#EatFreelyUSA Tour Visits Gluten-Free Chicago

#EatFreelyUSA Chicago

Up next in our monthly installment of #EatFreelyUSA sponsored trips with Enjoy Life Foods, we’re off to Chicago, IL!

If you don’t know about #EatFreelyUSA, you can check out the first post about it HER#. To catch you up, Enjoy Life Foods is sending me and Keeley McGuire on a roadtrip across the country!

We flew directly from Nashville, where we had our last #EatFreelyUSA adventure. To watch the video WACH IT ON YOUTUBE HERE and READ ALL ABOUT NASHVILLE HERE!

We hope you take a few minutes to read about our experience in Chicago, and to watch the recap video below!

WATCH THE #EATFREELYUSA VIDEO FROM OUR TRIP TO CHICAGO!

WATCH THE #EATFREELYUSA VIDEO FROM OUR TRIP TO CHICAGO!

We spent several days in Chicago, but it wasn’t nearly enough! There is so much to see, to do, and to eat in the Windy City! If you haven’t been to Chicago, definitely put it on your bucket list! You’ll have a blast here, but avoid the summers if your hair can’t handle humidity (I learned the hard way).

Enjoy Life Foods Corporate Office

We got a chance to tour the new Enjoy Life Foods corporate office in Chicago. The last time I was in Chicago, I got to tour their old facility. Remember my awesome hair net? I miss those days. I never get to wear a labcoat any more!

Enjoy Life Foods Tour
But this time, no hairnets (thankfully, I was having an awesome hair morning). We hung out with their marketing team, which is always a good time. I’m so lucky to call them more than just a client – more like friends! It’s so great to have a brand with so much heart behind it. I’m proud to be sponsored by Enjoy Life Foods.

Remember Kathleen from Soul Food Heals from our time at Disneyworld (especially the super fun Behind The Seeds tour)? She’s now working full time with Enjoy Life Foods! And Jamie – who you might know from consumer events – walked us through the whole stock room, including the Canadian products with additional allergen labeling.

#EatFreelyUSA Chicago
 

#EatFreelyUSA Chicago
While I love hanging out with everyone, you can’t think that the sample room isn’t the best part of the whole day. Endless Enjoy Life Food noms for the sampling? Bring it on.

#EatFreelyUSA Chicago

#EatFreelyUSA Chicago

Navy Pier

Navy Pier is one of those love-hate places to visit in Chicago. It’s cool to see the pier, especially during America’s Cup, which is when we went. We got to see Team USA sail around – and subsequently tip over. We walked around on the beautiful waterfront. It’s gorgeous, don’t get me wrong – but it’s not the place for me. It was way too sunny and hot out, and there’s no way I was going to ride rides or go on a boat tour (me + water = barf). It was also $28 to park there. While Navy Pier is a must-visit for anyone seeing Chicago, try going on a day where it isn’t packed, and consider Uber’ing there.

#EatFreelyUSA Chicago

#EatFreelyUSA Chicago

Wildfire

Lettuce Entertain You is a group of restaurants that are pretty much all gluten-free friendly, I especially like Wildfire and Big Bowl. We got in really late and were so thankful we could walk from our hotel (Hotel Felix) to Wildfire – and they were open late. While I couldn’t have their gluten-free bread (because it had dairy), there is a giant menu with a ton of selections if you are gluten-free (and modify to make them dairy-free as well). I’ve been here several times and I’ve never had a bad server experience here.

#EatFreelyUSA Chicago Wildfire

PS from this neighborhood, you can also walk to the Gold Coast Whole Foods. You know how I love my Whole Foods, and being able to walk to a Whole Foods this beautiful is definitely on my check list when I visit a new city and have to find a hotel.

Wheat’s End Bakery

Wheat’s End Bakery is a dedicated gluten-free bakery in Chicago. They also have plenty of vegan options, including this really delicious and moist cinnamon roll. I also had a vegan bagel with vegan cream cheese and lox! It was one of the best breakfasts I’ve had in a very long time. And bacon – always bacon. Keeley had Eggs Benedict. Basically, I’d like to live here if possible. Just in here. In the bakery. And just keep eating these cinnamon rolls. I put this on my “must visit” list for every time I’m in Chicago. it’s that good.

#EatFreelyUSA Chicago Wheat's End Cafe

#EatFreelyUSA Chicago Wheat's End Cafe

Three Dots and a Dash

Based on a recommendation, we found (after hunting for what seemed like forever) a basement speakeasy. And it was tiki themed. Could this be heaven? Is this my new favorite place on the planet? Possibly. Three Dots and a Dash is an incredible Tiki Bar with fabu drinks in themed cups. I feel like I transported back to the 1950’s. The drinks were strong and the vibe was killer. But if you want to go, you’ve got to make reservations (it’s that kind of a speakeasy – the popular ones you can never get into, even though they are “secret”).

#EatFreelyUSA Chicago

Three Dots and a Dash
Lyfe Kitchen

I’m in love with Lyfe Kitchen. If you haven’t been and you have access to one in your city, or on your next vacation, you simply must go. They have a gluten-free and vegan menu, and they also label for nuts. I am able to eat so much food at this one restaurant – which is always impressive at a gluten-free joint. It’s a sit down restaurant, but you order at the counter. They also serve beer and wine. We shared a few apps, and I had the gluten-free chicken sandwich. I could have easily eaten here every day if I had the choice, but that would have made for a pretty boring video.

#EatFreelyUSA Chicago

#EatFreelyUSA Chicago

The Bean + Millennium Park

Did you know that Millenium Park had free fitness classes during the weekends? I didn’t. But they do, and of course, because it’s free we had to attend. And who doesn’t love yoga with a bunch of strangers (well, we don’t…). They also offer pilates and zumba. We were worn out after yoga and didn’t stick around, which works because I probably would have hurt myself.

#EatFreelyUSA Yoga in Millennium Park

It was a little too “ommmmm-y” and not enough active movement, but hey, there’s nothing wrong with lying in the beautiful grass and just chilling out. I did not find my center, but I did have some time to just relax. It felt strange to do nothing. Maybe I should do it more often?

#EatFreelyUSA Chicago

Millennium park is right next to “The Bean” so don’t miss taking your photo next to it, or inside of it, for a trippy new profile pic.

#EatFreelyUSA Chicago

PS don’t miss going to Mariano’s while you’re there. This grocery store is awesome with gluten-free and vegan foods. And you can park in their garage and walk to the bean too!

Old Town Chicago

We visited Old Town to see the art fair and visit our friends Kathleen and Brianna from A Different Survival Guide. It’s a cute neighborhood with lots of places to see – Snap Kitchen, Plum Market, and I even found a Pure Barre!

#EatFreelyUSA Chicago with Kathleen from Soul Food Heals and Brianna from A Different Survival Guide
#EatFreelyUSA Chicago

#EatFreelyUSA Chicago

Museums + More!

We originally had plans to visit The Shedd Aquarium. It’s one of my personal favorites and I was psyched all weekend to see the dolphin show. However, when we drove into the parking garage, we got the bad news that the aquarium was going to be closed for a private event. Just our luck! However, the Field Museum was still open, so we stopped inside to get our education on!
#EatFreelyUSA Chicago

The special exhibit was the Terracotta Warriors. It was cool to see them in person, since I had just saw the exhibit about them at Epcot in Disneyworld!

#EatFreelyUSA Chicago

Other museums you can’t miss in Chicago – The Art Institute, Adler Planetarium, and the Chicago Cultural Center.

Overall, we had a great time in Chicago, although the summer traffic is killer and parking is always expensive. You can Uber everywhere, which is a great alternative to renting a car.

DID YOU WATCH THE VIDEO YET? IF NOT WATCH THIS #EATFREELYUSA VIDEO FROM OUR TRIP TO CHICAGO!

WATCH THE #EATFREELYUSA VIDEO FROM OUR TRIP TO CHICAGO!

See you on our next adventure, sponsored by Enjoy Life Foods!

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