We had a plan . . . sort of.
Armed with a list of places we had wanted to try, the girls and I set out for the city. I had been looking forward to this day since before our break even began, and I didn’t want meltdowns or hunger or a lack of a plan to spoil our time together.
And then there was the weather. Eleven inches of snow had fallen in the two days prior to our trip and the roads were not quite clear yet. No matter. I had my front-wheel drive mini van and a lot of determination. We’d make it.
We started out at Mario Batali’s newest Chicago home, Eataly. Very cool. Very hip.
We weren’t quite sure how to conquer this monster, so we wandered for a while, admiring the exquisite chocolates, cheeses, and pastas. Soon, however, hunger crept in, an enemy that had ruined many a Chicago outing for our family. I would not let it ruin this day.
Since the wait for a table was an hour long, we decided to grab some of their famous focaccia bread as a quick snack. We found a place to stand while we ate and discussed our next move.
We were on a mission to visit some of Chicago’s best eateries.
“Donuts. We need to try some donuts.”
“Coffee. Definitely need coffee.”
“All I know is that we need to get out of here.”
So we finished our bread (which was delicious), made a few purchases, and headed out.
The tactical error was all mine; I’ll accept full responsibility for it. While we were regrouping at Eataly’s front door, I asked, “So what’s next? Do you guys want to shop for a while since we’re down here? Should we go to our next destination? (What IS our next destination?) What do you want to do?”
I should have known better than to throw out options like shopping when we were clearly on a food mission. But there it was.
The options were just too many.
I could tell that frustrations were starting to mount. Our plan had been compromised, and nobody knew what should come next.
“I think we need to stay focused.”
The voice of reason that knocked us all back into consciousness.
“I mean, since we came down here to taste foods, let’s just focus on food.”
Everyone quickly agreed. Focus was what we needed; focus was what we would do.
We happily headed to the car, parking voucher in one hand, Google maps in the other.
For the rest of the day we focused.
And we ate. And we laughed at the silliness of it all.
But in the end, we were so glad we did it.
These are the days that memories are made of.
Here’s what I learned: the City of Chicago is just too big to take in one bite. You have to focus your efforts and save room for more later.
The city (and the food) will always be there.
Here's a list of the places we visited:
Where would you go for the best foods in YOUR city?