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Old 06-05-2007, 07:59 PM   #1
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IL - Chicago .. Food Planet Tour?

Heading off to Chicago on Thursday and I'm doing this foodie tour on Saturday. Has anyone here done this? It sounds neat

Chicago Food Planet - Food Tours of Chicago

I was suprised my husband agreed to doing it with me because he used to live in Chicago and he normally avoids "touristy" things.

We've already got most of our meals figured out, first stop on Thursday night is Giordanos.

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Old 06-05-2007, 08:59 PM   #2
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Good choice with Giordanos. It's a gret local favorite. They used to have on in NW Indiana where I'm from, but it went under I think, due to poor planning and lack of funds. It definitely wasn't because the food was bad!

If you think you can handle Chicago pizza again, you should check out CPOG, Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinders. It's located on the ground floor of this brownstone, I think on the northside. CPOG If you do go, make sure to get the Mediterranean flatbread from the apps menu, because it is nothing short of the best bread in the city, and maybe the world! Comes with herbs in oil, and balsamic, I think.

There's also Grant Achatz's place which is down in the suburbs, if I remember correctly, called Alinea. Alinea It's very expensive though, and prbably the cutting edge of modern American cuisine in the world. They offer tasting menus, a lot of very small courses; I think Achatz offers 9, 15, and 30 course menus.


For a much more easy-going place (on you and your wallet) is Joe's Bebop Cafe.. Great southern and cajun style food and barbecue at great prices. And there's always a live jazz band. Also, depending what night you go you may be able to catch the free fireworks show at Navy Pier. I think they are on Wednesdays and Saturdays, but I'm not certain. Should be around 10PM.

There's also a few chain restaurants that started in Chicago that are great. Big Bowl and Maggiano's Little Italy. Bog Bowl has 2 locations, one downtown and one northside, and Maggiano's is in downtown and also scattered in several of the suburbs. Also, the original Pizzeria Uno is located in Chicago, and is a great place to go. A little known fact is that the 2nd Pizzeria Uno restaurant to open is actually called Pizzeria Due, and opened one block from the original to handle overflow from the original Pizzeria Uno. I like to go to Due's, because Uno's seems to be a big tourist attraction. Both places have a lot of history.

Another cool place to go, especially if you want a fabulous dessert, is the Grand Lux Cafe. They are owned by the same folks who own the Cheesecake Factory (also originating in Chicago, I believe, and located in the basement of the John Hancock building). The food is great, and the desserts are to die for. Be warned though; their dessertsn are made to order and they reccommend you order them at the same time you order your meal, because they can take b/w 15-45 minutes to complete.


Hope that helps!
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Old 06-05-2007, 10:10 PM   #3
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Hi Toots, the tour sounds like fun. The only other food place I would highly recommend is the one operated by Rick Bayless - Frontera Grill. It got awarded the prestigious James Beard award as the number 1 restaurant in the entire US.

I work really close to this place and it's packed and the food is really good. It's Mexican inspired and pretty authentic.

There are a lot of other places that I can go on listing like Tru where Gale Gand is the pastry chef, ofcourse Charlie Trotters is there but getting reservations at a short notice is difficult and it's pricey. Then there is Reza's on the north side which is extremely popular for lebanese food - kebabs and tikkas. It's also always packed and you need reservations to get there.

I would highly recommend tasting an authentic Chicago style hotdog while you are in Chicago.

Finally do get to Navy Pier if you can, the ambience and atomosphere near the lake and the hustle and bustle is really very nice.
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Old 06-05-2007, 10:13 PM   #4
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trotter's and frontera for sure
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Old 06-06-2007, 04:42 AM   #5
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If you make a trek to Chicago and fail to eat at at least one of these restaurants (Charlie Trotter's, Tru, Alinea, Moto) you've wasted your trip.
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Old 06-06-2007, 06:07 AM   #6
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Thanks for the tips - I've ate at Fronterra's and some of the other mentioned above on previous trips. Since we've been to Chicago many times, we try to hit up a few favorite places (like Giordanos, Ann Sathers, etc) and try some new places too.

I am keen to try a breakfast place called the Bongo Room this trip and also a place called the Opart Thai House in Lincoln Square.

As it stands now, I've got about 6 meals scheduled per day - LOL.
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Old 06-06-2007, 04:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ironchef
If you make a trek to Chicago and fail to eat at at least one of these restaurants (Charlie Trotter's, Tru, Alinea, Moto) you've wasted your trip.
SO not true, i/c! while I respect your taste and abilities, the places you are suggesting are all the high-end, creme de la creme, pricey places where the food is likely sublime but does not necessarily represent the "true" Chicago.

Like Yakuta says, get a hot dog. some pizza. an Italian beef and an ice. some BBQ. Greektown. Not a wasted trip at all.
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Old 06-06-2007, 04:55 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ironchef
If you make a trek to Chicago and fail to eat at at least one of these restaurants (Charlie Trotter's, Tru, Alinea, Moto) you've wasted your trip.
That's YOUR opinion. IC! Remember, OP's husband is FROM Chicago, and may have some very different ideas about where he wants to dine on a visit. Alinea and Moto are only great places to dine if you want to eat a whole lot of methylcellulose and liquid nitrogen... (not me, thank you very much!)

Every single poster here who's ever been to Chicago has their opinions on which are the best places. OP wouldn't have mentioned the trip if she didn't want suggestions, but we should be careful to make them just that, don't you think?

PS... I was there in April and I certainly endorse Tru and Spiaggia, if you have the $$$$$ for a big splurge, because both of them really are expensive! but awesome.
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Old 06-06-2007, 08:46 PM   #9
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It's funny but I have lived in the suburbs of Chicago for 13 years and have not heard of Moto and Alinea. I guess I am missing the culinary scene of the city I live in :-)

Anyway, I do think there are a lot of mom and pop places that I prefer to the fancy ones. I love a couple of thai places in the city - Singha and Siam Rice. I also like Bob Chins that is in a northwest suburb of chicago for it's seafood. I also enjoy eating hotdogs from places like Jimmy's which a lot of the locals go to. I like Chicago pizza but not the thick pie kind. I prefer Rosati's thin crust pizza.

The beauty of Chicago is that you don't have to go to pricey places to enjoy the food. There are so many good places both in the city and the suburbs.
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Old 08-01-2007, 06:15 PM   #10
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Make sure to stop at the Billy Goat (the ORIGINAL, under the El stop) and get a "cheeseborga." Also look into the Italian Village (their upstairs area is lovely), and if you want some delicious (but not at all classy) teppan cuisine drop by Ron of Japan on Ontario.
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