September 4, 2013

Out & About: Chicago Edition


Chicago trip!!! It was GREAT. It was SHORT. I want to go back. I wish I could have spent more than a full day there, but when I think about it, I got to see a lot in such a little amount of time. I was going to post these in My Everyday Life series last week but then I realized that there’s too many of them. So here we go! Out & About: Chicago Edition!

First things first. Travel! I was going to Chicago because my friend Amy scored tickets to Oprah’s Lifeclass with Brene Brown. One of the best things about flying Virgin Airlines out of SFO is that there’s a Pinkberry at the terminal. I got Cap’n Crunch and these really good chocolate covered malt balls with vanilla. YUM. Also…I LOVE VIRGIN AIRLINES. I wish they flew everywhere!



En route… I used to be a person who loved aisles seats (I want to be in charge of when I get out of my seat) but lately I’ve been requesting windows…and it makes me happy when I get to look at clouds. Also, I can lean against the side of the plane and that’s cool. No one is bumping elbows with me while they walk down the aisle. Score.


Landed! First thought: HOLY COW IT’S MUGGY HERE. In the Bay Area we have much different air.

It’s dry. It’s almost always chilly.


We stayed at Amy’s fiance’s sister’s apartment in the Lincoln Park area. It was SUPER charming.


And just as we arrived, we watched the sunset. Now! Let’s get some deep dish pizza!


Walking to dinner. Chicago reminds me of so many movies I’ve seen.


Totally picturesque.


I did a little search online for deep dish pizza and there was one place that was highly rated within walking distance. We went to Giordano’s for my first Chicago pizza experience. This is also where we watched the VMAs. OOF. No comment!

It was good! I didn’t realize how CHEESY it would be, but I did have THREE slices…so I guess I’m a fan.


This is on the way back from dinner. I love looking up into people’s windows.


A cute striped couple. Also. JORTS! (jean shorts)


A little window shopping.


The heat makes things blurry….or maybe it’s the wine.




A quick cab ride…

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We were headed to Millennium Park. Tracy Shutterbean needed to see THE BEAN.


This is us underneath it. We’re right in the middle.


Amy got a picture of me outside it.


And there it is!!


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We had a few hours to kill before the taping of Oprah’s Lifeclass with Dr. Brene Brown so we walked to brunch!


Hello from us. We were repeating to ourselves OMG we’re gonna see Oprah SOON.

We both had our Fitbits  with us so it was cool to see us racking up steps together. I noticed that you have more steps if you have shorter legs….suspicious.


We ventured to Little Goat Diner for brunch. It came HIGHLY recommended from some of my readers.


We ordered the Partahas Burrito & Bull’s Eye French Toast.


Let’s talk about this french toast.

It’s an onion brioche with an egg in the middle and fried chicken & strawberries on top… RIDICULOUS.

Yes. Life cycle of an egg. JUST DON’T THINK ABOUT IT!!!!!!!!!!!!


We still had a few hours to kill…so more sight seeing. I really liked this piece.


I forget what it’s like to be in between buildings.


Chicago is full of these funny symbols on the street. Our symbols back in California look different.


And then there were a few drinks…We had to kill the nerves. I also realized that I left my compact/powder at the apartment so we went on a mad search for a drugstore. I found out when it was TOOO late that there was a Target a few blocks away. So yes, my shiny face will be on TV cackling & clapping for Oprah.


We waited outside for a little bit at HARPO STUDIOS.  It was even more exciting than I had anticipated!


AND THEN WE WERE INSIDE!! Everyone we encountered at OWN was super nice & friendly.


I’ll tell you about the show soon, but HELLO. Oprah & Brene had the most amazing shoes.

Oprah’s in pink & Brene is wearing those hot leopard boots.

Of course I stared at their shoes…


The show was life changing and then it ended abruptly! We had more time than we anticipated so we had to figure out dinner right away. We ventured out and had a really crappy dinner at some random Mexican Food place and then got up early the next morning for a flight.


The experience was quick/EPIC.

Thank you, Chicago! Can’t wait to visit you again!

  • fusilliamy

    This is seriously so much like a dream. Having read about and listened to your love of Oprah for so long, I’m just so excited you got to do this! I cannot wait to see this life class!! I’m refraining from adding about a thousand exclamation points to this!! AHHHH!

    (Stripes make the jorts!)

  • Sam at Neurotic Kitchen

    i love Chicago and did a similar roundup on my blog. I missed Little Goat! I am glad to have some more ideas for next time. Great post!

  • cindy

    SO exciting that you got to see your girl Oprah!

    apparently, according to my husb the civil engineer, the color of the spray paint indicates more than the symbol for those markings on the street (utilities and the like). I always forget what they are but he definitely has hot pink on his work boots…which makes me weirdly happy.

  • Kate

    Looks like so much fun! I’ve only been to Chicago for two very short visits, but it’s such a cool city–especially if you’re into architecture and design–and everyone was so nice. I set my DVR to record the show. Really enjoying Brene Brown’s book: it just guts you, but in a really good way 🙂

  • Amina

    So happy you loved Chicago! I hope you get to see even more of our fair city on your next visit 🙂

  • Sarah @ The Cyclist's Wife

    Chicago is SO great. We only had 1 day too, we hope to go back. Being a fellow Northern CA girl, I wonder, did you find the sauce ON TOP of the pizza weird too?

    • Tracy

      YES!!! SO WEIRD. Why is it like that??!

      • Christina @ My Homespun Home

        Because given how long it takes to bake a deep dish pizza, the cheese would burn if it was on top 🙂

        Also, try Pequod’s next time for pizza. And given how many great places there are for (even cheap dive-y) mexican food here, it’s too bad your last dinner was a bust!

  • Amy Harrison

    Can you find out how she got those tickets? I am going to Chicago in October and loooved this post! thanks!

    • Tracy

      Oh! I should mention that had to apply for them and write had to write a very extensive email about her vulnerabilities & her love for Brene Brown to get them. They ended up choosing less than 150 people for the audience and hers was picked. She was invited to bring a guest and brought me.

  • Michelle @ FullyBellyWornSoles

    Looks like such a great trip! I can’t wait to get back to Chicago soon, since it’s like, a 16 hour drive from where I live. ROAD TRIP!


  • TB

    Great post! I work in Chicago and see it everyday… But I love reading posts like this that remind me of the things that make our city unique! Glad you enjoyed 🙂

    PS- no idea why the sauce is on top but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

  • Emily @ Life on Food

    Great photos! I love the bean…and Oprah!

  • Ashley

    LOVE this. So, so many great pictures…of my neighborhood 🙂 Yes, living in the Loop hardly feels like a neighborhood, but being smack in the middle of all that wonderful architecture is pretty cool. Just love! Seems like you had a wonderful time in Chicago.

  • Amy /// The Anxious Hippie

    Can we go back and do it all again? This was such an amazing experience and it’s fun to see it through your eyes. I’m so glad we made it happen. xoxo

  • KellyBrown

    It’s so nice to see our fair city from the eyes of a tourist! Glad you enjoyed yourself AND got to experience some neighborhood living instead of just staying downtown in a hotel. The neighborhoods are where it’s at!

  • Jane M

    I visit Chicago 2x a year and I just looooove this city! I need to get my tushie to see The Bean. We are always working very hard while we are there.

  • Diana

    Chicago is definitely on my must do list!

    I used to be an aisle seat person too, but once I discovered that you can ean against the plane “wall”, plus take cloud pics, I’ve become a window seat gal. You just gotta remember to hit the bathroom before boarding.

    Oprah! That is so awesome. Glad to hear all her people wer so nice, can’t wait to see you on tv.

  • Ruthy @ Omeletta

    I’m glad you had fun! I love Chicago, it’s one of my favorite places in the world. And the deep dish! … But where I’m really with you is looking up at people’s windows- I love wondering what they’re doing up there!

  • Shawna

    Excellent choice in food – except for the crappy Mexican. That sucks! My husband lived there as a kid while his dad went to University of Chicago so we go back once a year. The weather is so different than the Bay Area but everyone is super nice there so that made up for the fact that my hair sticks to my head the whole time we’re there. You made the best choice for pizza but next time you should try Rick Bayless’ restaurants for Mexican and you HAVE to go to Publican for brunch. They make this AMAZING Hendrick’s and tonic with a cucumber slice – oh my GOD! I want one right now and it’s 6:17 in the morning.

  • dixya| food, pleasure, and health

    what a fun trip and pizza at Giordanos is MUST 🙂

  • arugulaholic

    How fun. Chicago is such a great town.

  • lynda

    next time, you need to get pizza at Pequod’s… they have cheese on the crust so it gets caramelized… THE. BEST.

    from a Chicagoan fan.

  • Susan

    There are many great Mexican restaurants in Chicago, both divy cheap type as well as upscale. Although my favorite upscale Mexican is actually Maya del Sol just outside Chicago in Oak Park. They have one of the best outdoor patios. So it is sad that you did not enjoy the one you went to…

    There are so many other places to see too. You need to hit Lincoln Park Zoo It’s small, easily walkable, makes you feel a bit closer to the animals, and best of all – free! Cooper would love it.

    You need to take in a baseball game at Wrigley Field. Even if you aren’t into baseball, it’s a fun experience in an old ivy covered wall ballpark. The people watching is great if you aren’t that into the game.

    You need to have a picnic lunch in the sculpture garden next to the Art Institute. (As well as visit the museum itself.) That is one of my favorite places to bring my lunch and eat. There is something peaceful about the place.

    Find a bench near the lake and spend some time just thinking too while looking out at the water.

  • Amanda Barkey

    Yay for a fun trip and OPRAH! Wow. I can’t even imagine. BOO for a bad last meal in Chicago, that would have made me so disappointed! Great post, great pics!

  • Kayli Schattner

    Love all of this! Chicago is my favorite city in the world- it’s the only city that makes me excited for other people when they have the chance to visit 🙂

  • Amy

    I can’t wait to get back to the USA and explore some more. Chicago is high on my list, but I might have to leave the deep dish pizza to my boyfriend (unless they make a gluten free vegetarian version – if so, cheese me up baby!!).

  • Stephie @ Eat Your Heart Out

    If you ever come to Chicago with some advance notice, try to get a reservation at Little Goat’s big brother restaurant, The Girl and the Goat. OHH man. That was the most incredible meal I have ever eaten.

  • Akiko Giometti

    Can’t believe you got to see Oprah and Brene! I am finishing up Daring Greatly right now! Leaned so much from her chapter on parenting. AND Chicago! Mike grew up around Chicago and it totally reminds me of Oakland: Salt of the Earth Good People – Great Food – and Real Summer!

    Thanks for such a fun post!

  • hanna

    Another Chicago reader here excited to see the town Shutterbean-ed! Mildly obsessed with little goat — their nachos…sigh. Did you go up to the rooftop?

    Recs for next time you are in town: Pleasant House Bakery and Nightwood. Never had a bum dish at either, they are always superb!

  • Leslie

    Giordano’s is my fave deep dish place in Chicago, too. It may not be “the original”, but it is “the delicious.”

  • Frankie

    Wish you could have stayed longer. If you’re ever in town again I would love to meet you! Glad you had a great time here. Also enjoy your beautiful weather there in Cali, it’s already in the 40’s here.

    P.S. This reminds me of the listener who wrote in from Chicago asking you and Joy about wearing a blazer underneath a “sleeping bag” coat/jacket. Too funny!

    • Tracy

      Wow! 40s? Already??!! That’s just nuts!!! I really hope to come to Chicago again someday soon. I’ll put it out there when I do! Meetup!

  • Nicolle

    I’m so excited you posted this. I’m in a contest to win a trip for two to Chicago next week for a similar whirlwind trip to see Kings of Leon! Now I know some things to see and place to eat while I’m there!

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