A Summer Weekend (Guest Post)

By my friend, Jenny Xia, who also wrote about Eataly exactly a year ago

Having lived in DC for the past year, I couldn’t help but feel slightly overwhelmed by how much bigger Chicago seemed in comparison. As Steph and I explored the city, I began to convince myself that Chicago has to be larger than NYC. In a moment of nerdiness, I Googled this and it turns out that NYC’s over 30% bigger in square mileage.

It also turns out that I experienced a psychology phenomenon called the “contrast effect.” The term describes how undergoing two contrasting experiences can skew a person’s perception of the latter event. During my stay with Steph, Chicago seemed enormous, though I probably wouldn’t feel the same way if I had been visiting her from NYC. In a way, the cognitive bias worked in my favor as it made my visit to Chicago feel even more exciting and the city grander.

The rest of the weekend Steph and I spent together was as exciting as the day Steph recapped in her last post, here’s some of our activities that weekend:

  1. Touring Pilsen

Pilsen is a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood (one of Chicago’s many of ethnic enclaves), and has recently received shout-outs from magazines and blogs as the next up-and-coming area in Chi. Pilsen has also earned a reputation for amazing, authentic Mexican food –which probably in itself convinced Steph and me to venture down to the area (it’s become clear over the years that there’s little we wouldn’t do for guac and tacos).

From a traveler’s perspective, it doesn’t seem like there’s not much to do in Pilsen other than eat, though Steph and I happened to visit on Pilsen Day, and got to browse the wares of local vendors in its street festival. This is of course, after we first ate our fill of tacos. There are a number of highly-rated and very affordable restaurants in Pilsen. We eventually decided to eat at Coyotes; for less than $10 each, we got 2 fresh soft-shell corn tacos with our choice of meat (Steph and I would both recommend the fish tacos).


  1. BBQing + Shraddha’s Birthday!

After returning from Pilsen, we successfully cooked burgers and veggies on a grill without setting anything on fire. We also tried blending beer with mangos for what we thought would result in something like a daiquiri – it actually ended up tasting like beer with mango pieces (though we were both still left wondering why beer daiquiris isn’t a thing). [steph: we used the magic bullet to blend beer and mango, and it turned into mostly beer foam with mango bites at the bottom – would not recommend].


Afterward, we headed to Shraddha’s new apartment to celebrate her 22nd birthday. It was great getting to meet Steph’s coworkers, and sharing a tipsy ending to the Saturday!

  1. Brunch + Pole dancing

I’d been wanting to try a pole dancing class for a while, so was pumped when Steph suggested that go to a pole dancing class on Sunday. After a nutella-smothered brunch at Jam ‘n Honey, we headed to the fitness center for a beginner class. I was surprised by how easy it was to pick up the basic pole spin technique (the whole class was spinning around poles by the end of the session) though anything beyond the basics was pretty flustering.

We left the class feeling like we had a good workout and sore (I moved around like a crippled person the next day). It was fun learning how to pole dance, and I’d definitely recommend trying a class if you’ve ever been curious about it!


We did a ton during that weekend (between Steph and my posts, we still didn’t cover everything) though I think my favorite of all the things we did we chilling on the rooftop and catching up with each other’s lives. Thank you Steph for showing me around Chi-town, and planning this lovely adventure!!

Xo – Jenny

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