And So The Journey Begins…

My decision to make the trek out to Chicago, Illinois was one of pure pressure, and let’s face it, a pilgrimage to an epicenter of food. Many of my coworkers know my passion for food and kept harping on me that this was really something I needed to check out. I’ve never undertaken such a big trip on my own before and I felt I needed to do it as another factor of growing up.
My Amtrak train from the St. Paul/Minneapolis depot was set to leave at 7:30am, getting me to Chicago at about 3:30pm. Low and behold, I show up, and a sign on the door reads of a delay and my train wasn’t arriving until 10:30am…maybe. Well, I wasn’t about to go home because that is bound to be when something bad happens and I wouldn’t make it back. So I wandered around the station until it arrived. After boarding had completed, we didn’t get out of there until about noon. The train ride itself was pretty neat (but not if you have motion sickness) as I got to experience the beautiful countryside. One thing that surprised me was the amount of Amish on the train because I’m so use to seeing documentaries where they don’t use the mass transit, only their horse and buggy.

We ended up arriving in Chicago at roughly 8:00pm to Union Station. The walk from the platform into the station was a little sketchy with dim and flickering lights. Once into the station, it was like a whole new world. All I was concerned about was getting street side and grabbing a cab to my hotel. Success! Well, after I had grabbed by Chicago Transit 3 day pass (highly recommended).
After checking into Travelodge, I embarked on a quest for a place known as The Boiler Room. After taking multiple wrong trains, I did arrive to my destination. The Boiler Room is a great party spot for your 21-35 aged crowds. Dimly lit décor, wood finishing, and 2 screen projectors playing Talladega Nights was right up my alley. I decided to go with the heavily favored PB&J. No kids, this isn’t your moms famous peanut butter & Jelly sandwiches that she so lovingly cut the crusts off on, but a loveable concoction of pizza, Blue Ribbon Pabst (tall beer), and a shot of Jamison whiskey. The first slice of pizza I got was the Purist. A delicious blend of fresh mozzarella, basil, and balsamic reduction made for a very simple, fresh, and sweet pizza. With the whiskey kicking in I went for another slice, this time getting the Boiler Room, a signature pie with PBR meatballs, and giardinara. Both slices were an excellent THIN CRUST. Yes, you’ve all been dupped into believing Chicago only has really good deep dish pizza because I believe the true winner to be thin crust.
Day one is successfully, and safely, in the books. Tomorrow will be another day of foodie adventuring and maybe a nap or two, all to accumulate for the great Taste of Chicago!