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Chicago - best foodie destinations

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Apr 5th, 2010, 05:21 AM
  #1
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Chicago - best foodie destinations

We're coming to Chicago in May/June for 3 weeks and would like to visit some lesser known ( as well as better known ) foodie places - markets, cafes, restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries etc.
We also love great beer and wine, music (rock, blues, folk) and living like a local. We will have a car so can explore a bit further and welcome your suggestions
thanks a lot
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Apr 5th, 2010, 07:40 AM
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You might enjoy one of these food tours: http://www.chicagofoodplanet.com/. We also have some great ethnic neighorhoods (Pilsen, Devon Avenue, Chinatown). And for farmers markets and more see www.explorechicago.org. For local theatre, music, film, etc. listings see http://chicago.timeout.com/
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Apr 5th, 2010, 08:17 AM
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And I forgot another great local source, the weekly alternative newpaper, also available on line www.chicagoreader.com.
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Apr 5th, 2010, 09:19 AM
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I "love" this coffee shop:

http://www.lovelybakeshop.com/

It's in-between downtown and the Wicker Park/Bucktown neighborhoods, so you could go there "on your way" (that's how I found it -- we were in a taxi on the way to Wicker Park, and the traffic was at a standstill, so we got out to walk).
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Apr 5th, 2010, 02:58 PM
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I really think you should be advising of your dining budget range here. The best gourmet experiences will run around $200-1000+ pp and be a several hour dining adventure.

However, from the manner in which you phrase your inquiry, I would hazard a guess that your dining budget is quite a bit less than that level.

Also, "living like a local" means that you will be paying quite a bit. Chicago is not an inexpensive destination and has one of the highest tax rates in the nation.

P.S. You will not need a car - nor will you even want a car - if you are staying in "downtown" Chicago. The current garage parking rates run anywhere from $25-60+ per night.
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Apr 7th, 2010, 01:16 PM
  #6
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Thanks for your info. We'll probably have at least one blow out meal but also want to find more local places if possible. We're thinking of Alinea so would welcome feedback
thanks
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Apr 7th, 2010, 05:40 PM
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I ate here a few years ago and still tell people about it. Amazing food.

http://www.trurestaurant.com/
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Apr 11th, 2010, 10:25 AM
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Alinea is widely considered the best restaurant in Chicago.

Particular areas of the city where you could go:
Argyle Street (Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Korean, etc.)
Devon Avenue (Indian, Pakistani)

Others, in no particular order:

Moto for experimental (molecular gastronomy) cuisine. You can even eat the menus.

Spiaggia (or Cafe Spiaggia) - Tony Mantuano was one of the two winners of both of the challenges on this past week's Top Chef Masters

Schwa

Graham Elliot (Graham Elliot Bowles is also a contender on Top Chef Masters). His new place, Grahamwich, is supposed to open just when you are coming in late May/early June.

Pelago

Sable Kitchen and Bar (at the Kimpton's newest in Chicago, Hotel Palomar)

Everest*

Brasserie Jo*

Hot Doug's** (you will have to stand in line - perhaps up to 1.5+ hours if a Friday or Saturday and you don't get there before or when they open) - cash only

Nuts on Clark (original location on Clark is 2 blocks north of Wrigley Field, west side of the street)

Benny's Chop House

Revolution Brewing

Hopleaf

Half Acre Beer Company

(When in Chicago, you might also want to try Three Floyds, if you can, which is actually brewed in Indiana)

The Publican

Sepia

Mercat a la Planxa**

Boka, Landmark or Perennial

Frontera Grill, Topolobampo or Xoco (Rick Bayless's places)

Yoshi's Cafe

Hearty (Hearty Boys of the Food Network)

Expression by Lavazza (several locations around the city but one is on the 94th floor of the John Hancock - you have to pay the fee for the Observatory, if you go)

Intelligentsia (coffee - 3 locations - and they do have tours of their roasting facilities, if you wish)***

Julius Meinl

Green City Market (Chicago's premier farmer's market - also has cooking demonstrations from some of Chicago's better and best chefs)

Hot Chocolate**

Pastoral: Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine*** and ****

Swedish Bakery

M. Henry

Lula Cafe

Milk and Honey Cafe

Flo

Orange (several locations around town - original on N. Clark very near the Belmont CTA station - for the juice combinations, if nothing else)***

Chilam Balam***

Chez Joel

*Chef is Jean Joho

**All of the chefs of these restaurants are alumni of the Culinary School of Kendall College. The Dining Room at Kendall College might be interesting to you.

***Locations of each of these are located literally within a few blocks of each other on N. Broadway and N. Clark

****Has a location at the French Market in Ogilvie Transportation Center as well

Entertainment:
It really depends on the artist but to offer up a couple of locations

The Green Mill (jazz)
Jazz Showcase
Club Blujazz
Velvet Lounge

Old Town School of Folk Music

Buddy Guy's Legends
Rosa's Lounge

The Jazz Institute of Chicago's website is a good place to check out the calendar
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Apr 12th, 2010, 09:16 AM
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thank you so much,lots to explore, taste and find. Much appreciated, can't wait....
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Apr 13th, 2010, 11:08 AM
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Muriel - Im going to my first trip to Chicago in Sept - I would love to here your recs after you go!!
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Apr 13th, 2010, 11:44 AM
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Take a look at the lthforum great neighborhood restaurants:

http://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=20908
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Apr 13th, 2010, 08:32 PM
  #12
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If you are planning to eat at Alinea, money must not be a problem! You may want to try a Chicago steak house such of Gibson's or Gene & Georgetti's.
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Apr 14th, 2010, 08:34 AM
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Yesterday I saw two things here in Chicago you might be interested in:

1. a new book in Borders at State and Lake called "eat?" Chicago edition (can't find it on Amazon though, but maybe try this one I did find there: eat.shop chicago: The Indispensable Guide to Inspired, Locally Owned Eating and Shopping Establishments)

2. a neighborhood and other special interest tour series sponsored by the city (but not free, you might find one going on while you are here or use their descriptions to follow on your own) http://www.chicagoneighborhoodtours.com/

Have fun planning your trip!
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Apr 15th, 2010, 01:44 PM
  #14
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thank you thank you thank you.....can't wait
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Apr 16th, 2010, 12:05 PM
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If you head to the South Shore neighborhood, My Soul Cafe has some of the best coffee you'll find in the city. They have Jamaica Blue Mountain Espresso, which is an extremely rare treasure. Here's there website, http://www.mysoulcafe.com

Have a great trip!
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Apr 16th, 2010, 02:31 PM
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Nobody has brought up pizza or Italian beef spots, and only one hot dog place has been mentioned so far. So I'll do so, even though this isn't exactly haute cuisine.

Italian beef: Mr. Beef, Al's #1 Italian Beef.

Hot dogs: in addition to Hot Doug's, there's also Portillo's and Gold Coast Dogs, plus Superdawg much further out.

Deep dish pizza: Gino's East, Lou Malnatti's, Pizzeria Uno and Pizzeria Due, Giordano's (this last is known for deep dish stuffed pizza).

Have not been to Hot Doug's or Superdawg, but have been to the rest, and I enjoyed them all very much.
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Apr 16th, 2010, 07:22 PM
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See the Eating Out in Chicago Forum topic at http://www.lthforum.com/bb/index.php and http://lthforum.com/cert/GNR_pocket_guide.pdf.
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Apr 17th, 2010, 02:05 AM
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I just went to Sprout (located in Lincoln Park area) in March and it was a most amazing meal. It's owned by Top Chef finalist Dale Levitski and, while it's a little upscale, won't break the bank like Alinea.

http://www.sproutrestaurant.com/

Here's my blog on it, with pictures of what we ate:
http://urbanmixplate.honadvblogs.com...itskis-sprout/
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Apr 18th, 2010, 10:24 AM
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If you like good beer, or if you like rum, check out the Bottom Lounge/Volcano Room. They're hosting the Chicago Rum Festival June 3-5.

Here's their beer menu: http://www.bottomlounge.com/beermenu.php
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Apr 20th, 2010, 08:24 AM
  #20
 
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Not to be missed is SMOQUE-best barbeque ever.
not fancy but everything there is out standing.
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