Alinea | Chicago, IL

Mike and our friend, Alex Cho, had been talking about going to Alinea for months and we made it happen over MLK weekend. We booked The Alinea Kitchen Table and it was a unique and really fun experience. 

Alice getting ready at the airbnb

Chris & Kyle looking sharp

When we arrived at the restaurant, Alex was outside waiting for us. We then went into the unmarked building, checked in our coats, and was led to the kitchen to be greeted by our first course at the table: freshly cooked bread with various spreads & toppings. Mike's favorite was the Alaskan King Crab.

After our first course and Kyle had a number of refills of the bread, we were led inside the Kitchen for a special cocktail. 

After the cocktail, we were seated back at our table and was asked to 'spot the differences' from when we left to when we came back. One new addition was this beautiful assortment of citru was a string of delicious and beautifully plated courses.

At this point we were all feeling pretty stuffed but once we saw the balloons start coming out, we got SO excited and forgot about how full we were.

Balloons start coming out & Grant sighting

After that came the finale where the chefs came out and plated the final course to some music. One of the pieces of art above our table was used as the canvas for the course.

Kyle & Liz excited once the music came on and the lights dimmed

It was an unforgettable night and we ended it with a group photo with Grant Achatz.

Exploring Chicago | Chicago, IL

Alex Cho and Mike had been talking for months about making a trip to Alinea (Michelin 3-star) and we were able to get reservation for MLK weekend. We stayed in an airbnb apartment in Ukranian Village for 3 nights and had a jampacked itinerary.

 

The Art Institute of Chicago

Our first trip was to The Art Institute of Chicago; we wish we had more time to explore!! We only were able to stay for a few hours and only got a small peek at all the amazing exhibits. If we lived in Chicago, we'd definitely be members.

Us in front of The Art Institute of Chicago

 

Picklebacks & Fatsos

Later that night, after the amazing meal at Alinea (see post here), we hit up a few bars with good company and good drinks. We also took our first picklebacks -- we can never go back to another chaser.

The gents (minus Alex Shapiro)

The ladies

After drinks we got some late-night Chicago-style dogs at Fatso's near our airbnb. Fatsos was definitely a place we'll never forget -- we went there our first 2 nights for food and on the 3rd night (we didn't go), there was a shooting there and a person got murdered. Super spooky.


Deep-dish pizza @ Lou Malnati's

No trip to Chicago would be complete without a stop for some deep-dish pizza. Out of all the choices, we picked Lou's (the fave from the majority of our friends). There was no wait and it was 👌👌

The Malnati Chicago Classic

 

The Bean @ Millennium Park

After the deep-dish pizza, we walked it off by heading to Millennium Park. We also made some stops for face-swaps along the way.

The Chicago River

The Bean aka Cloud Gate

 

The Aviary, Au Cheval, The Second City

After our trip to Millennium Park, Alex & Andy put our names down on the waitlist for Au Cheval (3 hour wait!!) and we all met up for our reservation at The Aviary. Mike got a 3-cocktail course (LeBron Chewbacca, Jungle Bird, Doppia Bevande) and Alice got the Up the Ice Ante. They were some of the tastiest and most creative cocktails we've ever had. We also met Alex's friend Andy and had a great time chatting.

After hanging out for 3 hours, our table was ready at Au Cheval and we got the famous burgers with fried eggs and bacon.

After dinner, we finished the night off with a show at the legendary improv theatre, The Second City.

Animal House Visit | Beijing, China

We flew to Beijing after Dhara Dhevi and spent our last 3 days of vacation there. It was a relaxing time and all we did was eat our favorite food in Beijing, went to see movies in theaters with reclining chairs, and pet Mike's mom's pets. They're ridiculously cute.

For our last meal, we had Haidilao Hot Pot at home and were thoroughly impressed with the whole experience. The delivery was prompt and they took care of everything. They brought all the utensils, the hot pot, the broth, and even a tablecloth and trash container for us to use. The quality of the food was not affected by the delivery at all. Once we were all done, they came back and took care of the cleaning for us too. Wish this was available here in the states!