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Chicago Notes

IMG_2357, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Kevin, a former co-worker, is heading out to Chicago soon and asked for some recommendations. Follow the Jump for the extended version of my picks.

Sweets and Savories:
One of the best meals I had out there. The server/manager coerced us into getting the 7 course tasting menu. We were both really glad he had. The meal included mussels and chorizo in a tomato broth and mini-burgers made with escargot and braised beef, served on tiny 'kaiser'-style flaky pastries. I even enjoyed the Halibut course, even though I usually avoid fish. The entire meal was wonderful. He paired it with a Bonny Doon Grenache that I've been hoping to track down again ever since.

Frontera Grill: Great Mexican food by Rick Bayless. I had the Milanesa de Puerco, which the bartender told me was a staff favorite. Don't worry, it's not spicy. It's a breaded pork cutlet, fried crispy and served over a sweet tomato sauce w/ black beans.

Morton's: Great Steak, even if it is a chain. They come out and show off all the meat for you to choose from. I had a juicy, rare Rib Eye with the bone. I was a little disappointed with the creamed spinach, which was sweeter than I'd like. The nutmeg overpowered it.

Hopleaf Bar in Andersonville - If you're with anyone who's really into beer, take them here. I had wanted to go a couple times, but only made it there once. The food was good, but I don't remember the details.

Harold's Chicken Shack is a famous South Side staple. I never made it there, but it's supposed to be worth the trip.

Get Deep Dish Pizza at Giordano's:

Earlier on the blog, I wrote:

I had heard that I needed company to even begin to dig into a real Chicago deep dish pizza, so I didn't bother trying until Tammi met me there. We ended up going on our last day, a couple hours before we had to head to the airport. The pie was so thick and heavy that we barely got through half of it without hurting ourselves.

Get a burger at the Billy Goat Tavern. It's a divey hole in the wall hidden under the street. This place is famous for an SNL skit with John Belushi. it's a bit before my time, but everyone mentions if when you talk about this place. Regardless, the burger is great.

Nacional 27 was a little scene-y for me, but you may be into it if you're taking someone out. The food is latin fusion. Again, not too spicy (wuss). After dinner, they open up the middle of the dining room into a dance floor.

Hot Chocolate
Wicker Park - a lot of great places to hang out, listen to music and have brunch, including Hot Chocolate (above).

Also in that area is a pizza place called Piece
, which has regular East Coast style pizza and a nice selection of in-house made beers.

The food alone was reason enough for me to look forward to my next trip back to Chicago. There was plenty that I didn't get a chance to try out, and plenty that I just plain want more of. Maybe I'll get a chance to sneak away for a weekend this summer.

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