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Long Post Looking For Feedback For an Upcoming Visit

Long Post Looking For Feedback For an Upcoming Visit
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  • Long Post Looking For Feedback For an Upcoming Visit

    Post #1 - February 5th, 2007, 9:28 pm
    Post #1 - February 5th, 2007, 9:28 pm Post #1 - February 5th, 2007, 9:28 pm
    A group of student artists and one actual artist are visiting for the 3rd week in February. We're juniors and seniors in an art college in western Canada. We range in age from the early 20s to one woman who is over 60. Two or three are 30 something. Our illlustrious leader got his master's from the Art Institute 2 years ago so he's fairly current with what is hip but it won't be easy providing info for such a diverse group so I volunteered to glean what I could from this board. Some of you will see whole posts quoted.

    This is what I have cut and pasted and worked out from this board. I was guessing at the train stops. I will also print out the LTH guide to restaurants.

    We are staying near the Art Institute and we don't have private transportation though I am also printing them a map for the el (El?) A few of us can actually afford taxis if we share.

    I'd appreciate any feedback or suggestions. Please point out any glaring mistakes. Thanks for any help you can give us.

    Pizza (thick double crust stuffed)
    Giordano’s
    130 E Randolph St (just north of Millennium Park)
    Hours: Open Mon-Thu,Sun 11am-11pm; Fri-Sat 11am-12am
    Payment Accepted: Visa,Master Card,American Express
    Alcohol Served: Beer
    Meals: Dinner, Lunch

    Thai
    TAC Quick
    3930 N. Sheridan
    773.327.5253
    There’s a menu in Thai but it’s easier to order the specials from the board.
    Closed Tuesdays
    Red Line (Sheridan stop)

    Steak (expensive)
    Gibson’s
    1028 North Rush Street,
    (corner of Bellevue and Rush)
    Chicago, IL 60611
    (312) 266-8999

    Vegetarian
    Green Zebra
    1460 W Chicago Ave
    Chicago, IL 60622
    (312) 243-7100
    www.greenzebrachicago.com

    Take-Out & Eat in
    Fox & Obel Food Market (by the Navy Pier)
    401 E. Illinois Street
    Chicago, IL 60611
    312.410.7301
    www.fox-obel.com

    Trotter's To Go Express
    Equinox Fitness
    200 West Monroe Street
    Street Level
    Mon-Fri, 6 a.m.-8 p.m. Go early at lunch as they often sell out
    312 499-0640 phone
    http://www.charlietrotters.com/togo

    Mexican
    Nuevo Leon
    1515 W. 18th St. (Pilsen)
    Orange Line (Ashland)

    Japanese/French Fusion supposed to be great for Brunch
    Yoshi's Cafe
    3257 N. Halsted St., Chicago
    Tel: (773) 248-6160
    Red Line (Belmont stop)

    Food Court

    The food court in the basement of the 33 (I think that's the right number) East Monroe building. It's between Wabash and Michigan on the south side of the street. Several of the stations are very good. You can get hand carved sandwiches, an interesting by the pound bar with meats and other hot foods, a good grill, etc. Worth exploring.

    Wells & Van Buren Area in The Loop
    Van Buren is 2 blocks south of the art institute and Wells is around 7 blocks west.

    Lai Lai and the recent Korean Express (especially the Korean Express) - they close up around 2:00pm, but for about $7 you can have a coke, a plate of actually spicy pork (or chicken) bulgogi, and a side order of decent Kim chi ($0.99 for the Kim chi). A great addition to the Loop's dining.

    - Burrito Buggy - along Van Buren just west of Wells. One of my historical favorites (used to work at the Board of Trade back in the late 90's and though we got a free lunch at work, about once a week or so would go get a burrito anyway, they are very good)

    - Fruit Expressions - a new place just a few months old along Van Buren, just east of Wells. Offers a very wide range of freshly squeezed juices in a huge variety of combinations (pick one "base juice" - add additional flavors, add complimentary pearls etc). Very clean, bright new place - seems well worth supporting and at least the sample I tried today (having already eaten) was exceedingly tasty and fresh.

    - Tokyo Lunch Box - south side of Van Buren - been a while since I ate here, but reports are that it is quite good.

    On Wells just north of Van Buren on the east side of the street is a new Mexican place (looks chainlike, but not one I am familiar with) that offers "fresh Mexican prepared in front of you" - which at least holds promise And north of that is a what appears to be an Irish Pub of some form.

    There is also a Billy Goat, a hotdog stand (Trader's Dogs), a Krispy Kreme, a Starbucks, and a number of other lunch spots and even a few run down bars and taverns.
  • Post #2 - February 5th, 2007, 9:48 pm
    Post #2 - February 5th, 2007, 9:48 pm Post #2 - February 5th, 2007, 9:48 pm
    Nuevo Leon you want to take the pink line to 18th, not the Orange.

    Also consider Casa de Samuel on 22nd, take the pink line to California.

    I would be more interested in David Burke's Primehouse than Gibson's, which is kind of a meat market. In the wrong sense.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #3 - February 5th, 2007, 10:04 pm
    Post #3 - February 5th, 2007, 10:04 pm Post #3 - February 5th, 2007, 10:04 pm
    Gyoza wrote:Tokyo Lunch Box - south side of Van Buren - been a while since I ate here, but reports are that it is quite good.


    If you're looking for quick/take out sushi in the Loop, you'll do much better at Kamehachi's outpost at 311 S. Wacker. It's a bit more expensive, but worth it.
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #4 - February 5th, 2007, 10:04 pm
    Post #4 - February 5th, 2007, 10:04 pm Post #4 - February 5th, 2007, 10:04 pm
    Fox and Obel has lots of good stuff, fun to look around. They have my favorite brownie EVER. Just don't get the prewrapped ones- they've been sitting out for a while and taste old and dry.

    Giordano's pizza is weird. its got a bland pizzahut tasting crust, and its a stuffed style, so there's double crust. It was very doughey the last time i had it, with sauce that tasted from a jar and wayyyy too much cheese. I didn't like anything about it. Pizano's is a much better choice in the Loop, I think.

    Trotters ToGo Express has some good stuff- like their cookies- but I think its all stuff delivered in from the original Trotters ToGo, so its not as fresh as it could be. And there isn't a huge variety. I tried a curry couscous salad that was too sweet, unbalanced tasting. A double chocolate mousse that had very deep chocolate flavor, but was pasty textured. Leaving it out at room temp for a while helped a lot. A buckwheat pasta salad with chicken that was mushy and bland- couldn't finish it. Some tasty curry something or other soup that was pureed with lots of cream, hard to go wrong with that. A yummy pretzel roll that tasted fresh baked. A really good and big oatmeal cookie. I guess you could compare it to Hannah's Bretzel in the Loop because they both serve sandwhiches(Hannah's serves pretzel bread sandwhiches, I believe) and focus on natural and organic ingredients. You might have better food there. Hannah's also has tons of chocolates and teas along their back wall to check out.

    Everyone loves Nuevo Leon, and I think its really great too. It has a really warm and comforting atmosphere. There's a really nice, refined mexican bakery across the street from it called Bombon you should definately visit, for really good tres leches cakes and other pastries.

    All these places are easy to look up on this forum, with pics posted as well.
  • Post #5 - February 5th, 2007, 10:14 pm
    Post #5 - February 5th, 2007, 10:14 pm Post #5 - February 5th, 2007, 10:14 pm
    The original Billy Goat Tavern is at 430 N. Michigan, lower level.
    http://www.billygoattavern.com/home.html

    I think the best food court is at 17 S. Wabash because one of its counters is the Oasis Cafe which serves very good and authentic middle eastern food.

    And for geting around on public transportation see the Chicago Transit Authority's web site to buy day passes and to use its very hepful trip planner for buses and trains in both the city and suburbs,
  • Post #6 - February 5th, 2007, 10:28 pm
    Post #6 - February 5th, 2007, 10:28 pm Post #6 - February 5th, 2007, 10:28 pm
    Mexican
    Nuevo Leon
    1515 W. 18th St. (Pilsen)
    Orange Line (Ashland)


    This is actually off of the Pink/Blue Lines at 18th (the Blue Line to 54th/Cermack only runs during rush hours, the Pink runs all day on the elevated tracks). Another option in the area is Mundial, it's even closer to the train stop on 18th. I little fancier, but definetely great food at a great price.

    On Wells just north of Van Buren on the east side of the street is a new Mexican place... And north of that is a what appears to be an Irish Pub of some form.


    The Mexican place is Q'doba, a chain ala Chipotle, but on a smaller scale. Not worth a visit. And I work at the "Irish pub," which is really more of a Chicago pub with an Irish name (Poag Mahone's - it means "kiss my a**" in Gaelic). Really great burgers - especially if you come at an off-peak time (not between 12-2p). My name's Molly...if you come in say hi.
  • Post #7 - February 6th, 2007, 6:45 am
    Post #7 - February 6th, 2007, 6:45 am Post #7 - February 6th, 2007, 6:45 am
    Thank you so much. All the changes and corrections are made.

    You'll know us by the paint under our fingernails and we won't be complaining about the cold, eh.
  • Post #8 - February 6th, 2007, 8:24 am
    Post #8 - February 6th, 2007, 8:24 am Post #8 - February 6th, 2007, 8:24 am
    Having not had Pizano's I can't comment on it, but I've had more than my share of Giordano's. It is not my favorite, but I disagree with the post above. I enjoy it. Colleagues in my office like it even more than I do and so we go more often than I would left to own devices. That said, we always have a thick crust and a thin. They're both certainly enjoyable (either that or I've been unintentionally slumming in Chicago pizza-dom).

    I would offer another suggestion if you're concerned about Giordano's, though: try Lou Malnati's. They have a location a few blocks north of the river and you can find plenty of reviews here and online generally on Malnati's.

    Good luck and have fun!

    439 North Wells Street
    Chicago, IL 60610
    Phone 312.828.9800
    Fax 312.828.0746
    Dine In & Carry out Hours:
    Mon. - Thurs. 11am - 11pm
    Friday & Saturday 11am - 12am
    Sunday: 12pm - 10pm
    Brown line stop: Merchandise Mart
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #9 - February 6th, 2007, 9:02 am
    Post #9 - February 6th, 2007, 9:02 am Post #9 - February 6th, 2007, 9:02 am
    You might want to stop by Heaven on Seven in the Garland Building for breakfast. Probably way-too-crowded at lunch for a large group, but breakfast is usually much less hectic (Opens 8:30 weekdays, 10 Saturday):

    Heaven on Seven
    111 N. Wabash Ave., Seventh Floor
    312-263-6443
    "The fork with two prongs is in use in northern Europe. In England, they’re armed with a steel trident, a fork with three prongs. In France we have a fork with four prongs; it’s the height of civilization." Eugene Briffault (1846)
  • Post #10 - February 6th, 2007, 9:22 am
    Post #10 - February 6th, 2007, 9:22 am Post #10 - February 6th, 2007, 9:22 am
    No, No, No. Please don't go to qdoba. Better off at Burrito Buggy if that style in that area is what you are looking for. Qdoba, in my past two* experiences is horrendous, and completely overpriced.

    *I only went back the second time b/c I couldn't believe it was that bad for the price. Fool me once..... SHAME ON ME!
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #11 - February 6th, 2007, 9:27 am
    Post #11 - February 6th, 2007, 9:27 am Post #11 - February 6th, 2007, 9:27 am
    In my experience, Giordano's quality varies by location. I've always been happy with the Rogers Park store, but it's not so amazing that I'd recommend you travel to the end of the city to dine there. But if you're in the neighborhood, it's not a bad option at all.

    Speaking of quality varying by location, I'm guessing the same is true of Lou Malnati's. I ordered from the Evanston store, and received one of the only two inedible pizzas I have ever seen (the other being from the Candlelite).
  • Post #12 - February 6th, 2007, 9:37 am
    Post #12 - February 6th, 2007, 9:37 am Post #12 - February 6th, 2007, 9:37 am
    Pizzano's is very good for pizza and the wings are good too.

    For Thai, I suggest Sticky Rice...this may be a bit of a road trip, but the best I have had in the city. http://www.stickyricethai.com/

    Sticky Rice
    4018 N Western Ave
    Chicago, IL 60618
    (773) 588-0120

    China Town is close by and I recomend Lao Sze Chuan for some really good spicy chinese food.

    Have fun!
  • Post #13 - February 6th, 2007, 10:24 am
    Post #13 - February 6th, 2007, 10:24 am Post #13 - February 6th, 2007, 10:24 am
    I wholeheartedly vote for Pizano's for pizza.

    First of all, not everyone knows about Pizano's -- although plenty do -- and it's sort of a treat to indulge in the best "unknown" pizza in Chicago -- and I am in absolute agreement about Giordano's not being really good. I think , in fact, that Giordano's is pretty lousy no matter which one you're at -- and I've tried a lot of them. I'd pick Malnati's, Gino's or even Uno's or Duo's over Giordano's ANY day. And I'd pick Pizano's over all of them.

    And every single person I've ever taken to Pizano's (and that's a lot) has loved both the thin crust and the thick.

    I also like their sandwiches and pasta.

    Fox and Obel is very far away from the Trotter's To Go at the Equinox and that Trotter's to Go is really not much more than a quick coffee stand, quick sandwich grab kinda place. Fox and Obel is a full on bakery, deli and cheese shop.

    Have a great time -- don't forget to do some non food things too!

    Shannon
  • Post #14 - February 6th, 2007, 11:10 am
    Post #14 - February 6th, 2007, 11:10 am Post #14 - February 6th, 2007, 11:10 am
    For vegetarian I'd recommend Alice and Friends up on Broadway in Uptown (Red Line - Thorndale stop). Good Korean, pan-Asian veggie menu - and it's cheap (entrees in the $6 - $8 ballpark). Love the Spicy Barbecue and the chap-chae dishes. My boyfriend and I go there at least 3 times a month (and he's an avid meat eater...)

    If you're looking for a less-expensive, less hassle, grass-roots alternative to Green Zebra, Alice's could be your place.

    Alice And Friends Vegetarian
    5812 N. Broadway
    773-275-8797
  • Post #15 - February 6th, 2007, 12:51 pm
    Post #15 - February 6th, 2007, 12:51 pm Post #15 - February 6th, 2007, 12:51 pm
    Just to help the OP understand, isn't it true that Pizanos and Lou Malnatis are owned by the same family and are very similar in taste? Both have several locations. One reason I prefer both of them to Giordanos is they have the more traditional(?) version of Chicago deep dish, and do it well. A more substantial crust, made with butter if you ask, and a sauce made of fresher tasting crushed tomatoes.


    Pizano's Loop location
    61 e. Madison st.
    312-236-1777

    Someone already posted the Malnati's address earlier.
  • Post #16 - February 6th, 2007, 1:16 pm
    Post #16 - February 6th, 2007, 1:16 pm Post #16 - February 6th, 2007, 1:16 pm
    Your Thai, steak, and vegetarian selections are perfect-I think. They reflect Chicago's uniqueness quite well. Gibson's to me is a better choice than David Burke's for that very reason, plus I found the ambiance at Prime House boring as hell. Fox & Obel is a great store as long as you don't buy things that you can get elsewhere(more $ for nothing). The only thing to stay away from at Gibson's might be the mashed potatoes-never had 'em, but heard that they are of bud or flake origin.
    I love animals...they're delicious!
  • Post #17 - February 6th, 2007, 1:20 pm
    Post #17 - February 6th, 2007, 1:20 pm Post #17 - February 6th, 2007, 1:20 pm
    Apparently, these aren't starving artists. ;)
  • Post #18 - February 6th, 2007, 6:33 pm
    Post #18 - February 6th, 2007, 6:33 pm Post #18 - February 6th, 2007, 6:33 pm
    Giordano’s
    130 E Randolph St (just north of Millennium Park)

    It's actually 310 W Randolph, about half a mile west of Millennium Park. There are a couple other Loop locations as well.

    TAC Quick
    There’s a menu in Thai but it’s easier to order the specials from the board.

    Great place. By all means order from the specials board but don't pass up the Thai menu. It's easy if you print out Erik M's translation found at http://silapaahaan.com .
  • Post #19 - February 6th, 2007, 6:40 pm
    Post #19 - February 6th, 2007, 6:40 pm Post #19 - February 6th, 2007, 6:40 pm
    Rene G wrote:
    TAC Quick
    There’s a menu in Thai but it’s easier to order the specials from the board.

    Great place. By all means order from the specials board but don't pass up the Thai menu. It's easy if you print out Erik M's translation found at http://silapaahaan.com .


    Thanks for the publicity, Rene G, but I should note that my most current TAC Thai Language menu translation can be found here:

    http://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?p=86439#86439

    E.M.
  • Post #20 - February 6th, 2007, 9:16 pm
    Post #20 - February 6th, 2007, 9:16 pm Post #20 - February 6th, 2007, 9:16 pm
    Eric wrote:Apparently, these aren't starving artists. ;)


    That's why I mentioned the varying ages, there are varying budgets too.
  • Post #21 - February 6th, 2007, 9:19 pm
    Post #21 - February 6th, 2007, 9:19 pm Post #21 - February 6th, 2007, 9:19 pm
    Rene G wrote:
    Giordano’s
    130 E Randolph St (just north of Millennium Park)

    It's actually 310 W Randolph, about half a mile west of Millennium Park. There are a couple other Loop locations as well.

    Thanks, too bad I missed that. Might be too far.

    TAC Quick
    There’s a menu in Thai but it’s easier to order the specials from the board.

    Great place. By all means order from the specials board but don't pass up the Thai menu. It's easy if you print out Erik M's translation found at http://silapaahaan.com .


    I will likely print out a copy for myself. I decided printing one for everyone was stretching it.
  • Post #22 - February 6th, 2007, 9:20 pm
    Post #22 - February 6th, 2007, 9:20 pm Post #22 - February 6th, 2007, 9:20 pm
    bnowell724 wrote:Just to help the OP understand, isn't it true that Pizanos and Lou Malnatis are owned by the same family and are very similar in taste? Both have several locations. One reason I prefer both of them to Giordanos is they have the more traditional(?) version of Chicago deep dish, and do it well. A more substantial crust, made with butter if you ask, and a sauce made of fresher tasting crushed tomatoes.


    Pizano's Loop location
    61 e. Madison st.
    312-236-1777

    Someone already posted the Malnati's address earlier.


    I'll give them a choice of pizza places, maybe we can add to the debate about which is best.
  • Post #23 - February 6th, 2007, 10:11 pm
    Post #23 - February 6th, 2007, 10:11 pm Post #23 - February 6th, 2007, 10:11 pm
    There's actually a Giordano's close to Randolph and Michigan, at
    135 E. Lake (in the Prudential Plaza--right by where there's a farmer's market in the summer). We used it recently for an office party both the stuffed spinach and the assorted thin crust pizzas we ordered were excellent. You could do a lot worse for classic Chicago pizza.
  • Post #24 - February 7th, 2007, 8:11 am
    Post #24 - February 7th, 2007, 8:11 am Post #24 - February 7th, 2007, 8:11 am
    This is coming together nicely. Thanks

    How much walking we do depends on the weather and I hear you aren't doing much better than we are.
  • Post #25 - February 7th, 2007, 11:32 am
    Post #25 - February 7th, 2007, 11:32 am Post #25 - February 7th, 2007, 11:32 am
    Former art student and young bohemian checking in here-
    We have to keep in mind an art student's/ artist's budget. , which rules out Gibson's, Green Zebra (though in my experience, many art students lean towards vegetarianism, so if you were to splurge, this may be the place), and Trotter's to Go, Yoshi's, and even Fox and Obel.
    There is a handful of artist faves, which may not be my first choices in seeking the kind of adventurous fare that I prefer, but offer reasonable, vegetarian-friendly, and most importantly- centralized locations convenient to galleries and other hip parts of town.

    Downtown (near Art Institute)-
    Exchequer- favorite drinking haunt of School of the Art Institute students, classic Chicago pub grub, not great, but serves decent deep dish pies, fried fare, and classic sammies like ruebens. The French onion soup is great and the spaghetti and meatballs is old school good.
    226 s Wabash
    Oasis Cafe- It's former location was covertly hidden in the back of a jeweler's mall, which was a huge part of the draw- we artists love our exclusivity. Its veg-friendly, most importantly. Falafel's fine, shwarma can be good, and two dollar lentil soup with pita is many art student's life support on cold afternoons. Its not the same since it relocated to its current fast food mall spot, but the food hasn't changed much.
    21 n Wabash

    West Loop (bourgeoning gallery district)-
    two Mexican spots:
    Perez- Mostly a gringo spot. However, the salsa negra here was my first and is tangy, smoky, and delicious. Weekend specials rock- Birria, a rustic goat soup, will make a mess of your Friday night’s best as you de-bone chunks of meat plucked from spattering greasy broth, but that is my kind of thing. The shrimp ceviche is super fresh and at $2.50 on a tostada, its hard to beat. Their shrimp soup features the largest low budget, high quality prawns in town.
    853 w Randolph
    deCero-
    A trendy newcomer with Modernist decor, hip Latin American soundtrack, and a small plate approach to mix and match tacos.
    814 w Randolph

    Wicker Park (hip neighborhood)
    Sultan's Market-
    Again, not the best, like Salam in Albany Park, but conveniently located near the hub of the neighborhood. Falafel is pretty darn good. Veg-heads love the salad bar in particular.
    2037 w North Ave.
    Handlebar
    Just down the street from Sultan’s, it’s a bike culture stronghold and features a fairly healthy, fish as only flesh alternative, mostly vegetarian menu. To my tastes, the samosa appetizer is the only standout, but the simple fare is a nourishing alternative for many neighborhood folks. Good beer specials.
    2311 w North Ave.
    Irazu-
    This has been a particularly heavy trafficked spot amongst the art community in my days. The Costa Rican food is hearty and fairly simple combinations of meat, beans, rice, and plaintains. I like the burritos- the chicken is my favorite of its kind with carmelized bits of skin and onions nestled amongst the juicy dark and white meat. Burritos are equipped with requisite avocado, which is always a plus. The veggie burrito has sautéed mushrooms and black beans, which is a different twist to most of its kind. The Costa Rican sandwich is always popular. They have excellent jugos- slushy smoothies made in a range of tropical fruits; their oatmeal shake is legendary.
    1856 n Milwaukee

    Pilsen (upcoming art district)-
    Skylark-
    My personal favorite bar in town. Great beer list. Tater tots with a trio of condiments. Really good fried chicken, mac and c, and greens dinner. I like it.
    2149 s Halsted
    Hope this is a help.
  • Post #26 - February 7th, 2007, 12:10 pm
    Post #26 - February 7th, 2007, 12:10 pm Post #26 - February 7th, 2007, 12:10 pm
    Jefe wrote:Former art student and young bohemian checking in here-
    We have to keep in mind an art student's/ artist's budget. , which rules out Gibson's, Green Zebra (though in my experience, many art students lean towards vegetarianism, so if you were to splurge, this may be the place), and Trotter's to Go, Yoshi's, and even Fox and Obel.
    There is a handful of artist faves, which may not be my first choices in seeking the kind of adventurous fare that I prefer, but offer reasonable, vegetarian-friendly, and most importantly- centralized locations convenient to galleries and other hip parts of town.

    Downtown (near Art Institute)-
    Exchequer- favorite drinking haunt of School of the Art Institute students, classic Chicago pub grub, not great, but serves decent deep dish pies, fried fare, and classic sammies like ruebens. The French onion soup is great and the spaghetti and meatballs is old school good.
    226 s Wabash
    Oasis Cafe- It's former location was covertly hidden in the back of a jeweler's mall, which was a huge part of the draw- we artists love our exclusivity. Its veg-friendly, most importantly. Falafel's fine, shwarma can be good, and two dollar lentil soup with pita is many art student's life support on cold afternoons. Its not the same since it relocated to its current fast food mall spot, but the food hasn't changed much.
    21 n Wabash

    West Loop (bourgeoning gallery district)-
    two Mexican spots:
    Perez- Mostly a gringo spot. However, the salsa negra here was my first and is tangy, smoky, and delicious. Weekend specials rock- Birria, a rustic goat soup, will make a mess of your Friday night’s best as you de-bone chunks of meat plucked from spattering greasy broth, but that is my kind of thing. The shrimp ceviche is super fresh and at $2.50 on a tostada, its hard to beat. Their shrimp soup features the largest low budget, high quality prawns in town.
    853 w Randolph
    deCero-
    A trendy newcomer with Modernist decor, hip Latin American soundtrack, and a small plate approach to mix and match tacos.
    814 w Randolph

    Wicker Park (hip neighborhood)
    Sultan's Market-
    Again, not the best, like Salam in Albany Park, but conveniently located near the hub of the neighborhood. Falafel is pretty darn good. Veg-heads love the salad bar in particular.
    2037 w North Ave.
    Handlebar
    Just down the street from Sultan’s, it’s a bike culture stronghold and features a fairly healthy, fish as only flesh alternative, mostly vegetarian menu. To my tastes, the samosa appetizer is the only standout, but the simple fare is a nourishing alternative for many neighborhood folks. Good beer specials.
    2311 w North Ave.
    Irazu-
    This has been a particularly heavy trafficked spot amongst the art community in my days. The Costa Rican food is hearty and fairly simple combinations of meat, beans, rice, and plaintains. I like the burritos- the chicken is my favorite of its kind with carmelized bits of skin and onions nestled amongst the juicy dark and white meat. Burritos are equipped with requisite avocado, which is always a plus. The veggie burrito has sautéed mushrooms and black beans, which is a different twist to most of its kind. The Costa Rican sandwich is always popular. They have excellent jugos- slushy smoothies made in a range of tropical fruits; their oatmeal shake is legendary.
    1856 n Milwaukee

    Pilsen (upcoming art district)-
    Skylark-
    My personal favorite bar in town. Great beer list. Tater tots with a trio of condiments. Really good fried chicken, mac and c, and greens dinner. I like it.
    2149 s Halsted
    Hope this is a help.


    2 observations:

    Exchequer is actually a guilty pleasure of mine, but while as stated above, art students may congregate there(I dunno...I've never noticed a particularly art-studenty vibe...grizzled, harried, downtown vibe, yes), it's not a destination. It's a pub. I like their burgers and (omg...whisper...shhhh...)"Chicago" ribs...the same way I enjoy similar+specials up the street at Miller's Pub. Repeat: it is not a Chicago destination; it's a pub with, imo, decent, plebian fare.

    Sultan's Market: worst "Middle Eastern" in the city...yes.
    Strangely-popular for that neighborhood...yes, again.

    If yr downtown and hanker for falafel, I agree, go to Oasis.
    Being gauche rocks, stun the bourgeoisie
  • Post #27 - February 7th, 2007, 2:23 pm
    Post #27 - February 7th, 2007, 2:23 pm Post #27 - February 7th, 2007, 2:23 pm
    Ahh, I feel like I just shed 20 years- a self-described young bohemian thinks Wicker Park is still hip, and I thought it was borderline bourgeois. Anyway, it occurs to me that Chinatown is not represented here-Spring World, LTH, Phoenix for dim sum, LSH, Ken Kee, etc. Also, if going to the Randolph corridor-Avec for those who are spending more $-although you don't have to blow a wad of $ there.
    I love animals...they're delicious!
  • Post #28 - February 9th, 2007, 9:49 am
    Post #28 - February 9th, 2007, 9:49 am Post #28 - February 9th, 2007, 9:49 am
    Thanks Jefe, I'll print your recommendations for the youngsters.

    For some weird reason we have a number of "mature students' in this group. This may be a US/Canada thing as there seemed to be only 2 others my age in the whole school when I studied in Baltimore.

    I didn't include Chinatown because the couple of us who have been to Chicago agree that if we only have a week in town we should concentrate on the kind of food we don't have here. We have a large Chinese population and good restuarants.
  • Post #29 - February 9th, 2007, 11:00 am
    Post #29 - February 9th, 2007, 11:00 am Post #29 - February 9th, 2007, 11:00 am
    Giordano's and Malnati's pizzas are two different things. The Malnati's deep dish is the more tradtional Chicago things with the thick crust with the cheese and sauce on top. There's always that slab of sausage to look forward to. Giordano's and offspring (Edwardo's, Nancy's, etc.) feature a stuffed pizza which is actually two thin layers of crust, one on the bottom, followed by cheese and certain fillings, another layer of crust and the sauce. I like the sauce, it has a nice basil note. Certain toppings are also served on top of the sauce. . . . .olives, tomatos, pineapple and others.

    They're all good, just different. There is a lot of cheese in the stuffed pizza variant, though.
  • Post #30 - February 27th, 2007, 9:18 am
    Post #30 - February 27th, 2007, 9:18 am Post #30 - February 27th, 2007, 9:18 am
    We stayed at the Chicago Athletic Association. Aging but nice place, handy for the Art Institute. Not just for the museum but the grad student studios.

    Artist's Cafe - It was close and the name made us do it. Decent but not outstanding sandwiches. More expensive than some.

    House of Blues - Gospel Brunch was sold out so we ate appetizers in the bar then saw the evening show. Huge portions, we forgot we were in the US till then. Thank goodness we only ordered appetizers. Really good catfish nuggets and sweet potato fries. Decent mac and cheese.

    Baci - we had breakfast here a few times. Close and easy, decent food.

    Fox and Obel - Yes, the very best brownies ever. Fage yogurt as good as expected and incredible espresso.

    Cafe Under 55 - Someone thought this place was under 33 W Monroe but it was 55 W Monroe. No sign outside so we would never have known but for this board. Reasonable food, good selection, especially the salad bar.

    Puck at the MCA - Really good salad and sandwiches. Nice slection of breads.

    Bistro 110 - 2 of us had scallops on polenta and were very happy. The scallops were perfectly cooked and the polenta wonderfully creamy. Our dining companion was not as happy as they were out of a couple of things she wanted and the only tea they offered was flowery.

    Giordano's - Stuffed crust pizza was much better than I feared. It wasn't heavy at all. We ordered one with sausage and very rarely encountered a piece. Some slices had one piece of sausage and some had none. I dissected the last slice we were too full to eat and found 4 on that one slice.

    My Thai - I TRIED to get these people to a place recommended on this board but noooo.... It was close, it was cheap. What I would call salad rolls they called spring rolls. You know, rice wrappers around fresh lettuce and meat, often shrimp. Not fried. When I described this they brought their spring rolls. They weren't fried but they were covered in a thick sweet sauce like nothing I can imagine coming from Thailand. The pad thai was ok, although it had no heat. Someone ordered chicken with cashews and although I only had a few of the mushrooms people were saying there was something off with the chicken.

    Karyn's Cooking - I think that's the right name. Was by the galleries in River North. Again, I THINK that's the neighborhood. Several galleries, directly west of the water tower. Streets like Superior and Huron. The restaurant is vegan and although we were mostly carnivores we all had great food. I had a taco salad that was good even without the fake sausage.

    Bejan - Excellent onion soup and sauteed spinach.

    Chicago Athletic Association Restaurant - Breakfast one day. The eggs benedict were good but the hashbrowns were outstanding. Crisp, creamy and buttery. The bar pours Glenmorangie with a VERY generous hand. Not that we had it for breakfast!

    Cafe Absinthe in Damen - Really good burgers and Reuben sandwiches. Good fries too.

    Thanks for your help evryone.

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