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Peace out…Chicago

Doug of Hot Doug's fame

Doug of Hot Doug's fame

I want to thank you for taking the time to follow my culinary journey in Chicago, and I hope that you enjoyed reading them as much as I enjoyed experiencing them.  I am not an adventurous eater by any means.  Actually, my palate tends to lean towards the bland side.  Let’s just say that my taste buds took a walk on the wild side over the weekend.  Turns out, Chicago is a foodie’s paradise.

In case you missed any leg of my journey, I have included a round-up of all my favorite blogs.  This Includes my candid reviews of flying for the first time with Southwest Airlines out of Atlanta, and some pictures that were on the cutting room floor.

Chicago's Hot Doug's electic decor

Chicago's Hot Doug's electic decor

Southwest Airlines customer service agents

Up in the air with Southwest

Review of Chicago’s Purple Pig restaurant

The best place to enjoy a Chicago-style hot dog IN Chicago

An evening at Chicago’s legendary Pump Room

My celebrity encounter while flying back on …

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Southwest Airlines gets in the Valentine’s Day spirit in Chicago

Southwest Airlines Valentine's Day

Southwest Airlines Valentine's Day

I LOVE (pun intended) it when someone else gets as bonkers as I do about Valentine’s Day.  I had another reason to love Southwest Airlines, they bought me a Bloody Mary on my return flight.

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My farewell dinner in Chicago at The Pump Room was one to remember

The Pump Room in Chicago

The Pump Room in Chicago

Last night my cousin Justin and his girlfriend, Desiree pulled out all the stops for my finale dinner in the Windy City.  We arrived at the swank restaurant, The Pump Room located inside Chicago’s posh Public Hotel formerly the famous Ambassador East.

This legendary landmark was established in 1938, and was a popular hangout for celebrities such as Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack entourage, Bill Murray, Clark Gable, Paul Newman, and a whole gaggle of who’s who.

I immediately felt sophisticated after stepping foot through the newly-remodeled hotel lobby, as I passed under a cluster of crystal chandeliers hanging over stark-white steps leading to the bar and dining area.  It also helped that we had reserved the booth where Sinatra had spent many hours throwing back drinks, swapping stories about broads with Dean Martin, and taking calls from The Pump Room’s white rotary-dial telephone.

The Pump Room's legendary telephone

The Pump Room's legendary telephone

But Justin had one more …

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My celebrity encounter at Chicago Midway airport

Thanks to the speedy self check-in process at the Southwest Airlines counter, I was (quickly) on my way to go through the security line.  But this TSA experience would differ from the one I had in Atlanta.

I was struggling to keep up the screening pace, and not doing the greatest job.  I heard someone say behind me, “let me help you with that.”  I turned around to see a very attractive, and charismatic man standing behind me.  Not only did help me push my containers of electronics, outerwear, shoes, and a handbag onto the moving ramp, but he shared his recent “randomly selected” experience while flying out of New York last week.

Thankfully, I was not one of the “randomly selected” to get extra screening.  While hopping on one foot trying to put my shoes on and taking inventory of my electronics, a TSA agent asked him for an autograph.  Autograph?  The agent then informed me that this nice guy standing behind me was, Yankees baseball player, Curtis Granderson. And …

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Chicago’s Hot Doug’s is the best thing to happen to a hot dog

Chicago's Hot Doug's Menu

Chicago's Hot Doug's Menu

I had many great suggestions for where to grab lunch today, but it wouldn’t be a trip to Chicago without trying the city’s culinary namesake, the Chicago-style hot dog.

Hot Doug’s sits on an unassuming neighborhood corner, and it would be easy to miss except for the long line of people wrapped around the building shivering in the cold all for a taste of Hot Doug’s sausage.

The decor borders the hip and tacky. A glass display case pays homage to the hot dog in the form of a hot dog-shaped phone, silk necktie, and an impressive collection of Oscar Mayer whistles. Hanging from the ceiling is a small disco ball that compliments the music being piped in from the same era.

Doug himself is at the helm taking orders and barking them to his staff. The first thing you notice about Doug is that this guy LOVES his establishment, and is completely in his element.

A cooler next to the register is stocked with the soft drink, TAB. My cousin Justin couldn’t …

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Ran into an old Atlanta friend in Chicago

Feelin' Peachy

Feelin' Peachy

I was feeling just peachy today after I ran into some old friends from Atlanta while I was walking along “Magnificent Mile” in Chicago.  She was handing out special scratch-off discounts on Southwest Airlines, and will be wandering throughout Chicago today.  Can’t miss this crew!

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Chicago day planner: any recos on where to lunch?

A room with a view in Chicago

A room with a view in Chicago

Here is a shot of my amazing view from my cousin’s apartment.  Right now, I’m getting ready for another adventure-filled day in Chicago while I hunt down someone in a peach costume.  I know I will get hungry, so I would love to hear from you about the best places to grab a dog, Asian fusion or just a sandwich.

Continue reading Chicago day planner: any recos on where to lunch? »

Chicago is my kind of town

Outside The Purple Pig I’m originally from The Windy City, so my cousin and his girlfriend graciously opened up their home, and what a view! Additionally, they are both big foodies, so we kicked off my Chicago adventure at a little place called, The Purple Pig. I have to admit, I was a little put off by the name, but this place was amazing. Those Tapas-style offerings that are still making my mouth water.

As mentioned earlier, my foodie hosts ordered plates of unique cheeses including one called, Prairie Breeze. But my favorite plate was the octopus-grilled to perfection. It was soo good that the appearance of suctions on its tentacles still didn’t stop me from eating more. Another favorite was fried brussel sprouts with thyme, lemon & chili flake.

After enjoying a memorable meal, we headed over to the comedy club, The Second City, where famed comedians Gilda Radnor and John Candy among other legends got their start. I enjoyed the show, but would have preferred individual stand-up routines over the …

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Come Blog With Us!

Southwest Airlines has built its reputation doing things differently from its competitors  — from waiving baggage fees to keeping passengers entertained once they’re buckled up. A few years back, a Southwest Airlines attendant became a YouTube sensation just before take-off by delivering the predictable flight instructions as rap lyrics, while the packed cabin clapped and stomped to the beat.

As the low-cost carrier launches at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport Sunday 2/12, we’re sending a team of bloggers for a two-day getaway to four of its nonstop destinations: Denver, Austin, Chicago, and Baltimore. And you’re invited to tag along – virtually, at least!

Our bloggers will take you on their journey as they:

  • share the insider’s view of what it’s like to be a Southwest Airlines employee;
  • discover the fun and unique aspects of flying with Southwest Airlines
  • explore new cities and destinations during their weekend get away; and
  • capture crazy moments and new …

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Meet the bloggers

susan-puckett-120Susan Puckett

Greetings! I’m an Atlanta-based freelance writer and editor who loves to dream about my next vacation. As monitor of this blog, I’m looking forward to collecting lots of new tips for navigating four great cities I’d love to visit. For many years, I oversaw the food and dining pages of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Nowadays I write cookbooks and contribute to a variety of publications.  Last year, I wrote about fun places to eat in the Mississippi Delta for National Geographic Traveler, and I’m wrapping up a book about those adventures that’s due out this fall. Besides exploring the back roads of my home state, I love seeking out authentic experiences wherever I travel, especially the ones that involve good eating!

Clint Boswell

Hi!  I’ve been a college English instructor for the past eight years and am now clint-120teaching in Atlanta.  One of my favorite things about this job is that it gives me the opportunity to explore my passions in life. I am a …

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