As promised, here are my top five dessert photos from this year, starting with a King Cake I made for Mardi Gras…I just love the vibrant colors, and the fact that I was able to come up with enough beads from around the house to make it a little extra fancy!
This cupcake photo just came out perfectly…I don’t think I could have staged it better!
These Easter cannoli tasted as good as they look!
I really like how I embellished this chocolate malt cheesecake:
And finally, a cake from The Nightmare Before Christmas cookbook that was decorated by Ladybug and photographed by yours truly:
Also, because I’m not me if I’m not trying to sneak a sixth item into a “Top Five” list, a bonus photo of a Rainbow Cone at the lakefront in Chicago, which is honestly more about the setting than the food itself:
Stay tuned for my top drink photos from this year!
On Thursday, we chased one last wild hair of mine for the summer, and drove up to Chicago for the day. We had a few goals, starting with visiting Buckingham Fountain, which we didn’t get to do in May…it was just as grand as I remembered it!
The place we really wanted to spend time at, though, was Navy Pier, the last really big thing on my list of Chicago things to share with the Fab Five. We walked all the way around it, and we couldn’t have asked for a nicer day to do it…it was in the 70s with a beautiful lake breeze!
Seeing the anchor from the USS Chicago is kind of amazing…you just don’t realize the scale of the size of one until you see it for yourself!
The views from the Pier are amazing!
I also finally got to reunite some of my Homes Bracelets with the place they represent…Lake Michigan!
There was no way we could do all of the things, so I picked one big attraction…the Centennial Wheel. It is very similar in size to the Ferris wheel in St. Louis, but the views of the skyline and Lake Michigan are a lot more impressive than anything we have here in the Lou!
We stopped for Rainbow Cones after our ride. I really prefer the original Beverly location, because it has so much character, but the scenery made the five flavors taste even better!
We walked over to Polk Bros. Park just across the street:
We also shared a burger from the Billy Goat Tavern, just so we could say we had one:
And then we walked back through the mall and to the end of the Pier again:
I will never tire of the view!
The other big reason for our trip north was so that Bunny and I could visit the Rare Dirndl design studio, located in the Lincoln Square neighborhood, which is a really cool place! We toured the studio, did some shopping, and most importantly of all, got to meet and talk to the designer, Erika Neumayer!
On the way home, we stopped at Portillo’s, as is our tradition:
I’m not going to lie…it was a lot of time to spend in the car in one day (although we certainly had days that were longer on our vacation!), but it was worth it to get to see Chicago one more time before the end of the summer!
Here we are, already at the end of our virtual vacation. After packing up the car, we had one more stop planned before we hit the road…a tour of Wrigley Field! (Pardon the blurry photo…it’s a picture of a not great picture I took in college!)
After visiting the Friendly Confines, we would have made our way to Rainbow Cone to enjoy the ice cream treat they’re famous for:
I love driving through the Beverly neighborhood of Chicago…there are so many cool vintage signs!
The final stop of our Memorial Day Weekend trip is always a meal at Portillo’s, where I get the Italian beef, dipped, of course!
And then home sweet home…no matter how much fun we’ve had, it’s always nice to pull into our driveway (and begin the process of doing all of our vacation laundry!).
One more sign from our drive through Chicago’s Beverly neighborhood, and it’s the only one from a business we’ve actually patronized! The sign on the back of Rainbow Cone is small-ish, but it’s colorful, and as far as I know, fairly vintage. Plus, Rainbow Cone!
Of course, one of the best things about visiting any city is finding out what foods that location is famous for and trying them for yourself. Chicago is no exception, and foods that I grew up with as just food are now special treats when we travel. I’m sure people could argue all day about constitutes a Chicago food, but here are my favorites…Chicago-style pizza, Chicago-style hot dogs, Rainbow cones, gyros, Eli’s cheesecake, and Italian beef:
Ryan thinks I should have added the Italian combo to my list, but I really don’t like Italian sausage that much, so the best I can do is mention it. Also, not pictured, but extremely delicious and addictive…Chicago-style popcorn. I could eat that stuff by the (cheesy Christmas) tinful!
Over the last few years, we’ve introduced the children at a lot of Chicago’s culinary specialties while we were up north. This year, I decided we should indulge in the famous “Rainbow Cone,” a well-known treat that I had never even had myself! I was relieved to see that the prices weren’t too bad, and the ice cream was delicious. They also get bonus points for offering an allergy option, which replaces the pistachio and Palmer House flavors with something nut free, so Moose could enjoy one, too!
This was a welcome treat on a hot day, and I think we might have to go back in the future, because everybody loved it!