able to see a lot more of it since we were utilizing our own transportation.
Friday evening, we ate delicious deep dish Chicago-style pizza at the DePaul location of Lou Malnati's. Ahhh, sooo good. At that point, I decided to add to my list of reasons why I could never live in Chicago the fact that if I lived in the city I would end up gaining a good 250 pounds - regardless of the extra walking involved! Don't worry, I already factored that in - because I would want to eat all of the yummy food all. the. time. And no, I would not walk it off afterwards. I'd be sure to stay nice a still while digesting my delicious meals.
Over dinner, I was shocked to find out that my pizza-loving husband didn't eat Chicago-style pizza at least once a day when he lived there. I don't know what the heck he was thinking! Something about lack of finances to eat out, but come on! If I lived in the city, I would definitely make eating fab food high on my list of priorities.
Saturday, we woke up and hung around the hotel until it was time to leave for our friends' wedding. The church they were married at was in China Town. It was a very ecclectic mix of Catholic- and Asian- inspired decor. I was totally diggin' the lucky bamboo that they had all around the alter. The ceremony was extremely long, lots of standing up, then sitting down, then standing again, but the decorations were very simple and beautiful, the bride's dress was gorgeous, and the bride and groom both looked very happy to be exchanging vows.
And there were these huge chandaliers that I was really digging.
Afterwards, we made our way out of the city toward a suburb where the reception was being hosted at a Westin hotel. Very fancy. The ceremony ended around 3.30PM, we were out to the hotel around 4.15PM-4.30PM, something like that, but the reception/cocktail hour didn't open until 6.30PM. Yuck. So, we ended up chilling in the sitting area outside of the reception hall.
Once the reception finally started it was first class. Full open bar, several passed hors d'ourves <-- (yeah, thanks to my own wedding planning I can spell that word off the top of my head. Pretty impressive if I do say so myself.) including spinach and cheese stuffed mushrooms, polish sausages and peppers on skewers, mini phyllo dough brie tartlets with a touch of raspberry jam/preserves, hmm... what else... prosuitto wrapped asparagus, oh! and some sort of yummy looking fritter-ball things with dipping sauce that I did not get to try thankyouverymuchwaiterwhogottomytablethenturnedaround!
The dinner was served as 4 courses (+ wedding cake for dessert, of course!) and a wine (in addition to the sparkling wine we were all served for toasting. Dinner started with a cream of asparagus soup, then a salad with gorgonzola, pears, candied pecans, and raspberry vinagrette, a lemon sorbet intermezzo (Mark was wondering why "ice cream" was being served mid-meal ; ) and then the main course, which was a choice of crab stuffed jumbo shrimp, filet with some sort of red-wine reduction, some sort of chicken (who the heck gets the chicken when you have the previous 2 options???!), and a vegetarian selection, which ended up being Penne with pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, and toasted pine nuts (looked, and smelled pretty yummy). All meals (excluding the vegetarian selection) were served with lemon scented green beans and parmesean scalloped potatoes. FYI - I went with the crab stuffed shrimp, it was pretty good taking into consideration that it was seafood cooked then placed on plates with metal covers over them. It can only be so good, but I was fairly impressed. Dinner was topped off with a super-yummy slice of wedding cake - white/vanilla cake with a raspberry preserves/jam layer, and buttercream icing. It was one of the better wedding cakes I've ever tasted. I could have had a whole lot more of that!
Dinner ended around 9.30 and they layed out a big display of desserts, which I actually didn't try because I was full already, and a little bit later they brought out mini-burgers with all the fixin's for people to munch on. Again, I didn't try it, but I thought it was a cute idea. They played fun dance music, a lot of oldies/classics that people know and there were a lot of people dancing. We danced for a bit, but then ended up going home around 11.30PM (12.30AM Ohio time) and when we finally got back to the hotel we just fell into bed and went to sleep. It was a long, LONG day!
Sunday, we woke up and decided that we wanted to see a show - who goes to see a show on Sunday afternoon, right? Well, they were all booked! Unless of course you were willing to pay $80 for really crappy seats due to markup on ticket broker sites, or buy the more expensive $130+ tickets. I don't think that's in our budget. I was really bummed because I kept seeing Wicked advertised everywhere. Lies I tell ya! I TRIED to go see it, so did everyone else! Gah!
So, we didn't end up going to see it. I'm bummed about this. We did end up going to the Magnificent Mile and doing some shopping. We ate lunch at a bakery (like Panera) where there were ads everywhere for a pumpkin spice latte. Sounds good, I'll try one. NOT. I'm sorry, we don't have any today. WTH?! Chicago is a city of LIES!
Eventually we ended up back at the hotel and had some more Chicago-style pizza for dinner, this time a smaller, local place. I swear I could eat that pizza everyday. YUM!
Please note the fact that my trip did indeed revolve around food. That is why I go to Chicago.
It was a very good trip!