Speak Up

Monday, April 12, 2010

Eat Chicago

Chefwife, Sondra, from Minneapolis, wants to plan a surprise trip to Chicago for her husband. What a great idea by the way! Her dilemma is that she has no idea where to take him to eat. And I have to admit, I have no clue either. She's seeking our help here. Does anyone know of some great places to eat in the windy city? Or even better, do your husband or boyfriends know of any great places to eat? Sondra is a bright lady and knows that chefs are not easy to please and won't be satisfied with the local Olive Garden or Red Lobster. She is interested in really impressing her man with some respectable and delicious food.

Erik recently bought a cookbook from a place called Alinea in Chicago. They've got fantastic reviews and I know a group of chefs who flew to Chicago just to eat there. That's a start-but it's all I've got-until I talk to Erik.

So let's get our ideas flowing and help out Sondra.

Thanks ladies.

Food is love,
Hilary

11 comments:

Go Erin Go said...

Alinea is PHENOMENAL! However, you usually have to make reservations a few months in advance, and it is definitely a splurge. (Around $400+ per person for food, wine, tax, and tip).

Hot Dog's (http://www.hotdougs.com/) is a GREAT hot dog joint. This is not your regular hot dog stand - he makes all sausages in house and has items like a ribeye sausage with smoked gouda. He also offers Duck Fat Frites on Fridays and Saturdays.

Blackbird (http://blackbirdrestaurant.com/) is a great restaurant, but another that you need reservations for, at least for dinner. My husband and I ate there for his b-day one year and the first courses all sounded so good, we just made a meal of those.

Quartino (http://www.quartinochicago.com/) is a great italian small-plates restaurant. Their charcuterie is all made in house and makes a lovely starter.

Hopleaf (www.hopleaf.com) has a great beer menu and even better pub food. NOT bar food, pub food. I loved their CB&J sandwich. They dont' take reservations, so arrive early (by 5:30 or so) if you don't want to wait for a table. However, if you do have to wait, you do have their great beer menu to choose from.

Chinatown has some great places for Dim Sum. I personally loved "Little" Three Happiness (there are two restaurants in Chinatown called Three Happiness, the one that is smalled is referred to as "Little" three happiness, looks like a hole in the wall, but the food rocks. Happy Chef is my other favorite for Dim Sum.

Over Easy Cafe (http://www.overeasycafechicago.com/) and Southport Grocery (http://www.southportgrocery.com/) are both excellent for breakfast.

I used to live in Chicago is there are easily the restaurants I miss most. That should be a good start.

If you want a website for ideas, I recommend http://www.lthforum.com/bb/index.php So much better than chowhound.

Have a wonderful trip, Chicago's a blast!

ChefWife said...

Erin, thank you so much! You've got such great tips. Erik is going to be working in Chicago this summer and I know he'll appreciate these places!

Anastasia said...

Alinea is out of this world!

Spiaggia and Coco Pazzo are both delicious for Italian lovers and any of Rick Bayless's restuaraunts (Frontera Grill. XOCO, Topolobampo) are great.

Tru and Everest are worth the hype, Cafe Iberico has great tapas, and Yolk is one of my favorite breakfast spots.
I'm a Chicago native, I could go on and on. Enjoy your trip!

Hannah Williams said...

My husband loves alinea, he refers to his alinea cookbook all the time for his restaurant. Another wonderful restaurant, but definitely a splurge is Charlie trotters. We went there two years ago and it was phenomenal! Pricy, but very tasty! And you can't go wrong with some Chicago style pizza from gioradanos!
Good luck and enjoy your time in the windy city!

chefdater said...

We went to Avec last year - it was great..very cool vibe..great small plates and big ones too.. also owned by the guy behind Blackbird. Highly recommend!

http://www.avecrestaurant.com/

Bonna said...

There's a place called L20 that my chef keeps looking at.

vanessa said...

I think its so great they you are planning a trip for you and your chef! Just from my experience he will be so grateful to just get away and spend quality time with you, I think whatever restaurants you treat him to he will love!! Have a great time and charish the time off!

MinnaEats said...

As a native Chicagoan living in new york now, here's my 2 cents:

-Publican (any of Paul Kahan restaurants are great: Blackbird, Avec)
-Urban Belly or Belly Shack (Chef Bill Kim restaurants)
-Graham Elliot
-Schwa http://schwarestaurant.com/
-Cafe Lula (great for brunch!)
-Alinea of course, Charlie Trotter
-i'll second Hot Doug's. go as soon as they open for lunch or you'll be stuck in a line that wraps along the building

MinnaEats said...

As a native Chicagoan living in new york now, here's my 2 cents:

-Publican (any of Paul Kahan restaurants are great: Blackbird, Avec)
-Urban Belly or Belly Shack (Chef Bill Kim restaurants)
-Graham Elliot
-Schwa http://schwarestaurant.com/
-Cafe Lula (great for brunch!)
-Alinea of course, Charlie Trotter
-i'll second Hot Doug's. go as soon as they open for lunch or you'll be stuck in a line that wraps along the building

Marianna Harrison said...

Great places!

* For cheap eats BIG STAR (Paul Kahan) guy behind Blackbird, Avec, Publican, etc. It's a taco stand by where I live (Bucktown.)
*For really $$$ of course you must must go to Alinea as Grant is a food genius. I prefer Alinea than to what they are doing over at Trotter's right now.
* Schwa Michael is a crazy but amazing guy and he loves other chefs so be sure to mention that when you call. Call during the day and you might get lucky enough to have a real person answer. It's tough though!!! Leaving a message on Schwa's VM is good but I actually got someone to pick up once and got a reso. easily. They don't book too far in advance.

Depending on when you are visiting, Graham Elliott is opening a sandwich place called Grahamwhich at 615 N. State. Just says "opening in spring."

Also RIA is pretty good. Was supposed to be Trotter's new place but it isn't. It's at the Elysian hotel. And in fact,---I just ate at the other restaurant Balsan which is really reasonably priced is gorgeous and had some of the best food in town!

Hope all this helps!

Anonymous said...

LULA CAFE in Chicago!!!!!