Chicago – Get extra fancy in West Loop

For Red or Brown-liners, the West Loop can seem like the next state over. But the West Loop has some of the coolest/fanciest places in town. I like going here when I’m trying to show off the best that the city has to offer. This itinerary for the evening is about 5 hours long, but can extend to all night if you want to go clubbing afterwards. Dress to the 9’s and prepare to eat, drink, and dance at the best venues in Chicago.

A word of warning when following this itinerary: it is $$$$, but it’s incredible. It’s also best for those with lots of energy.

1. Start your night off at Moto. Its concept is beautiful, sustainable, molecular gastronomic creations. You can choose between an 8-course or 16-course tasting menu with a beverage pairing option. Make a reservation long ahead of time.

2. Continue the molecular gastronomy theme next door at the Aviary. They literally have a guy whose job it is to make ice. There are apparently 36 different kinds you can make. One of these drinks comes out in basically a chemistry set. One of my favorite drinks is the ice ball in a whiskey glass that disintegrates and becomes the drink when you break it using a weight on a rubber band. If you go early enough, you can walk in, but reservations are recommended. Outdoor seating is first come first serve. For even more exclusivity, make a reservation at their hidden downstairs speakeasy, The Office. You need to be invited and be given the number to call. Both areas have food too.

3. To keep the night going, go party at The Mid. It’s two floors with multiple rooms, really hot bartenders (of course), and really good DJ’s. People actually dance here. Just don’t go outside once you’re in because they won’t let you back in most of the time.


West Loop Fancy Night Map
West Loop Fancy Night Map

Dream Sandwich

Ingredients: Egg, avocado, turkey, white cheese, lettuce, bacon, red onion, wheat bread.

1. Toast bread slices.

2. Cut red onion so that you have a few rings. Heat up a skillet and put down a ring. Crack an egg into the ring and let it fry.

3. Slice avocado into slices. Each sandwich can use half or one whole avocado.

4. Create entire sandwich except for the egg with onion. Press the entire sandwich in a panini maker or George Foreman grill.

5. Add the egg with onion. Add a few more onion rings.

6. Add any condiments and enjoy.


Pork Shoulder

4 lb Pork shoulder

Dry rub
4 tbsp salt
2 tbsp pepper
2 tbsp dark brown sugar
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp garlic powder
Rub and sit 2 hours
In pot
2 cups apple juice
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp liquid smoke
Cover w foil then lid
325 degrees oven, 4 hrs

Subway thoughts: DC vs NYC vs Chicago vs San Francisco (update)

During the week of Veteran’s Day 2014, I got to travel from Chicago to DC and then to NYC all within 3 days. As with all things, you notice the differences about home once you leave home. Before I called Chicago home, I called DC home. And NYC is like the friend who’s house you’re always at, so it’s basically your other home. Here were my thoughts and the things that I noticed about the differences between each cities’ transit systems, for better or for worse:

UPDATE: I now live in San Francisco and updated my subway thoughts.


“Oh right, they charge by distance here. Fuckers.”

“Good lord did the trains always look this old and sad?”

“Wow DC subway stations are beautiful. Great job, architect. There’s even some cell service! Sweet.”


“Hell ya flat rate transit!”

“I can get anywhere on this thing. This is so extensive.”

“These seats must be really easy to clean. I wonder if they ever had cloth seats at one point and then the city learned that New Yorkers couldn’t handle the responsibility. Probably.”

“There’s absolutely no signal down here. This is probably a pretty great excuse if you don’t want to be contacted, but what do people do when they can’t play with their phone? Do people just focus on listening to their music and not read something at the same time? Books on tape are awesome.”


“Flat rate really is the way to go. Get with the program, DC.”

“Hello my loud-ass train. How I’ve missed your shiny, metal ass. So beautiful.”

“Awww yaa cloth seats! My ride is so scenic and filled with sunlight. I wonder what NYC would look like if their subway was also above-ground. I wonder if they would also think it’s a scenic ride.”

Home, sweet home.


San Francisco:

“Why are there 3 different transit systems?”

“BART charges by distance? Greedy bastards”

“Oh thank goodness there’s a separate transit system in the city that’s flat rate.”

“Wow, this MUNI train is tiny. It has stoplights above ground? What the hell? Who designed this? The fact that there can be traffic jams is unacceptable.”

“CalTrain isn’t bad. Wish there was wifi on this though.”

“Holy shit the train systems basically all overlap each other and if you live north of market street you’re screwed. Seriously, who designed this thing?”


New Orleans to do list

City Park
Sculpture Garden
Museum of Art
Voodoo Museum
French Quarter
Crescent City Farmers Market
Algiers Point walking tour
WWII Museum
St.Louis Cemetery
Pat O’Brians – dueling pianos
Old Absinthe House
Cat’s Meow
Cafe du Monde
Lefitte’s Blacksmith shop bar
Hand Grenade
Acme Oyster House
St.Louis Cathedral
Jazz Fest
Warehouse District – food
Commanders Palace – Monday 25 cent martinis for lunch
Twelve Mile Limit – best cheap cocktails
Big Fisherman
Pascal’s Manale – bbq shrimp
Hansen’s Sno-Blizz – sno-ball
Sazerac Bar or Tujague or Galatoire
Dookey Chase – fried chicken (slightly fancier)
Willie Mae’s Scotch House – fried chicken
Allways Lounge – burlesque
Bar Tonique
Bacchanal Wine
Blue Nile – blues/jazz
Tivoli and Lee – whiskey
Saturn Bar – hipster girls Mod Party Night
Half Moon – late night food cheap drinks
Mimi’s in the Marigny – pool and soul
Kajuns – karaoke
Capdeville – great food/bar
Peno’s Piano Bar

frenchman street – blues and jazz. Really fun on Saturday night

Bachenal – far away. Bar and wine and cheese shop


Elizabeth’s – brunch. Marigny. Bywater

Crescent park- walk around

Dinner- Horn’s. Marigny

Cafe Amile – French quarter. Get to it by going through a gate. Courtyard. Brunch or dinner

Dat dog – drunk food. Frenchman

Galatiore’s – must go. Traditional southern. French quarter.

Court of two sisters- French quarter

Spitfire coffee – espresso. French quarter

Bacchenal – they’ll pair cheese