Thursday, May 29, 2014

{Vacation Recap} Memorial Day Weekend 2014 with Kris & Gabe

I have a lot of fun things coming up so really better stay on top of this blogging thing!  Up next:  Memorial Day which felt a lot like a stay-cation.  I love it when people come to visit!

My sister-in-law/longtime friend and her boyfriend found great tix so flew up to spend the long weekend with us.  We were super stoked that they were coming and spent a lot of time laying out where we should go while they were here.  Tom was especially great at securing tickets and reservations and all of us kept an eye on the weather as you just never know with Chicago...

They came in that afternoon but we still had to work, so didn't see them until dinner time. We hit a great Italian place in our neighborhood that was new to us called Leonardo's. It's really easy to miss as it's north of the heart of Andersonville, but the food was fantastic.

The next day, they headed downtown to meet Tom for lunch while I worked from home.  I met them after I was done at the Wit Rooftop and we quickly headed to Zed451 to take advantage of their rooftop as well.

The drinks were great and we even convinced beer obsessed Gabe to try their bourbon lemonade and...he liked it!  You saw it here first, folks.  Alas, he didn't like any other bourbon drinks we sent his way over the weekend. Tom's objective for the trip was to take him outside his comfort zone, and I think he succeeded.

probably the only sighting of Gabe drinking bourbon ever

We were going to try Big Star for dinner, but it was a bit too chilly at that point to take advantage of their courtyard.  We decided on The Southern instead which was a great choice.  Tom and I have only ever hit their bar before, and we were definitely missing out.  

Not too far away is one of our favorite cocktail lounges, The Violet Hour which we decided to try as it was still early.  I loved the look of surprise on their faces as we headed towards what looked to be a boarded up restaurant (complete with graffiti/artwork - which always changes by the way):


Once inside, we waited a few minutes in a small dark, concrete hallway (where I can only assume they were wondering what kind of place we dragged them too).  However the payoff was worth it.  After walking through 2 sets of velvet curtains, we were greeted by this:

and this:
and this:


We settled into a cozy booth to enjoy a few (STRONG) cocktails before calling it a night.

The next morning we got up bright and early to hit Top Golf in the burbs with our crew.  Gabe is as crazy about Golf as Tom is so we were super excited to show them what it was like.   Kris's goal was to at least make contact with the ball and she definitely succeeded in that department.   We had a blast and I loved catching up with Nikki and her family as well as Calem and April.

We all recovered (naps were involved) at our respective houses and then reconvened in Greek Town for dinner at Greek Islands.  The meal was delish as always but the majority of us had tummy troubles after which made Tom and I re-think our plan to take Gram and Gramp there for lunch on Monday. Nicole's family headed home due to the little one, but the rest of us hit Andersonville for some drinks and to catch the end of the Hawk's game at Jerry's.

The next day, the guys headed out to play golf in the 'burbs with Calem while Kris and I slept in. Our plan was to rent Divvyy Bikes and hit the Lake Path, but unfortunately, the station at Berywn was broken. It was a gorgeous day and we wanted to stay outside so we decided to hoof it.   We ended up walking and talking forever and covered somewhere between 8 and 9 miles!   We then took a de-tour on the way back to grab some (much deserved) Forever Yogurt.  The boys met us there and we all headed back to get some rest and get ready for our big night out. 

We had reservations at Chicago Q in Old Town and tix for the mainstage at The Second City (for anyone not aware, The Second City is where people like Tina Fey, Chris Farelly, Billy Murray, Steven Colbert, Steve Carrell, John Candy, etc etc etc -pretty much everyone on SNL or the Daily Show -  got their start).  We hit Old Town Social for some cocktails and apps (they have seriously great fries) before heading to dinner.

Calem was out of town at that point, but April was game to join us for BBQ.  We had some of the best Mint Juleps ever at the Q (seriously - it looked like a snow cone and it made me wish all snow cones came with the option of adding bourbon syrup...), and oddly enough, some really tasty alligator (this Florida gang couldn't pass it up).  We left stuffed and headed to the show.

The tix were sold out, but we convinced April to come with and see if there were any no-shows. We got her on a waitlist and somehow it worked out and they let her in (I might have told the gentleman that she could easily just sit on my lap...).  The show was hysterical as always and I think they really enjoyed it.

Just when we thought the evening was over, Tom took us on a wild run through Old Town until he could locate this small piano bar called The Zebra Lounge.  He's been wanting to take me there for a while so this was as good a night as any.  After shutting the place down (and making friends with a guy who has mastered sleeping standing up), we headed home.  Unbeknownst to everyone, the big guy who followed us out of the piano bar singing "My Girl" (with us singing right long), was apparently holding hands with Gabe the whole time.  I have a feeling that doesn't happen too often back in Panama City.

greasy hair, dont care

this looks about right

Somehow, we all made it out of bed in time to straighten the place up a bit before Gram and Gramp arrived.   Everyone was super excited to catch up with them.  We decided to risk tummy troubles again, by taking them to Greek Islands because we knew they'd love it, and there's really nothing quite like it in the city.  It was a great choice and thankfully as good as ever!  We split a couple bottles of wine, ate way too much flaming cheese and just enjoyed catching up with them.   After too short of a time, we had to see them off :(

We spent the rest of our vacation sipping wine and watching the Bachelorette which was a nice treat.  Normally we text Tom's family during the viewing (we pick 2 names before the season starts),  so it was great having some of the family there with us while we watched our picks (ok, MY pick) get eliminated.  

Kris and Gabe showed us a good time!  I'm sure everyone's wallets are hurting, but it was definitely worth it.  I can't wait for them to come back and am super excited to see the rest of the family in a few short weeks.




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