Nice Little Saturday Thaw in Chicago

There are three universal characteristics of Chicago city-dwellers that are extremely apparent at this time of year: we love patios, rooftops and our city. This was the first weekend that really felt like spring – the gray skies parted and temperatures reached into the high 60s, and you better believe the streets were packed with runners, roads with bikers, and bar patios with day drinkers!

I was determined to get outside and so I invited my pal Michele to join me on the lakefront path for a stroll. Michele & her boyfriend Bill were late to join so I got to sit and take in Lake Michigan and skyline views for about 25 minutes. I took about 86 pictures – but these were some of my favorites:

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Lake Michigan at Oak Street Beach | Chicago, IL
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Getting the beach ready for SUMMER!
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Waves Crashing on the Break Wall at Oak Street Beach | Chicago, IL
Soaking in the Sun | Oak Street Beach, Chicago
Soaking in the Sun | Oak Street Beach, Chicago

It’s true that we have incredibly treacherous winters here in Chicago, but holy crap is it worth it for days like this. I almost forget sometimes that all of this is within a short walk/run/bike ride from my house. How lucky I am to live in a place like this. Michele showed up, and we continued our walk along the bike path and to the Navy Memorial and Navy Pier. From the memorial park, I took this breathtaking pano – no filters, just Chicago being absolutely stunning.

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Chicago, IL

We walked all of .625 miles of Navy Pier which is currently undergoing a large renovation. Lots of tourists packing selfie sticks were walking the pier too, stopping to get pictures for their memory books. We already got ours on the bike path. 🙂

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Michele & I on the Chicago Bike Path | Photo Cred: Bill Ziemba

We worked up an appetite and just so happened to be close to one of my favorite city dining spots – Gyu Kaku Japanese BBQ! This place is so good, I almost don’t want to say anything about it. The price is right, the food is great — they’re just missing their outdoor patio! We went up to the bar to take advantage of their happy hour specials – reduced price appetizers, rice bowls, and cocktails. We ordered pretty much every single appetizer on the menu. Did I tell you how good their food is?

Gyu Kaku Japanese BBQ | Chicago, IL
Gyu Kaku Japanese BBQ | Chicago, IL

If you dine in the restaurant, you have a grill at the center of your table. Your menu includes a gamut of meats and vegetables, and s’mores for dessert. I highly recommend doing this if you come to visit. Happy Hour pricing does apply within the restaurant as well – with seriously reduced pricing from 11:30-5:45 and 9:30-10:30 p.m.

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If they have a long wait (which happens – make a reservation on Open Table) or you’re just stopping for a quick appetizer and Kirin on draft then head upstairs and take advantage of the all-day long bar specials. Every single one of their appetizers is fantastic – but you must try the hot-oil seared salmon, sukiyaki bi bim bop, tuna poke, vegetable spring rolls and steamed chili dumplings. They won’t disappoint.

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Tanoshimu!

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