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Eazy-E, Tiki Bars, Boat Rides and Chinatown – Crazy Day in Chicago

daebak korean bbq chicago chinatown brisket steak

During the summer the city of Chicago offers free yoga classes in Millennium Park on Saturday mornings. It’s a great excuse for us to get our asses out of bed and head down into the city to hang out with some of our favorite people when the weather is nice. With the weather being absolutely perfect this past Saturday, we got our asses up and made our way downtown to meet up with a few friends to enjoy the day.

The morning started off slightly annoying as there were a bunch of streets closed off downtown near our friends’ building, which meant we had to drive around in a big circle in order to gain access to their street, and their garage, to park. It wasn’t too bad though, I wasn’t super disgruntled about it.

After parking and getting things organized, the girls made their way over to Millennium Park for yoga, while the three of us guys took my daughter and made our way over to Maggie Daley Park to kill some time. The park is pretty cool, but since the slides are all made of metal, they were extremely hot and the kid didn’t want anything to do with them… so instead, Iman and I went on all the slides. There were zero other people there and the slides are huge and looked like a lot of fun… so we took advantage. I thought at one point security was coming over to tell us we were too big to be on the playground, but he just appeared to be throwing something away so we continued.

the bean chicago anti foodie
Touristy Selfies at The Bean

Breakfast of Champions

After about 45 minutes we made our way back to Millennium Park to meet up with the girls and head back to Iman and Jillian’s place for breakfast. Iman made us some scrambled eggs and bacon in addition to the fruit we had. The mimosas were also flowing, but nobody seemed to be into it as much as I was. It’s rare that we day drink so I wanted to try and take advantage while I could since I knew we had a pretty full day outside planned… What we should have done is brought insulated cups with alcohol with us as we walked around, but we didn’t think of it until it was too late.

Breakfast was delicious and just what we needed to hold us over until a bit later when we had plans to head down to Chinatown, but before Chinatown it was time to hit up the Chicago Riverwalk again.

Tiki Bar at the Riverwalk

Nick and Meredith had never been to the Island Party Hut tiki bar on the Riverwalk, so we decided to start there, which is about as far east as anything on the Riverwalk is, have a couple drinks, and then make our way back west.

It was still pretty early when we got to the bar so there wasn’t anyone there really, so we got a nice seat right along the river and went and ordered some drinks. The drinks here are a bit on the pricey side with cocktails being around $13 each, but beer was fairly reasonable for downtown at $5, so I opted for the Bud Light this time partially to save some money, but also because I wasn’t sure how some of those other liquors and sugary cocktails would be on my stomach. I figured it was better to be safe than sorry, so beer it was.

After ordering our drinks we grabbed a large-sized Jenga game and got into an intensely competitive game of bar Jenga. I was super impressed by how many rounds we went through considering the table was uneven and the tower seemed wobbly after the first pass. We had 6 people playing, so with one pass being 6 moves, I didn’t think it would last more than a couple times through, but boy was I wrong. We almost ran out of moves before Meredith ended up toppling the tower and we moved on to the next stop.

Water Taxi to Chicago’s Chinatown

Earlier in the week Iman had the idea to take a water taxi on the river, all the way down to Chinatown for food. Initially I think he was thinking that we’d do an early lunch/late breakfast, but it turned out to be about 1pm by the time we got down there, so it was perfect for lunch, especially since he had made eggs for us after yoga.

The water taxi was pretty cool, I’ve never taken it before. We got on at Clark St. and paid $10 per adult for an all-day pass, which, even though we were just going down and back, was cheaper than getting two 1-way tickets at $6 each way. The water taxi gives you a very cool perspective of the city from a boat for a super reasonable price, and it’s very convenient for getting to Chinatown if that’s something you want to check out while you’re in the city.

I would say it took maybe 20 minutes or us to get from Clark St. to Chinatown on the water taxi, and there was only one other stop between Clark and the Chinatown stop, so it was just a lot of cruising. You can get some cool pictures of the buildings and the city as a whole from the south as you make your way down there. Definitely something I would recommend trying even if you’re not going to get off the boat in Chinatown you can just ride it around for a while.

Lunch at Daebak Korean BBQ

After getting down into Chinatown we already knew exactly where we were going to eat. Iman had found this new place, Daebak Korean BBQ, earlier in the week and thought it looked like something cool and different, and since we all love those Korean short ribs we make on Memorial Day every year, it sounded like a great place… plus I’ve never had Korean BBQ outside of those short ribs, so I was looking forward to it.

daebak korean bbq chicago chinatown
Daebak Korean BBQ – Chinatown

The restaurant is one of the very last restaurants on the main strip area in Chinatown and requires you to go up a bunch of stairs to get there. A nice man pointed us towards the elevator, since we had a stroller, but once we reached the door upstairs, designated for handicapped entry, we saw that it was locked and blocked by chairs, which was unfortunate. Because of this, we had to ride the elevator back down and I had to carry the stroller up the long flight of stairs, which wasn’t too bad, just a little annoying.

At the top of the stairs we were greeted by a very friendly hostess that took us to a long table, complete with 2 grills for the meats. We ordered drinks, unfortunately no alcohol as of yet, and started looking over the menu.

We weren’t really sure what to get, so we ended up going with one of the combo meat platters as well as a Spicy Seafood Tofu Soup as our entrees. In addition to that, we also ordered the veggie Pan Fried Dumplings as an appetizer.

Shortly after we placed our order our server brought out about 15 little dishes with various ‘side-items’ in them. We weren’t sure what all of them were, but we figured out that one of them was like a potato salad, one was zucchini, and one was some sort of fish tofu I believe. Needless to say everything was dripping in garlic so I had to stay away.

daebak korean bbq chicago chinatown side dishes
Side Dishes – Daebak Korean BBQ

A short while after those little dishes came out, a huge platter of meat was brought out and our server began cooking it for us on the grill on the table. First up was the very thinly sliced brisket. I would have to say that by itself the brisket was kind of bland. Not terrible, but could have definitely used some sort of sauce or something… which actually eventually came out half-way through our meal.

daebak korean bbq brisket
Thinly Sliced Brisket – Daebak Korean BBQ

After she finished cooking the first batch of the brisket she put the Prime Rib Eye on the grill and cooked that up. Again, no seasoning, no nothing, on the rib eye, so it was a bit bland by itself. It definitely needs a little something on it even if it’s just salt and pepper or something. Just having nothing left me wanting more, but it wasn’t the worst steak I’ve ever had.

Last up was the marinated boneless short rib… we were all pretty excited for this one considering, like I said above, how much we love the short rib we make on Memorial Day. After cooking it up, I could barely wait for the server to tell me it was finished before I used my fork to grab a piece off the grill… it was amazing. Definitely reminded me of the bulgogi marinade we’ve used before, and the meat just melted in your mouth. After it was gone, everyone agreed that we messed up by not ordering more than one of the marinated boneless short rib. So if you end up at Daebak in Chinatown, make sure you get at least one of the short ribs. The prices were actually very reasonable too, although we didn’t drink. With tip it was $50 per couple… not too bad for the amount of food we had.

cooked briskety daebak korean bbq
Cooked Brisket – Daebak Korean BBQ

All in all our trip to Chicago’s Chinatown was a success. I had never been down there before and look forward to the next time we head down there so that we can order just a shit load of marinated short rib. Hopefully next time we catch a glimpse of Jack Burton or Lo Pan though… but we did have one celebrity sighting once we got back into downtown.

Eazy-E Sighting and Rooftop Drinking

After making our way back into the downtown area on the water taxi, we stopped back into Iman and Jillian’s building to fill up our cups and head to the rooftop for a little more drinking and relaxing. The building they live in is pretty incredible, so we were able to grab a seat on the 40-something floor and enjoy the skyline while trying to keep our buzz going (it was too hot and already too late to actually keep the buzz going though).

rooftop drinking
Rooftop Relaxing

After hanging out on the rooftop for a while it was getting late and everyone was exhausted from being in the sun all day, so we decided to call it a day. Now I can’t remember exactly at which point during the day this happened, but as we were riding the elevator downstairs from Iman and Jillian’s unit (or the rooftop), two guys get in the elevator with us as we were going down. I glanced at the one guy and thought he looked super familiar, but couldn’t place it at the time. Our daughter noticed his shirt had Linus from Charlie Brown on it so I bent down and was talking to her about it when he chimed in and asked her if she like Charlie Brown and stuff… just elevator small talk, but once he opened his mouth I knew who he was… or at least thought I knew who he was.

I didn’t say anything to him when we were in the elevator, and didn’t say anything to anyone else, but I was 90% sure he was actor Jason Mitchell a.k.a. Eazy-E from ‘Straight Outta Compton’, which I’ve seen 4-5 times now. As we left the elevator he said bye and have a nice day, we did the same, and that was that. Flash forward to Tuesday when I get a text from Iman saying that he just rode the elevator with ‘Eazy-E‘ and that he lives in their building at the moment. It was then that I was kicking myself for not saying anything to him at the time, but oh well. It sounds like he’s shooting something called ‘The Chi‘ right now, so he’s hanging out in Chicago while they film. He seemed like a nice guy for those few minutes in the elevator, just crazy that I swore it was him, but thought to myself it couldn’t be, so I didn’t say anything… maybe from now on I’ll just say something when I think someone looks familiar haha.

So all in all it was a great day with a few nice surprises thrown in. I’m sure this won’t be the last time we’re down there for yoga in the park this summer and hopefully it won’t be the last time we run into the cast of ‘The Chi’ in Iman’s building.

 

 

About the author

Tom

I'm a married man in his 30's who doesn't really "like" food. If it weren't for my wife I would be living off of pizza and cheeseburgers for the rest of my life. Follow me as I venture slightly out of my comfort zone to try different foods and restaurants.

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