I consider myself pretty lucky that I am still close with my college roommates. No, we don’t talk every day or see each other often, but I know that I could call either of them (I have two, and oddly they share the same name) and we can pick up where we left off. Both ladies were there in such an important time of my life and I am forever grateful that they weren’t total weirdos (at least, not in a bad way.)
KP and I lived together in an on-campus apartment for two years. We had a mascot-a large stuffed penguin named Petey. Our apartment was forever frigid in the winter because we refused to turn the heat past like 65*. On Sundays we had breakfast for dinner. KP was once afraid that all I did was eat cookies and sleep (because for the first semester we lived together, that’s pretty much all I did. Depression is a jerk that doesn’t care that you’re in college and it’s supposed to be the.best.time. of your life). I only remember a handful of small parties. Our décor was very college chic. We cried, we laughed, we have inside jokes that to this day make me uncontrollably giggle when I think about them.
Since graduating over 10 years ago, KP and I have made an effort to get together I would say, at least once a year. If it wasn’t for her, my wedding would have not have went as smoothly as it did (for that, I am forever grateful). We send each other birthday cards and “I miss you!” texts and I know that when I have a wacky adventure and need a partner, she’s pretty much always down. So when I said, “oh hey there’s this pop-up bakery coming to Chicago, wanna go?” she was 100% ready for the ride.
How do two college roomies for life do The Windy City in 24 hours during the hottest day of the year? Like this:
A few days before our weekend adventure, we realized that the weather was going to be hot. Sizzling hot. Hottest day of the year hot. And most of our plans (okay, our one plan) involved standing in a long line outside for the MilkBar pop-up during the hottest part of the day. What do you do when there’s no option B? Make option A work! I bought a sunhat, packed 4 tubes of sunscreen, and prepped all the water bottles before venturing off to the city.
|I tend to feel that I represent farm chic’ in hats. Or look like Wayne Campbell. Party on.|
KP and I made it to the Milkbar line, water, hat, and sunscreen in tow, about an hour after the pop-up opened. The line was wrapped halfway around the city block and we estimated an hour before we’d be eating all the things. The line crept along but Milkbar was kind enough to offer cold water and Gatorade to guest waiting in line. The best part? Most of our time in line was shaded (#blessed)! It was still warm but the shade definitely made it bearable. 2.5 hours later (Hah. Estimate fail) we made it to the front of the line and snarfed on some long anticipated treats!
I’ve been a fangirl of Christina Tosi and Milkbar for a while now but haven’t been able to make it to a store location. I have baked some of her treats from her cookbook (bakebook?) but I could not wait to see how my imitations lived up to the real deals. KP and I tried 2 cookies, Milkbar Pie, and the Cereal Milk soft serve (cereal milk is iconic to Tosi). I was a fan of everything we tried but I think the Milkbar Pie was my ultimate favorite; followed by the cornflake-chocolate chip- marshmallow cookie.
Was it worth 2.5 hours in blaring heat? Yes. Yes it was.
|Sadly it was too hot to take photos of the goods, so here is me-melting like the soft serve.|
We then went for tacos at Big Star (where the pop-up was being hosted) and devoured our food like we hadn’t eaten all day. Because we hadn’t. Oops. (excitement fail.)
And how do you follow up heat, cookies, and tacos as it starts to rain on your Saturday roomie parade? Tasty drinks! What makes tasty drinks even better? Tiki tasty drinks!! Lost Lake was seriously the cutest little tucked away gem and we had a blast trying all the fancy beverages.
KP and I were feeling great and my heart could not have been more full thinking about how lucky I am to still have her in my life. Having people in your life who understand your quirkiness and your history in such an acute and honest way is a true blessing. So when you have a dolphin made out of a banana in your drink and you’re slurping down cold alcoholic beverages into a dehydrated body things can get pretty downright hilarious-with no judgment.
(Also, small world moment: we asked the ladies next to us at one point to take the photo below and I noticed that one of them had an Illinois Marathon pop socket on her phone. Come to find out not only was she from my current place of residence but also grew up in the same town I did!)
The drinks at Lost Lake are divine and if you’re looking for a place that’s a little less crowded than the other well-known tiki bar in Chicago-this place is it.
After cookies-tacos-beverages we decided it was time to go back to the hotel and recharge. We were staying on the Magnificent Mile which was a good location for basically everything we wanted to do (and it was a good price, yeah Groupon!) Once we felt a little cooler (both physically and emotionally, I needed to fix my sweaty life in both ways) we headed to what I can only explain as the IKEA of Italian cuisine. Have you ever heard of Eataly? I’m often tardy to the party but in case you too haven’t heard of this Italian IKEA: “Eataly is a large format/footprint Italian marketplace comprising a variety of restaurants, food and beverage counters, bakery, retail items, and a cooking school.”
It’s three floors of food, items to cook food, areas to learn how to prepare food, various vendors, food to eat, food hanging from the ceiling! It was intense and glorious and I thoroughly enjoyed it. While we waited for our table at one of the many restaurants we walked around and took photos with various food items (so many oddly-shaped cheeses) and I bought some peppercorns (when I see a weird spice, I want it. My spice drawer runneth over…into another spice drawer. And a cabinet.)
|Truth time-I have about 45 photos of KP and various foods.|
|From the ceilings to the floors! Til the marinara drips down the walls|
The food was delicious (the server subpar) and the company spectacular. I found a make-your-own cannoli kit. We perused the amazing dessert bar. My heart, soul, and belly were stuffed with all the good things.
|The garlic scapes used to make this dish are from a farm local to where I live!|
The next day we had a few hours before KP had to catch her train. We stopped in a little diner close to the hotel called The West Egg (which, was not Gatsby themed?) before heading to the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. This museum is small in comparison to somewhere like the Art Institute, but the installations are well done and most definitely make you think and feel. I appreciated the Sunday crowd (not too busy that you couldn’t appreciate the art at your own pace) and that there wasn’t so much going on that you couldn’t get through everything in an hour. The gift shop was also selling items from my favorite business in South Africa, so huge bonus points there. KP and I ended the trip by buying matching earrings and a quick hug at Union Station.
It was a whirlwind trip-less than 24 hours really-but it was just what I needed.