The one about the Third Coast – Chicago


The Vlog about Chicago

Every time I visit Chicago, I want to move back.  As I’m filled with the nostalgia of a great time in my life, the city also brings the best in me. When I’m there, I relieve that moments of risk taking, fearless empowerment and make it happen kind of feeling. Do you have a place like that in your life too? I have two. Rio de Janeiro and Chicago. On this post, I’m going to talk about Chicago, we leave Rio for another time. 

Last September, we planned a trip to Chicago to celebrate my 10th anniversary in America. If you are new to this blog, Chicago is the place I moved to, after almost two years of agony of living in Sao Paulo. My life is full of up and downs and Sao Paulo was the lowest place I’ve been in my life. Moving back on to. Chicago. 

The Windy City, the third coast, the less crowded New York, the much nicer people. 

The pilot announced that we would be landing in the next ten minutes. I look at the window, and we were in the middle of the clouds. Suddenly, I felt the plane flew back up.Lord have mercy.  The pilots voice came back on to let us know that they needed more time to land, because Midway had other planes to land before us.I remained calm. 

I’ve been listening to a podcast called “fear of flying” where a former pilot explain to us how safe is to fly and I guess its working. I hate flying.I don’t like to be up in the air, don’t like to trust my life on someone that might be overworked (33 thousand ft above), and don’t understand how planes work. We landed ten minutes after being hanging around in the clouds. 

Chicago was rainy and cloudy. 

It was the first time I visited the city since we left, in November of 2019, to Austin. And boy, the Chicago changed a lot. Not the weather, that’s a given. But the city looks like it was trashed. I love Chicago and I would never talk bad about my city. I read a lot about what was going on in the city during the pandemic and also through friends we have there. The city is still vibrant, people are still outside, but I think it’s going to take years to reconstruct the damage of the Corona Virus led the city to. 

I love Chicago and I would never talk bad about my city.

After putting our stuff in the hotel, we took the bus to meet our friend Brittney, in a very nice restaurant in Gold Coast. How much I missed my friend!! I was immediately put in a “I want to move back here” mode. I miss my friends, I miss the chaotic energy the city has and how I could move around without relying on a car. We bought a 3 days CTA pass, and we were all over the place. I love big cities, and even though I really like Denver, this is not a big city. 

Walking around at the Magnificent Mile, I was surprised by how many stores are closed now, from the time I was living there. Big stores on what is supposed to be a mile of luxury and entertainment are gone. Uniq-lo, Columbia, The Italian food place on the corner, all gone within two years. 

Old Italian Village Restaurant

We went to eat in a place close to the hotel at night called “Italian Village”- The oldest Italian restaurant in town. The clientele surely reflects that. And the music, and the Ambience.  The poor waiter,  who looked like she had drinks a witch’s potion to remain young. Made my creative mind to image her being as old as the restaurant is, but every day before her shift starts, she drinks from a potion of youthness, like a Howard’s moving castle on the opposite way. 

Next morning I was ready to run the town.

We walked around Michigan Avenue and hit Eataly, the place I used to work and my very last waitressing job. As soon as I walked into the building I realized why I gave up being a waitress. The anxiety that took over my body only from getting on that escalator was unreal.

The store was having a Sale-tember and we bought some cookies, coffee, chocolate to have breakfast next morning. When we travel we try to have at least one meal at the room, so we save money for a bigger meal later on. Thats how can we afford to travel. We also share meals. 

I got Bites on my heart. ❤️

At the end of the first day we went to our favorite restaurant to see another friend, who lives close by. We got at  BITES a bit early and we were received like we always were.

The staff recognized us, treated so well and the owner came by the table and she remember we moved to Austin, she asked if we were still living there. We told her we moved to Colorado. She asked if we were moving back. I said I wanted to. I always want to. I never wanted to leave in the first place. The manager sent us some food and we had a great time as always. 

They let me take the little flamingo as a souvenir

What I miss most about Chicago is the community sense. People help each other. They talk to each other, on the train. Exchange a few words or a quick smile. That always made a difference  especially when I first arrived there in 2012. I never felt alone. We bond over the crazy people on the red line. If you know, you know. 

Last day was the day to film some footage for the channel and walk around  The Bean, at the Millenium park. Also have lunch in Chinatown. The city has the best Dim Sum ever. I couldn’t believe how easy was to jump on the train, have lunch and come back to downtown Chicago. 

The city is a melting pot of cultures. It’s like New York, but better. Even though it has a lot of problems and concerns about safety, and I would still visit anytime I get a chance to.

What I tell everyone is if you are looking for fun and different types of cuisine and different types of people, go to Chicago. Go get a Chicago Italian beef, or a deep dish pizza, Go get a donut at Stan’s donuts. Go get some of the latino vibe at the Pilsen neighborhood. Go to Andersonville for a Scandinavian taste at Svea. 

How much I miss the city vibe. 

Last remarks of what happened before I go:

 We jumped into the orange line in the Midway airport, an elderly man started talking to us, engaging about the mac and cheese he would have to buy. He was worried that he would forget and asked us to keep remind him. He asked me if I like to cook and I said yes, but not mac and cheese.

Another time on the train, a man was with his headphones, was dancing for the hispanic lady on her seat. He danced around, hugged and humped the guy who was standing before he proceed to leave the train. None of this humans knew the dancer.  

As you can see, I shared a few videos of what I’m working in our youtube channel TRVLS & COMIDA . If you are kind to subscribe, I will be very thankful for it. I’m going to keep working to improve it.

See you next week, possibly.



Beautiful Chaotic Chicago.

*I wrote this post in July 2020. The city still hasn’t recover from the Covid Pandemic, all the stores are closing and the as far as I know, a lot business are on the same path. I’m deeply saddened by how my favorite city is looking right now. But hopefully soon, they will rise. I love Chicago and wish them a speed recovery.

Today I woke up missing Chicago and then I though about this post I wrote and never post it.

I remember the first time I walked around the city. Almost 8 years ago, I arrived in the country, not knowing what was going to happen from that point on. All I had was hope for a better future. After all this time, I still think about that feeling of starting over. Fresh out of the boat.

Before moving to Chicago, I was living in Sao Paulo, which is the most overcrowded city on the planet with a population of roughly 22 million, only behind Delhi and Shanghai. While the winter lasts for a good nine months out of the year, during the summer months that are plenty to do, even free entertainment, for our delight.

Downtown Chicago Congress Hotel

The city has its major problems, like any other big city, but I won’t focus on that. Let’s focus on what makes it fun!

Here are my ideas of favorites to explore while in town: 

1- The CTA – Chicago Transit Authority –

Also know as “The L” . Yes, why the number one item of my list the 100 years old is public failing transportation system? Because if you want to be a local, it’s a must that you explore the city on the train. It’s cheap, reliable, and chaotic. It runs around the entire city, so you see all kinds of people on the train. Depending on which line, or what time, it gets a little danger, but I’m not about to be negative. Let the News do it. From some accounts on Twitter dedicated to the lines, the RedLine is probably the most famous one, and the tweets are hilarious and I’m happy to understand what they are talking about. A lot of nonsense. If you never got called out in the train by a stranger in the train or bus while Chicago, you are not doing it right!

Uptown Train Station

2- The People 

Almost everyone living here is from somewhere else. I also mean all over the world, and they are welcoming. Different from Georgia, where I was asked every five minutes where I was from, because of my accent, alas in the South its almost like a cow branding, in Chicago nobody cares. I believe the cold brings us a sense of community, as we are always engaging with each other and talking about how cold this place is, or making some snarky comment on how is always construction time.  Being from somewhere different, gives everyone a sense of belonging.

3- The Food Culture

One of the reasons why the food is so great is the city is so diverse. Because of all different ethnicities, you can find all kinds of foods, walking distance from one street to another. Chicago has all kind of cuisines, of course, is also known by the Fine Dining classic cuisine, where the seven-course dinner might cost you 300 bucks, for a private area at the restaurant where the Chef feed you in your mouth, or you can stick to the cheap part and enjoy it, without breaking the bank. Last weekend, my friend was visiting from Georgia and she wanted to have a typical Chicago Hot dog, so we went to a small hot dog parlor in Old Town, considerably cheap, for that part of town, which is an upscale neighborhood area. Across from us, there were some youngsters having brunch and yelling across the speed of sound. You can imagine what kind of people they are. 

4– Diverse Neighborhoods. 

As city being so diverse, Chicago makes you feel like exploring a lot, by feet or bus, checking the different architecture of every neighborhood and the people. Lakeview has different pockets, The East, is where the party happens, they have BoysTown, the LGBTQ+ neighborhood, it is always fun to walk around, with great restaurant to visit. The WrigglyField – Cubs’ baseball stadium is located a block away. At Lakeview West, you have also great bars, and Argentinian BYOB SteakHouse, an old Movie Theater on Southport, and a lot of yoga moms. Logan Square you find the hipster millennial crowd. Vegan Coffee shops, Indy movie Theaters, PopUp restaurants with a different theme every month, and a super appealing farmers market. Pilsen is the Hispanic community, full of again, nice people and delicious Pan. For sure, is a lot to explore and I could keep telling you about this place forever. 

5- Free Entertainment. 

 Free entertainment all year round in the city, but let’s keep the list to summer months because besides the city looking pretty in the winter, with a lot of chance of snow, it’s a bit safer to venture yourself during the warmer months. From April on(if we are lucky), when it starts to get a little warmer, a lot of neighborhoods hold a farmers market. Its always great fun and delicious food, that you can either eat at the market or take it with you, last one I visited, they had a Tamales stand and Mexican corn, let me tell you there was a line for it. A lot of festivals going around town, the bacon fest, the taco fest, the Roscoe fest, and so on. Every weekend there is a different street closing for the visitor to rejoice. You can also rend a Divy Bike and ride on the lakeshore

Millennium Park has a free movies, that you can sit at the grass, with a picnic mat and enjoy with friends, there is also dance festivals at Navy Pier and a lot of good to do, if you don’t want to break the bank. After all, Chicago is an expensive city, the taxes are higher and the probability that you are going to spend more than you expected is almost guaranteed. 

A cold night in January

Chicago is a great city. I believe that a lot of what you see in the media is overrated. The city has great people. I’m hoping to go back and visit my friends soon. As soon as we are cleared from Corona, because now my friends are also stranded at home, just like me, here in Austin.

Pin made with Canva Design website.

Stay Safe!

J.G. Snelly

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