What a (Windy City) weekend! I’m still catching up on sleep after an energy-packed three days in Chicago. The holiday season is one of my favorite times of year to be in the city, and it was fun to take a trip back to visit friends and see my old view decked out in Christmas colors.
Potted Potter is the “unauthorized Harry Potter experience.” Written and performed by two-time Olivier Award-nominated actors Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner, the show takes on the challenge of condensing all seven Harry Potter books (and a real life game of Quidditch) into 70 minutes. Even if you need to brush up on your knowledge of a horcrux or the Hogwarts houses, if you’re a fan of the books or movies you will love this show. It has gotten rave reviews all over the world and at times Jill and I couldn’t stop shaking with laughter.
After the show, we headed back to Jill’s place to chat and watch Safety Not Guaranteed (which I also recommend). It was so good to spend some time with her before she left for her big New York City birthday trip. She celebrated 2-7 in style yesterday – happy birthday, Jill!
On Friday morning, we woke up and did some work before Lauren came over to watch a movie. Twilight, again? Why, yes. Lauren hadn’t seen the last part of Breaking Dawn yet so I was a gracious friend and accompanied her. The theater was all decked out in Christmas lights.
After the movie, we visited an old favorite for sushi: Thai Spoon! It was so good to have their miso soup, unagi and dragon rolls again. The rest of the night was spent watching Home Alone and making odd faces. I can’t really explain mine.
On Saturday morning, Lauren and I woke up bright and early to make our way down Michigan Avenue. The sidewalks were packed with holiday shoppers, which is always an experience. But it was worth it for some of the unique presents we found at cur8ed, a pop up shop in Water Tower Place that I would recommend any fellow Chicagoan visit soon! We ooh-ed and ahh-ed over all the creative gift ideas before selecting a few for friends and family.
We then made our way to Daley Plaza for the Christkindlmarket!
I had been to the market back in college with Mama Bender and was excited to return in order to take advantage of the numerous dining and beverage options offered. Between the schnitzel and sausage, potato pancakes and chocolate-covered everything, we were in awe. The market also offers its infamous spiced hot wine and German beer options in a souvenir boot. I decided to go with the Spaten Lager this year.
The hat didn’t go unnoticed. I received a few looks and comments from Bears fans – including a Chicago police officer who threatened to bring me in – but apparently my wearing it around Chicago was good karma on Sunday. We’ll see what happens when the Bears play Green Bay this weekend. Although Lauren was trying to distance herself as much as possible from my Packer-ness, we had a wonderful time walking around to examine all the intricate ornaments, dolls, clocks, toys and more that the vendors had to offer. It definitely put us in the holiday spirit!
With four miles of walking under our belt, we had worked up a big appetite. Fortunately, next up on our action-packed day was an early dinner at Fogo de Chao.
I have always heard amazing things about this Brazilian steakhouse. If you’re a meat-eater, you will love it. And even if you’re not a meat-eater, their salad bar is AMAZING.
I piled my plate high with greenery, from spinach salad topped with sun-dried tomatoes, basil dressing and fresh Parmesan cheese to perfectly cooked green beans made with red peppers and sesame seeds. There were also some delicious potatoes, a Caprese salad and mini popovers (which came in endless supplies to the table). Honestly, you could have an entirely delicious meal with these unlimited salad bar fixings.
But of course, the main reason most diners visit Fogo de Chao is the unlimited meat. Below is the official list courtesy of the website. Each diner is given a card with a red side and a green side. You put the green side up when you want the waiters carrying various cuts of meat to come to your table and give you a slice prepared the way you prefer (I’m a medium or medium-well girl).
- FILET MIGNON
- BEEF ANCHO
- COSTELA DE PORCO
My favorite was the Lombo, a Parmesan-crusted pork, but I also enjoyed most of the steak and chicken options. I quickly figured out what each one looked like and put up my card strategically whenever a favorite walked by – it was such a cool experience!
Fogo de Chao also serves unlimited sides of mashed potatoes, polenta and cooked bananas.
The mashed potatoes and polenta were the best of the three, in my opinion. Lauren was a fan of the polenta and bananas, and we both agreed that Fogo de Chao is a fantastic restaurant concept.
What better way to digest after a big meal than more walking? We hopped a bus up to Lincoln Park and hiked it over to the last major event on our Satur-holiday: Zoolights!
We supplied ourselves with hot chocolate and saw our fair share of Santa…
…as well as some adorably illuminated zoo animals.
There was also an incredible light display timed with Christmas music!
I was able to capture some of the magic on video. It’s definitely worth a watch.
So cool! I can’t say enough good things about our holi-day. I may change my name to Claus.
And believe it or not, there was even more to come on Sunday! I’ll share pictures from the rest of the weekend’s activities in my next post because (and I hope you all agree) I firmly believe that a “Pinterest Party” deserves its own summary.
Hope your week is off to a great start! What holiday fun have you been up to lately?