#INSTAFOOD: CHICAGO

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Ahhh, Chicago cuisine. I have such a soft spot for cities whose food flies under the radar, and while working on the Ben & Jerry’s Core Tour, I was fortunate enough to be able to try all sorts of delicious spots. It means no 3 hour long waits for brunch, no pretentious patrons discecting every ingredient, and innovate fare from some of the area’s most thoughtful and creative chefs that hasn’t already been plastered all over multiple Conde Nast publications. Yes, Yelp and TripAdvisor reviews may seem helpful, but sometimes it’s just nice to taste food for what it really is without all the hype. And in Chicago’s case, it’s freaking tasty.

Below are a few of the flavorful moments that I captured during my time in the Windy City. Snack on these savory social media snapshots for a little inspiration for your next night out in Chicago.

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Eataly Chicago (Near North Side)

While the Chicago Eataly isn’t quite as impressive as the one in NYC, it still makes for a great place to stop for a snack. Munch on some savory veggies and finish your visit with a stop at the Nutella bar, aka heavan on earth.

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Girl & the Goat (West Loop)

Get your daily dose of weird with some of the more unusal combinations at this popular restaurant. Escargot ravioli and octopus salad only scratches the surface of the endless options.

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Three Dots and a Dash (River North)

Looking for a luau in the midwest? Look no further than this speakeasy-esque spot. Every cocktail I’ve tried has been a crowd pleaser, and while you might think they’re fruity and girly drinks, three cocktails will knock you on your ass faster than a bulldozer.

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Perennial Virant (Lincoln Park)

One of the best brunch spots in all of Chicago just so happens to be next to one of my favorite things, the Lincoln Park Zoo. If you’re visitng and need to fuel up before seeing the animals, this is the perfect farm-to-table spot. Also ask to check out the book that the chef authored a few years ago. It’s cool reading material while you wait for your food.

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Elly’s Pancake House (Near North Side)

Hankering for a late night snack? This pancake house, serving up blintzes, eggs benedict, and one of the best German pancakes I have ever had, is open 24-hours away making it the perfect brunch spot all weekend.

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Parson’s Chicken & Fish (Logan Square)

Combine a 7/11 and your favorite cocktail bar for this genius outdoor patio. While the hot days of summer may be slowly slipping away, I highly recommend swinging by for a Negroni slushy before cocktail trends go the way of hot-toddys and spiked egg nog.

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Enolo Wine Bar (Near North Side)

Looking for a great lunch spot in between meetings? Look no further than Enolo. With a full list of bruchettas and a great wine selection, this mid-day treat will have you returning to work satisfied.. and maybe a little tipsy.

Did I miss your favorite spot? Let me know in the comments below.

P.S. Be sure to follow me on Instagram at @venturetravelist

Midwestern Musings: Chicago

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There’s more than one way to pack your day full of activities in Chicago, but if I had my choice, my Saturdays in the city would be spent eating great food, supporting local businesses, catching a game, and walking through the park.

Chicago doesn’t have the hustle and bustle of other cities, but the energy is captivating nonetheless. I recommend starting your day off right with an early lunch at Ikram. I know I’ve mentioned this cafe before, but the food and shopping is too good to only talk about once! Dishes are local, and your server will be able to tell you which farms’ produce is on your plate that day. Downstairs, thumb through the likes of Proenza Schouler and Givenchy in their bag section, or check out the shelves of amazing sneakers in the back.

If you’re looking for local, fair trade goodies, head up to Lincoln Park to check out the Green Heart Shop. This is great if you need to pick up a gift for just about any occassion, and their handmade jewelry selection always has cool one of a kind pieces.

No weekend in Chicago is complete without a trip to Wrigley Field. Whenever I travel, I always make an effort to go to a sporting event. Rubbing elbows with the locals while throwing back a few is always the way to go in my book. And if it just so happens to coincide with looking at cute guys in uniforms, who am I to say no? For great deals on tickets, go to ScoreBig.com. It’s like Priceline for sporting events; you get to bid on the ticket price. I usually end up snagging great seats for half off!

Finish out your day with a stroll through Millenium Park. There are tons a cool sculptures (aside from just Cloud Gate) and great little side parks to poke in to. Often times there will be games of chess happening on the sidewalk. Depending on how many beers you’ve had at the game, you can always challenge one of the pros for a quick round. Otherwise, sprawl on to the grass on the Great Lawn and watch the clouds go by.

What does your perfect day in Chicago consist of? Let me know if the comments below!

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