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Day 0: Gearing Up for Coffee Fest
Later, Louisville — Chicago hollered and we hauled off! Coffee Fest is just hours away and we're finally here, ready to roll.
We put Kentucky behind us early yesterday. Our car was filled with the usual banter: debates about brewing technology, philosophical postulations about art, and so on. (Fun stuff, if you know a thing or two about us.) Fueled by Quills Coffee and crazy excitement about the show, we pressed on.
Pulling up to Navy Pier was a special moment. For some of us, it was the wonder of seeing Chicago for the first time. Others, the thrill of a first visit to Coffee Fest. And for others still, it was just about stretching our legs.
We tumbled out of the car and set to work right away. Unloading our trailer and setting up the booth took us all of four hours (which beats our SCAA record by a long shot) and by that time, we were all sorts of starving. Choosing where to eat would be the easiest thing we'd done all day.
Hellooo, Gino's! Believe it or not, this was a first Chicago-style pizza experience for most of us. Gino's pies are crazy delicious and absolutely colossal. I, for one, was stuffed after just a slice and a half. That's deep-dish pizza for you.
Dinner begged for drinks, so we took the L up to The Violet Hour and met up with friends from Slayer, Quills, and Greenway. This swanky cocktail lounge hid behind an unmarked door, a dim waiting room, and a thick theater curtain. (Exclusive, to say the least.) I sipped on what tasted like a boozy orangesicle, called "You Got That Right": Clear Creek blue plum brandy, lemon, lavender-infused dolin blanc, cream, egg white, and orange flower water. And a spritz of yum. We'll be going back, that's for sure.
With that, we turned in. We have a full weekend ahead and hope you'll see us at booth 304.