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Trip Report: Onesixty, Topolo, etc

c
Chicas Sep 18, 2007 02:40 PM

Just returned from a wonderful trip to Chicago. With only two nights, we did our digging on this site and decided on Topolobampo and Onesixty Blue.
Topolobampo:
Let me preface this by saying that I have travelled a lot through Mexico, and have eaten at some of the best modern Mexican spots there, whether in Mexico City, Oaxaca, etc... I was craving some of that kind of food, which is why I chose Topolo. I ultimately felt that the execution wasn't particularly interesting and severely overpriced. If I had to do it all over again, I would have waited around and eaten at Frontera. We were not permitted to eat off their menu in Topolo, but I suspect that the simpler food they have on offer next door would be more rewarding. The service was fine. Strangely enough, one of my favorite things about the meal was the cappucino mixed with Mexican hot chocolate. Call me weird.
At Macy's the next day, we actually went and ate at the Frontera Fresco counter for lunch and remarked that we enjoyed the food more than the Topolo fare, perhaps because it reminded us of simple meals we had on Mexican trips. (ie. Huaraches, Torta).
Onesixty Blue:
Now this was a wonderful experience.
I had a piece of halibut that was perhaps one of the best fish dishes I've ever had. The service was unbelievably good, the products fresh and the atmosphere pleasant. I would recommend it to anyone who loves food.
A few notes....as soon as you sit down, the waiter warmly greets you and tells you that at the restaurant they like to "ease people into their evening" with a little appetizer. That night it was some ovenbaked goat cheese with toasted baquette. It was such a great pitch, we just said Yes, as did everyone around us. Well...that little appie ran $11, and I would have much preferred to simply choose something else off the menu.
Also, they sat us in the row of seats next to the open kitchen. Not such a big thing, but I would have specifically asked for a better table had I known.
Lunch spots, etc...:
We were staying at the Westin Michigan avenue, and we were power shopping, so we tried to eat quickly but well. The Potbelly Sandwich Company makes decent sandwiches...they have many locations including one in the 900 Shops Mall. (Bloomingdales). Breakfast one day was at the Corner Bakery (on Rush or State, can't remember). Also a good spot for a quick, but not fast-food meal. We tried Fox and Obel another day before taking a boat tour,and that was good for brekkie. While in Wicker Park, we tried to go to the Bongo Room for brunch, but settled for nearby Rodan. Perfectly acceptable and not expensive.
I would recommend to anyone that planning brunch in Wicker Park on a Sunday is a good idea, and just picking a spot at random is not a bad idea.

  1. g
    gymp Sep 21, 2007 07:34 AM

    Just to make it clear that Chowhounds are divided on Topolobampo, let me say once again that I've been there many times in the last year and found it uniformly outstanding in both food and service, among the best in Chicago.

    2 Replies
    1. re: gymp
      b
      BRB Sep 21, 2007 07:57 AM

      . . . and on the same topic, I have dined at Trotter's a handful of times, and while there are places I much prefer, I cannot agree that it is not a good restaurant. To the contrary, I think it offers outstanding and creative food, although I do find the interior somewhat dated.

      1. re: BRB
        nsxtasy Sep 21, 2007 08:26 AM

        I, too, have enjoyed consistently outstanding food and service at both Topolobampo and Charlie Trotter's. Sure, there are newer places in the creative Mexican and creative fine dining genres that compete with them, but both continue to be excellent, based on my visits there.

    2. blondie60614 Sep 18, 2007 02:43 PM

      Thanks for the report

      I completely agree that Topo is way over-rated

      1 Reply
      1. re: blondie60614
        jpschust Sep 19, 2007 01:22 PM

        Topo is like Trotter's- not terrible, but not great (trotter's not even good at this point) but very important in the history of US dining. That said, I'll spend my money elsewhere.

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