I did not take many photos in Chicago - which as you know is strange for me. Our trip really was a very quick one - we took my car and left at 5am. Our group consisted of three grown women - all of us work full-time and have families. Leaving town at 5am was perhaps a little ambitious but we were all ready for a girl's weekend.
I stopped for 3 of the largest diet cokes I could buy at that hour and we headed out to Chicago. I'm pretty sure we laughed the entire way there when we were not singing along to tunes from our high school days. Deb refuses to pee at any public restroom despite the fact that we all drank insane amounts of diet coke and munched on peanut m&ms for 6 hours. We made her stop though as Kelly and I do not have bladders of steel. There were also outlets - the perfect excuse to stop and stretch!
Here are the Chicago highlights:
- We stayed in a swanky hotel on The Miracle Mile. Swanky hotels are pricey. They valet parked my minivan and did not mention the fact that the trunk had buckets and sand toys rolling around.
- We shopped - I came home with two new shirts and a very sexy pair of shoes.
- We ate deep-dish Chicago pizza - twice. It was delicious (see photo above).
- We bought cupcakes because they are trendy: Sprinkles and More Cupcakes (reviews below)
- We ate Garrett's popcorn - soooo good and sooooo buttery. Long lines too. Deb and Kelly went back for more on day #2 - it's that good.
We went out for Tapas - see that dish in the center? Honey goat cheese fried and served with bread and a balsamic reduction - I'd like to eat that every day for lunch please. We sent tha calamari back because it was not fried and tasted like dead fish.
- We saw lots of homeless and street performers who would actually refuse to perform until you gave them money. Break dancers, silver painted men and tap dancers were popular. My favorite guy was this one who had a bull horn and stood on the street corner advising us all to have our DNA tested to make sure we were not Russian. I'm not sure why he is dressed like a highlander.
We visited my favorite chocolate shop - Leonidas. I only bought seven of their amazing chocolates, and they are already gone. I miss you Leonidas.
- We walked all over the place and came home with a few blisters.
- We saw the bean. I love the bean.
- We ate mango gelato. I love mango gelato.
- I saw a concert in Millennium Park - the sound was amazing and the location is just beautiful especially when it starts getting dark and the lights of the city start to really glow.
- I met a friend from online for the first time.
We shared the cupcakes from More Cupcakes on the drive home. These were a little more expensive than Sprinkles, were bigger ($22.00 for 6 cupcakes!!!) and prettier too. We picked up some forks at McDonalds (along with more diet coke) and sampled them as we drove.
There's my review - but let's get specific. All of the icings tasted like they were made with shorting. I hate that. The key lime had a meringue topping that tasted like - nothing. the cookies and cream had too much icing with little flavor, the key lime had a nice filling but the icing and the actual cupcake did not have enough zest. The chocolate hazelnut had a good base and a really tasty filling but awful icing. The worst one of all? The salted caramel. It was so salty and strong that I spit it out. Inedible.
More Cupcakes - you disappoint me. I can bake you under the table any day.
We were all a little tired on the way home - even while blasting the Glee soundtracks.
I invited a couple of friends over for a taste testing of the Sprinkles Cupcakes on Monday. Here are our thoughts:
We loved the clean, modern presentation. The key lime needs more zest - both in the icing and in the cupcake. The bits of green are missing. The cake has a nice crumb. The black and white had a delicious chocolate cupcake (the same cake in the double chocolate) but the icing was bland. The carrot cake was excellent. Paula thought the icing needed a dash of salt. The marshmallow was good if you like the hostess cupcake thing. The lemon needed more lemon flavor and I would have preferred some lemon curd inside. The cake was dense and moist. The double chocolate was our favorite. None of the icings tasted like Crisco.
Overall - pretty good, but I could make every one of these and I would not charge you $20 for 6 cupcakes.
I've decided girl's weekends in Chicago need to happen a bit more frequently. Who's with me?!