Girls Trip to Chicago – Budget Friendly

Even though I live here in Chicago, I’m going to write this blog as a “Trip Plan”… This should give some ideas to anyone planning a Girls Weekend in Chicago! Some of my closest girlfriends from my hometown of Detroit headed to Chicago to hang out for the 4th of July. We had a wonderful time! I did my best to expose them to restaurants and events that were Chicago-specific.
Wednesday – Chiquita arrives first and we head over to a spot that I had never heard of, called Sangria. I had a cousin in town that I had never met, so she and I went to this restaurant/bar/club to meet up with he and his friends. The DJ was pretty good, the crowd was surprisingly thick for a Wednesday night and there were plenty of nice men there (not that either of us is looking, right?). LOL! It actually sounds like a cool spot and I’m looking forward to going back for a meal!
Thursday – Chiquita decided to head over to Connie’s Pizza for lunch and then when April arrives late that evening and we head up to Wicker Park/Bucktown to one of my favorite spots (that I’ve mentioned before) – Salud Tequila Lounge. Thursday nights are $1-$2-$3 appetizer nights, so we each got a drink (the drinks there are good and strong) and a couple of appetizers for dinner. Totaled about $15 each. Not bad at all!
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Friday – We started the day at Chicago’s Home of Chicken and Waffles. The food there is excellent! Up next?? What else – SHOPPING!!! We went up and down Michigan Ave shopping and snapping photos until Reina arrived on her journey from Detroit. We also caught a glimpse of NBA star Tayshaun Prince browsing the Bentleys at the dealership in Gold Coast (see last pic)
We hopped the truck with Reina and headed to Cafe Iberico in River North. I have a few standard recommendations to share with you : THE WHITE SANGRIA!!!! You have to start with a glass (or pitcher) of the sangria. I also love the QUESO DE CABRA (baked goat cheese), CROQUETAS DE POLLO (Chicken and ham puffs), GAMBAS AL AJILLO (grilled garlic shrimp) and JAMON IBERICO (seared ham and manchego cheese). I absolutely love that place… food was less than $25 each.
Up next? A quick trip to change our clothing and head over to Pole Dancing Class at Flirty Girl Fitness… The “drop-in” classes are $25/person and last an hour. Sorry boys, I will only post the “before” pics 😉 I’ll just say it was TONS OF FUN!
Afterwards, we had dinner at Carbon (pronounced like car-bone), a local spot that I like to refer to as an “upgraded Chipotle”. The concept is the same (build your own burritos or tacos) but the quality is superb. Cooked to order, freshly made salsas and sides and most importantly (and HIGHLY recommended) are the Tilapia tacos!! I eat here very regularly and bring everyone I know to this spot for some good, quick Mexican food. Food and drink about $10/person. Still awake, we dressed and went out to watch “Bobby” and his friends perform a hip hop set at a club near downtown. We were on the list and got in free. The music, aside from their hip hop set, was mostly techno and electronic. Not really any of our style so we didn’t stay very long, but still managed to have some fun! We hoped to make it over to Shrine but most of the girls were pretty tired by the time we left.
Saturday – We skipped breakfast and decided to venture out to the Taste of Chicago. As this was my fourth trip to the Taste in one week, I already knew exactly which foods I wanted! We ran into my dad and step-mom there, but I won’t post the pics because it was raining and somebody had a shower cap on to protect their “do” from the rain! LOL!! After the Taste, we decided to get out State Street shopping fix! Filene’s Basement, Nordstrom Rack and Macy’s were key points. By then, we were ready for a snack, and despite the rain and slight coolness, I had to suggest my favorite snack spot in Chicago – Berry Chill. The frozen yogurt here is soooo good, and good for you!!! This is a pic I took a while back of the one time I ventured away from my usual. I got an original with Thin  Mints, Samoas and strawberries…. Not a good combination. My favorite combo is original yogurt with strawberries, blueberries and coconut shavings!
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Next stop? Three Peas Art Lounge in South Loop. A couple of months ago, I attended an event at Three Peas and was introduced to their signature drink – the Peach Cobbler Martini. I bragged to my girls about how good it was all weekend and finally they would get the chance to try it. One martini, turned into 3 martinis plus a few shots and some new friends! We finished the night with dinner at Bar Louie in Hyde Park and we had all crashed and fell asleep by 11PM!
Sunday – Can’t have everyone leaving Chicago without a proper breakfast send off. We met up with my dad, step-mom and “Bobby” for brunch at Wishbone, a popular, Louisiana-style restaurant. I ordered my usual – the Shrimp and Grits. ITS SO GOOD!!!
All in all, we had a wonderful trip and I can’t wait for them to visit again!

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