Chicago Weekend

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This past weekend, Eric and I took a quick little trip to Chicago to celebrate our 4 year anniversary. The nice thing about having Eric as a travel companion, is that our vacation philosophies are very similar. We both like to get up early and fit in as many activities as we can. And I’ll be completely honest.. about 90% of these “activities” typically revolve around food. No wonder we get along so well. We scouted out quite a few places beforehand, and were able to hit each and every spot in the short time we were there. The first stop was of course a quick trip to the well known “bean.” Because you can’t really visit Chicago without a few obligatory “bean shots.” Next up was a trip to Sprinkles Cupcakes.

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As a huge fan of the show Cupcake Wars, I was pumped to taste the cupcakes from one of Cupcake Wars’ judges. And these cupcakes did not disappoint. I had a Peanut Butter Cupcake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting. It was perfectly sweet and delicious. Eric had the classic Black and White Cupcake and was also a huge fan. Nothing starts off your day better than a cupcake.

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Later on we stopped by Eataly, which is a gourmet Italian marketplace owned by Mario Batali. There was delicious, high end food in every corner, and a huge selection of Italian wines. There are even areas for shoppers to stop and enjoy a glass of wine or a charcuterie platter during their shopping trip. We didn’t end up eating anything, as we were still on a Sprinkles induced sugar high, but I would love to go back and roam around again.

Our next stop was a trip to a bar we had seen on Bar Rescue. If you’ve never seen the show, it is definitely worth a try. A “bar expert” remakes failing bars throughout the U.S., and though the host is incredibly obnoxious, the show is one of Eric and my favorites. The bar we visited is called Blue Frog’s Local 22 and it was remade to be a burger and beer bar. We just went for a beer, and it was nice little reprieve from walking around the streets of a very snowy Chicago.

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For dinner, we went to RPM Italian, which is owned by Guiliana and Bill Rancic. A few years back, when I worked at a country club, I had a crazy work schedule and was only able to see Eric for a few hours on Monday nights. And since I was too exhausted to ever do anything, we spent a lot of our Monday night date nights watching TV together. The only problem was that there is absolutely nothing to watch on Monday nights in the summer. So somewhere along the road we started watching Guiliana & Bill’s reality show. When we used to watch the show, they talked a lot about opening up an italian restaurant, and eventually RPM Italian came to be. We thought it would be a fun little anniversary date to visit the restaurant we had heard so much about. We started with an appetizer of grilled baguette served with fresh ricotta and marinara sauce.

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It was so delicious, and we both said we easily could have eaten 3 pieces each, but we had to save our appetites for the main course. I chose Mama DePandi’s bucatini and it was definitely one of the best pasta dishes I’ve had in a while.

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Eric had the spaghetti and meatballs and loved his as well. It was an all around successful anniversary.

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To end our night we did our own little Irish bar crawl with my cousin Kristin, who lives in Chicago. She was a fantastic tour guide and it was so great to catch up. And with that our little weekend trip was over. It was a nice little break from the norm and a fun way to celebrate our last “dating anniversary.” Because in a little less than 3 months we’ll be Mr. and Mrs. Jones…Crazy!

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