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Blown Away by the Windy City

Chi-town recently became “me-town” when I flew out to the famous “Windy City” earlier this month. There, I explored the best and greatest that Chicago has to offer. From places to shop, to a place to lay your head down at night, I’ve got suggestions that will make your visit to this famous mid-western city one to write home about.

If you’re looking for luxury accommodations, look no further than the Elysian Hotel in the Golden Coast neighborhood, the debut hotel of the Elysian brand. After I checked in, I couldn’t wait to check out my room, which I happily discovered had been upgraded to a suite with a balcony. After a long day of traveling, relaxing at the Elysian’s spa sounded more than enticing. Beyond the usual manicure, pedicure, facial, and massage, the spa also provides customized Pilates and fitness training for their clientele. But my absolute favorite service offered by the Elysian was its complimentary chauffeur-driven Lexus to take you to and from the area’s restaurants. Pretty cushy, if you ask me!

With my transportation taken care of, I set out on my first food escapade to La Scarola. It doesn’t look like your typical 5 star restaurant, but ask frequent patrons Angelina Jolie, Shia Labeouf, as well as countless other celebrities, and they will tell you that it’s the best Italian food in Chi-town. At this tiny, old school joint, I had superb gnocchi in rich tomato sauce topped with ground basil. I can also testify that the Veal Milanese is to die for when paired with a glass of red wine!

Another culinary recommendation I would make is lunch at Ralph Lauren’s restaurant, maitre D. This place is the definition of old Hollywood glamour. From the dark wooden paneling to the model matradee in a tux, everything looked like it came straight out of a Ralph Lauren catalog. I decided to try their Salad Niçoise and shrimp cocktail and I wasn’t disappointed with my choices.

For my most indulgent dinner, I hit up L2O, the 3 Michelin star restaurant in Chicago. But my experience there was so spectacular, that I decided it deserves a post all its own. So stay tuned, my fellow foodies! You’re in for a treat!

Besides leaving my hotel to indulge my taste buds, I also went out to do what any fashionista does best: Shop! I made sure to visit Ikram, a well-known retailer for Chicago socialites and celebrities, like Michelle Obama and Oprah. If you’re in the market for names like Alexander McQueen, Azzedine Alaïa, Comme des Garçons, Jean Paul Gaultier, Junya Watanabe, and Proenza Schouler, then Ikram is the place to shop. For more information on this fabulous store, check out their website at Barney’s and Tory Burch were two other stores that I couldn’t pass up looking into. I literally could have spent hours going through their racks, but there are more designs to look at in Chicago than inside designer shops.

For fun, I would definitely suggest taking the architectural boat tour. I had a blast learning about the city’s unique architecture and the significance of each of the buildings in the Chicago skyline. My favorite designs were by Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe. He’s best known for pairing elegance with simplicity and for the saying “Less is more.” Guess where else in the world you can find his work? Montreal! He also designed the Westmount Square building on Ste Catherine. Talk about coming full circle! Once again, I was blown away by the Windy City (and I’m sure you will be too!).

Until next time!



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