Last weekend, my sister Melissa who lives in Washington D.C., came to visit! One of the many things that I love about people visiting me is the fact that I get to be a tourist in my own city! We didn’t have anything specific planned for this weekend, but I knew it was going to be a good time!
She was originally going to fly in on Thursday night, but because of a work meeting that got scheduled on Friday morning, she rearranged her flight to come in Friday night instead. Well, Chicago’s wind and negative degree weather later, her Friday night flight was cancelled and rebooked to Saturday morning. So Saturday morning I went to Midway airport to pick her up around 1:00PM.
From the airport we drove back to my townhouse, which we bought back in April (yay to first time home buying)! This was the first time that my sister has seen our new home so I was excited to show her! After we got home and I showed her the house, we were ready for lunch.
In the mood for a really good sandwich and a crunchy pickle, I knew there was only one place to go, Manny’s. Manny’s Cafeteria & Delicatessen open since 1942, I am telling you, I have never had such great homemade, down to earth, comfort food! You will not go wrong with ANYTHING you order there, but if you want my recommendation, you got to get the pastrami on rye. I ordered it with a side of their thousand island sauce, coleslaw and well of course pickles! https://www.mannysdeli.com/
After Manny’s we made a Binny’s run and ran some errands. With the weather still being really cold we stayed in on Saturday night and watched movies. So for dinner we ordered out to one of the best in the South Loops Mexican restaurants, La Cantina. My favorite item to order there is the chimichangas. Delicious! http://lacantinagrill.com/
Sunday morning, I did make a reservation at RL Restaurant (Ralph Lauren Restaurant) on Michigan Ave. because I knew my sister has always wanted to go, we just never had gotten around to it any other time she has visited. At 11:00AM, we stopped in for Brunch. The service was immaculate and I loved all the little details they put into making it such an experience to eat there. The dining room was very luxurious, dark navy blue with framed artwork covering the walls. They brought us sweet rolls with a homemade strawberry cream cheese butter and jam. We ordered coffees, the Quiche and Belgium Waffle. https://www.ralphlauren.com/rl-restaurant/global-restaurants-rlrestaurant.html
After brunch, we took advantage of Michigan Ave. and did some window shopping, we also brought a few returns we had and visited The Water Tower Place and then took a nice little walk down the Magnificent Mile to the Chicago river. After seeing the river, we went home to rest and relax.
We had been discussing where to eat for dinner that day and had decided that we were going to try the famous Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinders restaurant. I had tried the Lou Malnatis, the Giordanos, the Ginos Easts, Peaquods, etc., all the famous Chicago Pizza restaurants in the three years I have lived here, but I had yet to try Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinders. My sister also, having seen this restaurant on the Food Networks, The Best Thing I Ever Ate, had been wanting to try this restaurant.
Calling before we left to go there, I knew there was at least a two hour wait, so we went there to put our name on the waitlist and headed over to RJ Grunts for an appetizer and to watch the football game. I had never been to RJ Grunts, but I have ordered take out from there multiple times. I absolutely LOVE the California Chicken Wrap that they serve. I wasn’t at all disappointed eating in the restaurant and was pleasantly surprised to see the awesome salad bar that they have, I had no idea! Definitly will be going back to eat in there soon. We had ordered the deep fried pickles, ha, go figure, but they were great and so was the atmosphere. http://rjgruntschicago.com/
Two hours later, we went back to Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinders to, yup you guessed it…wait! Thankfully we didn’t have to wait too much longer and got seated. The menu is very small, really three basic items to order. Salads, Pizza and Grinders (subs). Going off of our servers recommendation and Yelp reviews, we ordered a family size of the Chef (dinner) Salad and each ordered our own individual 6″ pot pies. These “pot pies” are what makes this restaurant so famous and what we came here for. http://chicagopizzaandovengrinder.com/
The salad came out larger than my face, my absolute favorite part was the dressing sauces that came out with it. A delicious sour cream garlic, sweet and sour poppy seed and homemade Italian dressing, you can also buy bottles of their dressing here to take home. They also serve at the table this homemade Italian seasoning and you literally can see the chunks of dried garlic in the shaker bottle.
After devouring the salad, our pot pies came to the table. The pizza is made with a Wisconsin cheese as the base, three button mushrooms nuzzled inside, drenched with a homemade meat sauce and then topped with a homemade pie like crust dough. Baked upside down and then flipped over in front of you at the table, we were not disappointed. The pot pies were definitely delicious but it is so different from the normal Chicago deep dish pizza that it is hard to compare. Would I go back again? Absolutely. I would probably just not rush to go back just because the wait was so long. Do I recommend you got there? Yes! I never had a Pizza Pot Pie like it!
Stuffed, once we were able to move, we went back home and watched the three night Jodi Arias special on Investigation Discovery, I am obsessed and have an ID problem. Monday morning was Martin Luther King Jr. Day so my sisters flight home wasn’t until that evening. We woke up, I made us a buffet of breakfast and we mostly sat around the house relaxing. My sister was working on her thank you cards from her wedding back in November. I was working on my laptop, the snow outside was coming down pretty strong but it made for a nice snow day in.
Before my sister left for her flight, she had brought with her jackets she was getting rid of. Me, a lover of all things hand-me-downs (blog post one day about thrifting to come), was in heaven. I was able to snag two new winter jackets! So I helped her go through her bag and then we made a donation pile for anything she or I didn’t want to keep. She left in an Uber around 5PM to catch her flight back home from Midway around 7ish. I was full of love and stuffed from eating and I wouldn’t have had a better weekend any other way! Thanks Melissa for coming to visit! I hope you had as much fun as I did!
Experience the city you live in ~ Mallory Mae