I’m really sad to be leaving Chicago. Aside from the harsh winters, its an amazing city. I fell in love and have made lifelong friends here. However, I have chosen my family and career over prolonging this adventure. We’ve slept our last night (for now?) in Joel’s amazing condo and the movers are coming in a few hours to pick up our boxes and drive them out to California. I miss cooking and am getting quite tired of eating out (I know, poor me).
There’s no doubt Chicago is an amazing food city. Before I moved here, I spent several weeks a year downtown for work and had the opportunity to eat at some amazing top end restaurants. When I moved here as a grad student, my budget no longer allowed for such extravagances. The expensed dinners went away as did the expensive bottles of wine. However, I got to know Chicago’s other neighborhoods and restaurants…some I frequented quite a bit.
What are the places I’ll miss the most? Its the places that we’d go to on Monday night after a long weekend or somewhere we’d grab drinks with friends.
- Sticky Rice – The Thai kids at school turned me on to this authentic & amazing Northern Thai restaurant. It is also ridiculously cheap: $25 gets you dinner for two + leftovers for lunch the following day.
- Tank Noodle – Vietnamese restaurant that helped stave homesickness…and I was able to introduce Joel to the fantasticalness of Vietnamese food, which I don’t cook much of myself.
- Piece Pizza – I don’t care that Chicago is supposed to be a deep dish town, Piece’s New Haven-style pizza is often one of the first things I eat after several weeks away from Chicago. Oh, and they brew their own beer. Don’t like their beer? They have a gajillion more on tap or by the bottle.
- Publican – Okay, not a place I went to every week but a place I always took friends from out of town. A restaurant dedicated to pork? Yes, please!
- Hopleaf – Good beer & food
- Longman & Eagle – I tell all of my SF friends that it is my Chicago version of Alembic…but with more food. And they serve brunch!
- Miko’s Italian Ice – Everyone knows I’m not much of a dessert person but Miko’s turned me into one. The first time I had Miko’s, I was walking home from BaconFest a little tipsy and very full; I traded some bacon chocolates and lollipops for some lemon ice.
- Big Star – When I first arrived in Chicago, this space was a hipster honkytonk bar. Last winter it was remodeled and turned into gourmet tacos with a great outdoor space. Yes, getting seated can take a while but I often get lucky with seats at the bar. The food & drinks are great…and cheap!
Goodbye Chicago…for now. I hope we move back again someday. Just not during the winter.