a couple of weeks ago i flew up to chicago to spend four days traipsing around with sarah. she had recently wrapped up her semester at law school [only one more to go!], so it was the perfect time to visit. we chatted a bit about a few of the things we wanted to do, but mostly we played it by ear and planned a day at a time.
in the end it was a great combination of eating and drinking and lounging and watching tv and laughing at the cat and making fun of ourselves. it was so fun to meet sarah’s parents and her roommates and earl [the aforementioned cat] and to get a glimpse into her chicago life.
below are the highlights from my trip.
eating + drinking.
on wednesday we had lunch with sarah’s mother at a gorilla sushi location in jefferson park. we ordered a whole mess of soup and sushi and cucumber salad and mochi and ate everything family style. it was all very delicious, and we left satisfied but not overly stuffed.
for dinner on wednesday we were feeling too lazy to go out, so we decided to order in from portillo’s. i wanted to have italian beef while i was in the city, and theirs was fantastic.
before my trip kat sent me a list of recommendations, one of which was little goat diner in the west loop. sarah had been wanting to go there, so we made reservations for thursday lunch and had ourselves a very delightful and indulgent meal. we shared the machos nachos which were awesome and then both ordered the this little piggy went to china for our main. we cleaned our plates and then had to sit for another 15 minutes before we could move again. also i had a bloody mary with their homemade kimchi bloody mary mix and it was one of the best i’ve ever had. pro tip: make a reservation. we went at 12.15pm on a thursday and it was packed the whole time we were there.
after some wandering on thursday afternoon we made our way back to sarah’s apartment. as we were walking home from the train stop i spotted the butcher’s tap and remarked that it looked like a friendly place so we decided to stop in. we parked ourselves at the bar and wound up making friends with the bartenders and thoroughly enjoying our time there. if i lived in wrigleyville i would definitely be there fairly regularly. if you stop in, tell goody that we sent you.
from there we went to guthrie’s tavern. it’s in sarah’s neighborhood and she had never been there, so we wanted to check out the vibe. honestly, we weren’t super impressed: the bartender wasn’t friendly, the servers looked miserable, and it sort of felt like the place couldn’t decide if it wanted to be a neighborhood bar or romantic date spot. i imagine with the right people and a better bartender it could be a fun place, but we much preferred the butcher’s tap.
by the time we finally got home on thursday we were ready to order dinner, this time opting for sarah’s favorite indian place mild 2 spicy. we both ordered chicken tikka masala [mild for sarah, extra spicy for me] and garlic naan, and it was very good.
my one request was bang bang pie & biscuits so i could relive my visit from january 2019, so we went for a late breakfast / early lunch on friday. their menu was slightly different because of covid and what’s in season so i wasn’t able to have the same thing i had last time, but the ham biscuit i got instead was so good and i ate every last crumb. sarah had the farmer’s biscuit and gave it two thumbs up. we also took home slices of chocolate hazelnut pie [for sarah and me] and cranberry apple pie [for roommate ryan and also sarah’s dad] and a ginger molasses cookie [for roommate christo]. if i wasn’t flying i would have brought home more of their homemade hot sauce, because it is fantastic.
ryan had mentioned how good cafe ba-ba-reeba’s happy hour is, so we decided to check it out on friday. weekdays from 4-6pm their sangria pitchers are $20 and their tapas are $2.50 each, so we parked ourselves at a table in the bar area and had a great night. ryan joined us, as did sarah’s friend suzy and her boyfriend michael, and the time flew by while we ate and drank and chatted. and bonus: sarah had a gift card that covered all but $3 of our tab; ryan and i covered that and the tip for our fantastic server matt and called it a night. pro tip: happy hour is only eligible in the bar and lounge area, so make sure you tell the hostess stand that’s what you’re there for // order the patatas bravas
final meal on saturday night was takeout from harold’s chicken shack. the chicken was delicious, the fries were perfect, and the catfish was spot on. we were very happy with our decision and ate far too much.
because of an unprecedented heat wave [60 degrees in december], our planned ice skating adventure was sadly cancelled, but we managed to find other ways to entertain ourselves.
after our little goat adventure on thursday we both felt like perusing a bookstore, and lucky for us open books is practically around the corner. when we found out it’s not only a used book store but also supports literacy programs, we were hooked. we spent over an hour poring over their tables and shelves – they have a huge inventory – and were very happy with our purchases.
on friday we visited the christkindlmarkt at daley plaza and had a blast sipping our hot chocolate, people-watching, and checking out all the stalls. it was very windy and we weren’t looking for anything in particular, so we didn’t last too long, but it was fun to check it out.
family + friends.
one of the main reasons i wanted to visit sarah – apart from seeing her – was to meet her parents and her roommates and to finally put faces to names.
i got to meet her parents when i arrived on wednesday, chatting with her father at their house in niles and enjoying that gorilla sushi lunch with her mother. they were so delightful, and i loved getting to finally meet them in person.
and i also loved meeting and hanging out with ryan and christo. i appreciate how warmly they welcomed me, and i especially love how they jumped on board with our idea to have a family ugly holiday sweater photo shoot [special shoutout to christo for procuring said sweaters from the thrift shop and for also finding something for earl].
it was such a fun visit, and i loved seeing my girl in her element. i can’t wait for our next adventures.
4 thoughts on “veen on the road: a chicago reunion with my mini-me.”
Sarah’s Mom here. We loved meeting and spending time with Veena! So happy she is part of Sarah’s life story!
You’re so sweet! I loved meeting you, too, and I look forward to seeing you again on a future visit!