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trip planning for October

t
toaster Jul 24, 2006 08:11 PM

I'm a 'hound from Maine, heading to Chicago for a conference in early October. I'm bringing along a couple close chowish girlfriends, and we're making a mini-vacation out of it. A few questions:

-- What should we eat that we can't get back east, and where do we get it? Suggestions for good ethnic food of all varieties would be welcome -- Maine's not exactly a hotbed of food diversity.
-- Fun bars (we're all in our mid-30s)?
-- Best choice for a total splurge?

Speaking of splurging, I realize this may be one of those "if you have to ask, you don't need to know" questions, but could someone tell me the current prices at trotter's? Their website doesn't have this info.

Thanks tons!

  1. d
    Darren72 Jul 25, 2006 12:22 AM

    Welcome.

    "-- What should we eat that we can't get back east, and where do we get it? Suggestions for good ethnic food of all varieties would be welcome -- Maine's not exactly a hotbed of food diversity."

    In the ethnic category, Chicago is known for Mexican (esp. gourmet versions), Thai, Vietnamese, Greek, Italian, Eastern European. Probably others that I am leaving out, but those are the biggies that come to mind first. There are also excellent Chinese places (though apparently many think not), Japanese, French, Spanish, etc. It is probably better for you to first think about which types of ethnic cuisines you are most interested in, do a little search regarding earlier discussions here and on lthforum.com. Once you have some ideas, you'll get more focused feedback.

    -- Fun bars (we're all in our mid-30s)?

    There are a lot. Unfortunately, the moderators will quickly delete posts that aren't focused on food. Let me offer a few thoughts that hopefully will not offend them: the most popular area, esp. for tourists and those from far-away suburbs is the Rush Street area. I say stay away from that area. Depending on your style of bar and crowd, check out the Wicker Park/Bucktown area, the Lincoln Park area, Wrigleyville, Lincoln Square, or Roscoe Village areas. These areas definitely have different vibes, so which is best depends on your tastes.

    For more on Chicago bars, go to http://www.chicagobarproject.com/index.htm

    "Speaking of splurging, I realize this may be one of those "if you have to ask, you don't need to know" questions, but could someone tell me the current prices at trotter's? Their website doesn't have this info."

    Last I checked it was $125 for the Grand Menu (which is the standard menu).

    -- Best choice for a total splurge?

    In the four star genre, which are over $100 per person, plus drinks, tax and tip on top of that, there is Trotters, Tru, Spiaggia (on the one hand) and Alinea, Moto, Avenues (on the other). All are contemporary/New American (except Spiaggia, which is contemporary Italian), but the latter group are definitely more avant garde. All are excellent. If you want to splurge and eat in this group, check out the menus and read more detailed reviews in other posts.

    Then there are a lot of excellent places in the three star category, which will run you more like $50-$100 per person for food. The hot new restaurant is Schwa. There was a recent thread on this place. It is difficult to get reservations, so call early. Others that I like are Blackbird, North Pond Cafe, Sweets and Savories, and Naha.

    Here is another good summary of the choices, and recent opinions:
    http://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic....

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