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1 hour ago, Ericandblueboy said:

I think the dinners are Publican, Roister, Frontera, and Coco Pazzo (unless I switch to Spiaggia Cafe).

The only booked brunch is Ba ba Reeba ( so we can hit the zoo).  We will hit some food halls, including Revival.

There's so much to see and eat in Chicago!

Publican would probably be better with children (it's big and loud), but I preferred Band of Bohemia (see above, and I strongly recommend an al fresco North Pond brunch if the weather is nice).

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I'm in the Second City now for a quick weekend which includes a matinee of Hamilton. Both Revival Food Hall and French Market food hall are delightful. Great spaces, lots of choices. Check hours because I don't think either opens on Sunday. Revival isn't open on Saturdays, either. 

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On 5/12/2018 at 8:53 AM, dcandohio said:

I'm in the Second City now for a quick weekend which includes a matinee of Hamilton. Both Revival Food Hall and French Market food hall are delightful. Great spaces, lots of choices. Check hours because I don't think either opens on Sunday. Revival isn't open on Saturdays, either. 

Second the Revival Food Hall rec. Really enjoyed my trip there. Cool space, lots of options. Settled on Buldong Hot Chicken and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Also enjoyed the Cherry Circle Room in the CAA building/ hotel for dinner. Solid food and an interesting, well-chosen and fairly priced wine list. Chicago's one of those places I don't get to often, but always thoroughly enjoy.

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On 5/11/2018 at 10:50 PM, Ericandblueboy said:

I think the dinners are Publican, Roister, Frontera, and Coco Pazzo (unless I switch to Spiaggia Cafe).

The only booked brunch is Ba ba Reeba ( so we can hit the zoo).  We will hit some food halls, including Revival.

There's so much to see and eat in Chicago!

If you need to decompress a bit, check out Pequod's for deep dish. You'll need an uber/taxi. We loved it.

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Frontera Grill - good good, but not exciting.  And very rushed service.  I ordered the apps and then went to wash my hands.  The apps were at the table when I got back.  The place was packed for late Saturday afternoon (5:45 reservation).

Sunday morning we had brunch at Cafe Ba Ba Reeba, because they open early (9) and they're close to the Zoo.  The brunch menu worked for us, some sweets for the kids and lots of savory for me.

Sunday dinner was at Publican.  I was expecting Au Pied de Cochon of the midwest but the Publican wasn't that.   I tried the ham chop in "hay" which was featured in one of Zimmern's shows but it just tasted like ham.  I find their dishes overly complex - too many ingredients and too many flavors that don't mesh well.

Monday morning we Ubered to Chinatown for dim sum.  Minghin Cuisine has several locations with one near our hotel but the one in Chinatown opens early (8).  Unfortunately the dishes were uneven.  Both shrimp dumplings had a hint of fishiness.  Excellent siu mai - 5 to an order (unusual).  

Checked out both Forum 55 and Revival Food Hall.  Revival definitely had more interesting food (and served booze)  but I wasn't hungry after dim sum so the kids got a slice of "Detroit" style pizza from Union Squared.  It's actually a decent Sicilian pie.

Monday evening was Roister.  Their chicken liver parfait with hush puppies was fantastic.  Their pasta with clams (little neck and razor) was a bit too acidic.  The chicken 3 ways (salad, fried, and grilled) was very moist but I just didn't think it  was anything to swoon over.  I've yet to swoon over a chicken though.  

Tuesday evening was Coco Pazzo.  This is an excellent Italian joint - the kind of joint you'd find in Italy.  It's not at all interesting (but we just wanted the classics done right), but well executed with top notch service.  All the pasta were al dente as they should be.

Wednesday morning we stumbled upon Grandee Cuisine.  This place must be related to Minghin because they use  almost identical dim sum menus and they also serve 5 siu mais per order.  They were open at 9:30 and nothing else was....

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On 5/12/2018 at 12:20 AM, DonRocks said:

Publican would probably be better with children (it's big and loud), but I preferred Band of Bohemia (see above, and I strongly recommend an al fresco North Pond brunch if the weather is nice).

I had an excellent dinner at Band of Bohemia last week. The service was impeccable and they were graceful in accommodating vegetarians (especially for a place featuring a foie gras dessert).  In fact, their off-menu tofu was phenomenal.  But the beer...wow.  They turn their beers toward unexpected directions, but in different ways.  The Jasmine Rice beer was on a completely different plane--it showcased crispness and devotion to quality ingredients one expects from the best Czech beers while the jasmine rice offered a dry, subtle, progressive approach toward a new direction.  Their "India" Pale Ale earns its moniker not from the popular style, but by taking a pale ale and playing with typical Indian spices like cardamom, coriander, etc.  Where the Jasmine Rice is subtle, the India Pale Ale is in-your-face, and yet they both succeed mightily. 

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I took everything I learned from this thread and then ignored it when we went to Chicago.  We did a quick trip to see Wait Wait Don't Tell Me and to see Hamilton.  (Both Mr. BLB and BL-6th grader were ungrateful about the Hamilton tickets because they didn't think they needed to see it again.  Heathens...) 

We stayed at the Palmer House and I really loved the location.  We did one over priced breakfast in their dining room.  Definitely not worth it.  The bar was hopping every night and I had a lovely cocktail there the first night while trying to get work done while waiting for the others to fall asleep.

The best meal was at the Little Goat Diner.  We ubered over, over the protests of BL-6th grader, who then proceeded to love everything we ate.  Fat Elvis Waffles, Pork Belly Fries, Smoked Corned Beef Hash, sausage, bacon and blueberry pancakes.  We didn't come close to eating it all.  The cookies we ordered to go were lovely too. I should have bought more.

The Sienna Tavern was a nice lunch spot with good salmon and a charming carbonnara that is mixed in a jar in front of you.

The Grill Room across from the CIBC Theater had excellent steaks.  It wasn't cheap but it was a very good meal.

Our one failure was that no one was hungry before Wait Wait and we didn't get out of there until almost 11 pm.  Mr. BLB and BL-6th grader went to Vapiano's while I headed to the hotel for a burger at Potter's Bar.  

We really enjoyed Chicago (we did the Hancock Tower and the Art Institute) and would happily return for more exploring and more food at the Little Goat Diner.

 

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Was in Chicago recently for the evening. A new standout for mew was Cruz Blanca, a newish Rick Bayless place with great tacos (shocker), and I really enjoyed the tlayudas, basically a large taco pizza(?). They also have a brewery in-house that put out some really good beer; I had the Freetown and Barleybomba, a Double IPA and a Barleywine.

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We were back for 2 days last week while I had a work conference.  Mr. BLB and BL-6th grader explored Revival Food Hall.  BL-6th grader tried the Poke and loved it.  I went the next morning and got breakfast from the Hot Chocolate Bakery.  We did not try 55Forum.  It just didn't look as appealing.

I still really like Little Goat Diner.  The Grill Room was less successful this time but the leftovers made an excellent breakfast one morning. 

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On 3/8/2017 at 3:59 PM, ad.mich said:

On the subject of Smoque, in the loop a new food hall called Revival opened a few months back and it's a godsend for us loop worker bees. That being said, it's one of the best loop options for lunch, period.  It's also a great chance for people staying downtown to try branches of some beloved northside spots all in one spot.  Smoque is there (and smoking on site at the same level of quality) along with institutions like Hot Chocolate, Antique Taco, and Danke (offshoot of Table, Donkey and Stick). Trend chasers will find Budlong doing Nashville hot (but even if you aren't into that it's got a strong argument for the best fried chicken in town right now), poke, and ramen... and there several other spots on top of that.  

It's basically like if Union Market had plopped itself on K street. 

On 5/11/2018 at 10:06 PM, ad.mich said:

For lunch I'd think about Revival Food Hall (it has an absolute murderer's row of food options, branches of some of my favorite spots in Chicago all executing well) or Tempesta, which makes some of the best salumi in the city and then stuffs their own sandwiches full with it. I haven't had a bad thing there yet.   

On 5/11/2018 at 10:50 PM, Ericandblueboy said:

We will hit some food halls, including Revival.

There's so much to see and eat in Chicago!

On 5/15/2018 at 8:46 PM, Keithstg said:

Second the Revival Food Hall rec. Really enjoyed my trip there. Cool space, lots of options. Settled on Buldong Hot Chicken and thoroughly enjoyed it.

On 5/12/2018 at 8:53 AM, dcandohio said:

I'm in the Second City now for a quick weekend which includes a matinee of Hamilton. Both Revival Food Hall and French Market food hall are delightful. Great spaces, lots of choices. Check hours because I don't think either opens on Sunday. Revival isn't open on Saturdays, either. 

On 7/4/2018 at 9:21 PM, Ericandblueboy said:

Checked out both Forum 55 and Revival Food Hall.  Revival definitely had more interesting food (and served booze)  but I wasn't hungry after dim sum so the kids got a slice of "Detroit" style pizza from Union Squared.  It's actually a decent Sicilian pie.

2 hours ago, bookluvingbabe said:

We were back for 2 days last week while I had a work conference.  Mr. BLB and BL-6th grader explored Revival Food Hall.  BL-6th grader tried the Poke and loved it.  I went the next morning and got breakfast from the Hot Chocolate Bakery.  We did not try 55Forum.  It just didn't look as appealing.

[Sorry - this is the origin of what will be the Revival Food Hall thread - don't have time to finish it right now :(]

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Piling on the love for Revival Food Hall!  Alot of variety and near the Art Institute if you are visiting

Here's a picture from there of my Budlong chicken sandwich.  Unfortunately got more of the packaging than the chicken in the photo.. but thankfully I remember the taste.  On a brioche bun, it was light and flavorful.  A big sandwich, but did not fall apart or get soggy, it retained structural integrity.  An architectural marvel.  Spiciness that grew and bloomed while eating - my head was sweating a little and i didnt mind.

IMG_0267.JPG

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On 12/11/2018 at 10:00 PM, DonRocks said:

"The Party Is Over" by John Kessler on chicagomag.com

Oh Don. This is not a great article. Plenty of others have torn into it but I can't let this just fester at the bottom of the Chicago page like the fart it is.

From the opening premise that winning Beard Awards and gaining Michelin Stars are a proper barometer for judging the current state of a city's food scene (which I'd think any Washingtonian would challenge) this piece is loaded with questionable and contradictory takes. Chicago needs more locally resourced restaurants but we also need... better mid-level priced sushi? He seems to have issues with the fact that we don't have a one stop shop street of international restaurants similar to Buford Hwy or Wilson Blvd? That's more an indictment of how this city grew up and evolved (and by that I mean thoroughly, completely, ruthlessly segregated), but it doesn't mean the food isn't out there if you want to look for it. The claim that there' aren't second generation Americans pushing forward their native cuisines (because these are apparently the only people allowed to do so?) is proper BS. Restaurants like Mi Tocaya, Haisous, SKY, A Place by Damao, Passerotto, Parachute, and Bayan Ko are/have been doing that for a while now (and many have racked up national attention while doing so). If Devon Ave isn't pushing things forward for Indian food (a fair statement even if the quality is still there), a 20 minute drive to Schaumburg can blow his damn mind. The food he describes is definitely happening here, leading me and others to think there's a questionable subtext here of what the author seems to think these sorts of restaurants have to look like to make an impact.

Lost in this bullshit are a few valid points: our street food scene is crippled by regulations and the represents a real missed opportunity. A good banh mi is hard to find (and pho, which he doesn't even go into, is even harder). The West Loop is fading in relevancy, but whether that's really a bad thing or not is debatable. New restaurants are now opening elsewhere. Our media is loathe to criticize, which might have inspired this piece in the first place. A lot of his critiques seem to come from the perspective of his time in Atlanta, which has embraced "New South Cooking" fully and completely. No one will confuse for Chicago for Atlanta, or vice versa. Chicago restaurants don't typically name every farmer or heirloom veg variety on their menus as is more common in Atlanta, but that doesn't necessarily mean everything is coming from Sysco. It's a regional difference. I would humbly suggest that he should be taking his points of initial frustration as an opportunity to dig deeper, because the answers to most of his questions are out there if he really wants to look.

If this is what a town looks like when the party's over, I'm pretty pumped for when the next one starts.

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3 hours ago, ad.mich said:

Oh Don. This is not a great article.

I'm not saying I agree with it (honestly, I didn't even read it, except for a couple of paragraphs); I just thought it was a pretty comprehensive opinion piece, and that people might be interested in what it says (right or wrong) - I was last in Chicago in 2017, and dined extremely well there.

On 6/20/2017 at 11:16 PM, DonRocks said:

PS - To all those who gave Graffiato a free pass when it first opened (not me) : Do you feel unqualified to be restaurant writers yet? If you don't by now, I guess you never will.

I just found that upthread (not directed at anyone; just ironic).

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Its still sinking in that I live in Chicago now. This is the initiation of a running log of places we've tried since I accepted this job offer. Food budget has gone up  given the significantly lower cost of living in comparison to DC and Manhattan where we have spent the past fifteen years. I can count on one hand the number of times I visited Chicago prior to this move, so we are more or less starting at ground zero here. Note for Chicago visitors - my colleagues have informed me of a very Midwest challenge when figuring out where to eat in Chicago. Any place that crowd sources reviews will be totally unhelpful as there is a strong cultural inhibition against giving anything but a 4 or 5 star review. Same is true of your Uber drivers. Caveat emptor.

Topolobompo - I love going to high end restaurants by myself. I ordered the classic, slightly shorter tasting menu. Everything was impeccably prepared and beautifully plated with warm, homemade tortillas accompanying several courses. The flavors are so complex and there is a lot to experience on each plate. I liked the meal. I didn't love the meal. 

The Loyalist - This was our introduction to where the cool kids go on a Saturday night. We both had burgers that were properly prepared with buns that held up and garnish that complemented the beef. But my salad came overwhelmed in buttermilk dressing, a bummer because otherwise it was likely to have been a great salad. I tried the $30 aged negroni made with 30 year old Campari. It was mellower and less bitter than typical. Not sure I'd bother with it again though. 

Next - Silk and Spice menu runs January through April. Some critics have been underwhelmed by it in comparison to other menus. We thought it was pretty delicious but  have no basis for comparison to past menus. Some aspects of the meal were a bit odd and purely for show - like the buddha's hand hanging above the table filled with a custard. But the dishes worked and we were impressed by several dishes including the curry dessert, crab salad and lamb with tandoori bread baked tabletop. 

Publican - Chicago food in winter is notably hearty.  In particular meats and fish really shine. Vegetables were less special, but I'd be curious to see if summer brings fresher prep. Ice cream and sorbet were very meh, but the s'more was delicious. I find the seating there weird and uncomfortable. Also its freezing if you sit too close to the door and very noisy.

Little Goat Diner - If you want to go on a weekend, make a reservation a few days out. I had a caesar salad with fried chicken that was pretty excellent. The salad mix is more than just romaine with some herbs and radishes giving it complexity and the dressing is perhaps tahini based? Fried chicken was perfect. Its a solid "fake healthy" salad.

Girl and the Goat - I walked in on a Saturday night and grabbed a seat at the bar. Service was really friendly and attentive on a night when the place was packed and the kitchen was slammed. I really appreciated that they pointed out dishes that could be ordered in half portions. Goat empanada was fried and filled with a super savory goat ragout. The scallop was cooked to the proper temperature but could have had a harder sear. The side of green beans was excellent - some of the best veg I've had since getting to the frozen midwest.

Sushi-San Omakase - This was an act of desperation and a mistake I will not repeat. After a chaotic week, I wanted to drown my stress  in solitude over sushi and booze. It was on an Eater list for best sushi in Chicago, which I am learning is a very low bar. The booze was good. I have nominal tolerance for this stupid trend of ungapatchke sushi. The sushi was overwrought and there was too much butane torching for my taste as well. But the neta could have been excused if the shari wasn't so totally fucking awful - zero acidity, mushy, dense, heavy and sticky. This may be the biggest trade-off of leaving NYC - accessibility of acceptable sushi at the last minute. 

Ramen Takeya - Good lunch choice near work. Decent bowl of ramen but broth needed to be hotter.

Blue Door Kitchen - I met a friend there for brunch with zero expectations. The shaved brussel sprout salad was delicious. Eggs Benedict was properly prepared with a sufficiently runny egg. I walked away pleasantly surprised. 

Limitless Coffee - Good local mini-chain. I was pleased with my properly made if not a little large cappuccino. 

Sawada Coffee- Japanese-style coffee shop. But for some reason, the espresso drinks with milk have a sweet taste but they didn't add sugar. Perhaps its the milk they use. 

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55 minutes ago, lekkerwijn said:

Topolobompo - I love going to high end restaurants by myself. I ordered the classic, slightly shorter tasting menu. Everything was impeccably prepared and beautifully plated with warm, homemade tortillas accompanying several courses. The flavors are so complex and there is a lot to experience on each plate. I liked the meal. I didn't love the meal. 

Next - Silk and Spice menu runs January through April. Some critics have been underwhelmed by it in comparison to other menus. We thought it was pretty delicious but  have no basis for comparison to past menus. Some aspects of the meal were a bit odd and purely for show - like the buddha's hand hanging above the table filled with a custard. But the dishes worked and we were impressed by several dishes including the curry dessert, crab salad and lamb with tandoori bread baked tabletop. 

Publican - Chicago food in winter is notably hearty.  In particular meats and fish really shine. Vegetables were less special, but I'd be curious to see if summer brings fresher prep. Ice cream and sorbet were very meh, but the s'more was delicious. I find the seating there weird and uncomfortable. Also its freezing if you sit too close to the door and very noisy.

lekkerwijn's post is an important document. I've been to the above three restaurants, and I pretty much agree with everything she writes; the only caveat I'll add is that lekkerwijn has *very* high standards, so when she says "I liked the meal. I didn't love the meal" at Topolobompo, perhaps you should give more weight to, "Everything was impeccably prepared and beautifully plated." This place beats the pants off of anywhere in DC.

lekkerwijn, if you're reading, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised with the German gastropub, Band of Bohemia. See also washingtony's post about it.

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