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Short weekend trip - Lincoln Park and Devon tips?

Will be visiting chicago from minneapolis for barely two days next weekend. Thursday late we will get in to Lincoln Park where we'll be staying close to halsted and diversy. Our hosts will surely have favorite places to show us, but if there are any real gems nearby, or in the loop where i have to be friday morning/mid-day (is it worth it to cab to hot dougs friday? i understand standing in line and all that this would entail - is there something equally worthwhile closer to the lake?

Probably saturday we wanted to go to devon for indian - something we have enough of here but not anything mind-blowing. Assuming im looking for pretty much anything indian - north or south, with a slight preference for southern. Also, does anyone know if Mysore Woodlands is owned as part of the chain in India? Any recommendations for places to grab snacks and sweets are also much appreciated.

thanks

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  1. >> Thursday late we will get in to Lincoln Park where we'll be staying close to halsted and diversy. Our hosts will surely have favorite places to show us, but if there are any real gems nearby, or in the loop where i have to be friday morning/mid-day

    I don't know of any "real gems" in the *immediate* vicinity of Halsted and Diversey, although there are plenty of neighborhood type places, not necessarily "destination" type restaurants. However, it's not far from some excellent destination places - notably North Pond ( www.northpondrestaurant.com ) and Sweets and Savories ( www.sweetsandsavoriesrestaurant.com ).

    In the Loop, I'd go for some Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. Pizano's ( www.pizanoschicago.com ) on Madison has single-crust "pizza in the pan", and Giordano's ( www.giordanos.com ) has several Loop locations serving double-crust "stuffed" pizza.

    Also in the Loop, don't miss Garrett's ( www.garrettpopcorn.com ) for caramel popcorn and cheese popcorn.

    >> (is it worth it to cab to hot dougs friday? i understand standing in line and all that this would entail - is there something equally worthwhile closer to the lake?

    Well, it's a LOOOONG and EXPEN$$$$$IVE cab ride. And there's tons of stuff in and around downtown that you wouldn't need to spend the time and money to travel to. I'd go for deep-dish pizza instead (see Loop suggestions above, or the original Pizzeria Uno and Pizzeria Due www.unos.com in River North). Or, for an authentic Italian beef sandwich and a Chicago-style hot dog, both Al's Beef ( www.alsbeef.com ) and Portillo's ( www.portillos.com ) have locations on Ontario in River North.

    >> Probably saturday we wanted to go to devon for indian - something we have enough of here but not anything mind-blowing. Assuming im looking for pretty much anything indian - north or south, with a slight preference for southern.

    Well, honestly, there are some decent places on Devon, but nothing I would describe as "mind-blowing", either, based on my recent meals there. I think there are some other kinds of food you can find in Chicago that are much better than you can find in other cities; I just don't think that Indian is one of them. For example, I think our creative provincial Mexican food is something you just don't find elsewhere. Places like Tepatulco ( www.tepatulco.com ) and the Real Tenochtitlan ( www.realtenochtitlan.com ) are both close to Lincoln Park (Tepatulco is actually just a few blocks south of Halsted/Diversey), and if you want to travel a few miles for places that IMHO are even better, I recommend Fonda del Mar ( www.fondaonfullerton.com ) in Logan Square, Frontera Grill and Topolobampo ( www.rickbayless.com/restaurants ) in River North, and my favorite, Mundial Cocina Mestiza ( www.mundialcocinamestiza.com ) in Pilsen. And before you think "oh we have Mexican food back home", check out the menus on their websites to see how different they are from the conventional "tacos, enchiladas, and carne asada" so prevalent elsewhere.

    >> Any recommendations for places to grab snacks and sweets are also much appreciated.

    In addition to Garrett's (see above), I recommend Fox and Obel ( www.fox-obel.com ) in River East, not far from the Loop (under a mile to the northeast). It's our premier gourmet food store, with the finest fresh meats, seafoods, prepared foods, etc. They have the best selection of outstanding breads and pastries in the city, including the world's best cinnamon swirl rolls and bran muffins, and a lot of other things that are just wonderful.

    1 Reply
    1. re: nsxtasy

      Another really great Mexican place is Mixteco Grill, one of our best. From Halsted and Diversey, it's two miles north and one mile west. If your hosts have been there, they probably love it; if not, it will be a "real gem" for you to show them. Reservations recommended. http://chicago.menupages.com/restaura...

    2. Bear in mind while North Pond is an easy walk from where you are staying, Sweets and Savories is a good 1.5 or 2 miles away, so short cab ride perhaps.

      My go to Indian place in Devon is Hema's Kitchen. Not sure though what you would consider mind-blowing. Hema's has a mix of both northern and southern. They moved to a much bigger location now right on Devon Ave, which i've not been to. Don't know if it lost it's hole-in-the-wall charm because of that. Hema's is BYOB.

      A slightly different rec on Indian would be Marigold. 4832 N Broadway @ Gunnison. I know, i know, the purists here start throwing stones now. It is a very nice contemporary spot, and the food i find is actually quite solid and does not stray that far from traditional. Plus, there's lots more to see in this now gentrifying area of Uptown.

      -----
      Marigold Indian Restaurant
      4832 North Broadway, Chicago, IL 60640

      1 Reply
      1. re: ms. chow

        >> Bear in mind while North Pond is an easy walk from where you are staying

        Yup, roughly 3/4 mile away. And North Pond is a "real gem" in every way (fantastic food and a unique, exquisite setting in the middle of the park).

      2. I'll respectfully disagree with Chicago not having anything destination worthy on Devon avenue.

        For Southern Indian, try Uru Swati. I'm not sure about Mysore being part if the Indian chain.

        For Pakistani, I'd give Khan BBQ a try.
        Specifics -
        Broasted Chicken
        Chiken Boti
        Aloo Gobi (maybe a spinach dish instead if that floats your boat more)
        A few naan, a few paratha.
        Heaven, if you ask me.

        Snacks/treats:
        King Sweets
        Tahoora
        Patel Brothers grocery.
        Alphonso Mangos have been spotted at Patel bros recently. If you like these, you may be able to snag some.

        Hema's used to be a go to place for me as well, but you won't be able to get naan or paratha if I recall correctly, and it's much better to go at off times. Hema, her sister, and her son are great ppl, but it can get crazy busy in there - which is fine, but I much prefer Khan BBQ. Places like Chopal, Sabri Nehari, and Usmaniya are also in my rotation for Inidan sit down joints - they are more meat oriented as opposed to southern, however. For cheaper, "joint" style places, I really like Khan's BBQ, Hyderbaad House, and Gharab Naweez. Anyway, for strict southern, I think I'd rate Uru-Swati as my number one pick. Mysore would be 2nd (I think they are all veggie, right?)

        http://www.uru-swati.net/

        ==========
        Khan BBQ
        2401 W Devon Ave
        Chicago, IL 60659
        (773) 274-8600
        ======
        Chopal
        2240 W Devon Ave
        Chicago, IL 60659
        (773) 338-4080
        =====
        Usmaniya:
        2244 W Devon Ave
        Chicago, IL 60659
        (773) 262-1900
        =====
        Tahoora Sweets
        http://www.tahoora.com/Store/DesktopD...
        =======
        King Sweets
        2308 W Devon Ave
        Chicago, IL 60659
        (773) 262-8001
        ======
        Mysore Woodlands:
        2548 W Devon Ave
        Chicago, IL 60659
        (773) 338-8160
        =====
        Patel bros.
        2610 W Devon Ave
        Chicago, IL 60659
        (773) 764-1857

        All in all, I think I'd make Khan BBQ your destination for Saturday if it works out. It's not fine dining, but broasted chicken and Chicken Boti has the propensity to be VERY good eats. Throw in a veggie dish, and a few nice and greezy parathas, and wow. Heaven, if you ask me, really. Then go to a snack shop for some kulfi, or some warm Gulab Jamun if you can find some. If it's a nice day, and you really like Indian food, you might not leave for a long while.

        6 Replies
        1. re: gordeaux

          There's a difference between being "destination worthy" and "mind blowing". Certainly Devon Avenue has a number of very good Indian and Pakistani restaurants. I'm not sure how these compare with those in Minneapolis, the OP's home, whose restaurants I'm not familiar with. But compared with the Indian restaurants I've found in other major cities, the best ones here compare reasonably well with the best ones elsewhere, but are not amazingly different or better, in my experience. OTOH if you enjoy Indian/Pakistani food, by all means go to Devon Avenue!

          Also note that Mysore Woodlands is currently closed for remodeling, according to the topic at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/614383

          1. re: nsxtasy

            Thanks. Saw the other post about the closure, but i dont think that will keep us from pursuing a chowstroll down Devon - i appreciate the mind-blowing versus destination worthy comment also, and i guess my words weren't particularly clear: We're planning on doing devon because my mom grew up nearby when it was full of deli's, and because even if the food wont be as good as when we were in Dehli a few months ago, any area with that kind of concentration of indian folk is going to have better quality and selection than what we can get around here (for example almost all re-packaged goods at MSP indian grocers are packed by wholesalers on/near devon).

            I was going to be happy enough just to take a walk and see what looked good, but felt like locals might have specific recommendations that we could have otherwise passed up.

            Also, while the Fox-Obel tip is much appreciated (and this wasnt very clear in my original request) when i said snacks and sweets i meant indian snacks and sweets on devon - thanks gordeau for the info!

            1. re: tex.s.toast

              I don't wanna call it mind-blowing because I use that term very rarely. I cook a LOT at home, and rarely have had mind blowing food experiences dining out. That being said, if you get broasted chicken and chicken boti from khans, and it's their "A-grade" stuff, I know a few ppl who would consider it "mind blowing."

              Mind blowing for me, has been a few Mexican meals which you should really look into (also) if time permits. I've had a mind blowing meal at Frontera Grill, Sol De Mexico, and get consistently mind blowing food from a few cheap as dirt taquerias.

              Mind blowing is such a relative term. For the most part, I don't think my definition would match others' definitions. I usually come away from higher end places very frustrated. I remember having the grand degustation at now defunct Gordon as my first "fancy schmancy" dining experience, and thinking "are you kidding me - I could make ALL of this stuff just as good if not better." And I'm not kidding ONE BIT.

              Anyway - tex.s - if you do get a chance to go to Devon, please report back. Remember, there are PLENTY of average to horrid places on that street. My opin ion is that there are a few that are worth time and effort to get to. Khan's MIGHT blow your mind. I think that's one of your best shots for Pakistani. For Vegetarian, Uru - Swati might be your best shot for mind blowing. If MSP has a bunch of mediocre IndoPak joints, then there is a better chance of these blowing your mind. You'll be the judge. Hope you do well.

              1. re: gordeaux

                >> Mind blowing for me, has been a few Mexican meals which you should really look into (also) if time permits. I've had a mind blowing meal at Frontera Grill, Sol De Mexico, and get consistently mind blowing food from a few cheap as dirt taquerias.

                Exactly my point. This past weekend, I had dinner at Mundial Cocina Mestiza in Pilsen. Every dish was simply outstanding (as I noted in the Mexican discussion); if I had to pick one over the others, it would be the steamed mussels slathered with strips of poblano pepper and chunks of bacon. Mind-blowing, indeed!

                Although I was rather disappointed my last trip to Sol de Mexico, I've had some wonderful Mexican food within the past year or two at other Mexican restaurants in the city and suburbs - not only at Mundial, but also at Mixteco Grill, Fonda del Mar, Flamingo's Seafood, and Fuego Mexican Grill. And I still have a few more Mexican places on my radar of places to try.

                And in the meantime, I'll keep trying more restaurants along Devon Avenue. As you note, plenty of them are not very good; maybe I just haven't hit the best of them yet. I'll keep your recommendations in mind - thanks! (FWIW, since Mysore Woodlands was mentioned above, I did try it last year, and wasn't impressed.)

                1. re: nsxtasy

                  I really got to get over to Mundial!

              2. re: tex.s.toast

                I've lived in Chicago for 7 years and last weekend was my first trip up to Devon (for shame!) Its absolutely an amazing neighborhood, I almost felt like I was in a different country since the population was so different from, say Wrigleyville. Loved Patel Brothers and there seems to be a market right next door to PB's that specialized more in fresh foods. I still think Devon is worth a visit, if not just for the atmosphere.

          2. You have a few pretty good options near Halsted and Diversey.

            Sapori is right there, which is a very good neighborhood Italian restaurant. It's not the most authentic Italian you'll ever eat, but a lot of a pastas are housemade and it has a nice neighborhood atmosphere.

            If you want sushi you've got two options. Itto Sushi is at Halsted and Wrightwood and is pretty good old school traditional sushi. If you walk over to Clark and Fullerton there's Ponzu, which is a little trendier but the quality of their fish is excellent (nigiri is where the action is at Ponzu, you can skip most of the rolls).

            Right across the street from Ponzu is Emilio's if you want tapas. I think Emilio's is fine, but overpriced given the quality.

            If you need cupcakes, check out Molly's Cupcakes (around Clark and Deming).

            Sapori
            www.saporitrattoria.net
            2701 N Halsted St
            (773) 832-9999

            Itto Sushi
            www.ittosushi.com
            2616 N Halsted St
            (773) 871-1800

            Ponzu
            2407 N Clark St
            (773) 549-8890

            Emilio's
            www.emiliostapas.com
            444 W Fullerton Pkwy
            (773) 327-5100

            Molly's Cupcakes
            www.mollyscupcakes.com
            2536 N Clark St
            (773) 883-7220

            1. The Half Shell, right near where you are staying, has the best king crab in town, for cheap. It's a hole in the wall and very crowded later in the evening, so go early or late. And don't be tempted by anything else. They do king crab perfectly; other dishes are so-so.

              Hema's Kitchen at Clark and Fullerton is the Lincoln Ave. outpost of the Devon Ave. star. The service is spotty, but the food is terrific. I recommend the lamb curry. Devon is a rather long trip without a car.

              In the loop, I'd try Berghoff Catering, a bar and small restaurant that is what is left of the famous Berghoff. You could also walk into Greektown.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Pete Oldtown

                Good call on the Half Shell. Please keep in mind that they are cash only if you end up going (and men should remove caps before speaking to the bartender to get seated).

                1. re: jesteinf

                  I think its not likely well stop at the half shell, as my girlfriend has a shelfish allergy. is there really nothing else there worth eating?

                  id be interested in hearing more about greektown. walkable from where? in which direction. again, what would the highlights be in a quik trip through greektown?

                  1. re: tex.s.toast

                    You can view the Half Shell menu on their website at www.halfshellchicago.com It's mostly shellfish, although they also have a few non-shellfish items (tilapia, snapper, burgers). It's really a combination pub and seafood restaurant, and has been there for over forty years. With a shellfish allergy, you might want to go elsewhere.

                    Greek Town is just west of the Loop, from which it is walkable, as Pete noted. The Loop is Chicago's historical and commercial central business district; it, along with the surrounding neighborhoods, are referred to as "downtown Chicago". It's where all the el (subway) lines converge. The Loop (and, more specifically, the intersection of State and Madison Streets) is also where Chicago's house numbering system has its zero points, with each 800 house numbers equaling a mile away from downtown, slightly less than a mile in the downtown area. So Halsted (800W) and Diversey (2800N) are one mile west, and 3.5 miles north, of the center of the Loop.

                    Greek Town is a 3-4 block stretch of Halsted Street west of the Loop, which consists of approximately a bazillion Greek restaurants, but not much else. It's more of a restaurant row, rather than a residential ethnic neighborhood. It contrasts with Devon Avenue, where many people of Indian/Pakistani heritage live, and which has not only restaurants, but shops selling clothing, books/videos, and groceries to that ethnic community. For a discussion of the Greek restaurants in Greek Town and links to their websites, see http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/119233

                    To get to Greek Town from Halsted and Diversey, you can either hop on the CTA Brown Line (el/subway) south to Quincy and walk 1/2 mile west, or you can take the #8 CTA bus south on Halsted Street all the way there.