• A Chicago One-of-a-Kind!

    Chicago, IL…Gene & Jude’s is a popular and iconic hot dog stand on River Road in River Grove, Illinois, founded in 1946 by friends and Chicago city workers Gene Mormino and Jude DeSantis. The stand is famous for its narrow approach to the Chicago-style hot dog, its toppings departing from tradition by including only mustard, onions, relish, sport peppers and fresh cut French fries placed on top, known as a Depression Dog. The menu is limited to hot dogs, double dogs, tamales and fries, and, typical of Chicago hot dog, lacks any trace of ketchup.

    In 2006, Gene’s & Jude’s was inducted into the Vienna Beef Hot Dog Hall of Fame. In 2011, in a competition of 64 hot dog stands across the country, it was chosen by the magazine “Every Day with Rachel Ray” and the food blog Serious Eats as the best hot dog in America.

    I grew up with these infamous dogs close to my home in Elmwood Park and always need to get my “fix” when in Chicago!




  • Pizza, Pizza, Pizza!

    Chicago, Illinois…farewell to my hometown! A trip to Chicago wouldn’t be complete without Pizza! I have a few favorites here, but my Bon Voyage meal was a family outing for traditional Chicago deep dish…Lou Malnati’s is a Windy City institution and always lives up to its fame!

    The restaurant is low key…not anything to look at…the star is the pizza! A crispy crust filled with oozing cheese and topped with fresh chopped tomato sauce and crumbled sausage! It’s truly decadent as the slice goes from pan to plate with the cheese stringing between slices. The tomato sauce is slightly tangy which creates a delicious flavor mix! We started our meal with their signature salad, which is a meal in itself, so I could only plow through two slices of pizza! We had leftovers for days!

    The Midwest is definitely a place of hearty food! Chicago definitely shines with its share of comfort foods that I long for from my youth! It was a great visit seeing family, hanging out with old and new friends, and reacquainting myself with the city I grew up in and some of my favorite memories!





  • Rise to the Top!

    Chicago, Illinois…what fun playing tourist in my own hometown! I decided to visit the skyscraper formerly known as the Sears Tower; I get in a taxi and ask to go to the Sears Tower and the driver quickly reminds me it was renamed the Willis Tower years ago! Whoops! It’s now known for it’s suspended glass balconies that extend out over the city from it’s sky deck 103 stories above downtown Chicago!

    What a rush getting a 360 degree view over all of Chicago from the former tallest building in the world, now only the tallest building in the Western world.

    After a 60 second ear popping ride in the high speed elevator, I arrive at the Sky Deck. Not overly crowded, I am able to indulge easily in the views on this clear day that are totally breathtaking! I make my way to the gravity defying clear balconies…I didn’t think I would be phased, but as I took off my shoes and stepped on the glass I started to feel weak in the knees! It’s freaky to think that this can hold up and make you feel you are standing well over 1200 feet directly above the ground…

    I laugh at tourists posing in these clear box-like viewing balconies…but they probably thought I was weird too going in barefoot!

    I am on a high literally and figuratively enjoying Chi-Town!







  • My Kind of Town!

    Chicago,Illinois…I am realizing what an amazing city I grew up in! This beautiful sunny Fall day I have spent strolling through downtown Chicago…

    The lake, the river, the art installations of Millennium Park, the architecture & skyline…amazing elements that work together to create a world class city! This Midwestern hub really shines…I am strolling up the Magnificent Mile of Michigan Avenue falling in love once again with my hometown. I am amazed at how the city really combines an urban vibe but retains a Midwest sensibility!

    Leaving a place and returning with a new perspective really pays off…I am walking around wide eyed absorbing all that the Windy City has to offer!





  • Done Wright!

    Chicago, Illinois…I have travelled the world and yet so close to where I grew up is an area I took for granted for its sights and major contribution to the world of style and architecture…Oak Park is the home of Frank Lloyd Wright and the district bearing his name is a showcase for his brilliance that launched Prairie style architecture! This area served as his laboratory for him to experiment and develop his world renowned and beloved style.

    It’s a feast of housing style that lines the historic streets. I have driven by many times in my younger life and didn’t appreciate the magnitude of the impact and importance of this small artistic suburb! It’s breathtaking to walk these streets and see the different homes that explore this style of architecture.

    Beautiful modernist lines, a pre art deco vibe, and brilliant use of woodwork and masonry.

    Sometimes the best sights are not a world away, but right under your nose! We just need to slow down and take them in…20120923-113025.jpg







  • Hot Diggety Dog!

    Chicago, Illinois…I travelled from Paris to my hometown of Chicago via London! I grew up in this town and it’s nice to get back once in awhile…

    My first stop is my all time favorite and most missed thing about living here: Chicago Hot Dogs! There is nothing better than these treats and no matter how many other people try, they never seem the same anywhere else but in the Windy City…

    The poppy seed bun, that taste of the Vienna beef hotdog, and all the toppings! They make me so happy!

    Food is such a big memory of growing up and getting the opportunity to return to Chicago in order to indulge once again in the city’s famous hot dogs is a true treat of traveling!