The Only Way to Watch an Air Show, Wicker Park and Bruno Mars

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CHICAGO DAY TWO:

I hope you enjoyed the first Chicago entry and are ready for more photos and the story of how I (probably) became a diabetic. Let’s get started.

Day two started with us wandering around the River North Area until we found a suitable breakfast stop. We  walked for about 30 minutes and then saw someone with a box of donuts from Glazed and Infused. We decided to investigate and our sleuthing led us to a location adjacent to their sister concept, Devonti Enoteca. After a quick glance inside, we knew we had made the right decision.

Devonti Enoteca was dimly lit, on the first floor of a hotel and offered donut service to your table. The bartender twisted our arms and along with our coffees, brought me a Bloody Mary and delivered a Mimosa to Megan. The drinks were standard and did nothing to stand out or to offend.

I chose the Eggs Benedict, which did not disappoint. The muffin was light and crispy, the ham was smoky and the Hollandaise Sauce was buttery and full of flavor. The eggs were perfectly poached and the dish came with an appropriate sized serving of crispy breakfast potatoes.

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Megan chose the Sausage, Egg and Biscuit sandwich. I will let you decide which one of us is the more adventurous eater. Her sandwich came on the same light and crispy muffin and was accompanied by a perfect egg over easy. The jam was rich and fruity and added an extra layer of flavor and texture.

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As we finished eating, our donuts were delivered. Megan chose the traditional Old Fashioned and I ordered a Red Velvet. Both donuts were fresh and robust, but could not be finished as we both hit the ‘food wall’.

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Over all, this was a great experience and I would recommend a trip to this location.

At this point we needed to stretch our legs and get some exercise. We trekked through the city to see Navy Pier and to be tourists for the next few hours.

Navy Pier is…exactly what it sounds like. I guess it would be Chicago’s answer to The New Jersey Boardwalk – commercialized, family friendly and completely inoffensive in every way. If we had teenagers or younger children with us, I am sure they would enjoy the ice cream, shopping and arcades. We spent  a few hours seeing the sights and walking off our breakfasts, but now that we have visited I feel no need to return.

At this point we decided to take a tip from our breakfast bartender and go to the lounge in the 96th floor of the John Hancock building. I was initially indifferent about this plan as we had just spent three hours being tourists, but it turned out to be a once in a lifetime experience.

When we arrived at the 96th floor, we waited roughly 30 combined minutes for an elevator and window seat at the bar. The view was amazing and worth every minute of the wait. We decided to order a drink and soak in the view.

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We looked at the menu and decided to order the duck nachos, which in a word, were unimpressive.

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The duck was ground and I believe it would have had more flavor if it was pulled. Oh well, this was literally a top of the world problem.

As we finished our drinks, we suddenly heard a loud noise and realized that we were in the middle of the practice run for the Chicago Air and Water Show. For the next 90 minutes we were periodically buzzed by the Blue Angels. I felt like Tom Skerritt in Top Gun.

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I have never been a fan of Air Shows and I am not particularity fond of heights, but this was a once in a lifetime combination and I truly felt lucky and humbled to be able to witness this from such a vantage point.

We stayed to watch the show longer than we should have and were running late to Wicker Park to meet our friends Kim and Matt. We rushed back to the hotel, cleaned up and took an Uber to Banger’s and Lace.

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As you can tell, Banger’s and Lace has a Lodge type feel. They also pride themselves on sausage (for which they have won many awards) and have a great craft beer selection.

We hung out for a few rounds and then decided to explore Wicker Park and get some dinner before the show. This neighborhood had many great dinner options and we decided on some brick fired pizza at Parlor Pizza Bar.

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I know…we were in Chicago and it wasn’t deep dish. The reasons are two-fold:

  1. We were having a fun time with our friends and running behind schedule.

Okay – that is just one-fold. However, the pizza was crispy and fresh and wood fired is always a solid choice. If you want to get a feel for Wicker Park, do what we did – find a place with a good craft beer selection and then go to Pizza Parlor Bar, sit on their patio and enjoy a Margherita Pizza and a Pepperoni Pizza. No frills, on-point pizza, good people watching and surprisingly affordable.

After dinner, we quickly said our goodbyes and hopped into another Uber as it was almost show time.

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We arrived at the United Center and found our seats just as opener Camilla Cabello was finishing her set.

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We literally heard the last 30 seconds of her show, so I don’t really have much to report on that front – especially as I had never heard of her. However, we did meet a member of her band the following day. He was a nice guy and I lied to him and told him that we were big fans. Stay tuned for that story in Chicago Entry #3.

Being the wonderful and thoughtful husband that I am, I bought Megan a Bruno concert T. It was really an easy decision to make, especially when it makes your wife happy and she looks pretty in glasses.

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Bruno let the crowd get nice and feisty for about an hour in between the opener and this curtain opening.

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Once the curtain opened, Bruno had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand. He is a true front man and played off of the energy in the United Center. Bruno and company wore old school basketball jerseys, had choreographed dances and were nothing less than simpatico.

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My favorite song of the evening was ‘Treasure’, which if you close your eyes and listen is essentially a Kool and the Gang song (I mean that in the most flattering way possible).

In between Treasure and the encore of Uptown Funk, the crowd sang along to every song and Bruno kept steering a tight ship. His touring company earns extra points for the pyrotechnics and confetti.

At this point, it is worth mentioning that this show was Megan’s birthday present and she is a bigger fan than I. However, I do enjoy his music and believe that he truly is a mix of Prince, Michael Jackson (King of Pop) and James Brown (Godfather of Soul), which makes by default, makes Bruno Mars music royalty.

As the concert ended, our ears were ringing and we took an Uber to get a night-cap at Pops for Champagne. It is a fun little space with, wait for it…lots of champagne.

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This gif turned out so well, we ordered another round!

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After another long day, we decided to call it a night. We were tired and our feet hurt, but it was a small price to pay for another great day in Chicago.

Entry #3 will be published soon – please be on the prowl! As always, THANK YOU for reading and please subscribe!

ADDITIONS & SUBSTITUTIONS:

  • We all know Bruno Mars is a great performer and musician. What I would like to see from him is an album with other great musicians that focuses more on the music than the show. Babyface, Outkast, Beyonce, Ron Isley, Kendrick Lamar, Lauryn Hill, Bobby Brown, etc.
  • If you are a fan of Air Shows, you should reserve a table on the 95th floor of the John Hancock building after finding out the date of the next show. We had drinks on the 96th floor lounge. Dinner on the 95th is on the docket for the next visit.

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