Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Chicago Weekend: July 2014 - Part Two

For Part One, click here.

Part of what made this Sunday unique was the fact that we only revisited one Chicago favorite - and it wasn't Jake Melnick's.

Dave finished the Rock and Roll 5K around the same time our friend Eddie finished the half marathon. That gave them enough time to return to their rooms for showers and head back to the after-party for a couple of beers. Once Dave met up with Holly it was time to go back to the hotel so she could shower and to pack up/check-out. The Palmer House race special rate didn't extend to Sunday so we changed to a cheaper hotel picked up on Hotwire. We moved from The Loop to the heart of the Mag Mile: The Westin was next to the Hancock Building.

We dropped off our bags, hopped in a cab, and met up with our crew back in The Loop at Pizano's Pizza. While most folks dined on pizza we both opted to get burgers (our preferred post-race indulgence). Everyone enjoyed their meals and had fun hazing the new-hire waiter ("I don't know if I can do that for you.  I just started here and don't want to get it trouble").

After lunch most folks had to get on the road and head home. Eddie and Anna still had some time before their flight so we headed to Plymouth for a few drinks.  Plymouth has a bar on it's 4th(?) floor roof. It was a pleasant space in a very unlikely place. They had nice signature cocktails, a decent beer selection, and (according to a lady in the elevator) the best salad ever!
We walked back to The Palmer House and said goodbye to our friends before heading north towards our new hotel. Just down the street was a bar Dave had researched.... The Drumbar was on the roof of the Raffaello Hotel that was aiming for that speakeasy feel. They have a nice outdoor deck and a really nice indoor lounge area. Looks like a good place to visit in the winter. An added bonus was finding a great dark beer on the menu. We lingered here for a while and decompressed after a very busy 48 hours.

We decided to check out our hotel's bar before dinner. The Grill on the Alley had that typical Chicago restaurant look: lots of dark wood and amber-glassed light fixtures. The wraparound bar was large and stocked a good variety of bourbon and whiskey.
Finally it was time for dinner. We made reservations at RL - the restaurant attached to The Polo Store (owned by Ralph Lauren). RL is listed as one of the go-to Chicago restaurants for celebrity sightings. We didn't have any such luck. RL is a classic restaurant seemingly decorated for old-money clientele. However, the diners were not all Buffys and the staff had a casually efficient way about them. For starters Holly had the escargot and Dave had the lobster bisque. Our main courses were halibut and pork chop. Both were good except the halibut was a little overcooked. For dessert we split the cookies and brownie plate. A little generic, but we didn't want anything too elaborate or rich. Dave said the coffee was excellent.

Our last stop of the evening was at one of our favorite places - the bar at the Peninsula Hotel. It's more like being in a large living room than a bar or lounge. We settled in at a corner table and had our final drinks of the evening.

That wraps up another successful Chicago weekend!
Bonus: Dave was in the city last week for a doctor appointment at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. They recently added a food court on the second floor. On a whim he tried Saigon Sisters, an offshoot of the Lake Street main location serving modern Vietnamese cuisine. He got the Hen House bánh mì which is a sandwich on French baguette with caramelized chicken, lemongrass, ginger, mint, lime, crushed peanuts, mayo (hold the mayo). Rave reviews from Dave.


  1. That Hen House sandwich looks wonderful!

  2. Yes it was. I'd look for an excuse to time lunch in the mag mile so I can eat there again - even if it is in a hospital!