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To&From CHICAGO Your first visit

Hey, Chicago!

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Chicago via Instagram

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Hey, Chicago!

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WITHIN THESE PAGES

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YOUR FIRST TIME IN CHI-TOWN

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HOW THEY GO•GO•GO

You’re here. Now what? Suggestions on things to see and do.

An interview with the ladies behind Chicago blog GO•GO•GO

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Editor’s Letter Hungry for Chicago The Art of Giving


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Pulling It Together Dinner at Girl and the Goat Book It! Hey, Chicago!

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I LOVE THIS TOWN 8

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I make no secret of the fact that I love Chicago. I was born and raised in here, so I get this city (as well as the suburbs....oh yes, I do know the suburbs all too well) and love it for all it has to offer. Recently, my husband and I drove up to the north side and were fantasizing about winning the lottery (hey, it could happen!). I realize that many people have dreams about traveling and buying an island. While those would also be my short-list goals, I don’t think I could do without a Chicago property. I love this place and will always call it home. [Even with the crazy cold winters!] So with that, I give you the Chicago issue... XO, Diana diana@toandfrommag.com

High above the city [on the Ledge of the Sears Willis Tower’s 103rd floor Skydeck].

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Hungry for Chicago If you’re in town and feeling a bit stuffed from the culinary offerings, consider taking a few items home with you to enjoy later.

Pizza to go?

Sort of. Most of the popular deep-dish establishments ship their pizzas throughout the country. You could place in an order and have it delivered to your door by the time you get home. [What’s not to love about this?]

Cupcake Wars. A lot of people say they’re over the cupcake trend. Visit any of the cupcake places in Chicago, and it’ll tell another story. You have several places to choose from, and while many of them don’t originate in Chicago, Molly’s Cupcakes (2536 N Clark Street) does.

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P.S.To&From If you like peanut butter, get the Ron Bennington.


Mix it up. Garrett Popcorn is where it’s at. Make sure you get the Chicago Mix, and then pack it securely in your suitcase to avoid finishing up the entire bag. It’ll be worth it when you get home where you can enjoy those last few bites of Chicago.

Get your buzz on. Nothing beats a good morning buzz, and getting yours is both nice and smooth with Intelligentsia. If it’s your thing, check out the company’s website for information on weekend factory tours. [Bonus: You get free coffee on the tour AND get to go home with a free bag of beans!]

Yum yum yum....

Get your drink on too. Craft beer is seriously business in Chicago, and Half Acre [4257 N. Lincoln Ave ] is a big player. If you can’t make it out to its Lincoln Square location, you’ll most likely find Half Acre on draft at any respectable city bar. Try it!

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THE ART OF GIVING Some of the best souvenirs that the Art Institute has to offer. [But nothing, of course, is as good as perusing the museum gift shop in person!]

Edward Hopper Nighthawks Poster, $28

Lion Bookend, $125

Monet note cube set, $36

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An annual membership, starting at $90 [Support the arts!]

Buddha statue, $100

Set of 4 Frank Lloyd Wright coasters, $28

Mug, $9.95

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The Modern Wing at the Art Institute of Chicago Hey, Chicago!

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PULLING IT TOGETHER An effortless outfit that’s fitting for the last few days of a Chicago summer. :(

A Thursday evening at Argyle Market

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A scarf for all seasons!

‘Shadow Stripe’ Wrap, $38

Just a simple item from Ruche, but truthfully, I’d buy out the entire website if I could.

Forever 21 Pretty-Tough Braided Bracelet, $12.80

Audition Button-Back Blouse In Coral, $28.99

Ann Taylor Seacoast sunglasses, $88

The most comfortable shorts in the world! Merona® Nubuck Crossbody Bag - Olive, $24.99

JCrew 4” Chino Shorts, $45

You know this will be overstuffed almost immediately! TOMS Ash Calypso Canvas Women’s Wedges, $69

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Suggestions for the first-time visitor

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TEXT & PHOTOGRAPHS BY DIANA NGUYEN


C

ity

Like anything else, everyone has an opinion on what first-time visitors should do when coming to Chicago. I’m a simple person. And I like to start with the basics, so here is a list of starting points for your consideration.... Hey, Chicago!

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The ledge!

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get high

Willis Tower. Sears Tower. That big tall building. Whatever you call the city’s highest point, make sure you come and see the 1,451-foot tall skyscraper. But don’t just enjoy the view from the ground level. Head to the Skydeck and experience it first hand. And if you’re brave enough, step out onto The Ledge [pictured left]. You can do it! If you have time: Visit the Signature Room Lounge on the 96th floor of the John Hancock Building for another sky-high view. Come in the evening to admire in the city’s night lights. You might just forget about the $15 cocktail sitting in front of you.

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“The Lake”

AKA Lake Michigan. There is a lot of life here! Locals come and use the path to run and bike. If you’re more of a sunbather, you’ll be in good company at North Avenue Beach. Hey, Chicago!

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Millennium Park

Come here to get your feet wet between the Crowning Fountain Towers [pictured opposite]; capture your reflection on Cloud Gate [or “The Bean”] and if there’s a concert going on, bring a picnic and relax in the lawn area of the Pavilion [pictured above].

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The Art Institute

Since you’re already at Millennium Park, take the bridge leading from the south end of the park directly to the Modern Wing of the Museum. If the weather is nice, check out the statue in the Pavilion [he’s one of my favorites].

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Go Cubs!* Enjoy America’s favorite past time with the always-hopeful Chicago Cubs. If you can swing it, get bleacher seats, but technically, you don’t have to go to the game to support the team. You should, however, be in the neighborhood on game day. (There are plenty of bars to choose from in Wrigleyville.) *Apologies to Sox fans. 28

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Navy Pier Perhaps this a tourist trap, but Navy Pier is a great place to relax and explore a beautiful afternoon (the evening hours are also a great time to come by) for food, drinks and an impromptu boat ride. If you have 7-minutes to spare, take a ride on the Ferris Wheel.

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Lincoln Park Zoo The city’s free zoo. Come here for the animals. And when you’re done, you have the adjacent Garfield Park Observatory and (beautiful!) Gardens to explore. The neighborhood of Lincoln Park is also a popular area with many restaurants and bars to choose from. 32

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For a good laugh Come here. There are other comedy clubs all of which are worth checking out. But this is the original.

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An evening Stroll If the weather allows for it, leave your hotel room and explore the downtown area when the sky turns dark. [But stick with the busy areas.] If it happens to lead you into a bar, well, all the better!

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Small Bites, Big Tastes: Dinner at Girl and

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d the Goat TEXT & PHOTOGRAPHS BY DIANA NGUYEN

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BEET SALAD

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tephanie Izard is a wellknown name in and out of Chicago from her stint on Top Chef and owning the wildly popular Girl & the Goat restaurant. Getting a Friday or Saturday night reservation here is something that’s done months in advanced. (Rumor has it that you can walk up on a weeknight without waiting. But that’s a rumor I have yet to experience for myself.) I made mine three months prior for my husband, my out-of-town brother and me for a Friday night in July. I’ll never believe that the wait for a restaurant - ANY restaurant - is worth it, but I will say this about GATC: sometimes your pa-

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tience will pay off. We were seated at a table next to an out-of-town couple who were moaning over the beet salad that had just arrived at their table. “Order it,” the woman said to me as I perused the menu. After a 10 minute discussion with my dinner mates on what to order [everything comes in small plates], we placed in our order and took in the busy environment. (So busy, that my brother and I saw an old family friend dining a few tables away night.) Almost immediately though, our first plate came out - the recommended beet salad. Yum. And then bread and butter. While bread and butter is something that you expect on the


BUDINO FOR DESSERT.

GOAT EMPANADAS

table, it’s not the case here. At GATC, you order it and then enjoy every last bite. And then wonder if it was possibly the best thing on the menu (it’s still something we discuss). After that, the octopus, escargot ravioli, green garlic potato wontons, goat empanads (the best dish of the night, in my opinion), grilled baby octopus, ham frites and pig face (recommended!) followed. I wanted to push the repeat button on our meal. And then there was dessert. The three of us shared a miso-butterscotch budino, which I can only describe as a gourmet butterscotch ice cream topped

with bacon toffee and candied cashews. Heavenly. (Next time, I’m getting my own!) Stephanie, unfortunately, was not in the kitchen that night. “I think she snuck out and went across the street [at her other restaurant The Little Goat],” our waitress said. “What car does she drive?” I asked, deadpanned. She laughed and replied, “You know, I think she’d think it was cool if someone waited for her by her car.” If I was that person, I would have waited. But I’m not. (Stalking is never a good idea!) So I’ll say it now: Stephanie, you have a good thing going here. [And baaaaa for now!]

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“At GATC, you order [the bread & butter] and then enjoy every last bite.”

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Second Servings.

Obviously there’s more than just GATC in Chicago. Proof (well, suggestions): Pizza. Let’s get this one out of the way. I’m going to say that I like Lou Malnati’s when I’m ordering in for the night and Pequod’s when I’m eating out. (Or if you don’t mind leaving city limits, there’s Burt’s Place in Morton Grove.) But for the deep-dish virgins who need the experience, try Gino’s East or Pizzeria Uno (or its tagteam restaurant Pizzeria Due, which is across the street). Cafe Iberico. OR CafeBa-Ba-Reba. This one is for the tapas fans! Cafe Iberico is near the downtown area and worth going to. However, if you’re venturing over to Lincoln Park, stop at Cafe BaBa-Reba for the sangria, bacon-wrapped dates and patatas bravas. ¡Muy delicioso!

Hot Doug’s. Along with pizza, you’re also in Chicago for the hot dogs, right? A bit north of downtown, people go nuts for Hot Doug’s - an “Encased Meat Emporium” and the line is quite telling. There’s always one around the block, so get here early. (And get the duck fat fries if you’re coming on Friday or Saturday!) Chinatown. Come for the weekend dim sum at Phoenix. If you’re not into morning dumplings, come to the area in later in the day and try Evergreen. [My typical order: baby bok choy in garlic; clams in black bean sauce, beef fried rice and Szechuan green beans.] Alinea. If you’re here for a special occasion, just do it. Hey, Chicago!

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HOW WE

Go•Go•Go

PHOTOGRAPHS BY GO•GO•GO CHICAGO PHOTOGRAPHS BY DIANA NGUYEN

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hey call Chicago their home and often blog about their discoveries about the city and beyond. Here, the ladies behind Go•Go•Go share their thoughts on their past travels as well as their favorite Chicago hotspots. So...how would you describe Go•Go•Go? We post a combination of place-based material that includes personal essays, photography, recipes, tips and advice. When did you get the travel bug? Claire [left]: My parents threw me and my sister in the back of a car when we were kids and hauled us around the country. If that doesn’t scare you off, you’d love it. Where did your last trip take you? Claire: Spain and Morocco. Laura [left]: Our last long trip was New York City and West Point, with a stop in New Jersey. Why did you pick these locations? Claire: Eleven years ago, when I took my fist trip to Europe, I wanted to go to Spain and Morocco, but I didn’t have the money. So finally I was able to go.

Laura: My husband and I met in art school, so our trips usually involve museums. There were some shows we wanted to see in New York, so we went up there and managed to visit some friends at the same time. What did you enjoy most about it? Claire: The orange trees in Seville, and getting to check off another continent. Laura: Visiting New York City is like being on a giant movie set. The city has a lot of energy and so much to do. What did you like least about it? Claire: Getting sort of kidnapped in Tangier and going on the longest, most stressful taxi ride of my life. Laura: Crosstown traffic is the worst thing ever. What was the best thing you ate? Claire: Grilled vegetables in the night market at Jemaa el-Fna, which seemed really simple but was very delicious. Laura: We had so many good meals--Korean, Italian, German. We had a list of cheap good restaurants that we followed almost religiously and were never disappointed. Any advice for those planning the same trip? Laura: Know your limitations on what you want to spend, and do your research. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment in New York and end up splurging on everything, and then having buyer’s remorse.

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East cost love! Clockwise from left: Brooklyn Botanical Garden; Ferris Wheel; The White Bridge on the Vanderbilt Mansion grounds; Central Park (opposite)

What do you typically travel with? Claire: Welcome mat (but only when camping). In general, as little as possible.

we don’t have cable so watching TV in hotel rooms is both novel and a validation for why we don’t have it.

Laura: I like to keep my hands free so I try to always bring a backpack instead of a suitcase.

Are there on-the-road beauty products or secrets you swear by? Claire: No. (There are no at-home beauty products I swear by either!)

How do you spend your time on long flights? Claire: Miserably, avoiding the elbow of the person next to me. Unless you’re flying Air Iberia, because they never sell out their flights so you can spread out. Laura: I read. Getting to read even more than usual is part of my vacation. Do you have any travel habits? Claire: I wake up early and get coffee (no Starbucks allowed). Laura: I like to get started early-ish. My husband and I usually like to chill out in the evenings, because it is vacation after all. Plus

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Laura: Travel flat iron. So since this is the Chicago issue, I gotta ask....What do you love most about this city? Claire: It’s a very livable place. It’s home, and it’s always felt like home. Laura: It’s not Ohio. How do you feel about the summers here? Claire: Good? Laura: I grew up in St. Louis, so they seem pretty mild to me.


“Visiting New York City is like being on a giant movie set.� Hey, Chicago!

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And how about winter? [Have to ask!] Claire: It’s not that bad. It’s a badge of honor to survive it. Laura: I think it’s manageable as long as you take it seriously. Get yourself the proper gear and you’ll be fine. What is the best souvenir you’ve ever bought? Claire: The necklace that I bartered for in Istanbul. I got the whole experience--the chatter, the endless cups of strong tea, the back and forth prices. Laura: A map from Boston. My husband left it on the bus on our way to the airport. The best souvenir I actually have is an owl mug from Chinatown. What’s the most lost you’ve ever been on a trip? Claire: Budapest. I was sick and I wandered off the end of my tourist map, into the docks area. Laura: We got fairly lost in Boston but not catastrophically so. When I was a teenager with a giant group of teenagers we got lost in Paris because all the buildings look the same. What is the thing you were most excited about on a trip that you were disappointed by? Claire: I spent more than a decade getting excited about going to Marrakech, and then I felt so hassled and hounded while I was there that I couldn’t really enjoy it. Laura: We went down to Cape Canaveral to see the last shuttle launch, and of course it got

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scrubbed. We thought about staying an extra day to see if it would launch that day but decided to go on home. I think it was a few more days before it actually went up, so we made the right decision. What is the most important thing you forgot to bring with you on a trip? Claire: I always forget basic things, like a hairbrush. I’ve probably bought a hairbrush on 3 continents. Probably the most important was my then-husband’s medicine, because he forgot it too, and that led to the worst weekend in Mexico. Laura: The only thing that would actually be important is tickets to whatever, which you can almost always get online nowadays. There aren’t many things that can’t be easily replaced or done without. Charging your various devices would probably be the modern equivalent. What are you happiest to do/see when you get back home? Claire: Getting back on the L at the airport and knowing that you’re the local and not the tourist makes me feel really good. I like helping tourists figure out where they’re going. Laura: I like to hang out with my pets and sleep in my own bed. How do you spend your time when you are on vacation and the weather is bad? Claire: Hole up in a bar. If I’m with a group, I try to always have a deck of cards. Laura: I read, which is what I always do when I have down time. •


What three places would you recommend for first time visitors to the Windy City? Claire: The Paper Machete, because it’s an only-in-Chicago kind of thing (they call themselves a live magazine, but it’s essentially a variety show, with comedians, storytellers, and musicians). Longman & Eagle for brunch, if it’s a nice day and we can sit outside. Innertown Pub, because it has good beer and the pool is free. Laura: We take our guests to our favorite neighborhood places: The Bad Apple, Semiramis, and the Grafton [pictured]. Touristy places are easy to find, but the heart of Chicago is the neighborhoods.

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...the heart of Chicago is the neighborhoods. 48

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Chicago’s Lincoln Square neighborhood.

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Book It!

REVIEWS BY STEPHANY REIHLING

Because travel and reading go hand in hand!

A book for the 20-somethings...

Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close is a vignette about the lives of twenty-something women and the path their lives can take. From dating disasters to wedding mishaps to workplace strife – this book covers it all. The author does an amazing job weaving together the lives of all the characters, making them relatable, honest and real to the reader. You’ll find yourself laughing with these girls as they try to navigate the post-college world and try to find happiness along the way.

FOR ALL THE CHICK-LIT LOVERS

Abby Road by Ophelia London is a book about a girl who is at the top – lead singer for one of the most successful bands of all time and living out her dream on stage. But then

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her brother is murdered in a gas station robbery-gone-bad and her anxiety hits an all-time high – leading her to take an entire summer off recording or touring. It’s much needed and it’s where she meets Todd, an ex-Marine who shows Abby there is more to who she is than she believes. It’s a heart-warming story but with a lot of twists and turns one wouldn’t expect from a chick-lit novel.

MASTERFUL STORYTELLING IN A REAL-LIFE DRAMA

The Comfort of Lies by Randy Susan Meyers is a story about the lies we tell to ourselves and to each other – the type of lies that protect ourselves and our families. This story is about how easily one can ruin a life. Five years ago, Tia gave her daughter up for adoption. Five years ago, Nathan came clean to his wife and admitted to having an affair with Tia – but not about her pregnancy. And five years ago, Peter and Caroline fulfilled their dreams of having a family and


adopted a beautiful baby girl. And it is now when the truth is going to come out. The truth about Nathan’s affair. The truth about how Caroline truly feels about being a mother. And the truth about how Tia feels about Nathan. Lies are only comforting – until they’re not.

REREAD AN OLD FAVORITE While you can enjoy Leonardo DiCaprio on DVD (starting August 27), The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is a timeless

story of love, loss, and heartbreak you should pick up and read. (Plus, we all know that the book is always better!) Follow along with Nick Carraway as he becomes friends with the mysterious and elusive Jay Gatsby and the havoc that begins to unravel throughout the pages. Even if you were forced to read this in high school or college, it is worth revisiting on your own time.

Bloggers' Book Picks: Go•Go•Go WHAT WAS THE LAST BOOK YOU READ THAT MADE YOU WANT TO TRAVEL?

Claire: Ghost Train to the Eastern Star by Paul Theroux. Laura: The Beach by Alex Garland and Travels in Siberia by Ian Frazier.

WHAT WAS THE LAST BOOK YOU ENJOYED READING? Claire: I’m loving a book right now called Zero Fade by Chris L. Terry, published by an awesome local indie publisher Curbside Splendor. Laura: I read so much that the answer to this will have changed 15 times by the time someone reads this. [Check out her reading list on Goodreads!]

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‘TIL NEXT TIME... www.toandfrommag.com

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To & From: Chicago