"The Devil in the White City," is a national bestseller and it was also the first book I received as a gift when I moved to Chicago. This was in 2013 when I moved to finish my last 2 years of medical school...and I just had stay longer. Why? Well, because it's an amazing city and loved every minute I was there (minus the crazy freezing winters). Little did I know back then about Chicago, but also that I would fall in love with such a mysterious and beautiful place. Flash forward to today, and I get to go to a friend's wedding, relive all those crispy winter days walking throughout and sipping on coffee, but this time I get to do it as a tourist.
I was able to go to old favorite places, buy the wedding gift and stay at a poppin' trendy hotel in the middle of the city. Here is the story of how that (quick) trip went down.
Where I stayed...
Before choosing where to stay, I had to of course think about where and how the photos would look...hahaha. I also wanted to stay very close to the "bean" where all the action is happening. I searched and searched...well really it was very quick and easy. I got on hotels.com and looked for the closest and trendy looking hotel. When I started to see the photos of the Hotel Julian it was a no brainer...then I read on their website "repurposed and re-imagined the classic style and architecture of downtown Chicago’s landmark Atlantic Bank Building......modern energy...stylishly chic." I was sold. It is right in front of Millenium park in downtown on Michigan Avenue. It was just too easy and I couldn't pass this place up. The rooms were starting at $100 a night, which is unheard of. The look inside was exactly how they described it...smart and just flat out cool. Totally coming back here again!
It is as if modern day Frank Sinatra, would choose a place to stay at, would totally stay there...and that's what I was looking for on this trip, experiences that those cool cats from back in the day would enjoy. Elevator was stacked with head shots of those in the industry from the turn of the century to mid-century...kind of wanted to slip in my headshot see if they would take it down. Honestly, I enjoyed every minute staying there. There was even an Uber pick up location in the back of the hotel...which I found smart since the hotel faces the very busy Michigan avenue.
The decor of the hotel was full of dark metals with pieces of brass and warm caramel tones. Made the time go by as I stared at the hotel architecture and clean industrial design while I sipped on my moscow mule (best drink to have in Chicago) in their ALK restaurant and stared at people coming in and out in their peacoats. Next time you go to Chicago, check out the Hotel Julian. Tell them I sent ya!
Where I ate...
Of course when you are in Chicago, you have to visit some of the best restuarants in the world. I always say, that I learned to eat in Chicago. This was the place that really taught me to enjoy the time at dinner, not just from the presentation but the quality of the food you get to enjoy. If you are a foodie, like me (and no you don't need to have a blog about food) and really like to eat...you have to try some of my favorite spots. The minute I got off the station I went straight to The Gage, which like my hotel is right on Michigan avenue and had to revist an old time favorite... the bison burger. Once you fall in love with this burger (which btw you will) you will never enjoy any other burger in your life. That is the sad part of this relationship...but the up-side is you can have it any time you go back to Chicago (like I do)
Another one of my favorite spots is Wood on Halsted...not only is this place cool and fun, it has one of the best salmon anyone would get to enjoy. Their Roasted Atlantic Salmon lays on a winter squash bisque with brussels sprouts, delicata squash and chanterelle mushrooms. It is a must! I love going there for the food and the drinks, specially their "Your Destination Is On the Right" cocktail which has Basil Hayden bourbon, Barrows Intense Ginger Liqueur (#amazing), port wine, fresh lemon juice and simple (nothing simple about this poison) syrup..ugh I want one now! With Executive Chef Marcus Rasmussen, you are never going to go wrong with anything this guy makes. His ideas of bringing local flavors and using the freshest ingredients, is smart and tasty...really tasty.
Where I shopped...
I wasn't going to get something in Miami to bring with me....I thought. Chicago has so many shopping options in every corner that it wouldn't be fair for me (or them) to bring my gift for the wedding from here. I went straight to Michigan avenue which is the perfect place to shop. If you haven't seen that avenue...that is yet another reason for you to come to Chicago. You haven't really shopped until you have been to this place. Miles of high end shops and boutiqutes, theres a reason why they call it "Magnificent" mile.
Quick tip: Something you can never go wrong with a wedding gift, is to bring crystal. The couple will always use it, even if its a Friday night at home.
I got some ribbon at the store, wrapped it around and got matching bow (to look like I made the bow) which obviously I cannot do.
Where I got groomed...
To get the full experience, I had to go to Truefitt & Hill on 111 W Monroe St, to make sure I looked nice and groomed for the event. I went strsaight to this place, very professional and particular to detail...as I had to make sure they were. Since I am growing my hair, I didn't want just any barber shop to mess it up. These guys were amazing, it has this old school way of handling clients I felt I was hanging out with the big boys of the yesterdays. Minute I walked in, they offered me coffee or tea and I have to take the tea...so english! Take the time and go there before your next event, or on a regular tuesday for the trim.
Ok now go! Enjoy chi-town!
"Be faithful to your own taste, because nothing you really like is ever out of style" - Billy Baldwin