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The DansDeals Forums is a messy community of 15,000. Newbies find it hard to navigate, but once you get the hang of it, it’s downright rewarding.
The discussions of breaking deals are rewarding, reading unique trip reports is very rewarding, but most of all the DOs or get-togethers are rewarding. That’s when names are matched to faces and when real friendships are created.
Earlier this week I suggested a DO in Chicago at Shallot’s to break yesterday’s fast day. I didn’t expect anyone besides the locals to actually want to travel to Chicago for a dinner DO, but in the end 10 people came to the DO including 7 who flew in just for dinner. It was a crowd that ran the gamut from Modern Orthodox to Chabad, from Chasidish to Yeshivish to Roman Catholic. Because nothing unites people like miles and awesome food!
Nobody booked a ticket before yesterday afternoon. Then the ball started rolling.
And that’s the great thing about a mileage forum. While paid tickets for a last-minute same-day turn would have run $500-$1,000, everybody used their miles of course.
My flight from Cleveland ran 9,000 Avios round-trip. That’s under 7,000 AMEX points with the current transfer promo. I mean for gosh sakes, I made many times that in just a few minutes at Target thanks to REDcard before the trip.
I mean I could have also used 100,000 Capital One points…but I’ll stick with the real airline miles thank you very much 😉
I was even able to upgrade my award to first class both directions and had the entire first class cabin to myself.
Left my home at 3:10pm EST, landed in Chicago at 4:45pm CST and Uber’d to Shallots by 5:10pm.
We spent the next 4 hours talking about our passions, miles, deals, travel, some sports talk, and good food. Doesn’t hurt that Shallot’s has some of the very best sushi in the world:
Shallot’s sushi is expensive, but it’s like flying international first class on an airline like Cathay Pacific or Singapore. Once you fly first you’ll find it hard to fly coach again. And once you experience a few Shallot’s rolls you’ll never again appreciate any other sushi (save for Montreal’s Yakimono) in the world. At least we can use miles for the flights 🙂
Rice Crackers are just sublime:
Tempura Asparagus is a must-have:
The steaks are top-notch as well. I had the chimichurri churrasco which was excellent. Though not quite as good as the Wagyu or Delmonico options.
AJK, Hershelsdeals, and Rots5 went splitsies on a $270 monstrosity of lamb, veal, steaks, and sides loaded on the biggest food platter that I’ve ever seen. Pictures do it no justice whatsoever, only seeing 2 waiters struggle with it can possibly tell the story. They were not able to finish it all…
Passion Fruit cocktail hits the spot:
The best strawberry shortcake you’ll ever try. Chucksterace liked it so much he even ate his flower 😀
After stuffing ourselves silly, hearing about travels from New Zealand to Iran(!), and arguing about the best kosher restaurants in the world, the time flew by and it was time to rush back to the airport. We left Shallot’s less than 50 minutes before my departure time but I made my 9:55pm return flight with ease.
Of course a trip to Chicago isn’t complete without a Milt’s run. Except there was no time for that. So AJK and I had Uber bring Milt’s to Shallot’s. Probably the first time that’s ever been done 😀
Milt’s Rib Sandwich (special order only), Brisket Chili, and Burger (loaded with brisket chili, bacon, and crispy onions) are the best in the world. And their Fred Flintstone like slab of ribs is actually best when brought home, smothered in Milt’s BBQ sauce or garlic aioli, and then cooked for another day. (Find pictures of Milt’s food in previous Chicago trip notes).
“Every time I think I should sit a DO out–because is it really worth flying for four hours (even in business), to eat for three–I am very pleasantly surprised.
Had an awesome time once again, and had the opportunity to meet some cool new people and greet some familiar ones once again.
Kudos to all who made the effort to show up, thanks to Chuck and CM for the rides, thanks to super helpful Walmart associate for helping me unload just under $10k, thanks to Chuck for the cohiba, thanks to Shallots for the food, thanks to an anonymous donor for the barter, and thanks to Mrs. AJK for not leaving me while I was gone.
I am so stuffed.
It’s quite an addicting game we play, but I sure don’t know of any more rewarding hobby out there. If only it lasts forever.