The Family

The Family

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Food and Fun in Chicago and Beyond

Each time I visit Chicago I like it more.

It's no love affair like with New York or Paris, but it's a city that has grown on me.

We spent four days there last week enjoying the weather, the walks and the kid-friendly activities.

I had no idea the Lincoln Park Zoo would be free.

 The views from around the park were amazing!

Besides the aquarium, Jack's favorite thing was the Field Museum.

Mattie is becoming a lover of large cities because of all the dogs that cross our path. She also gets a kick out of riding in hotel elevators. She likes how they tickle her tummy when starting and stopping.

Matt is game for just about anything.

And I loved the shopping and food.

I knew I had a limited amount of time for shopping, and I had to make it count. I was able to find not one, but two, great pairs of skinny jeans, plus a dress, in one stop!

The breakfast we had every morning was by far my favorite meal in Chicago. We ate in our hotel restaurant each day. By our third day, the waitress knew our drink orders by heart.

There was a huge egg and ham sandwich on sourdough that I ordered at least twice (I think it was called the Hemingway -  a nod to one of Chicago's famous sons). There was also a tasty BLT on the menu that was a bit too spicy for my tastes that early in the morning.

There was an Italian eatery, Eduardo's Enoteca, a few doors down from our hotel where Matt picked up lunch a couple of times and brought it back to the room while Mattie napped. I loved, loved, loved the pickled vegetables, especially the brussel sprouts.  I swear I could have eaten a hundred of them. Eduardo's also had great pizza and fresh buffalo mozzarella.

Speaking of pizza, this trip was the first time I tried Chicago-style pizza, and I must say, I'm not a fan. We ate at Lou Malnati's. It's not that the pizza was bad, it's just that I prefer my pizza sauce under the cheese instead of on top of it.

We also ate well while traveling to and from Chicago. My father-in-law makes fun of me because I like to stop at Cracker Barrel when on the road. We stopped there four times on this trip.

But the best food I had on the entire trip was at a hamburger joint in West Lafayette, Indiana. I saw billboards advertising Triple XXX Family Restaurant on our way to Chicago. When I saw them again on the way home, and saw that the place had been featured on The Food Network, I knew it would be good.

We had to wait, with a lot of other people, out in the parking lot until our name was called. The hostess said it would likely be 45 minutes, but I don't think it took more than 20.

It had been so long since I had a thinly cooked hamburger. Almost everywhere these days cooks the burgers incredibly thick. Triple XXX grounds its own beef into thin, but incredibly filling, patties.

I ordered the famous Duane Purvis All-American Burger that included peanut butter. It sounds gross, but the peanut butter just blended in with all the other ingredients. I've been thinking about that burger for two days now!

Triple XXX is family owned and looks like something of a dump. In food terms, just the right mixture to make a wonderful restaurant.

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