Monday, September 3, 2018

Weekend Recap: A Quick Trip to Chicago and Beloit

A couple of weekends ago Ben and I took to the skies to visit friends in Chicago, Illinois and Beloit, Wisconsin. We flew out Friday afternoon and landed at Midway International Airport with intentions of making the most of a quick trip. Our reason for visiting the midwest was to celebrate the wedding of our friends, Ryan and Alaina. The two actually got married last year with two intimate ceremonies. This past weekend friends and family were invited out for a stand alone reception to celebrate the newlyweds. If you ask me, it’s actually a brilliant idea. Ceremonies are amazing and beautiful, tear-jerking and give me all of the fuzzy feels - but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t sitting in every wedding ceremony crowd waiting for the party to follow. 

After arriving in Chicago, we caught the train and rode over to our friend Bryce’s place. Shortly after dropping our bags, the three of us ventured out for a place to spend our Friday night. That place ended up being Lagunita’s Brewing Company. It turns out that this brewery is just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the famous Shameless house. Naturally we made a pit stop so I could see if the Gallaghers were home. I (overly) enjoyed my 15 seconds of fangirling before we made our way to Lagunita’s for some Friday night brews.

Lagunita’s brewery is unlike any brewery I’ve ever seen before.

You walk into this warehouse-sized building and you’re immediately in a blacklight hallway with the Willy Wonka theme song playing. It’s trippy, but incredibly cool. After the stretch of blacklights end, you head upstairs into the actual serving room. Bryce, Ben and I grabbed a round of beers then walked out into the Lagunita’s production room. As soon as you walk out, you’re on elevated walkways. Essentially your above all of the beer production magic happening below you. The space is gigantic. There’s a ton to “ooooh” and “ahhhhh” at as you’re walking around and sipping your beer.

Once our personal walking tour was over, the boys and I went back inside to one of the lounge areas to catch up. I enjoyed a Pineapple sour that Lagunita’s had on tap, as well as their “one hitter” brew Cherry Jane. The Pineapple one was my favorite. Ben really enjoyed their A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin Ale.

We wrapped up our evening at Lagunita’s when we realized it was 9PM and we still hadn’t had dinner yet. Hashtag starving. Bryce took Ben and I to one of his favorite spots - The Roost Carolina Kitchen.

Each of us ordered their Nashville hot chicken sandwich. I had mine with cucumber coleslaw to help cool the spice down. I also ordered a side of The Roost’s Mac and Cheese. It was MACnificent - creamy and savory. I loved every bite.

To end the night on a sweet note, the three of us went to Jeni's Ice Cream. Their creamy ice creams never fail my sweet tooth. It was a perfect end to our "welcome back to Chicago" evening of events. 

We spent Saturday road tripping to Beloit, Wisconsin. My only mission in Wisconsin (aside from celebrating the love of our friends) was to find cheese curds. The hotel that we stayed at was conveniently located right next to a place called Jersey’s. Jersey’s also conveniently had cheese curds on their menu. I was a happy gal. Jersey’s also had a VERY decent reuben that I couldn’t finish because I was full from said cheese curds. 

Ryan and Alaina’s reception was a blast. There was pizza, dueling pianos, and tons of dancing. Have you ever been to a dueling piano bar? I’ve never ever been to one. It was such a cool element to their reception. I definitely want to find a dueling piano bar to visit in Tampa Bay. If you have any recommendations - let a girl know.

Sunday was spent recovering and driving back to Chicago to fly home. I’m normally not obsessive over airport food, but it’s worth mentioning that the Big and Little’s at Midway had fantastic tacos. I tried the al pastor taco, ahi tuna taco, and their cucumber cilantro taco. I don’t have a bad thing to say about any of them. I loved the “Special Sauce”, a chili aioli, that came on the al pastor tacos. 10/10 would opt to eat dinner their again the next time we fly out of Midway.

Ben and I were happy to make it home Sunday night. It was a late landing (after midnight - so I guess technically it was Monday AM). There’s always something about coming home to your own bed that puts a smile on your face no matter how late it is. We picked Nashy up on Monday from the puppy camp he stayed at over the weekend. He was as happy to see us as we were to see him. Love that dog so dang much. 

Wisconsin is on our list again to visit this year! We’ll be back up there in October for another friend’s wedding in Madison. I’m already dreaming about the cheese curds I’ll have while we’re there. Give me all of your Madison recs if you have ‘em! Best cheese curds, things to see and do while we’re there, etc. Ben and I are tacking on an extra day to our trip for exploring.

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