This past weekend Morgan and I drove up to Chicago to spend some time with my parents and help celebrate their birthdays. My mom's birthday was a little over a week ago and my sister decided the best way to celebrate would be to purchase a groupon that allowed the three of us to spend some time together: a Chocolate Walking Tour! After some debate, we also decided on a food walking tour for my dad's birthday present, but this tour explored the different restaurant options in the Wicker Park/Bucktown area. The plan was to end the busy Saturday at Owen & Engine for dinner.
Saturday started pretty early with Morgan waking up around 6:30am (pretty normal for her). We quickly showered and had some breakfast as the rest of the family started waking up and getting ready. The chocolate walking tour started at 9:45am, so the three ladies headed off around 9:30 while Grandpa stayed home to watch Morgan. The Chocolate Walking Tour was a lot of fun and definitely introduced us to some great bakeries in the Gold Coast. Our first stop was More Cupcakes and I must admit that I was incredibly skeptical about the chocolate cupcake with chocolate buttercream frosting. Unless it is Portillo's chocolate cake, I find that I usually don't like chocolate cake as it tends to be dry, but this cupcake was fantastic! We bought 6 small cupcakes to take home and share with the birthday boy.
The last 4 stops on the chocolate tour was Sarah's Pastries & Candies, Belgian Bakery, Teuscher Swiss Chocolates, and Argo Tea. All of the places offered great samples, but More Cupcakes was definitely the best with their delicious cupcakes. Argo tea, a Chicago native company, was also delicious with a chocolate chai tea. I love chai and chocolate, so it was a great combination for me!
After the chocolate tour, we headed back to the condo, bundled up, and left with Grandpa and Morgan in tow. We really didn't know what to expect with Food Planet's Wicker Park/Bucktown food tour, but we were pleasantly surprised not only by the food but by the tour guide. If you decide to try out this tour, please be aware that you will be given a TON of food. We had a full size hot dog, half a falafel sandwich, hot chocolate, a slice of pizza, and a roasted vegetable salad. We were so full after our 5th stop, that we skipped the last stop on the tour and headed straight to the nearest bar. Below is a picture of Mom & Dad at our first stop, which included a true Chicago-style hot dog!
I am amazed that any of us ate anything at Owen & Engine, but it was a testatment to the greatness of their menu. Not only do they have quite the beer selection, they also have the best fish & chips I have ever had (and that includes any I have tried in the UK). This is definitely a place to head back to with Matt's family!
Macy's lit up the Christmas Tree in the Walnut Room and unveiled the holiday windows, so we all got in the Christmas spirit and headed over to Macy's to check it all out. Holidays in Chicago are my favorite time of the year. Like my mother, I am a big sucker for tradition and a big tradition for my family is to look at the windows and check out the tree. I really want to ensure my children share this same tradition. It would be great if we could also eat at the Walnut Room, but with the crowds sometimes this isn't always plausible!
Below is a picture of Grandpa and Morgan after our meal at Ditka's on Sunday. It was the perfect ending to a great weekend!