Chicago: American breakfasts and steaks. Delicious!
Following to what I explained you in Part 1…
The second day in Chicago, still with a little bit of hangover because of the flight and because I didn’t sleep very well, I took advantage that I could not sleep anymore to work a little more in the presentation of FACE JOVEN. We agreed to meet with the rest of the team at around 9am in the morning – 4pm in Spain – to go to take breakfast at restaurant that the other technicians recommended to us, a restaurant that was open 24 hours: Tempo Café at number 6 E Chestnut Street. Honestly, a restaurant that opens 24 hours was not the best choice for me, but as they told me that I could eat the typical American breakfast (eggs with bacon and gallons of orange juice), I wanted to try! As soon as we were seated, they brought us a piece of orange with a plum… I did not eat that… afterwards, they came with the menus, a three-full-page menu (front and back), and American-sized pages haha! And… as it usually happens… I was wrong! I love to be wrong on this behalf! As soon as I told the waitress about my gluten free diet, she told me not to worry and that they would prepare everything and that she would bring me gluten-free toasts. I could not start the day in a better way!
After breakfast – that actually took us a while to eat such amount of food – we took a taxi directly to the exhibition to finish the stand set up. The ride was quite entertaining … lots of cars – all huge – super wide streets, buildings that did not fit into the phone camera, the Trump Tower, the Cloud Gate (the famous Chicago shiny bean) in the middle of Millenium Park, and, leaving the center, small houses, everything with less maintenance, much less people, less activity and everything dirtier. Anyway … I guess like in all the big cities, right?
As we had to stands to finish, we had to work double, so we split the team in order to be faster. At two o’clock, we had finished the first stand and went to take lunch. Normally at exhibitions it is very difficult to find gluten-free food, but this time I was lucky because right next to the venue there is the Hyatt McCormick Hotel, that has a couple of restaurants and, in the one called Shor, I already knew they had gluten free – I was there two years ago. So I went to eat there with two other Area Sales Managers. This was the worst meal I had at the show because the waitress told me that they did not have gluten free bread – and they did have. This is another topic I treat in another post – and they served the burger with no bun… it was okay and, with the two sales guys was even better as they did the military service in the same military base, and they couldn’t stop telling old stories haha!
After lunch, we went to finish the second stand and, around 5:00 p.m. – 24 hours in Spain – we took a taxi back to the hotel to take advantage of the little time that was left in the afternoon to go to do some shopping … in addition, I had a serious mission. I had to find some items that are not sold in Spain… and Chan Chan! And as expected, the traffic at that time was horrible so, once we passed the river, we left our Indian taxi driver, who believed that in Spain we speak French, and we continued walking along the Michigan Avenue until the hotel. In fact the sidewalk was as crowded as the road, but it was nice to walk on hard ground, since we had spent the day walking on carpet and our backs were a bit painful… and the worse was about to come…
That day our boss arrived and he asked us to go to take dinner a bit earlier, so we canceled the reservation at Fogo da Chão, a Brazilian steak house located at 661 N LaSalle Street where they serve really great meat… Awesome! It’s a great place to go because just at the entrance you have a pork roasting, right at the entrance! Then, you sit down and you see something that does not fit with the decoration of the restaurant: a green coaster and, on the other side, is red… hmmmm… that’s the sign for the waiter. There you do not need to know any spoken language. If it is green, you get more meat, which they bring warm in a kind of “swords” and they cut it in pieces until you say enough. If it is red it only means two things: a) that you are eating and at the moment you do not want any more; b) that you cannot eat anymore hahaha … pussy! Buuut, we did not go there haha … We went to Peet’s Coffee & Tea, another restaurant located between the hotel and the Tempo Café, where we had breakfast. There I did the same, I asked for the gluten free menu and, even though they brought me a small paper, there were enough dishes to please anyone. As a curiosity, the menu was not for celiacs, it was for “gluten sensitive people”. I do not have any pictures of this dinner, only one of the menu, because they so long to bring the food – like an hour and a half – that, as soon as they put it onto the table, we almost jump over it…
With the learning we had the day before about the big portions they usually serve, we only order a main course and put different side dishes in the middle. In order to avoid cross-contamination, I ordered a separate side dish. After dinner we took a walk to not go to sleep with a full stomach, and we ended up in front of a shop full of Maserati, Bugatti, Ferrari, Porsche and Bentleys – that’s the proof that we were in a wealthy area – and after dreaming for a while, we went back to sleep. The next day we were supposed to be at 7:00 am at the stand to meet with the other Operating Companies of the group …
Since we had to be so early in the booth, that day I did not have breakfast to be able to sleep a little longer. As I brought some gluten-free cookies from Spain, I ate a pack on the way to the venue. That day was exhausting, like every fair day! But it was also very entertaining and interesting. In addition, I met a former colleague from when I used to work at Dr. Schär Italy. I did not expect to meet anyone I know on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean haha! The world is very small! Being the first day of show – and Sunday! – at lunchtime there were not many people coming in, so I went to eat with my office-mate. That day there was gluten free bread, so I ordered another burger with gluten free bun… great!
When the show closed its doors to visitors, we went back to the hotel by bus, but we missed our stop and had to walk almost 20 minutes haha… exhausted and with our backs destroyed… that was a hard walk! When we arrived to the hotel, we took one hour to recover, and even though we were supposed to be 6 for dinner, two of them decided not to eat dinner… so, me and the other three people left, decided to take a drink at the Signature Lounge, on the 97th floor of the Hancock Tower. There we behaved as real tourists… as we went as close as possible from the windows to look outside, and take pictures, of course! This is one of those places I would like to go with Isabel… a good reason to come back to Chicago! When we got back to the ground floor, another colleague decided to go back to sleep, skipping dinner, so the three of us left, we decided to go to Ditka’s, next door to the hotel as well, at 100 E Chestnut Street, where I ate a fillet mignon with smashed sweet potatoes that was delicious. In Chicago it’s very easy! At least, in all the restaurants I went to, I had no problem to eat gluten free. Right after dinner, no matter what time it was in Spain, we were ready to go to sleep…
To see the pictures of the trip, click here.
In general, you will find a gluten free menú in almost all restaurants of Chicago. If you are looking for a gluten free pizza, you can go to D’Agostino’s Pizza & Pub, you will find it at:
– 752 Nord Ogden Avenue (606242).
– 1351 wes Addison Street (60657).
BY CLICKING ON THE MAP OF GLUTEN FREE RESTAURANTS YOU FILL SEE ALL RESTAURANTS WE DESCRIBED IN THIS POST LOCATED IN THE MAP OF GLUTEN-FREE PLACES:
P.S.: Please keep in mind that in this blog I share my trips, anecdotes and experiences about gluten free travel around the world. It is possible that, in any of my trips, I go to some restaurant not trained by the associations where the risk of being contaminated with gluten exists. I kindly ask you to also take into account that the list of references can change. Please, always double check before eating in the restaurants we recommend. Thank you very much!
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