Magnolia Bakery + Harold’s Chicken in Chicago
In the earlier part of our trip to Chicago, we took an architectural walking tour of the city. Our informative guide showed up some sights and gave us some good bits of history about Chicago which we quite enjoyed.
Here we looked up and felt like the buildings were curving away from us.
And we saw the famous Picasso sculpture in Daley Plaza. Mostly I remember this sculpture from the Blues Brothers being chased across the plaza so they can go pay the taxes for the orphanage that they grew up in.
I also spied BB King on the side of a building.
Here’s the famous Chicago theater that we just happened to walk by on our way to Magnolia Bakery.
I’ve wanted to visit Magnolia Bakery for quite awhile and I was finally able to visit the Chicago location! We went after our tour of the city, a little bit before lunchtime. There was no line and lots and lots of treats to choose from. Jake opted to get the Banana Cream Pie, which is filled with their famous banana pudding in a graham cracker crust and topped with whipped cream.
The mini pie is quite a good size! There are chunks of banana nestled into the creamy pudding and the luscious whipped cream melds it all together for a sweet and delicious bite.
Since we had a few other desserts, I opted to try a mini vanilla cupcake adorned with green vanilla frosting and a cute flower decoration. It was a nice little bite.
They have multiple sizes of banana pudding available at Magnolia Bakery and I just got the smallest one.
Within the pudding there are chunks of Nilla wafer cookies, bits of banana, and lots of creamy pudding. I quite enjoyed the pudding, but I will be honest and say I preferred the banana cream pie to the pudding. I liked having the crust and extra whipped cream on top.
108 N State St #128
Chicago, IL 60602
After stopping for some sweet snacks, we headed over to Millennium Park.
We stopped by the famous Cloud Gate or “The Bean” as everyone else calls it since you know… it looks like a big, shiny bean.
In our wandering around the park, we made our way to the top of the art institute and found this snowman in a courtyard, which I got a kick out of.
“Fischli/Weiss’s installation on the Bluhm Family Terrace consists of a single snowman encased in a six-and-a-half-foot-high refrigerated vitrine. The sculpture, which is on view during Chicago’s warmer months, creates a paradoxical situation that brings together the snowman—normally only able to exist during the coldest winter days—and the sun-filled terrace.” – Art Institute of Chicago
We also trekked over to Buckingham Fountain which can be seen in the opening credits of Married… With Children. If you stop by the fountain in the evening, it’s all lit up with pretty colored lights!
I had read about Harold’s Chicken when doing foodie research and learned this was a local Chicago chain found only in the South Side and West Side of Chicago. We went to Harold’s Chicken #55 which is in the South Side of Chicago. And no, nothing bad happened to us. We had been warned to not go to the south side but well… we ignore things like that in the pursuit of good food.
Here’s Jake ordering up at the front counter.
And here’s a close up of the menu at Harold’s.
In doing my research, I learned that each location is a little bit different. Sure, they’re all apart of the same chain, but no two Harold’s Chicken Shacks are quite alike. The numbering is also totally off – there’s a #88, and a #43 and we went to #55.
One of the reasons I wanted to try Harold’s was to check out this thing they had called “mild sauce”. I read it was like a combination of BBQ sauce, hot sauce, and ketchup and I figured this was something Jake, my beloved sauce lover, would want to sample.
We got a few baskets of chicken wings to sample. These are the BIG wings that have the drumette and wing still attached.
Each basket comes with some white bread and a small side of coleslaw along with a cup of mild sauce. Extra sauce costs $0.90 a piece and let’s just say that Jake loved the sauce so much and made T get up to get more sauce not once… but twice! They ended up giving us free extra sauces when they realized just how much Jake was IN LOVE with the mild sauce. The mild sauce is an interesting combination – it’s sweet and a little tangy and there’s a hint of something something going on in the background. It’s great on top of the freshly fried, juicy, CRISPY chicken and also great with the hot french fries.
We noticed that when you venture out of the area, people have no idea what mild sauce is. In the North side of Chicago they give you a puzzled expression and ask “what’s mild sauce?” since they’ve never tried it before and it’s not offered anywhere. We found it interesting that just by venturing to another area of town you can try something that other locals had never heard of before!
The one other item we tried at Harold’s was a Pizza Puff. It’s kinda like… a hot pocket… but better! There’s dough on the outside (which sort of makes it looks like a flat pizza burrito) and there’s layers of marinara sauce and cheese. The whole thing is fried and comes out piping out! The cheese is all melted inside and mixed in with the sauce. It’s crispy and a bit chewy and tastes like a folded over crispy hot pizza burrito.
I’ve read that Lefty’s Chicago Pizza here in San Diego has pizza puffs on the menu and Jake and I plan on going to check that out in the near future! Jake says the Pizza Puff was his favorite thing he tried in Chicago. That’s some praise right there.
Harold’s Chicken Shack
100 W. 87th Street
Chicago, IL. 60620