Happy Thursday party people! And you guessed it, I’m in Chicago. I got here yesterday afternoon and absolutely love it here.
The drive up from Indianapolis was pretty uneventful. If you’ve never driven through Indiana, you’re not missing much. It’s flat, farm land with not much to look at.
I stopped at Portillo’s in Merrillville, IN for lunch. I am originally from that area and it’s so weird seeing how built up everything is now. There just used to be the mall, a hotel or two and a handful of restaurants but not the road it’s on is jam packed.
When talking with my sister and my aunt this past week, they told me I have to go to Portillo’s and that my life will never be the same once I have it. They told me I’ve had it before when I was a youngin but I don’t remember any of it although the name sounded familiar. The serve hot dogs, sandwiches, salads, burgers, milkshakes and more. The inside is a bit kitchshy and reminded me of Coney Island kind of restaurants with the signs for hot dogs, soups on the paneling. The place was packed for a Wednesday afternoon-I almost couldn’t find a table but fought off some children for a single table that they were using as a jungle gym. I got the dry Italian Beef sandwich with hot peppers and a side of fries
You can get the sandwiches with the gravy on them but the idea of soggy breads skeeves this girl on. And when I heard gravy I was a bit confused because I was thinking brown gravy you put on mashed potatoes. The gravy they serve is more along the lines of au jus sauce and once I poured it on the sandwich and took a bite, I remembered having it before. And it was a good memory. Poor sandwich, it didn’t have a chance of having a long existence in this world. Gone in 10 minutes.
Of course I got a little lost while coming into the Chicago Metro area because you know, that’s what I do. I swear I don’t like the whole idea of a GPS ordering me around but I think that’s what I need. One of these days when I get lost in the hood, I will learn my lesson and buy one. But until then, I will keep looking out for landmarks and try to get myself in the right direction. I finally saw this and just kept trucking along, knowing I was headed in the right direction.
After an hour at Starbucks and some texts to Amy asking where I was, what time it was (Chicago is in the central time zone but my phone didn’t change time when I entered), I went over to my friends house……right after the Cubs game ended. Which fighting my way through traffic is a whole other story in itself and og my god—there is a midget who sells water-but yeah, another time for that story. Soon I was on my friends porch, enjoying new-to-me beers!
We went to Uncommon Ground for dinner. They are a hippie-esque restaurant with local art on the walls, live music and use products that leave no or a low carbon footprint. And their vow is to “use seasonal, locally produced, family farmed & organic products”—how could I NOT love this place?
We sat outside and they have a quite a spacious patio area but most of all, I love the diversity of people walking around. Edit—diversity of people and their dogs—this is such a dog friendly neighborhood! I feel like every person we saw had a pooch and I think I saw some that Lincoln would like.
I got the Capriole Goat Cheese Stuffed Portabella Mushroom Sandwich-
“artichoke, spinach, arugula, caramelized onions on cracked oat bun”
Aww yeah, look at that goat cheese! It was messy but worth the mess, I was very happy with my selection.
Even the bathrooms made me feel at peace with the world
I don’t want to go back to Charlotte, which I know I always say that anytime I’m away but for reals. I am staying in Lakeview and it’s awesome here. I love that people walk everywhere and you see people all the time although it’s not crazy rowdy. I have a few restaurants and bars I can walk to in Charlotte but nothing like this. I could totally see myself here, just need to figure out the whole job and how will I pay to live thing.
Have you ever been/lived in Chicago? What’s your favorite thing to do in Chicago? Help a sister out, I have a day to myself but I think the first thing on the agenda is finding some coffee!