We drove up to Chicago early Saturday morning and were in Lincoln Park eating hot dogs by noon. Usually DH plans out our weekend trips, but I came up with the Saturday itinerary this time, and I earned bonus itinerary points for the hot dog place I picked out: Chicago’s Hot Dogs.
We weren’t brave enough to try the Alligator dog…
However, we were pleased with our “frips” (fresh potato chips/fries cut in a spiral) and our Chicago-style dogs.
Post hot dogs, we walked over to the Lincoln Park Conservatory, which is free. We like flowers and trees, but we especially like free ones.
We almost always hit up the Lincoln Park Zoo when we visit Chicago, because DH has some kind of special connection with the gorillas. He loves those apes.
After the zoo, we deviated slightly from the best itinerary ever because DH was hungry. We had heard great things about the Five Guys burger chain, and we generally don’t ignore great things that are said about burgers. We take our burgers seriously. Also, this is one of Chicago’s “30 Best Burgers,” according to some magazine, so how could we resist?
Verdict: loved the free peanuts, loved the fries, but I was not hungry enough to appreciate the burger. I am making a mental note to return to the Five Guys franchise when I am ravenous. DH, however, thought the burger was rather good. Its only deficiency, as far as he could tell, was that the bun was not substantial enough for the burger.
After our burger, we walked through the Old Town Triangle Historic District. At one point in Chicago’s history, it was a place where German immigrants congregated. It’s not really an ethnic district anymore, unless you count having lots of money as an ethnicity. St. Michael’s church is one of the Old Town Triangle’s landmarks:
Other than the food, the Cubs tickets we bought for Sunday, and the gorillas at the Lincoln Park Zoo, one of the main reasons we went to Chicago this weekend was to do some shopping at REI. We’re in the market for backpacks that will make travel around Europe easier next year. The best place to buy backpacks in Indiana is the Dick’s Sporting Goods chain. I tried to check out their website once by looking up an-abbreviated-version-of-their-store-name.com, and I’ve never wanted to shop there since. An REI employee we chatted with made the joke: “Dick’s Sporting Goods? More like Dick’s Sporting Bads.” I love terrible puns.
The original Goose Island brew pub is located a few blocks away from REI, a coincidence that we did not take lightly. I tried the Belgian Citrus, which I highly recommend, and DH had the Green Line Pale Ale.
We continued our tour of the Lincoln Park neighborhood by walking north to a dessert shop called Sweet Mandy B’s. Thanks to a childhood in which we would eat straight-up Pillsbury frosting on movie nights for a snack, I have quite the sweet tooth. We picked up two cupcakes (which DH insisted we save for after dinner), and I’m not exaggerating when I say that they were the best cupcakes I’ve ever had. I don’t have a great foodie vocabulary, so let me just reiterate that the cupcakes were THE BEST. The buttercream icing alone put Pillsbury to shame. For shame, Pillsbury!
For dinner, we followed the itinerary and went out for one of Chicago’s top 30 burgers, despite having shared a burger for lunch already. When you’re on a weekend vacation you can do things like eat burgers for lunch and for dinner. Being a grown-up is everything I dreamed it would be! We walked across the bridge from Lincoln Park to Bucktown to try a burger at Cortland’s Garage (#10 on the Best Burgers list). The burger featured crunchy onion strings and avocado slices, among other delicious things.
I was eat-your-face-off hungry by the time we ate our dinner burger, so it was delicious to me. I also love avocados, so there wasn’t much chance that the burger would disappoint. However, in our opinion, the burger at the Bull & Bear is still the best burger we’ve ever had the pleasure of eating.
After dinner, my itinerary dictated that we go back to the hotel, eat those sweet sweet cupcakes, and fall asleep immediately due to exhaustion. Check.
Abbreviated Saturday recap: driving, food, tourism, tourism, food, tourism, shopping, food, food, sleep.
P.S. Are you tired of me mentioning the itinerary yet?