Chicago trip!

The plan was that we were going to try deep dish pizza in Chicago the night we got there.  Daniel was driving Book and me in one car, and Anna and Sean were in the other car.  We planned to meet up and nom nom for dinner together!   :)

So for lunch, I wanted to eat a little lighter, and we went to Chi Sushi in Central West End!  They only sell sushi (no lunch boxes or entrees!), so I was a *little* apprehensive-- no tonkatsu or terriyaki salmon?!  @_@

I'm not a pro sushi eater (or anything except for cereal, for that matter!), but I thought that Chi's sushi was flavorful without overdoing it.  Sushi places like Tani's have so much sauce that each bite is like eating solidified (although yummy) sauce.  Here, I could enjoy the sushi without soy sauce or with; both ways were delicious :)

Miso soup that comes with lunch specials

Ah, and their miso soup was yummy!  There was very little tofu inside (meager slivers), but the taste was satisfying.  And compared to Kampai's down the street, it's not as salty :D

This guy has problems ordering things off the menu... whyyyy?~

Haha, I think I've talked about my "ordering anxiety;" I never seem to know what I want, and I always make random decisions when we finally order.  I like when people suggest things (although I don't change my mind 50% of the time XD), but with Jeff we're both a lost cause @_@''  Sitting there for 2938239 years to figure out what to eat!

Finally we decided on a lunch special and a specialty roll.  It was my first time to have kiwi on a sushi, and it was very... interesting.  Haha!  I feel like sushi is getting to where people are just trying to pile random stuff on it that work.  At least it was tasty :3

New York roll + Eel Cucumber roll and a Chi specialty roll

Light lunch?  Maybe not, since I ate so much (I eat as much as my guy friends, and Jeff is no exception ^__^"'''''')!  But at least I tried ;)  Chi Sushi was pretty quite and empty when we came around noon, but the place was almost filled an hour later.  Their lunch specials are well-priced, the most expensive being $14, and the least being $6.45.  So if you're a sushi lover and can do without the cute bento sets, check out Chi Sushi :D  The staff is very courteous and the atmosphere is quite peaceful.  I just didn't like the music that seemed very out of place.  I think it was rave / dance music? I had the urge to throw my sushi in the air and rave with my chopsticks XD

Chi Sushi
4 North Euclid Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63108


Ahh, and remember how I downloaded that computer game?  Look, I'm so cute!!  I have wings!  ^__^

Ahem.  Okay, now to Chicago!


Picture dump with a few words-- begin!  :D

After a 5 hour drive (thank you Daniel for driving and Book for navigating!~~) and the boys wincing at "Thousand Miles" by Vanessa Carlton that was on my phone playlist, we arrived at the hotel and called Anna and Sean who had left earlier.  They already ate dinner, so the three of us headed to Lou Malnati's by ourselves.  Book said it was rated the highest on Yelp, so I was ready for some pizzaaaa!

Can you spot our table?

In the back corner!  The boys look tired and hungry...

So thank goodness when our pizza came!

We ordered two smalls to feed 4 people (obviously we can finish them ourselves, because Daniel and I count as 1.5 people ;D).  The Malnati Chicago Classic is the one with meat: sausage, cheese, and tomato sauce.  The other, The Lou, came with lots of tomatoes, mushrooms, and spinach.  Both pizzas were super cheesy *heart!* and when the cheese cooled a bit, it was a bit of a challenge to keep chewing and swallow all that cheese!  I liked the Lou better for flavor, but it would have been better if they added sausage onto it (but then it wouldn't be vegetarian anymore?)~ :)

A slice of the classic~

Book was really pro eating the cheese by twirling his fork!

The Lou

Meanwhile, we were looking like noobs trying to eat our pizza

The pizza was yummy!  Daniel says Giordano's is better, so I'm looking forward to eating that sometime in my life.  I thought that my first Chicago pizza was yummy, although Papa John's can still compare ;)

Lou Malnati's Pizzera
1050 East Higgins Road 
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007

We met Anna and Sean at the hotel and got ready to sleep.  I bet both Book and Daniel were exhausted getting to Chicago while I snored away in the back seat :O

Anna woke us up by flinging open the windows to let the light in (yay!).  Daniel and Book just groaned, haha!

*complain complain* XD

Wanna see our BEAUTIFUL hotel window view?!

IT'S GORGEOUS!  You can see *everything*  ;)  Hahahaha!

The rooms were really nice: super tall ceilings and soft carpet :)  The plan was to all squeeze in one room, but Anna asked me if I was okay with paying more so that Sean could book a king room for the girls and two fulls for the boys to share that connected together with a door.  My mom was really happy to hear that the girls would be safe and separated, so when I later told her that I ended up sleeping in one of the full beds in the same room as Book and Daniel, she was a little shocked.  Actually, it was more like my dad was storming in the background on speakerphone while we were on the phone ^^b

Oh, this is Congress Hotel on Michigan Avenue.  Apparently it's haunted!!  I asked them not to tell me why until we left the hotel, and when we were walking down the stairs, the boys kept on saying scary things about scary sights T_T  I just wanted to jump on one of them or use them as shields D:  Ahhhh!  But Daniel never told me why even after we left... must have been very scary @_@


Book had a recommendation from his Chicago friends to eat at Toast, a brunch place ten minutes away from our hotel.  Daniel drove the whole bunch of us there :D   


Inside was very lively, lots of people and families sharing a meal together.  I found myself wondering if they were just families enjoying a usual Saturday breakfast together or tourists like ourselves.  The staff was really nice, smiling and all.. what a happy way to start the morning!

I could hear the sizzles and smell the food from the open kitchen!

And Anna brought her computer to do work... how studious!

Each entree came with toasted bread, ranging from whole wheat to English muffins.  I chose cinnamon raisin!  I have a super sweet tooth ^w^  Daniel says that toast tastes good with butter and jam on it at the same time.  So weird!  I tried it, and I couldn't really taste the butter.  I like my toast by itself when it's flavored.  But if it was plain, I would probably put butter on it :)  I remember when I was younger, my dad used to put butter on Chinese plain buns 饅頭 to get me to eat it.  Haha!

This is what they're named after!  And it was perfectly toasted; a bit crunchy but still somehow soft!

My omelette lorraine, suuuuper cheesy and yummy!  Bacon, chives, onions, and gyuyere cheese

Huevos w/ chorizo & cheddar for Daniel (he said it was good but a little salty)

I liked our potatoes and omeletes!  I was surprised, because after eating the deep dish pizzas the night before and the big breakfast, I didn't feel super full.  I was just satisfied.  Strange...  Hope I'm not getting fat ._.''

Anna's french toast orgy!  She picked vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry :3

She shared with us, and my favorite was vanilla, then chocolate, then strawberry :D

Book's grilled tenderloin benedict!  Sean got the crabby benedict (with crab meat)~

746 W Webster Ave
ChicagoIL 60614

After breakfast, we went back to the hotel and commenced on our walk along Michigan Avenue!  I was pretty excited, because everything looked so.. fake?  I've never been to a busy city in the US before (Houston downtown doesn't count!), so this was going to be a lot of sight-seeing for me.  And I saw EVERYTHING within five minutes.

by using a model city!  Hahahaha :P

Just kidding, I want to see the *real* Chicago!  So onto the sidewalks we go~  I can't believe there were so many people walking around.  Are there usually this many people walking around in the States?  Are they students?  tourists?  Blahh?!

And all the buildings look so fake too!  Like pasted onto the background. @_@

And what trip to Chicago is complete without a visit to the Cloud Gate (aka "the bean")?

Wow!  It's so shiny :)  And so many people there~

Group picture!

I didn't know you could actually go under it!

Wow.. craziness...  Mmm.. donuts...

Doesn't Daniel look like Sean in this picture? :D  ... POSTURE!  *whack*

Now he looks like Popeyes XD

I gotchu, Book! :D:D:D

I think the Cloud Gate has such a cool design.  Isn't it amazing how the architect thought of it?

Hiding in the shade, hehehe~

There was a little water area where we were allowed to stick our feet into.  So weird! It helped us cool off tremendously though ^^

Pro photographer right here!

While walking around, we saw an entrance to the Taste of Chicago fair!  No worries, more of that later~

Hi guys!

Super cool how families come here to play like it's a waterpark :)

Uber cute :3

Segaway tourists rolling by~ haha!

Chicago's Public Library!!  Wanted to go in, but I don't think anyone else did ^^''

Does anyone else think the buildings look fake? Or am I just crazy ._.''

Watertaxis... just like in Venice, except bigger XD

Street magician with Anna as volunteer

We walked to Navy Pier too!

Pretty festive for being so cloudy~

Meanwhile the boys were like: =_=

The first Lotus I've seen in real life :D  So cute!

Money money money :3

The rain started to pour down, soaking us all to the bone

Durr... he would.

I want to try this pizza place next time! :D

We also visited the Water Tower shopping area

This was inside the shopping area (elevators)!  I wanted to explore and walk around, but my fellow travelers were getting tired...  Next time, I hope~

And the Hershey's store!!

I took a survey for a free chocolate bar XD

Free samples upon entering Ghiradelli :)  Yuuum~

Too bad it wasn't dark chocolate :P

All this on the "Magnificent Mile," a.k.a. Michigan Avenue!

Rwar.  Lion in front of the Art Institute of Chicago!  Also want to visit here next time~

Impromptu chess parties!  I instantly thought of Gordon :P

Anna and Sean wanted to go to the Taste of Chicago, so we walked over to the park area.  I ate the Ghiradelli sample for lunch, and I was no where near hungry because it was hot!  I liked looking at the fountain-- so beautiful and refreshing looking!  It's one of the largest fountains in the world :3  If I visit Chicago again, I want to spend more time walking around the fountain; I felt bad for making people wait around for me ._.''

Buckingham Fountain  *Splash!*

Haha :D

So many people at the Taste of Chicago food fair!

Anna wanted to try something from the Girl and the Goat restaurant.  (Broccoli and Rice Krispies!)

Book got BBQ wings~

Looks good if I had the appetite to eat XD

Devious looking!

I think this was African cuisine?  I'm not sure!

This icy dessert is also African!  Looks good (probably because of that pretty girl in the background ;P)

Daniel took us to H-Mart!  It's the second one I've been to (other than the one in Houston) :D

I really like walking around H-Mart, because there are so many Korean items I've never seen before!  Also, I can kind of read Korean now, so it was fun trying to say the Korean name out loud and have Daniel translate it to English for me ^_^  I wanted to do that for the next 2398293 hours, haha~!

I bought a pack of instant noodles that Daniel dubbed the best instant noodles he's ever had, and he swore were not available in St. Louis!  He took us all to Cho Sun Ok, a Korean BBQ restaurant on Lincoln Avenue.  The line was sooo long, and we waited (I'm guessing) 1.5 hours to get a seat.  We were literally the last ones in, and the night had settled upon Chicago comfortably before we were ushered to a table.  Still wasn't too hungry, but excited just because we were in Chicago, tee hee! :D

Busy, busy!  The nice ladies were running back and forth~

Sean and Anna were in charge of cooking our meat

So much food @o@

It was a late dinner, but I liked their kimchi and meat.  The place was packed but emptied as we ate.  They make kimchi fried rice with your leftover bamchan after you finish the meat!  I'll talk a bit more about this later in this post ;)

Cho Sun Ok
4200 North Lincoln Avenue 
Chicago, IL 60618

We finished dinner after 11pm and promised ourselves not to eat breakfast the next day.  Haha!  What a failed promise-- I ended up eating breakfast and lunch XD  Michael and I set up a group dimsum in Chicago's Chinatown!  Jeff recommended Triple Crown, so that's where we were headed off to.  McDonald's had some sort of festival, so there were tons of people crowded around the Chinatown entrance. :)

Triple Crown!  Do you see it?

We only stepped into the entrance and didn't get to explore Chinatown, but there's always a next time~

Internet memes taking over the world.  Y??!

Lots of people at dimsum!

Triple Crown provided a picture guide! :D  So many choices @_@

Haha, it was kind of silly because before we got into dimsum, I said I didn't like to eat dimsum very often because of its lack of vegetables.  Book was told me that there were much more veggies than I thought, and if you look at Triple Crown's menu thing, there are only TWO!  hahaha XD  Yeah, but dimsum is okay maybe once every half year for me.  After that, I'm craving my fruits and veggies D:

Blurry picture, but everything looked delicious!  ...  Are those.. vegetables?!

Michael ordered this!  It's a custard bun with a sweet and salty, molten filling! :D  First time, and delish! 

Hehe, look at the server's name :P

The friends we met up with!  Hyojin, Soeun, Soomin, and Chenghung

and can't forget Michael!

Michael was the only Cantonese person in our dinner group, so he was the one ordering everything.  It was the first time that Hyojin and Soeun had dimsum before, so I'm glad that they got to try some really yummy and legit food as their first taste of dimsum ^^  Michael said that Triple Crown was pretty good compared to some other places too!  Thanks Jeff for the recommendation :D

Triple Crown
2217 South Wentworth Avenue
Chicago, IL 60616

Afterwards, we went to Joy Yee's, a drink place that Jeff recommended to me :D

Joy Yee also sells food, and the drink area is outdoors.

SO MANY CHOICESSSS and the drink place was very popular too!

Chenghung and his super colorful drink!

Daniel and I had a taro smoothie-- omgah, so yummy.  It tasted like condensed liquified taro wafers... which in my mind tastes like heaven!

Milk tea?  Boring!  Haha, just kidding ;)  I just like smoothies more ^_^

Brain freeze??  Hehehe~

Everyone liked their drinks.  Chenghung got some fruity drink with tiny pearls, and it looked really unique!  Other patrons ordered fruity drinks and all of the drinks looked pretty :3  Now I can't go back to St. Louis Bubble Tea-- Joy Yee's smoothie was just too good :)  Definitely stop by if you're in the Chinatown area!

Joy Yee's Noodle Shop (and Smoothie Station)
2139 S China Pl
ChicagoIL 60616

We finished dimsum at noon and Daniel had lunch planned with Kevin for 1pm.  Oh my!  The traffic was really bad, so we got to our destination at 1:40pm.  Ahh, felt so bad for Kevin.  Sowwie, sowwie~  ORZ  Guess where we went?!

Hmm... this looks slightly familiar...

Cho Sun Ok!

Haha, yes.  Kevin's also Korean, so he wanted to try this place out.  He's interning in Chicago for the summer, and when I saw him, I noticed he looked dramatically different-- thicker built compared to his previous skinny frame and a lot tanner!  XD  He said he has nothing to do because his internet doesn't work very well, so he just sits at the hotel pool with his fellow interns and workout in his free time.  Totally shows--like a different person really; if he had changed his hair, I'm sure I wouldn't have recognized him.  Which is good, because I could recognize him.  And I like his hair.  Hahaha :)

The restaurant had less people during lunch time, and the ladies cooked up the meat for us.  She placed sliced green onions on our plate and then topped it with the meat and onions.  It was delicious!  I think my lunch experience was much better than the one from the night before.


At the end we had a lot of kimchi and bamcham left, so she made kimchi fried rice.  Here's how!

Dump the extra side dishes into some of the meat still sizzling on the grill.

Add in rice and let it cook for a bit.

Stir it all up...

And serve! :D

This one was a lot more orange and flavorful than the kimchibokumbop (kimchi fried rice) we had at dinner.  It was delicious ^_^  Although I was pretty satisfied with dimsum, I managed to eat another *regular* portioned lunch.  @_@  Ahhh!!

We said our goodbyes to Kevin and headed back to St. Louis.  It was a long drive, and I'm really grateful to Daniel.  It must have been super tiring :/  Thanks everyone for playing in Chicago with me!  Although we mainly only sight saw, I'm satisfied with my first trip to the Windy City ^^b  Yay!  I hope I get to travel to at least two more new places before I graduate: NYC and Canada (snowboarding?!)! :D

Debra said...

Ahhh there are so many pictures in this post of places I went to 5 years ago!!

I'm pretty sure Giordano's deep dish is a lot deeper than the one you had. :/ So perfect that you guys happened to come on Taste of Chicago weekend! Also, I never knew that fountain was one the largest or anything in particular, I remember taking a picture with it just because it happened to be there. Also you should try visiting the Millenium Bean at night - can see the night landscape! I love the Art museum too, it's free after a certain time, but then you have to rush through the museum before it closes.

The food all looks amazing o.o I wish I had someone to tell me where to eat Asian things! Omg I want to go to a legit dimsum place with Michael and have him order legitly. !!! Sounds so cool! Haha are Michael and Chenghung good friends now? :P Hm... Kevin still looks exactly the same to me in that one picture, maybe in person he will look different.

Wendy said...

Yeah, I heard, so I'm determined to eat Giordano's someday... even if I have to have it flown to me frozen! ;P Daniel also said the bean looks pretty at night! Gosh so many things to do @_@

I think Chenghung hangs out with Michael often now? I made baked potatoes with both of them! Really?? I think he looked different, but maybe it's because he wasn't wearing his big sweater ^^'