Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Submitted by June 

Not one single Hot Dog Eaten, but STILL my kind of town!

We were staying right downtown at the Hard Rock Hotel on Michigan Avenue, which made it a bit difficult to travel to the city's outskirts for those legendary Chicago Dogs and Italian beef sandwiches.  Yes, I know it's a tragedy of epic proportions...however we still ate good, walked away with TWO awesome wins at the UFC, and overall had a fantastic time!

Since we were downtown, most of the places right around us were fancy-shmancy, so it really didn't allow for us to dig into the cool, neighborhoody deli's and stuff that I love in Chicago so much.  We got in late on Monday, and many places were already closed.  The hotel concierge insisted we visit this place called GT's Fish & Oyster Bar.  Never heard of it?  Never had we. She said it was trendy.  Do you hate the word "trendy?"  So do we!  Yet, we pressed on and we were glad we did...the restaurant was FANTASTIC!

It really wasn't trendy by L.A. or Seattle standards, so the atmosphere wasn't too pretentious and the furniture wasn't too weird-looking.  The lighting, ambiance, and crowd were perfect.  The food?  Dee-lish!  We got a little bit of everything...

Tuna poke with mango, black sesame and cucumber.  Poke in Chicago? Hmmm.  I lived in Hawaii so it's pretty hard to impress me with poke but this was surprisingly good, fresh-tasting and the perfect texture that I like in a poke dish.
Sage gnocci with crab, butternut squash, burrata, and spicy pepitas.

As we happily munched down on this, we looked over to the couple dining next to us and their tasty-looking appetizer.  It was...


Po'Boy Sliders with Kimchee?!!  I was intrigued!  And it turns out that this particular dish had won all kinds of awards, including one from the highly-coveted James Beard Foundation.  Apparently, J.B.'s very own foundation head said it was "one of the best things he's ever eaten in his life."  HAD TO TRY IT.  DID.  LOVED IT SO MUCH, WE GOT TWO ORDERS!

You must try GT's Oyster Po Boy Sliders with kimchee!
Baja shrimp bruschetta with avocado, toasted pistachio, grapefruit and cilantro.  It sounds pretentious to say that it was a "delicate balance of flavors" but that's exactly what it was!  Yummy, light yet flavorful!

All in all GT's Fish & Oysters FAR exceeded our expectations and honestly was the best place I ate during the trip, and probably one of the best I've visited in my life.  The service was excellent, we had a great waiter who was friendly and knowledgable with the food and wine and said that once he had won an Oyster Po-Boy Eating Contest.  I don't blame him....I would enter that too!

Other restaurants that we ate included Volare, a really nice Italian joint.  Pricey but worth it, the food was excellent!!  Bijan's Bistro was another place where we had breakfast; we accidentally kind of stumbled upon it leaving a Whole Foods to pick up Glover's rehydrate goodies but as I sat there eating, a bunch of people ended up texting me that it was a great choice and they were right!! And very affordable, too!

Later that week, weigh-ins took place at the historic, beautiful Chicago Theater.  Which looks like this on the outside...

AND THIS on the inside. Clearly not my photo, and clearly not taken during weigh-ins....BUT

Glover Teixeira made weight for his fight against Rampage just fine!

Even though it was quite cold (between 2 to 8 degrees most of the time I was there) we still had smiles on our faces!  This me and Jorge, who is the co-owner of BlackHouse MMA and who everyone at the UFC calls "The Most Interesting Man in the World" since he is a pretty big celebrity in Brazil and knows just about everyone wherever he goes!

There was also plenty of time for fun and friends!  Caught some great live music at the Hard Rock, played some pool, met some new friends, and had a fun night out at the Public House:
Chris:  "Stop....grrrr..telling the media...grrr...I'm an unknown fighter and let me fight Anderson!"
Ed:   "I never said that! Okay! Okay!!!"
(Many of you are probably reading this, going, "Who is that?")

Gray Maynard and I catching up!

Myself and Sean Shelby, UFC matchmaker.  Incredibly cool guy with a tough job--we had a blast!

Backstage at the United Center - Glover Texeira getting his hands wrapped by the Pitmaster, John Hackleman!

And you if you were watching on Saturday night, you know that Glover Texeira won a unanimous decision over Quinton "Rampage"Jackson!  Yay!

AND also Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson, who is from my neck-of-the-woods in the Great Northwest, defended his 125-lb title on Saturday, too!  DJ is from a great camp out of Kirkland, Washington, and we are so proud of his performance!

All-in-all...this was one of my more favorite UFC trips ever.  Even though it wasn't without its few hiccups (the elevator got stuck at the Hard Rock Hotel with Glover in it, there was no hot water in our hotel rooms one of the days, and at some point one of the places we ate at made us a little sick---I blame McCormick & Schmick's) it was a fun & successful week with great fights, fans, food, and friends!  Can't wait to be back in the Windy City...hopefully closer to the summertime!

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