Saturday began same as Friday with my jaunt to Starbucks to help me kick start my day. While looking out the window I noticed that Chicago Police had a couple of city blocks roped off. It didn’t appear as though it was triggered by an accident as far as I could tell. I noticed the other patrons suddenly became quite excited as they leaned in to get a better view of what was causing the sudden activity. It only took a second when I looked up and saw this happening in front of my eyes.
A helicopter carrying a huge steel beam to a building that was under construction or renovation. The building was just to the left and out of sight of the frame. What an impressive feat for this pilot to carefully negotiate time and time again on a Saturday morning. I grew up in a small rural town in Oregon, so this is darn impressive and the reason I took the photo. I have spent plenty of time in big cities, but it isn’t often you get to see such masterful and rather unique activity just down the street.
After a few minutes watching the helicopter, it was time to organize my day and figure out my food plan. I had almost considered not doing anything besides sitting around and enjoying beverages all day. Did I mention it was 32 degrees outside? I was so happy to be Chicago for such amazing spring weather. Fortunately or unfortunately, I decided to head out and check out more of the city. Even though it was colder outside than I hoped, the fact the sun was out and the sky was brilliantly blue made my desire to roam the city even stronger.
I decided to go check out the Chicago River and experience what I had only seen in photos. My first thought looking out over the river was that the river was greener than a bunch of a kale less than month before.
This is one of my favorite pictures of my trip. The sun reflecting off the water and looking up into blue sky just makes this a really spectacular view. What I love is that so many of these amazing views are easily within walking distance from downtown Chicago. I remember I stood here to take in the beauty long after I had taken the photo. In addition, you could both tourist boats and ships pass by, which gave the river a real sense of energy and purpose.
I ended up walking around a little more around the heart the of the city, but I was ready to eat and have a beverage to take the chill away. I decided to walk back towards the area of my hotel and just stop wherever it struck my fancy. After a couple of minutes I settled on a place to warm up, which was Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse. Although this wasn’t on my list, like a sci fi tractor beam, I was drawn in and there was no turning back. It was early in the day so the restaurant and bar were very quiet. The place represented what I would think of a high end steakhouse. It was a fine dining atmosphere but clearly intended to be inviting to the most causal of diners. I sat at the bar and ordered something to drink. The staff was incredibly friendly, pleasant, and you really got the sense that they cared. They offered me a lunch and appetizer menu, which I looked over, but wasn’t sure what I wanted. While chatting with the bartender for a few minutes and telling him about my mission to eat my way through Chicago he made a few suggestions off the menu. I didn’t want a full entree so we talked about some of the appetizers as an option. He mentioned this garlic bread with some stunning blue cheese fondue sauce and some incredible bacon they get from a small purveyor in Wisconsin. No surprise here, but I had to order them both because they sounded amazing.
This was absolutely as good as it looked. The garlic bread was crispy, crunchy, soft in the middle, and had a subtle but present flavor of garlic throughout. Now, I have never been a big blue cheese fan, but this fondue sauce was mind bending! It was rich, creamy with just a gentle hint of blue cheese. The beauty of this sauce was the blue cheese didn’t over power but helped cut through some of the richness with a little bite. This, by the way, is the half order of the garlic bread. If you ordered the full order it would easily be enough for two people to share.
Then there was bacon. Bacon. This was some of the best bacon I’ve ever had. It was perfectly cooked, had the right amount of smoke, and the maple was a great way to offset the salty, smokey quality of the bacon. Plus, the bacon was thick so it had a nice bite and felt substantial as you took each bite. It was topped off with a little basil oil and a bit of watercress. It really made for the perfect combo. This bacon was also a half order. I remember distinctly not being able to get either of these dishes out of my mind. Even though I was full, I really wanted to keep eating and eating. Don’t despair, I made sure that no morsel was left behind. I was also surprised to hear how much the steakhouse touted that this bacon came from a family farm and they only worked with a select number of restaurants in the Chicago area. I found it so refreshing to think that a steakhouse like this was taking time to make sure they were using such quality ingredients. Especially because the food community is becoming more aware of where their food is coming from and how it is being handled and processed.
I had one other thought as I began to gather up and prepare to head back into the cold. It dawned on me that the making of the perfect hangover breakfast sandwich lay at hand. Lay a few pieces of bacon on one piece of garlic bread, drizzle some of the fondue sauce over the bacon, and place another piece of garlic bread on top. Boom! I mean, what more could you want from a breakfast sandwich?? I suppose it could use an egg in some fashion. Could you imagine a fried egg or some soft scrambled eggs nestled on top of the bacon to keep the garlic bread from getting soggy? Com’on Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse, best brunch sandwich ever!! What are you waiting for?? Speaking of that, if you are in the area, go there! This turned out to be an unexpected diamond and one that is worth the trip!!
Stay tuned for more of my Chicago food adventures coming soon! In fact, my dinner experience was so epic that it must have it’s own post!!!