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I loved our trip to Chicago so much. It felt like the perfect mini getaway not too far away. The weather was great, we got to spend time with friends and family, we walked a ton, and of course, we did our fair share of eating and drinking. And with all of the restaurants in Chicago, we could go back many times to do much much more. Below is a round up of our eating adventures.

For more Chicago posts you can read about our Goose Island Tour and my Scenes from Chicago post.

Public Hotel Chicago

We stayed at the Public Hotel, which had two elegant, old school bars, the Pump Room and the Library and Coffee Bar, both offering incredible cocktails. The craft cocktail menu, small bites, low lighting, and general ambiance added so much to our hotel stay.

mimosa Our first morning in Chicago found us walking for miles along Lake Michigan then finally sitting down to brunch outdoors at LuxBar. Mimosas, Salmon Eggs Benedict, and a gigantic breakfast burrito were all delicious and enjoyed while people watching. Brunch on vacation is just the best.

salmon benedict

breakfast burrito

stuffed shells

My friend who was running the Chicago Marathon wanted to carb load the night before, and of course we joined her. Carmine’s was the place to be the night before the marathon. The red wine was flowing, and classic red sauce Italian dishes like my stuffed shells were being served up to noisy tables. The atmosphere was festive and perfect for the exciting weekend that was in it.

Pops Champagne Bar I couldn’t miss the opportunity to taste Champagnes by the glass at Pop Champagne Bar. It’s so rare to have the chance to taste several Champagnes in one sitting, and we took full advantage of the menu!

Pops Champagne Bar Finally, there was the post-marathon celebratory dinner at Hugo’s.We originally set out for Gibson’s but they were completely full, and the kind hostess had someone escort us to their sister restaurant Hugo’s, which serves the same steaks and great food. We felt so taken care of right off the bat; the hospitality all throughout Chicago was remarkable, and we really felt it the most at Gibson’s and Hugo’s.

We wanted the Chicago steak house experience, complete with giant cocktails, meat, and sides.

cocktails in Chicago There were martinis and Manhattans and wedge salads, one of my favorite steak house dishes.

wedge salad When the entrees started to arrive, my husband’s steak was way too rare, so they whisked it away and while it cooked brought him a complimentary shrimp cocktail so he had something while he waited. It was only a matter of minutes, and this little extra touch meant so much. The shrimp were so yummy too!

shrimp cocktail

While my plate doesn’t look very appetizing here, it was simply amazing. I had the steak and crab cake combo, which came with two phenomenal sauces including their pink spicy mayo. 

steak and crab ccakes

My husband’s steak came covered in crab meat and asparagus and was out-of-this world. We also all shared chipotle corn and asparagus.

Hugo's Chicago 

This meal was special, decadent, and so much fun, one of those must-do things if you get to Chicago. It kind of felt like dining in a bygone era, where we really slowed down to enjoy ourselves.

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Tags: Chicago, Dining out, Food, Restaurants, Travel, travel blog

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending a media lunch to learn about visiting Germany, and more specifically, about Bavaria. When I first started working for myself, I didn’t have the time in the day to eat lunch, much less go out to an event, but as I organize myself a little more, I am finding time to attend events, and it is really nice to enjoy the perks of a flexible schedule.

Destination Germany

The lunch was held in a private room at Post 390, and on a raw, chilly fall day in Boston, the fireplace and warm welcomes from the German Tourism and Destination Bavaria teams was really lovely.

Post 390 Boston   Hans Wirsching Silvaner

In addition to truly genuine hospitality, we were welcomed with German wine, Hans Wirsching Silvaner. Not all German wine is sweet! This was delightfully dry, floral, and acidic, with a mouthwatering finish.

Hans Wirsching Silvaner

Before the lunch and presentations began, I got to chat with travel writers from around the region. To be honest, sometimes networking events make me really nervous, but this was a great crowd of very nice people. I was glad I went!

Unfortunately, my phone started doing something weird during the presentation, and all of my photos are gray boxes, which is disappointing, because my salmon salad was gorgeous and delicious.

The presentations were fun, informative and engaging. A few highlights:

  • Munich Airport is absolutely amazing; it isn’t just a place to pass through, but rather, it is a destination in itself. You can easily exit security to take in the sights and amenities, which offer an on-site brewery, wave pool (or skating rink in winter), Christmas market, two on-site hotels, and nap pods. There’s shopping, a huge number of dining opportunities, free coffee at the terminals, and so much more. I half want to visit this airport and half don’t want to visit, because I am pretty sure it would spoil me for airports going forward!
  • In this year’s Lonely Planet Best in Travel 2016 yearbook, Bavaria has been named a “Best Region”, pointing to the Free State in the south of Germany as a top 10 travel destination. There’s a lot happening in Bavaria in 2016!
  • Bavaria will mark the 500 year anniversary of the Purity Law, which has been so crucial to the growth of German beer and its popularity around the world. The Purity Law says that beer can only contain four ingredients, water, malt, hops and yeast.
  • In 2016, Bavaria will also focus on its aristocratic past. It is on my travel list to visit the fairytale castle Neuschwanstein, but there are also many more beautiful properties and historical sites to see.
  • In an effort to pique the interest of younger travelers, the concept of The Young Danube has been developed. From the natural beauty of the Danube to the history that can be found along the way, this concept has travelers go against the current to do things like experience a Baroque wine city in Passau to experiencing relaxing romance in Deggendorf.
  • Nuremburg is a fascinating city. Though its history is connected to the Nazis, and that history is remembered always in the Documentation Centre Party Rally Grounds, the city is also full of positive and cultural things, like a world-renowned Christmas Market, excellent cuisine, and art. It was the home of Albrecht Durer and houses one of the most important imperial palaces dating back to the Middle Ages. Prior to this event, Nuremburg was always a place I only associated with negativity, but now I am truly interested in visiting a place that sounds so beautiful and interesting.

I love learning about new places, and since I only spent a very short time in Bavaria years ago, truly did learn a lot at this lunch. It reminded me of the beauty of Germany, along with the great food and people, and it made me want to plan a return visit soon!

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Tags: Bavaria, Boston blogger, Germany, media events, Travel, travel blog, travel blogger

Chicago graced us with gorgeous, warm fall weather, blue skies, and good friends and family. We walked miles and miles and I took hundreds of photos, making it difficult to narrow down photos into blog posts.

Below I have included just a sampling of the sights we saw in Chicago. Stay tuned for some more specific recaps in the next few weeks.

Chicago skyline

Chicago skyline

We made a point to walk along Lake Michigan every day so we could take in as much of its beautiful scenery as possible. The Chicago skyline against blue skies and the grandness of the lake was breathtaking. I want a gorgeous, spacious apartment on the Gold Coast and a dog I can walk along the lake twice a day. Too much to ask?

Public Hotels Chicago

We stayed at the Public Hotel Chicago, and it was absolutely amazing. Our room was simple, chic, and comfortable with an incredible view of the Sears Tower. The hotel decor was just stunning, and the bars served creative craft cocktails and great service. I was so sad when we had to check out of this hotel.

Fado Irish Pub

We visit an Irish bar in every city we go to, and after my friend finished the Chicago Marathon, we had late night drinks at Fado, where the bartender was from the same teeny tiny village in the West of Ireland as my brother-in-law’s dad, who was his family doctor. Small world indeed.

Michigan Ave

Chicago in Autumn

Chicago does it up for fall, and there were gorgeous mum displays, pumpkins, and more everywhere we looked. I adored all of the gardens, and it made me want to pay more attention to all of the beauty in my own city.

The Drake Chicago

The Drake Chicago I am a huge fan of old hotels, so a visit to The Drake Hotel was a must-do for me.  Old wood and leather made for a great atmosphere, and strong Irish coffees warmed us up after walking around in the shade of Michigan Ave buildings. I love to imagine the heyday of old hotels, and of course I like to think there is a bit of haunting history in them.

Navy Pier Navy Pier ferris wheel Navy Pier

Navy Pier was one of my favorite places the entire weekend. The sun was shining, a beer stand sold cold local beers, and we were able to take in the sun, sights, and sounds while relaxing lakeside. There is so much happening at Navy Pier. I loved the lush Crystal Gardens, and I want to return for some Shakespeare in the summer.


Tribune Tower ChicagoChicago Tribune Tower   Tribune Tower

We had the good fortune of having Max The Urbanologist as our tour guide one afternoon, and we met at the famed Tribune Tower, which features pieces from famous structures around the world.


Three Dots and a DashThree Dots and a Dash Max took us along the Riverwalk, showed us points of interest, and led us to the subterranean Three Dots and a Dash where we shared a Zombie Punch, a fun and very large tiki drink.

Chicago Riverwalk

The Riverwalk was another favorite part of our visit to Chicago. I loved being able to watch the boats go by, and we made a couple of stops to Flanders Beer & Belgian Frites to grab beers (Matilda and Sofie, favorites from our Goose Island tour) and fries. I loved that we could take beers to go and wander with them around the Riverwalk. It’s something that would never happen in Boston, but it makes perfect sense and definitely made us feel like we were being treated like responsible adults. We found cocktails available to go in the train station, airport, and other places, and didn’t see anyone abusing the perk.

cocktails to go

Union Station Chicago And finally, there was the architecture. We did an architectural boat tour, which I will recap in a separate post, but Union Station was one of the most spectacular buildings to me. I love old train stations just like I love old hotels, and even if you aren’t taking a train, Union Station is worth a stroll.

Have you ever been to Chicago? What was your favorite part?

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Tags: architecture, Chicago, cocktails, hotels, photography, Travel, travel blog, travel blogger, travel posts

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