Senior Week, the week between final exams and graduation, is famous for being one of the best weeks at our school and it did not disappoint! Without a doubt the highlight of the week was our overnight getaway to Chicago for Bethany’s bachelorette party. We threatened her with all kinds of naughty antics and a Hangover-esque experience, but in actuality we had the most wonderfully relaxing, enjoyable time.
Haley, Kaitlyn, Mary, Anna, and I took an early morning train to Chicago to meet up with Bethany. After meeting up in Grant Park we took a quick trip to the hotel to get settled before setting out to see what the day had in store for us.
Per usual, the first thing on our mind was food. During a previous visit to the city Kaitlyn and I stumbled upon L’Appetitio, a tiny Italian grocery and café with the most authentic products – items straight from Italy, which I have yet to find anywhere else in America! Remembering how delicious the food was, and of course being in the company of Rome girls, it would have been crazy to go anywhere else.Bethany was instantly drawn to one of our old Roman favorites, un panino con melanzana, and the two of us decided to split that. The other girls placed their panini orders, and we got a couple steaming hot arancini appetizers to split amongst the group. Food in hand we made our way down to the beach for a little picnic.
The food was as perfect as the view and the combo of the two took us right back to Italy, where it was commonplace to eat outside surrounded by beautiful scenery. After savoring every last bite we gave in to the beckoning of the water. Lake Michigan this time of year is always frigid, but who can resist? It was so hot that all concern for having dry clothes went out the window.
Before we were completely soaked we left the beach for Navy Pier, which holds some of the greatest views of the city and a ferris wheel! With no schedule planned out for the day we spent quite some time just meandering down the pier, pausing from time to time to take a seat, chit chat, and take in the view.
Haley needed graduation shoes and I was completely dying to see Tiffany and Co.’s Gatsby inspired window decorations so we made our way back to Michigan Ave., the heart of the city. Haley found her shoes at the second store we tried so our one necessary shopping endeavor was a success! Onward to Tiffany’s! The windows were to die for. Gatsby inspired anything at this point would probably win me over, but these were absolutely spectacular! I’m like a bug, attracted to shiny things like you wouldn’t believe, and I could hardly pull myself away. But the bride-to-be was craving ice cream and who was I to deny her that pleasure so I could dream about a Gatsby-like fellow proposing to me with one of those jaw dropping diamonds?
As always, it seems the places you wander into by chance end up being the best finds, and that held true on our search for ice cream. We saw a sign for gelato, and as anyone who has been to Italy knows, it’s nearly impossible to keep walking when you a gelato sign. Bar Toma was the name of the joint and holy smokes, it was fantastic! The gelato options were so authentic they could have been straight out of Rome – amaretto, riso, pistaccio, and for the first time in America I found a gelateria that serves my all-time favorite, stracciatella!
At a place this legit, I just couldn’t stop myself from ordering a cappuccino. Served up in a very Gatsby cup with a biscotti on the side, it was the perfect compliment to my gelato. And although we came in for just a small pick me up a few hours before our dinner reservation, with gelato and caffe that could transport us back to Italy with a mere taste, we couldn’t resist the temptation to give their pizza a taste.
Arguing ensued as we tried to decide if we should go the traditional route with the margherita or branch out with something more exotic. Mary and I fought hard and got our way, talking Bethany, the strongest proponent for the exotic, into going to traditional route. Of course we knew nothing could ever compare to that unbelievable, life altering, “I’m having a relationship with my pizza” pizza, but it did come in a pretty solid second place.
Finding ourselves perfectly happy and full once again we made our way back up Michigan Avenue towards the river. Finding some seats with great views of the river at an optimal location for people watching we sat, took goofy photos, and relaxed taking in the beautiful evening until it was time to head over the bridge to the House of Blues for our dinner reservations.