Don't worry about it, Nick. Haters gonna hate. Welcome to the neighborhood, Leghorn!
Love all their sauces so much I can't even pick a favorite! Our house is never without a bottle each of Rum Barrel, Batsauce, Too Hot, and Chi-racha, and we keep a good rotation of the rest of them. Go Mike and team!
I love almost all those restaurants. I will add another "meh" to the Little Goat conversation, and I'll probably never go back to Next again -- not out of hatred or spite, but only because I don't think it's worth it. Can't leave Vera and La Sirena Clandestina off the list, though, both really solid restaurants in their own right.
Minnesota doesn't have very many culinary specialties, please do not credit one of our greatest food contributions to the cheeseheads one state over. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jucy_Lucy
Great post, Abby! We also found it surprisingly difficult to find decent N/A cocktails when my wife was pregnant, but had several great experiences with bartenders who were more than willing to reach into their bag o' tricks for her. Particular standouts were Acadia, Balena, and La Sirena Clandestina. The N/A pairings at Next were also really well done (can you tell that we too were on the baby bucket list?). She feels your pain on the Sprite, it was surprising how many places don't even offer some of the great locally made root beers and ginger sodas!
Although there's lots of good suggestions already, I feel like Thanksgiving isn't a time that I want someone to get "cute" with the menu. I want my traditional favorites that I only eat once a year, with maybe just a little twist to keep it interesting. For that reason, I'll let Chris Pandel do the cooking; there's just something so homey and comfort-focused about the food at The Bristol.
Good stuff, thanks, Amber/Chris!
I'm excited to be moving to this neighborhood in a few weeks, and would love it if anyone (*cough* Nick *cough*) could elaborate on the taco/Mexican food options, as chef's details here are a bit vague. I'm already aware of Taco L Jalisiense, but surely that isn't the place he's referring to...? Any other hidden gems for tacos in this neighborhood?
I could enter into the typical back-and-forth seen on this message board, where I ask you to narrow it down by WHERE in the loop you're staying, timeline for dining, your access to transportation, your ideal price point, what specifically you're looking for in a dining experience, potential dining companions and their needs/likes, and on and on and on until we get to the perfect restaurant for you, but I'm going to take a shot in the dark and assume:
1. You can afford cab fare but don't want to venture too far from the Loop
2. You can afford to eat at most restaurants in the city
3. You aren't raw vegan or gluten free or hate shellfish or whatever
4. You're looking for the best easily-accessible restaurants Chicago has to offer (as opposed to, say, a place where you definitely need a reservation or a great carnitas place in Pilsen where you'll get amazing pork for $6/lb but you have to get there before they sell out at 2pm and may possibly need to speak some Spanish to get exactly what you want)
If these assumptions are true, then just take a cab or very short walk to west Randolph Street, (start at where Randolph crosses the river and walk west) informally known as Restaurant Row, and select from the myriad of amazing restaurants on (and just off) that strip of road. In that general neighborhood you'll find some of the very best Chicago has to offer. Off the top of my head, I know you'd have your culinary mind blown at: avec, Blackbird, Sepia, Girl and the Goat, Little Goat, Au Cheval, Maude's Liquor Bar, Nellcote, G.E.B., Vera, La Sirena Clandestina, ing, Belly Q... the list goes on and on.
If you're flying solo and gotta pick just one to go to, I'd probably try to elbow my way into a spot at the bar in Girl and the Goat, but these are all amazing restaurants and you'll have a great meal at any of them. Enjoy!
Born and raised in the Twin Cities, and when I'm feeling homesick I sometimes wonder if finding a local JL will scratch that itch. Thank you, Dennis, for reminding me that all Ju(i)cy Lucy's are stuffed cheeseburgers, but not all stuffed cheeseburgers are Ju(i)cy Lucy's. Matt's, the 5-8, The Nook/Shamrocks, Groveland Tap and similar joints -- those are the only purveyors of beefy molten cheese bombs that truly clog my heart with love.
The Drawing Room has been on my list for a long time, but I don't often find myself in the V. triangle.
Although I've recommended or personally escorted someone to nearly every restaurant on that list (excellent work, SE), I will say that the lack of south side places is a bummer. Just the experience of Pilsen, Bridgeport, Chinatown and even Uncle John's or Calumet Fisheries is pretty unique to Chicago, and the food is amazing to boot. Bonus points for the fact that you can alter some misconceptions about the "scary" south side. And it's no tougher to get to than Taqueria Ricardo.
P.S. Little Goat was good but not great and I waited an hour for a table on a Monday afternoon. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't do that again.
Chicago's Home of Chicken and Waffles! They serve breakfast all day, and I'm not sure they do milkshakes but I know you can get a damn fine root beer float there.
It's not quite as fancy as the previous suggestions, but I love taking a big group to Sun Wah for a roast duck feast (you'll need three ducks and a handful of other dishes with that many people). There's easily enough room to accommodate you all, it's family friendly, and there's just something magical about crispy duck skin that makes it a really memorable experience for everyone.
The no-brainer choice is Xoco, this is an absolute must in that neighborhood and you shouldn't leave without making sure you get one of Rick Bayless's amazing tortas or caldos.
Pizza is also easy, Pizzeria Uno is close and serves the classic Chicago-style pie.
For respectable Chicago hot dogs and Italian beef, hit up Portillo's at Clark and Ontario.
Much tougher to find are hole-in-the-wall places; you're in a very high-rent district so you won't find many of those in walking distance. The original Billy Goat Tavern is closest and worth a stop for a beer, but don't expect much from the food.
Depending on how much walking you're willing to do, you could also hoof it up to Big & Little's for some Guy Fieri approved deep fried goodness.
L'Appetito on Wabash and Huron is a great option for inexpensive eats, the takeout counter in this little Italian market has cheap, filling and pretty tasty food.
If you want to "splurge" without breaking the bank, I'd go to the Purple Pig on Michigan or Quartino at State and Ontario.
Another thing to consider is that at State and Grand you're right at a Red Line train stop. Get yourself a train pass and take the opportunity to explore some of the neighborhoods surrounding the train. Offhand, I'd suggest heading south to the Cermak/Chinatown stop for amazing Chinese food, or going north to find the "Little Saigon" neighborhood off the Argyle stop, but there's tons more options up and down the line.
Enjoy your trip!
Hey Kramer, I'm letting you in on my secret Bill Kim honey hole (it's not much of a secret). The wings above have the deep red color of the homemade ssam paste recipe (one of my all-time favorites), but they could be more similar to the sweet & spicy chicken marinade recipe. Happy cooking! recipehttp://www.foodandwine.com/chefs/bill-kim
Agree, if I'm getting a sandwich at Hopleaf it's either the CB&J or the awesome ham sandwich. They have lots of other great non-sandwich menu items, but the duck reuben & brisket sandwich just don't cut it for me.
Thanks for the write-up, Nick, it's been on my list since I heard about the chef change. What's the experience like? Could it be an impromptu weeknight option with little wait or is it more of a scene? Would you consider going there on a Friday night or would you expect it to be a total sh*tshow?
That's a tricky one, as I'm sure you're finding that most Midwest vegetarian entrees are built on pasta or bread or some other gluten base. I'd suggest Perennial Virant or Naha, both will give her several g-free veggie choices. They offer specific gluten-free menus, PV is just a few blocks north of the Mag Mile and Naha is just a few blocks west, and both are really lovely and delicious restaurants that showcase food grown at local farms.
As for cooking stores, the Mag Mile isn't the best area for them (unless you're looking for Williams-Sonoma), and Sur la Table isn't too far away from the Mile (but not walking distance), but for some places that are more unique I'd recommend checking out The Spice House and Old Town Oils in Old Town, Northwestern Cutlery Supply in the West loop, and I'd also recommend The Chopping Block in the Merchandise Mart. Have fun!
Anytime you make a list like this it's tempting to bash it for all the places that aren't on the list, but a good comments section makes up for it!
I need to throw a shout out to Publican and Big Jones, both have totally awesome brunches. And I'll go to Tre Kroner 100 times before I'll go back to Bakin' and Eggs once.
As much as I love Xoco, including their breakfast, the fact that they aren't open on Sundays should automatically disqualify them from this list. No Sunday brunch = not a brunch restaurant.
Why do people live in cities that don't have Tony Hu restaurants? I can't understand.
Awesome to see New England Seafood Company on this list. That place is legit! They're still figuring some things out, but that lobster roll is not. messing. around. And their clam chowder is some of the best I've ever had.
Yeah I don't have any good pics of the ahogada torta, either. I'm usually too busy shoving it in my face. IN MA FACE!
Daniel, I know Rosebud Steakhouse can be a little inconsistent, but I've had a couple burgers at Rosebud Prime on Dearborn in the past few months, and they were excellent. Burger drippings up to my elbows!
Primehouse is still your favorite, so this one is better than Rosebud?? I'll give it a fair shot, but I'll admit, I'm skeptical. Rosebud makes a helluva burger.
OdinKnows hasn't favorited a post yet.