Chicago 2010 – Happy 3rd Anniversary (Day 3)

July 23, 2010 by  

After Jason and I found out that we were having a little mini-us, we decided that we would take a trip somewhere for a few days without her for our anniversary each year. If you have been a reader of ours for at least a year, you will recall that last year we went to New Orleans and it was a big eat-fest. Our trip to Chicago this year was quite similar to that. Follow me as I take you through our vacation :)

North Avenue Beach

Day 3 – Friday

We had a full day of food-related activities outside of downtown Chicago planned so we rented a car from Budget for the day. Prior to the pickup at the hotel, we walked to Xoco and picked up breakfast. All I can say is, if Xoco opened by my apartment or by my office, I’d be getting breakfast there. Every. Day. I told Jason that the next time we visit Chicago, my only requisite would be that we have to stay at a hotel closer to here.

I got the breakfast special which includes one of their hot chocolates, an empanada, and a churro. I forget how much it cost though but it was definitely worth it.


One of the best hot chocolates ever. I opted for the classic which is a chocolate shot with 2% milk. The chocolate flavor was deep, almost raisin-like, but not bitter at all.


Ham, egg, and cheese empanada with a freshly fried churro. The churros alone make the cost of the meal worth it. The best I’ve ever had.


Jason got a made to order breakfast torta. This was a little bit pricey at $7.50 but large so more than enough to share along with a churro or two. Never skip the churro.


I saw this sign and was extremely tempted to the soft serve with the maple-pecan-bacon-streusel and salted caramel sauce. I was trying to justify it as breakfast food because of the maple and bacon but Jason talked me out of it. I only relented because I thought we’d be going back but unfortunately, didn’t end up doing so. Moral: never put off bacon.

After picking up the car, we picked up our friend C, who came into Chicago the day before for work and was spending the rest of the weekend with us, along with our friend J, whose flight was arriving in a couple of hours. Make sense?

We made our way outside of the city to Hagen’s Fish Market.

Hagen's Fish Market

This was just a pit stop on the way to our real lunch so I ordered sparingly just to try their popular and fresh, fried seafood. The people behind the counter were super friendly and even offered to fry me up a piece of something for free if all I wanted to do was try. I felt bad doing that so I got a few pieces of shrimp and a few scallops for us to share. J was on his way from the airport to meet us at Hagen’s so I knew I’d have an eating companion even though Jason and C said they were not hungry.

Hagen's Fish Market

Smoked salmon candy. I got some of this and it was super delicious but unfortunately, we were out and about the rest of the day when it was about 100 degrees out so I had to throw most of it out.

Hagen's Fish Market Hagen's Fish Market

Fried shrimp and fried scallop. These were not greasy or heavy at all because they were fried perfectly.

After J arrived in a cab from the airport, the four of us headed over to our real lunch destination, Smoque BBQ.


Part of the menu board. I loved that they offer half sandwiches here, especially since I had already eaten so much earlier in the day.


My half brisket sandwich. I love brisket more than any other BBQ meat and this didn’t disappoint. It wasn’t the best I’ve ever had but it was still delicious. I liked that it wasn’t fatty but managed to avoid the biggest offense of any brisket, dryness.


Jason’s half pulled pork. As much as I love brisket, Jason loves pulled pork. He really enjoyed this as well but I think he said it could have used a bit more pepper.


Our sides of french fries, cole slaw, and mac and cheese. The fries were good but nothing special. I liked the mayo-less cole slaw since it provided an acidic counterpart to the sweet and smoky meats. My favorite was the mac and cheese though; as evidenced by the fact that Jason only got one bite before I housed it.


A side of cornbread which was also delicious. I’m a big fan of cornbread but for some reason, many places don’t do it right. By right, I mean the way I like it of course. Smoque’s cornbread had the perfect texture and sweetness.

After lunch, we headed to a Cubs game at the iconic Wrigley Field. Jason got us great seats that were in a covered section so even though it was sweltering, we were at least shielded from the blazing sun.

Wrigley Field

* Lest you think I’m completely out of control, those ridiculously large order of nachos in a Cubs helmet were NOT ours. They were property of the two friendly guys who were sitting next to us. I just had to take a picture and they happily obliged.

After the game, we headed over to Pequod’s to try their deep-dish pizza.

Pequod's Pequod's

Whole pizza and my slice

I had deep-dish pizza a couple of years ago in Chicago and even after giving it another chance at a local place as opposed to a chain, I still can’t get behind it. On paper, deep-dish pizza sounds delicious. It’s got bread, tomato sauce, cheese, sausage, and pepperoni. But in practice, it doesn’t work for me. I don’t think Pequod’s is bad by any stretch of the imagination. The pizza was perfectly fine and I ate my piece happily. Deep-dish pizza is just not for everybody. It’s certainly not for me.

As an aside, whoever opened this place is some kind of perv. My case in point:

Pequod's Pequod's Pequod's

The name of their company, the header on their sandwiches, and their logo which is a shark with a thong over it’s head.

After our early dinner and on our drive back to our hotel, we stopped by Tom and Wendee’s for Italian ices. I read that they have some of the best in the city so I was excited to try it out.

Tom & Wendee's

Chocolate ice which was super creamy and refreshing. I thought this was good but wouldn’t travel out of my way for it.

After this full day of eating/grazing, we went back to the hotel and relaxed for a couple of hours before heading out to Nacional 27 for a few drinks. I didn’t bring my camera but there wasn’t much to shoot anyway. The drinks were okay but not worth a repeat trip.

The next post will be shorter and less picture heavy. Therefore I’m going to combine the last day and a half of our time in Chicago into one :) See you then!



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