MY Chicago Coming Trip

Old Oct 17th, 2008, 06:37 AM
  #21  
cd
 
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mary
Do your girls have American Girl dolls and are they bringing them? I'm sure you know they pull up highchairs for the dolls during lunch. Although the day we were there it was just women and girls, no men there, it could have changed, it been a few years.
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Old Oct 17th, 2008, 07:48 AM
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The kids may not appreciate Chicago architecture in the way that an adult can, but it's still a fun boat ride. *shrug*
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Old Oct 17th, 2008, 10:50 AM
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Mary, make sure you have the house special prime rib at the chop house you will not regret it.
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Old Oct 17th, 2008, 11:25 AM
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Thank you all for the great advice and bday wishes!

I would love to have lunch at the Hancock but the American Girls lunch is for the girls. Even my mother-in-law, who loves dolls, is bringing hers! As far as men being there or not I don't really care.. because the theme of my 40th birthday has been "It my party and I cry if I want to" so my husband and father-in-law will just have to bear it. They are pretty cool about it, to them as long as the girls are having a good time, they are happy.



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Old Oct 19th, 2008, 10:53 AM
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Since I am persona non-grata, I am only asking the other posters:

The OP and her family are coming in from Miami. Look at the time of the year when they are planning their *morning* River Cruise.

There is rain forecast for this coming Saturday and the predicted *high* temperature is supposed to be less than 55 F. - which means in the *morning*, you will be seeing temps in the high 40's, maybe 50.

Although there is inside seating available, my personal recommendation of taking the River Cruise is only when it is not uncomfortable to be seated on top, simply because you just don't get the same experience.

Do you still think the OP should take the River Cruise, which will cost $180 for a party of six?
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Old Nov 4th, 2008, 01:41 PM
  #26  
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Trip Report:


I must say that Chicago is one wonderful city. I absolutely loved it! I cannot wait to go back.

I will keep it brief.

Our first day we arrived at our hotel in the middle of the day and were starving so we headed for Quartino's. This place was terrific. We had delicious antipasto, wine, pizza, pasta and dessert. Yes, we knowingly made the mistake of eating to much at lunch. But this place was too good to pass up on anything. My husband wanted to have the rest of our meals here. Mind you its not a good thing when your first meal on a trip is great because everything else has a lot to live up to.

Walked a bit after lunch on Mag. Mile then went to rest a bit.

Went to dinner at Frontera Grill like I said before we over ate for lunch so Frontera did not get a fair chance. However, the food was terrific.

Second day we walked to American Girl Place and went into a few other stores along the way. The AG store was very cute and the cafe was also nice. Not too Disneyish. Definately highlight of my oldest daughter. Who made out like a bandit.

After lunch went to Navy Pier we arrived just as everything was begining to open. It was fun because they had a lot going on for Halloween. Navy Pier has very nice views of the city. The day began driery but by 3:00 it picked up and was beautiful at NP. The Fun House ride was according to my husband "a rip off". According to my 9 year old "awesome". The Ferris Wheel was fun for everyone and had to rip the 2 year off Merry Go Round.

Back to hotel to warm up a bit and 1 hour of rest.

Had a great meal at the Chophouse. 9 year old especially liked it. She is a big carnivor.

Saturday was long. Went to the Field Museum, this place has nothing to envy the Smithsonian museums. It is a beautiful building (what Chicago building is not?). It does take a lot of time to see. So one has to plan accordingly. As I suspected, girls and in-laws were museumed out at the end so we headed for Mill. Park. The bean was cool, my 2 year old posed with every teenager taking some kind of funny photo. The weather was wierd that day one hours a little wet and cloudy and the next hour sunny. We had lunch at Giordano's. Too late (2:00) and too heavy (we knew this but if we didn't do it we would have never tried the Chicago staples). In laws went back to hotel and we kept walking, I just could not stop walking for God's sakes. I loved walking here!!!

My husband was beat and he went back to the hotel for a nap, while the two year old slept in the stroller my 9 year old and I kept walking. Hit upon a Fox and Obel and after so much praise on this board went in to check it out. Very nice.

Back to hotel. Dinner plans changed tonight from Le Colonial to Greek. In laws wanted to do reek and we were meeting some friends who live in town for dinner. Went to Santorini's. Just ok. The restuarant's appearance was nice, different from the usual greek places. The food was not that great. The octopus appetizer was very good but the fish entree (which they claim is fresh) was not. Oh well they couldn't all be homeruns.

Sunday was a great last day. We did the river cruise. Gorgeuos day for this tour. Cold but sunny. I highly recommend this. It is pricy as stated before $30 a pop but worth every penny. My 9 year old did not pay much attention to the tons of info the guide was saying but loved the boat ride. My 2 year old behaved sooo well (thank you to the makers of Pringles) not a peep and fell as sleep for the last half hour of the tour. Many people told us as we were getting off the boat how well she behaved including the guide.

Walked a bit more and had a LIGHT lunch at Corner Bakery. In laws back to the hotel in a taxi! We took the girls to Daley Plaza for Halloween festivities. Saw the theatre area. Very interesting. Then it got sooo cold all of a sudden. It was definately that cold front that came in at the begining of last week. My lips got wind burned. I still feel it. I enjoyed so much seeing all the buildings in this city where ever I walked. So we walked some more. I just didn't feel like going inside another museum when there was so much to see outside.

I know we had planned on going to the planetariun and the aquarium. But I live in Florida and I have aquariums coming out of my.... we also have a planitrium in town.

Back to the hotel. Later had drinks at the Hancock lunch and saw the sunset. Unbelievable! What a fantastic city.

Finally dinner at Mercat a la Planxa. They gave us a great table overlooking the whole restaurant. The service was wonderful and the food was delicious. We had the bacon wrapped dates, croquettes, duck ham, and a bunch of other greeat tapas. We had a great time here and like our first meal our last meal was very memorable.

I must say that my girls behaved so well everywhere we went. Everything we did and bought for them was very well deserved.

If you have not been to Chicago you are missing out. The people were so friendly and the city was marvelous!






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Old Nov 4th, 2008, 04:33 PM
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Glad you had a great trip. Chicago is truly a great city with a lot to offer
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Old Nov 5th, 2008, 07:58 AM
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mary1007, sincerely glad that you enjoyed your trip to Chicago.

Out of curiosity, though, I have to ask....When you went to Quartino, did management say anything or were there other families with children dining there? It was my understanding that the whole concept of this establishment is that it is a wine bar/restaurant, hence the name "Quartino", and I've never seen families there when I've gone.

IMHO, I do think that you made the right selection of going to a Greek restaurant instead of Le Colonial, which is much more of a romantic atmosphere.
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Old Nov 5th, 2008, 07:59 AM
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Glad you had a great time here. I've lived here for two years and I absolutely love it, so I really enjoy hearing that visitors have a good time in Chicago.

Also happy you liked Quartino's. It's a good place.
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Old Nov 5th, 2008, 02:15 PM
  #30  
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EP,

There was a large party with about 4 or 5 SMALL children celebrating a bday having those desserts served in large martini glasses, right next to us a couple was with their little girl and I did not scope out the rest of the restaurant taking a survey of how many kids were there. Our waitress even sat down and played with some little princesses my 2 year old had. While we waited for our table the two hostesses were playing with her aswell going up and down a few steps on their stairs. They could not have been friendlier and more welcoming.

Maybe this place late at night has that kind of atmosphere that you say.

By the way Quartino means a small karafe of wine.
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Old Nov 5th, 2008, 10:00 PM
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mary1007, I've been at Quartino quite a few times, from just after work (say 6ish) to around 8-9 p.m. and have never seen any children - or even teenagers - when I've been there. Before I saw your reply, I also asked several of my co-workers who go there often about this and they hadn't seen any familes with children either. (Even Metromix shows the establishment is meant for an audience of adult/18+.) So it's news to us, especially since the place has a wine bar concept.

Anyway, the point I was making earlier about asking the restaurant is because sometimes a person with minors in their party doesn't know for sure what the restaurant can or will allow. Don't you think it's better to find out beforehand than when you are standing at the restaurant wanting your table?

As an example, Andy's Jazz Club serves food. I've seen a goodly amount of parents query on several travel forums if they can take their children (older teenagers, in these particular cases) there. I did see someone (not a regular poster, though) reply that they thought they could, but only until 9 p.m. However, I'm not so sure about that. IMHO, that's really a question that the OP should have been asking the restaurant. Again, I have been to Andy's untold number of times - at noon, after work and later - and have never seen any children at all.

I know of the restaurants which are geared towards adult audiences because that's where I and all my friends and co-workers usually go and we see the diners when there. That's why I mentioned Metromix because it does show that information. We use it all the time in checking out different or new places to go.

That's not to say that I solely go to those types of establishments, but normally.

Yes, a quartino holds a 1/4 of a liter of wine.
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Old Nov 6th, 2008, 05:41 AM
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It's funny you're talking about Quartino. When we went we were clearly the only ones there over 60, perhaps even the only ones over 40. Now I'm wondering if I should have called in advance to see if "oldsters" were allowed there? I thanked the hostess for allowing us to join all the "youngsters" and she laughed saying they get others our age. After a while sure enough one other "old" couple were seated, but after just a few minutes they got up and left -- leaving us again as the only seniors in the place.

I'd have to say that mary's young ones were no more "out of place" there than we were. In fact they were probably much closer to the average age there than we were! But we loved it anyway.
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Old Nov 6th, 2008, 06:35 AM
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Well if it is news to you then maybe you should never go there for lunch so you will not have to endure the agony of seeing children in the same establishment where the Exiled Princess is having a meal or having a drink. I guess your parents never took you to nice restaurants when they traveled, just stuck to Friday's and Bennigans.

It would never occur to me to take my children to a place with the words "jazz club" in it. As far as Metromix it lists Frontera Grill as the same audience as Quartino's and Mercat and I had kids sitting directly next to me, smack in the center of the restaurant. I also had a couple on the other side who the man was downing the Margaritas like it was water and being very obnixious talking to his poor companion in a loud voice and every other word out of his mouth was the f-word. All the patrons around him were giving him looks.


As far as the management "not allowing", we are paying costumers and in these days they welcome tabs of $200 (Quar) and $300 (Mercat), instead of the 1 glass of wine and 1 shared appetizer tabs. Unless the place strictly enforces the 21 and over crowd like a club, they are not going to turn away customers. Parents need to understand that if you are expecting these places to serve chicken fingers then that is a mistake and if your children are unruly then you should now better than to bring them to places like these.


Done talking about this, have no more to say.
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Old Nov 6th, 2008, 09:11 AM
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NeoPatrick, I can appreciate your point, but really I'm talking about the minor vs. adult situation because of alcohol involved - not an adult vs. senior adult scenario here.

To summarize how I think this whole thread has unraveled: The OP felt/feels that I was slighting her and her family for some reason when, in actuality, I had told her to do more research (Metromix mentioned) on their chosen restaurants and other activities because I felt that they were against what she wanted. This last impression came from a previous thread she posted in August - addressed to me personally - to which I never responded because, simply, I did not have any recommendations for her, based on her criteria and situation.* After she posted her trip report, I just questioned her on Quartino because I - and others, I might add - are totally surprised by this.

mary1007, if you do a little research, you'll see that there ARE a couple of jazz and blues clubs (one being a premier club) in Chicago that do offer family-friendly options. So the queries that the other parents posted on travel forums aren't totally out of line. But that doesn't mean that the clubs offer the entertainment under the same type of conditions as those adults enjoy (time and locations), though.

You or I don't decide what type of restaurant concept it will be - its owner/management does. If they have set age requirements, it's either their decision or because of other requirements (normally pertaining to the liquor license). If it's their decision, they are usually looking for a specific type (demographic) of repeat clientele.

If what you were saying was true, then the restaurants would not set limitations (usually mentioned on their websites and advertisements): travel guides would not need to mention "family-friendly" options; entertainment websites (such as Metromix, the Chicago Tribune's entertainment website) would not make mention of the fact; and so forth.

And you *know* that's not the case - because you SPECIFICALLY stated in your other thread that you were aware it was of concern - and you didn't want to be in a particular situation.

I understand that even Walt Disney World has a restaurant which caters to strictly to adults (no children under a certain age allowed). Can't remember if it was for only dinner and perhaps that's changed over time, but I distinctly remember reading several articles about it last year. Haven't seen anything to the contrary since then.

My personal feelings in the matter are: If it's OK with management and the other patrons (including myself)expect the situation, live and let live. If one doesn't wish to dine or celebrate around families, there are many, many, many places from which to choose. Honestly, though, if I am going to a wine bar, I simply don't expect children to be there because of the nature of the establishment.

While we are on this particular subject, mary1007, let's mention the Chicago Architecture Foundation. Used to be that they would not allow children under 12 on their river cruise. Perhaps you didn't know that. They still don't allow school groups under 8th grade on the River Cruise - states it right on their website. Instead they have the STUDENT River Cruise - for grades 7 through 12.

With respect to the River Cruise, the Chicago Architecture Foundation now charges full price for children, even if they are seated on a parent's lap. Whether this will change in the future, don't know - but it's their call, not ours.

*Actually, I could have mentioned a couple of restaurants which have really great food but are not in the best areas of town. Places to which you would not want two younger children in tow - for safety reasons.
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Old Nov 6th, 2008, 10:30 AM
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I can think of some places where children may be a little out of place, but Quartino's? At lunch? A perfect place for "well behaved" kids in my book. The food choices -- the sharing -- the casual atmosphere -- who cares that they serve wine? The place really is MUCH MORE about casual but good eating than wine. Sorry. I just don't get what the fuss was about.
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Old Nov 6th, 2008, 10:36 AM
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EP, in all fairness to Mary, although there was no reason to pick on you in the last post, they went there during lunch. The restaurant opens at 11:30am, so I believe they expect anything and everything during the lunch and early dinner times. Perhaps they set the limits after certain hour, maybe 7 or 8 pm, but they would be shooting themselves in the foot if they would not allow families to enjoy lunch or even an early dinner times.

Not that I'm comparing the 2 because Quartino is at least 10 notches above this place, but we have have a similar place here in Sarasota, a lunch, dinner place during the day, with families welcomed, and then becoming a dinner/nightclub type of situation after a certain hour with adults only allowed.
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Old Nov 6th, 2008, 11:06 AM
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AA, I really do appreciate your input and agree with you about those places that have different audiences at different times.

The reason why I asked several co-workers about Quartino after my inquiry to the OP was because sometimes a person gets incorrect information or an erroneous impression. But they all had exactly the same response as I - surprise.

Anyway, I do sincerely try to make constructive suggestions to the posters based on their particular situations. The dining recommendations I would make to an adult couple wanting a romantic weekend would definitely not be the same as those for a family.
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Old Nov 6th, 2008, 11:13 AM
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Sorry, NeoPatrick, I didn't see your post above AA's.

Hope my response answers why I asked the question of mary1007 in the first place. Sorry, didn't think I was making a fuss.
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