A weekend filled with great food, fabulous cocktails, lots of laughs and a wonderful friend. There's no better place than the good old Windy City to enjoy a girls' (foodie) weekend!
My dear friend Kelly, over at Nosh and Nourish have been on several press trips together and we have been friends for years. When we realized we were both going to visit Now Foods in Illinois, we decided to extend our business trip and spend the weekend relaxing and touring all of the amazing restaurants in Chicago. Eating our way through Chicago was not an easy job, but someone had to do it.
We checked into the gorgeous dana hotel and spa Friday night. We were both so impressed at how unique the hotel was. The best way to describe it is "modern luxury". Simply beautiful.
We ate dinner at freestyle (located right on the ground floor of dana hotel and spa!) We ordered a little bit of everything (we were HANGRY!). We started with chips and homemade guacamole (duh, always guacamole) and I think I scraped every last bite out of it. We ordered chicken lettuce wraps, asian chicken tacos and a smoked chicken panini. I loved every bit of it. But man, I can't stop thinking about those chicken lettuce wraps!
The next day, Kelly and I spent most of the day at the spa which was beyond incredible. Everything was so clean and calm and it felt really nice just to chill out. Although, I'm not going to lie I missed my 3 little guys running around my house screaming until....
Oh. Em. Gee.
Let's just say Bridget did a phenomenal job working out my knots in my stressed out body while I took a little snooze. It was heavenly. She asked me if I had any kids and I was in such a trance I couldn't answer. Or remember.
After we sipped on the refreshing strawberry cucumber water, we headed out to Luxbar which was located on the most quaint place in Chicago, Bellevue Street. It was after 12:00 so we had to order some cocktails (isn't that a rule while on vacation?) and we both started with the Strawberry Fields (pictured below). Besides being so pretty (and sitting outside on a beautiful street wasn't too shabby either) they were so delicious and nutritious too! Don't think just because I was on vacation that I forgot about all of those wonderful antioxidants and vitamins the strawberries have to offer. I AM a nutritionist after all!
Then I had the absolute pleasure of eating their Summer Watermelon Salad (which I inhaled in a matter of minutes). It was like summer in a big, delicious bowl. And I was more than thrilled.
So what do you do after a full belly and a couple of cocktails? You back to dana hotel and spa and get a facial!
This old lady has only had one facial in her life and to be honest, I didn't love it. I wasn't relaxed and didn't love the idea of someone touching my face. Well, all that went out the window after this facial. Let's just say, I left there with a little girl crush on Aimee. She gave me the most relaxing, wonderful facial EVER and has restored my faith in them entirely.
The best part of the evening didn't even happen yet if you an believe that. We had reservations for cocktails at the Vertigo Sky Lounge (conveniently located on the rooftop of dana hotel!)
You see, I was in my element. Happy doesn't even begin to explain how I felt. Cocktails, a dear friend and an insane view of the city? I am so down with that.
The service was wonderful and the cocktails were even better. We decided to order the entire cocktail menu (ok, slight exaggeration, we order half of the cocktail menu) and my all-time-favorite-cocktail-of-the-weekend was the Peach Mojito (that I am holding above).
The Mango Margarita came in a close second, but let's just say I keep thinking about that Peach Mojito. Like, I think about it A LOT. It was that good.
Here I am with Kelly and she's holding the Mango Margarita with the chili-salt rim!
Yup, you heard me correctly. Chili Salt Rim.
And great news, Kelly decided to recreate her own version of that cocktail right here!
After all of these lovely cocktails, we were fortunate enough to eat at the Green Zebra, which is a vegetarian restaurant located outside of the city. Being that I am vegetarian (for the most part) and have never have the luxury of dining in a vegetarian restaurant, I was a little more than excited for this. I was NOT disappointed.
The irony is that being a picky eater (and a bit of a control freak), Kelly and I were brought out a bunch of small plates for us to sample. I can't begin to tell you how much I loved EVERYTHING. I ate things that I would have NEVER ordered before like the Chilled Cucumber Avocado soup (pictured above), fresh beet salad and my personal favorite, the Mushroom Pate' which is also pictured above. It was like a mushroom hummus that was out of this world.
The next morning we woke up and wandered over to the Seven Lions Restaurant for brunch, which was probably about a 3 mile walk. Beautifully manicured, a beautiful, rustic ambience and the food was delicious. I ordered a vegetable omelet (pictured below) that came with these fantastic roasted potatoes.
Side note: I don't normally like potatoes.
Kelly and I enjoyed a massive pitcher of mimosas and relaxed in our luxurious and spacious booth overlooking the city. The manager ended up surprising us with with this gorgeous masterpiece, also known as red-velvet-patriotic-ice-cream-sundae. The sweet guy had no idea that we are healthy bloggers but I LOVE red velvet so of course I had to take a scoop (or two) and then we sadly had to head to the airport.
As much as we didn't want to leave our new favorite city, we made once in a lifetime memories that we will hold onto forever. Kelly and I look forward to sharing some more adventures with you all!
Where should we visit next? We are taking suggestions? 😉
Thank you to Isabelli Media Relations for coordinating our stay and meals throughout Chicago!
Ashley @ Wishes & Dishes
I love Chicago! This sounds like such a fun time. Wish I could have been there! oh, and that red velvet sundae - wow!
Kelly @ Nosh and Nourish
a) you're my favorite. b) i miss you. c) I'm thinking LA... or NYC... or Portland, Maine (great foodie article about it in the recent food and wine issue)
Looks like so much fun! I love Chicago!