CHICAGO

CHICAGO IS ONE COOL CITY. IT MOSTLY REMINDED ME OF A CLEANER NEW YORK WITH A HINT OF BOSTON. I WAS IN TOWN FOR THE CHICAGO MARATHON AND GOT A TASTE OF THE CITY'S ENERGY AND FOOD SCENE. WE SPENT TWO NIGHTS AND THREE DAYS EXPLORING, EATING AND RUNNING. WELL I DID, DAVE MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE KILLED TIME BAR HOPPING WHILE I RAN. REGARDLESS, IT WAS ANOTHER ADVENTURE FOR THE BOOKS.

WE STAYED AT HOTEL ALLEGRO IN THE LOOP. IT'S A KIMPTON HOTEL, ONE OF WHICH I WAS EAGER TO STAY AT. FROM THE TIME WE WALKED IN, TO THE TIME WE LEFT, I WAS CONSTANTLY FINDING SOMETHING I HADN'T NOTICED BEFORE.

I WAS PARTICULAR ABOUT WHERE WE ATE THE NIGHT BEFORE THE RACE, SO I MADE A RESERVATION MONTHS IN ADVANCE AT 312. IT'S A MODERN RESTAURANT FEATURING HOMEMADE ITALIAN FARE. THE BOLOGNESE WITH HOMEMADE TAGLIATELLE WAS THE PERFECT SIZED MEAL FULL OF ALL THE CARBS AND PROTEIN I NEEDED FOR THE MARATHON. 

AFTER THE MARATHON, I WAS EAGER TO EXPLORE THE REST OF THE CITY. POST RACE I SHOWERED AND REFUELED, HOBBLED DOWN TO THE STREETS OF CHICAGO AND BEGAN EXPLORING. WE STARTED AT THE HAMPTON SOCIAL FOR DRINKS AND A LIGHT APPETIZER. THE BARTENDER MADE ME ONE OF THE DIRTIEST MARTINI'S I'VE EVER HAD; I LOVED IT. DAVE AND I SHARED A WOOD FIRED FLATBREAD AS WE SAT AT THE BAR AND SOAKED UP THE CAREFREE VIBE OF THE RESTAURANT. AFTER DRINKS, WE WANDERED AROUND A BIT MORE AND ENDED UP AT THE HUBBARD INN. AN UNBELIEVABLY INVITING PUB WHERE WE SPENT THE EVENING WRAPPED UP IN A VELVET BOOTH EATING DINNER.

MONDAY MORNING, I CRAWLED OUT OF BED TIRED AND SORE, WHICH IS TO BE EXPECTED THE DAY AFTER A RACE. ALL I WANTED WAS COFFEE AND A DOUGHNUT SO WE VENTURED TO DOUGHNUT VAULT TO SATISFY MY CRAVING. IT'S THE TINIEST LITTLE SHOP THAT SERVES UP EXACTLY WHAT A DOUGHNUT SHOULD BE. THEY OFFER A SMALL VARIETY OF YEAST AND CAKE DONUTS AND ONLY MAKE 1 BATCH PER DAY. THEY'RE OPEN TILL THEY SELLOUT. I DEVOURED A TRADITIONAL VANILLA BEAN YEAST DONUT (WHICH WAS BIGGER THAN MY FACE) AND DAVE NOSHED ON ONE OF THEIR CAKE SPECIALS, COCONUT MOCHA. WE SAT SIPPING COFFEE AND ENJOYING WHAT FELT LIKE THE FIRST MORNING IN A WHILE I COULD JUST RELAX. 

WE TOOK A CAB OUT TO WICKER PARK TO CHECK OUT THE NEIGHBORHOOD AND SHOP AT NIKE RUNNING. WE ACTUALLY "TOOK A STROLL" DOWN THE MOST BEAUTIFUL STREET LINED WITH BROWNSTONES MORE PERFECT THAN THE NEXT AND TOOK TURNS PICKING OUT WHICH ONES WE'D LIVE IN. I PICKED UP SOME GEAR AT NIKE BUCKTOWN (BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE, EVER) AND EVENTUALLY TOOK THE L TRAIN BACK TOWARDS THE LOOP. WE WERE FLYING OUT THAT AFTERNOON AND NEEDED TO PICK UP OUR BAGS AND CHECK OUT OF THE HOTEL.

WE DID OTHER TRADITIONAL CHICAGO THINGS LIKE VISIT THE BEAN, CRUSH SOME DEEP DISH PIZZA AND SAVOR SOME OF GARRET'S FAMOUS FRESH POPCORN. I WANT TO GO BACK TO CHICAGO FOR MULTIPLE REASONS, BUT MAINLY TO EAT AND EXPLORE MORE OF WHAT THE CITY HAS TO OFFER. 

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