I hope everyone had a great weekend! Ours was pretty relaxed, since this weekend and the next are the town festivities and will packed with stuff to do and little sleep. Plus, my brother is going away to Belgium for the school year in a couple of weeks, so we’ll be throwing a goodbye party this weekend or the next (and celebrating my cousin’s 18th birthday, too). Hopefully this will give me an opportunity to blog about some new recipes.
I left off the other day talking about our Sunday in Chicago. For Monday 22nd, we had planned on a shopping trip, so we had rented a car with Enterprise for this purpose. Since we only needed the car for that day, and we knew we would be arriving late, we chose Enterprise because it was the cheapest rental company that had after hours drop off available in downtown Chicago without extra charges (leaving the car in a parking overnight and returning it the next morning would’ve been an extra $30 or so). We picked up the car at 8.30AM and, armed with our Google maps directions, set off to the Gurnee Mills Outlet Mall. It was very easy to get there and we arrived just when the mall opened, at 10AM.
Now, some might say that going to an outlet mall isn’t worth it, especially if you have to pay for a rental car to get there – but it was worth it for us. We
needed wanted to shop for clothes, shoes, etc. and found the prices at the outlet cheaper than in downtown Chicago, and a lot cheaper than in Spain. At the end of the day (which was around 6PM – no, I’m not kidding. We were at the outlet for 8 whole hours) we had a cart full of goodies to take home. It’s the fourth time I’ve been to Chicago, and the four times I’ve gone to that mall; I’ve always bought enough stuff to compensate for the hour-long trip there. The prices at Abercrombie & Fitch are especially good, more so now that they’ve increased their prices sooo much that I no longer buy anything regular price (seriously, what is up with that? I remember shopping there 8 or 9 years ago and they had so many sales, it was ridiculous. $5 t-shirts, $10 pants… ah, the old days. Now it looks like they’ve become really popular that they no longer have those anymore…). But even if Abercrombie isn’t your thing, there’s a ton of stores which are way cheaper than usual. Especially for basic stuff that doesn’t go “out” of style.
So, on Monday, we
spent money like crazy shopped. (Sidenote: when we were filling up the gas tank before returning the car, a Ferrari stopped at the gas station. My cousin was drooling over the car and the owner, very nicely, asked him if he wanted to check out the inside of the car. I think that’s the first time I’ve seen such an awesome Ferrari owner. Normally they’re very stuck up… too bad I didn’t have my camera with me so I couldn’t take a picture) (Another sidenote: we spent like 30 minutes at the gas station because we didn’t know if the car needed gas or diesel, ha). Since we were exhausted, we decided to split up so that two of us dropped the bags at the hotel and went to pick up a pizza, while the other two dropped off the car. We ate the famous Giordano’s stuffed pizza in our gigantic room and slept like babies that night. The pizza was delicious, by the way, although I initially had my doubts (it was my first time eating it, even though I’ve been to Chicago several times).
On Tuesday we went to the Federal Plaza’s Farmers’ Market only to have our plans destroyed by pouring rain. We walked to the Chicago Board of Trade hoping to catch a glimpse of brokers doing their thing, but apparently visitors are not allowed inside anymore. So we ended up at the nearby (and free) Money Museum, in the Chicago Fed. After poking around and taking lots of pictures, we decided that the rain made it the perfect day to visit the Museum of Science and Industry. So we took a bus to Hyde Park and, since it was almost lunch time, walked around the neighborhood for a bit (looking for my parents’ old apartment, which we didn’t find; and the Robie House, which we did find) before having lunch at Medici. Their burgers (the only thing we tried) were awesome.
We spent the afternoon at the Museum of Science and Industry. Although there are several types of tickets available, we only bought the general admission one; thanks to a coupon we found online and a lazy worker (his own words, not mine) we got the four tickets for $39, which is not bad at all. The Bodies Exhibition was also there, but we chose not to see it… I was grossed out by it even before my aunt told me the bodies were real, and not plastic. I mean, who would’ve thought?! They’re real! (I felt a bit stupid for not knowing…) Anyway, we had a great time; I’ve always liked those types of interactive museums. We had an early dinner at the hotel and then went to Borders for a while; I’m sad that they’re closing, but on the up side, I bought three books for $9.30! That’s just ridiculous. And then another day, I bought a dessert book for $1.79, including tax. Even more ridiculous.
On Wednesday it was extremely hot again, so we walked around trying not to melt. I found a four-pack of heat resistant silicone spatulas for $4.99, score! (I think this was at Bed, Bath & Beyond). And visited a really cute shop, POSH, where I bought a gift for my mom. Then we had a great meal at Frontera Grill. Since every time I’ve been there I’ve had to wait for an hour, or eat at the bar, or even both, I had called a few weeks ahead to make a lunch reservation. They only accept reservations for a few tables at Frontera, so they suggest calling 6-8 weeks early depending on the season.
We ordered the ceviche Trio, the Tacos al Carbon (we chose duck), the Taquitos de Pollo, and the shrimp Quesadillas Norteñas. Everything was delicious, although I especially liked the shrimp quesadillas and the duck tacos. For dessert, we ordered the classic Chocolate Pecan Pie and the chocolate and cherry turnover (Empanada de Cereza y Chocolate). The pecan pie has always been my favorite dessert since I tried it – but I have to say, the turnover gave it a run for it’s money. It was absolutely delicious. Now I have another reason to go back!
I’m off to see a movie with some friends, so I’ll be back on Wednesday with the last of our trip and more pics, as usual.