Friday, March 15, 2013

Eating my way to Chicago and Back!

I recently got a wild hair and decided to hop on a train and go as far north as it could go.  That turns out to be Chicago.  I took a 20 HOUR train ride from Longview, TX to Chicago, IL.  What a LOOOOONG train ride but I was able to see some beautiful country side, eat some great food (some not-so great food) and I ended up in Chicago!

Here is the trip through thru food!

I started out on the train Friday night where I had dinner.  I ordered Vegetarian Alfredo Pasta in the Diner Car.  This was one of the nights that was not-so great.  The Bread that was served was hard as a ROCK!  The salad they brought out was limp! (it was just tomatoes and iceberg lettuce)  The pasta that was sent out was still frozen together in a chunk in the middle!  After I asked them to go microwave it for a minute, it tasted okay.

The next morning I just bought a coffee and a pastry as I watched the sun rise over the Ozarks in the Observation car.  Because of the view, that was the best breakfast I have had in a long while.

I skipped lunch because I knew I would be eating well in Chicago.

I finally arrived at Union Station where I called a cab to get to my hotel downtown.  Downtown Chicago was beautiful, all of the architecture, lights, people, ambient city noises, etc...  After I checked in headed down to the lobby where I was meeting a musician that I was interviewing for  We went over to the hotel bar so that I could try the regional beer, "Goose Island"  It was great!  You have to try it.  Met some awesome ladies in the bar that were in town for a Hair Stylists Convention.... and yes... they had GREAT Hair!

I decided to walk around the downtown area and eat where ever I stumbled upon.  Being from Texas, I was freezing, so I ducked into an open door, and low and behold, it was a Sushi Restaurant.  So I decided to just sit down and order.  I told the waitress to just let the chef prepare me some Niguri Sushi.  The fish was FRESH... the food was AMAZING... BY FAR THE BEST SUSHI I've had! 
Here are a few pics from this restaurant.

After my early dinner I wanted to do some shopping, so I stopped by Marshalls, HomeGoods, Burberry, Nordstroms, and a few more stores.  After a few hours of shopping, my appetite was back and I wanted to try an original Chicago Deep Dish Pizza.  So... turns out I was only 2 blocks from Pizzeria Uno... Which claims to have INVENTED this type of pizza.  I walked in and had a seat at the bar.  (be prepared to wait, it takes about an hour to cook this type of pizza)  I ordered an individual Sausage Pizza.  As I was waiting I took the time to try another Goose Island beer, a Screwdriver, and Sam Adams while in the pub/restaurant.  Everything was GREAT,  I only want Chicago Deep Dish Pizzas from now on... except when I make my way to New York... then I want REAL New York pizza.  (this is what my Pizza looked like)

I finally stumbled my way back to the hotel to get some rest before I went to museums and got back on the train the next day.
For Breakfast there was a small croissant bakery and coffee shop right beside my Hotel.  I stopped in for a Croissant with Nutella! (So GOOD!) and a Tuxedo Coffee.... (Apparently that is a Texas term... Chicagoans call it a Zebra Mocha) which is a regular mocha with an extra pump of white chocolate.   With croissant and coffee in hand, my doorman hailed a cab for me so that I could visit the Field Museum before I needed to leave ChiTown. 
After the museum I had to run to catch the train, but since it was late I was able to explore Union Station a bit.  I was able to see where "The Untouchables" filmed the epic shootout scene on the stairs.  I had to go up and down the stairs.  I also had time to go find some food in the food court.  I found a burrito place that offered a BBQ chicken stuft burrito, plus I wanted to see if Chicago Style BBQ was as good as Texas BBQ.  It was amazingly sweet and tangy... closer to TX BBQ than I was expecting!  It hit the spot and was very satisfying and filling!
Back on the train for dinner, in the Diner Car.  I ordered the special hoping it wouldn't be a pre-frozen entree.  It was braised Lamb Shank with garlic roasted potatoes and green beans.  The meat was cooked so well I was able to just pull the bone out and chow down.  The potatoes were awesome, but the green beans were kind of rubbery, no doubt they were previously frozen.  Since it was the last day of my mini vacation I ordered dessert to eat back at my seat on the train.  It was a torte of peanut butter, chocolate cake, and caramel.  It was great!
Anyway... That is how I ate my way to Chicago and Back.... If you know of a great place to eat in Chicago, send it to me on Twitter (@TeeJayToday) and I will add it to the list here!  I hope to be going back to Chicago soon!  It was fun and the people were all very nice!

Want a Deep Dish Pizza Pan?