Recently, my dear friend and I celebrated 20 years of friendship by heading into the city for a food tour.
If you have never heard of a food tour, it is basically a walking tour in specific neighborhoods in Chicago, stopping intermittently for tastings at specific restaurants and shops.
It was as amazing as it sounds.
But the takeaway for me, in addition to spending a day with my dear friend, was how it is important to be a tourist in your own city.
I love Chicago.
But when I go, it is always for a reason and almost always the same spots.
I decided that this summer I want to take my family to explore the area in which we live.
Not flee the city and burbs but rather make where we live the destination for our summer.
Back to that food tour!
Ooh by the way, I know this is a post for Chicago "Parent," but this is not a kid-friendly tour.
However, one of the best tips I ever got after becoming a mom was from my daughter's pediatrician.
"Take care of YOU and YOU will be a great mom."
Amen Dr. Lasin.
This food tour will definitely take care of you.
Chicago Food Planet was recommended to us by my friend Shannon.
They offer four different neighborhood tours and tastings.
We chose to do the Gold Coast and Old Town Tour.
Basically because the one we wanted to do was sold out.
But I am so glad it was because this one was amazing.
In one sentence: pizza, tea, sushi, toffee, olive oil with bread, spices, pierogi and macaroons.
And that was just in one afternoon.
Things I learned on this tour:
That I have been pronouncing Pizano's wrong.
For five years.
My friend Shannon had been saying it right all along and in my head I was all, "Is she saying it wrong?"
Cocky me never doubted myself.
See, she said it correctly because I am 99 percent sure she ASKED her server how it was pronounced the FIRST time she ate there.
Instead of running all around town saying “OH I AM GOING TO PI-zano's TODAY!!
ANYONE WANNA JOIN ME AT PI-zano's??”
I will never doubt her again.
While we are on the subject of pronunciation, can people stop calling Aeropostale, Aero-PAW-STIL.
Don't pull a Kari.
Learn how to say it.
Say hello to our AMAZING tour guide Nicole!
She is the one who gave me the whole PIE-zano's low down.
I owe her.
There were so many highlights of the tour for me but the biggest one was seeing the other five women on our tour eat Chicago style pizza at Lou's for the first time.
They loved it, I mean LOVED it.
And were so excited when I told them that they could have Lou's shipped to them on the West Coast.
You are welcome, Malnati.
I need to be on staff over there.
But seeing that alone made me realize what a treasure we have here in Chicago.
A beautiful city full of culture, food and life.
So how about the next time you think about gettin' outta town, maybe stay IN town.
Go here to see all of the tours Chicago Food Planet has to offer.
Kari Wagner is stay-at-home mom by day, superhero by night. She loves to write about her adventures in life, love and decorating.
See more of Kari's stories here.
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