Chicago, Featured, Reflection, Restaurants, Review, Shopping, Travel
Summer Vacation: Chicago, IL (Schaumburg)Sunday, July 10, 2016
A long while back I mentioned that I will be moving out from California to Illinois to pursue a new career path and life journey. While a lot of people find it to be a "downgrade" for moving away from California (which by the way, I think those comments are quite unnecessary), I find it to be thrilling and a challenge that I need in my life. This trip meant that I was going to explore the area that I am hoping to move to by the end of this year. While most of my trip took place in Schaumburg, I did manage to go ahead and explore parts of downtown Chicago and play the role as a semi-tour guide to one of my best friends, Rhys, who was visiting from the United Kingdom. This is quite a lengthy and photo heavy post, so I do apologize in advance if it takes a while for the photos to load in. I hope you enjoy this blog post and have a wonderful week!
Monday, June 13: This time around, I decided to book my flight through Expedia. At first I was a bit hesitant because I did not have a good experience booking with Orbitz so I was afraid that Expedia would not be an exception. Turns out, all was well with my booking. My flight was delayed an hour due to a run in with a storm, the O’Hare International Airport runway was packed and the gate was occupied by another plane. Despite all of that, I was happy to have landed safely and proceeded to take a taxi to the Radisson Hotel in Schaumburg quickly enough to order some pasta from Mug’s Pizza and Ribs. Mug's is a great place to order from late at night if you are hung over or have an extreme case of the munchies. My pasta was a 2/5 at best, but because it was late into the evening and they happened to be the only restaurant that does take out past midnight, I was okay with it.
Tuesday, June 14: Most of the day was spent at Woodfield Mall. If you are huge on shopping, this mall is the place to go. It has everything from the Jordan store to Urban Outfitters and beyond. I requested an Uber driver there since this trip was a car-less one and the driver was an absolute angel. He told me stories of his vision for the future and how he wants to spread more positivity in the world. He definitely deserved all 5 stars for that short, but sweet ride. I had a really great time just walking around the mall and eventually built up my appetite enough to dine at Kinfork BBQ & Tap for some lunch. As a starter, I ordered the hush puppies, which were really savory and delicious. My entree for the day was the Carolina pulled pork brisket sandwich with a side of french fries. It was all too amazing and filling that I had to take a to-go box (all of which I finished for dinner later in the evening). After the trip to the mall, a grocery run was necessary as I needed water for the mini fridge in the hotel room. You can always find great deals at Target if you shop their branded stuff over big name brands, which helped a lot with deciding what I needed and did not need. Deep into the evening after coming back to the hotel with loads of gifts and groceries, rain started pouring hard and lightening lit up every dark crevice of the room.
Wednesday, June 15: Fortunately the weather cleared up the morning after and it was a perfect day to take Rhys to Gameworks. Before I could whoop his butt in every arcade game in existence, we had to fuel up so we spontaneously went to Big Bowl for some delicious pad Thai. I give it a solid 5/5 for the flavor as every bite was never bland and I appreciated the fact that they were generous with their vegetables and portions of tofu (I ordered the vegetable and tofu pad Thai). After filling our stomachs with food, we ventured off to Gameworks where I was (shockingly, in fact) beaten by Rhys at DDR. After a few rounds of shooting hoops, getting destroyed in pool, playing ticket games and winning a rubber ducky in a miniature sized claw machine, Rhys and I exchanged our tickets for prizes and explored the area around Gameworks. Because of the humidity, we decided to waltz into the Lego store to cool off and try our best to recreate ourselves in a form of Legos. After that we headed over to Jamba Juice where I introduced Rhys to the wonderful world of the Caribbean Passion smoothie. He gave it a solid 5/5 without any hesitation. Next to Jamba Juice was a Dick's Sporting Goods, where I managed to score a Liverpool Football Club training top for a whopping $6. I took an Uber back to the hotel where I decided a dip in the pool was necessary to wind down from the walking I did all day. A quick bath later, I was off for some delicious mango salsa topped salmon and au gratin at Wildfire and finishing the evening with a dessert sampler which consisted of a peanut butter pie, ice cream sandwich, keylime pie all topped with berries. The food and service gets a lovely 5/5.
Thursday, June 16: Thursday was my last full day in Chicago and I wanted to spend most of it exploring the city. Rhys has never been to Chicago so I decided to take him to touristy spots that I have been to and to places that I have yet to go to myself. We met up in downtown for some Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ and man was it filling. I ordered the meal for 2 (B-option) which consisted of: miso soup, a salad, bimbibap (mixed rice), spicy tuna rolls, all the BBQ meats and vegetables (chicken, pork, beef, shrimp, onions and corn) and pancake with ice cream for dessert. I feel like you can never go wrong with Japanese BBQ and while it was Rhys' first Japanese BBQ experience, we both agreed that it deserved a 5/5. It was a nice and cooler day in downtown so we decided to walk to Navy Pier. I have never been to Navy Pier so I had no idea what to expect. The scenery was absolutely stunning and it felt so lively listening to music you could sing along to. After exploring the entire pier, we walked to Millennium Park to see the famous Bean. A long and tiring Uber drive later, I rested up a bit and winded down with an evening of Old Towne pizza and the NBA game.
Friday, June 17: The next morning I packed up my belongings and checked out of the Radisson Hotel. I must say, it is one of the more accommodating budget hotels that I had stayed at. The room attendants were so lovely in up-keeping my room despite leaving late into the day (I like to sleep in during vacations) and the check-in and check-out process was a breeze. I had strawberry crepes for breakfast at Wildberry Cafe to end off my trip to Chicago and awaited my long and tiring flight back to California. If you are ever hungry on the plane, I highly suggest the snack box. Surprisingly, everything in it is really filling to the point where I could not even finish the snacks (luckily they are all packaged so you can just pack them in your carry on).
Overall, my trip to Chicago was an amazing one. It's probably one of my more adventurous trips just because I was in an area that I am not too knowledgable about. I want to give a quick shoutout to Rhys for being so patient with me as I would occasionally stress out trying to figure out when to go out and whatnot and for all of my friends who basically came along with me during my trip (namely: Ed, Sean, Nick, Luis and more). I am more than excited to move to Schaumburg and I cannot wait to make more memories in the future.
Until then, I love you all. :)