The wedding weekend itself had finally arrived. I had talked to my teenaged cousins the night before about heading out in the morning for one of my favorite things in the world – a doughnut crawl! However, between the time change and the fact that they were late-sleeping teenagers, only one of them was even up before midday, if I recall. So we decided to postpone until the next morning.
Instead, I headed out to grab some breakfast at Revival Food Hall. This new food hall features about a dozen different tenants – from fried chicken to sandwiches to ramen – on the ground floor of a Loop office building. I went there in particular to see the outpost of pastry chef Mindy Segal’s Hot Chocolate. The December before, when I was in Chicago for a wedding, I spent half a day working with her pastry team at the restaurant. One of the pastry chefs I met that day, Bo, was now heading up the Hot Chocolate bakery booth at Revival, so I went to say hi to him and check out what they were doing.
Doughnut, sticky bun and cookies from Mindy’s Hot Chocolate at Revival Food Hall.
On this particular morning, I didn’t take much of a look around the place. I knew where I wanted to go and headed there. But the whole area was buzzing, and it seemed like it would really be hopping during the lunch hour. I was able to catch Bo during a downtime for him and we caught each other up on things. While getting the Revival spot launched has been running him ragged, it has been a great opportunity for him. Plus, because Revival is only open on weekdays (for the office crowd), he gets that rarity in the food industry: the actual weekend off!
Since moving back to California nearly two years ago, I had returned to Chicago – my home of 21 years – just twice. Both were in 2015 for special events – my sister’s graduation from her MBA program and a friend’s wedding. This third trip, however, was the big one. My sister’s wedding! Not only did it mean I’d get to have so many wonderful family members – and friends of my sister’s – in one place, but it also meant I’d get to spend a bunch of time in Chicago and help many of the visiting family members make the most of it as well.
With the majority of guests arriving on Friday, I headed to town on Tuesday, in order to squeeze in time to see as many of my Chicago friends as I could. My mom, Michael and Maggie were heading back to the hotel from the second-to-last dress fitting as I arrived. They’d been out all day and hadn’t eaten, so I got to see them all right away and grab a snack after I’d checked in my room.
That night, I headed to Andersonville’s Big Jones to meet up with some former teaching colleagues. It’s typically a foursome, but unfortunately one of our group had a family emergency to deal with and couldn’t join in. We had fun without her, but missed her nonetheless!
The legendary fried chicken from Big Jones.
After visiting LA so frequently upon moving to San Francisco in January of 2015, I never imagined it would take me seven months to return to the Bay Area after leaving this past February. All my friends, all the great food, all the neighborhoods I loved to explore – they called out to me over the winter and spring and summer in Southern California, and I was finally able to heed their call over some gorgeous September days.
My cousin Erin was kind enough to lend me her sofa in the Mission for my two-night trip, and I was both grateful for the free lodging as well as excited to spend some time with her. My flight landed early on a Tuesday morning, and I headed straight to her place via BART. I was able to get there fast enough to catch up with her a little before she headed off to work. Then, the
eating gluttony commenced!
The incomparable Tartine morning bun.