Thanks, Chicago

About two weeks ago, I returned home from a week of bliss and overeating in the lovely windy city of Chicago! We returned to real life and some drama (more on that later) which immediately made us wish we were still on vacay… (Not that real life is bad, but it sure ain’t vacation!)

Thankfully we were loaded down with great memories from the trip to help us ease back into real life!

I gotta say… Chicago might possibly be my favorite American big city. I love NYC, now, but the thing I just HEART about Chicago is the superb cleanliness. The beautiful trees and plants they have planted all over the city center might just simulate a cleaner atmosphere, but if that’s the case, it works! It’s so refreshing to walk up and down the streets in the downtown area.

Thanks to my generous grandmother, we got to stay at the beautiful Drake Hotel. It was so nice to walk into our crisp, clean room when we arrived with macaroons and gourmet candies greeting us!

Chicago // The Lovely Bee

Another cool aspect of The Drake was the bar they had downstairs. I haven’t looked into this to confirm it, but the signs around the hotel said their cocktail lounge, COQ d’OR, has been open every night since the repeal of prohibition! Isn’t that cool?! Since I’m in love with prohibition era culture (and just the 20’s in general), this place intrigued me, so we worked it into a progressive dinner one night of our stay. We started off at this cozy little gem and enjoyed some crafty cocktails and an appetizer before heading down the street to another restaurant for our entrees!

Chicago // The Lovely Bee

While we’re on the topic of eating… There are several INCREDIBLE restaurants that I’d like to share some positive words about! I looooove some good food (and I pretty much appreciate all types of gourmet fare!) so Chicago was like heaven on earth for me.


(Disclaimer before I go any further… Our group motto for the trip was NO CRAPPY FOOD, so that explains all the food pictures you’re about to see…)

The first of the wonderful eateries we visited was Hash House A Go Go. This was a brunch destination for us, and if you’ve never been to one of these, you MUST go if you’re in a town that has one. (There are only like 4 or 5, but they’re spread out all over the U.S.) We ate at one in San Diego several years ago and have all dreamt about it ever since. Biggest servings I’ve ever seen at a restaurant. The pancakes are literally probably 16″ in diameter. A piece. Knowing that, I went for French Toast, thinking it’d be a hair smaller, but it was still huge. Oh well, I wasn’t complaining!

Chicago // The Lovely Bee

Since we were full basically that whole day, it was refreshing to get to Bill and Giuliana Rancic’s unconventional, modern Italian restaurant, RPM, later that same day and meet a menu with much smaller, tapas size servings. Everything we had, we LOVED!!!

Chicago // The Lovely Bee

Moving back into large portion sizes and heavier foods….

We had a great, traditional Chicago style deep dish pizza at Giordano’s for lunch one day. This place had been recommended to us by several people, two of which were Chicago natives and one of which is quite a food snob, and they all said this was the best pizza in the city but there was always a long wait to get in. Since we didn’t want to wait very long (#impatient), we beat the system…

Two of us went to this place about 15 minutes before they opened for lunch at 11. We went in (and were the second group of people there), went ahead and got a table, and had the rest of the party meet us right at 11 without any wait! The pizzas take 45 minutes to an hour to make, and they are RICH, so amongst our group of five, a small and a medium deep dish were MORE than enough food. And we all have “healthy appetites” if you know what I’m saying.

All of us rate this as the best pizza we’ve ever had in our lives!

Chicago // The Lovely Bee

Another noteworthy brunch spot was Bongo Room. We ate at the location in Wicker Park (as there are several spread out over Chicago) and it was seriously uh-mazing. They have really creative pancakes and french toast options, among other things. It was between the Key Lime Pie Pancakes and the White Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Pancakes for me… How could I go wrong?! I decided on the Key Lime Pie ones, and split them with my parents because, again, portion sizes were out of control. But ohhhh these pancakes were good… All the sides we ordered were not necessary! Of course, we ate everything anyway…

Bongo Room in Chicago // The Lovely Bee

Bongo Room in Chicago // The Lovely Bee

The last meal I’ll mention (because my food rant has just gone on long enough already!) was our late supper at Bavette’s Bar and Boeuf. This lovely Midnight In Paris esque restaurant is known for it’s fine cut of beef. I joined in with most of the rest of my party and ordered a filet as my entree. And that was a great decision. It was FAB. I think I might have actually loved the dimly lit, almost mysterious interior and warm vintage vibe going on more than the actual food, if that’s even possible!

Bavette's in Chicago // The Lovely Bee

I’ll quit talking so much and just give you a few Insta pics with quick captions to sum up the rest of our wonderful trip… 🙂

Chicago at Midnight // The Lovely Bee

Chicago at Midnight

Midday beverage break // The Lovely Bee

Midday beverage break

Navy Pier // The Lovely Bee

Navy Pier

Navy Pier // The Lovely Bee

Distorted mirrors at the Navy Pier fun house we visited! This picture is entitled “dream bodies.” For obvious reasons

Navy Pier // The Lovely Bee

We’re big Arrested Development fans, so we HAD to get a frozen banana when we had the chance!

laureldonahoo on Instagram-10

Quick pic of me and my cute hubby!

Glittery Succulent // Chicago // The Lovely Bee

Cute succulents with glitter!

Buckingham Fountain // Chicago // The Lovely Bee

Buckingham Fountain

Wrigley Field!! // Chicago // The Lovely Bee

Wrigley Field with Price and sis-in-law Katie!

Preparing for Chicago segway tour // The Lovely Bee

Price and me preparing for the AWESOME segway tour our family took. The company we went with (Steve’s Segway Tours) calls these helmets “adventure caps” so it sounds cooler 🙂

Chicago // The Lovely Bee

That pretty street plant life I was talking about!

Chicago // The Lovely Bee

The beautiful stained glass dome in what was originally the Chicago Public Library but what is now the visitor’s center!

Well, that’s pretty much our trip summed up with pictures! Sorry for the lengthy post… I just had too much good stuff to share!! Hope y’all enjoyed it! Thanks, Chicago, for the lovely time!

What is your favorite thing to do in Chi-town?!

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