A trip to meet up with Leandra’s sister and family in early November fell apart, so we decided to fly up to Chicago for a long weekend in December. Since we also had a free Hilton night we needed to use we started our trip with a night at the Chicago Waldorf.
On arrival we were escorted to the front desk and assigned a room on the 22nd floor. It included a lovely tub plus a small seating area with a working fireplace!
Our stay included a $50 food credit that could be used at any of the hotel facilities, so we stopped at The Brasserie for a pre-dinner cocktail. Leandra ordered the “Pretty in Pink” (a twist on an Old Fashioned) and I ordered the “Up in Smoke” with mezcal and roasted red pepper (quite a bit spicier than expected!).
Besides the hotel, we also tried a few restaurants and bars including:
Eduardo’s Enoteca – a popular dinner spot with a small indoor space, we were glad we had reservations. I tried the pappardelle bolognese (sauce was tomato-heavy, but tasty), while Leandra went with the Gorgonzola pizza with thinly sliced potatoes, spinach and garlic creme. A bottle of lambrusco went nicely with both entreés.
Original Pancake House – very popular, even at 10:30am! We had to wait ~20 minutes for a table (thankfully inside), then had to choose from the enormous menu. I opted for scrambled eggs, bacon and pancakes, while Leandra went with the corned beef hash which also came with eggs and pancakes. (Note from Leandra: all the menu items have the calories counts listed – helpful and eye-opening – but I could only eat half of the hash – it was HUGE.)
Arbella – we had an hour to kill before dinner, so we stopped here for a pre-dinner drink (and to get out of the rain!). They’ve got a nice happy hour menu from which we ordered a Kentucky old fashioned, a red wine, and a sparkling wine. We wish we had made a reservation for later, as we really liked the space.
Roka Akor – When Leandra booked this place, the only option online was for the outdoor tent. This was fine temperature wise due to outdoor heaters but definitely lacked ambience with bright lighting and water seeping underneath the canvas flaps. We split the wagyu beef and kimchi dumplings to start, then for our mains, the black cod (E) and a rare steak (L). The service was good and we found some reasonably priced bottles of wine.
Fado – not ready to leave the city after dinner, we decided to go somewhere with a little more ambience for an after dinner drink. Fado, just one block away, fit the bill nicely. I had a snakebite and Leandra had a black velvet (with a shot of currant liqueur).
Finally, we spent most of Friday afternoon at the overwhelming Art Institute of Chicago. Leandra was disappointed that her favorite paperweights room was closed, but we otherwise enjoyed the many other amazing pieces in this massive museum.