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Mother / Daughter Chicago Trip: Needs must eats! :)

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My mom and I are coming to Chicago next week for a shopping trip - long weekend. I come to Chicago on a pretty regular basis (live about 2 hours away) but my mom hasnt been in about 20 years. We are planning to stay downtown at Affinia so she can experince the true Chicago shopping experinence on Mich. Ave. Any suggestions on moderate priced restaurants that we can visit during our stay? Since I somewhat familiar with the area we are open to areas outside of Downtown but that would be prefered for walking. I guess my question is what places would you consider MUSTS when coming to Chicago. Our first stop will be Rosebud's for a burger. :) THANKS!

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  1. How about Cafe Iberco for tapas or Frontera Grill for Mexican?

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    1. re: mountaincachers

      Both Cafe Iberico ( www.cafeiberico.com ) and Frontera Grill ( www.rickbayless.com/restaurants ) are good, but keep in mind that neither one accepts reservations. I would avoid them on weekend evenings. Frontera Grill serves brunch on Saturdays.

      Get some deep-dish pizza while you're here. You can go to the place where it all started - Pizzeria Uno and Pizzeria Due. They're still there, and they're still excellent. Phone ahead with your pizza order to avoid waiting 30-45 minutes for your pizza to bake. www.unos.com

      My favorite casual fine dining restaurant in the Michigan Avenue area is Cafe des Architectes, and it's really not very expensive. The food is fantastic, contemporary American from acclaimed Chef Martial Noguier and Pastry Chef Suzanne Imaz. The room is equally fantastic; it's part of the curving glass facade of the Sofitel, 4 blocks from the Affinia. They have an a la carte menu along with a prix fixe menu offering 3 courses for $42, which is an excellent value. An even better deal is if you can go on a Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday, when they offer their "neighborhood friends" menu, 3 courses for $29. www.cafedesarchitectes.com

      Cafe Spiaggia, the best moderately-priced Italian restaurant in the city, is also about five blocks from the Affinia. www.cafespiaggia.com (make sure to click on CAFE since it shares its website with the super-expensive Spiaggia)

      Here are a few more moderately-priced places close by. Boston Blackie's on Grand serves good burgers in a sports bar atmosphere. www.bostonblackies.com Sol y Nieve has tapas; it's closer than Cafe Iberico and accepts reservations. www.emiliostapas.com Sayat Nova serves Armenian food. www.sayatnovachicago.com

      While you're here, go to Garrett's Popcorn. There is a location on Michigan Avenue near the Affinia. They have caramel popcorn (with or without cashews or pecans), cheese popcorn, or a mix of caramel/cheese. Yum! www.garrettpopcorn.com

      Fox & Obel is our premier gourmet food store, with the finest meats, cheeses, and other basics, as well as the finest baked goods and other prepared foods. Don't miss the yummy cinnamon swirl rolls at the bakery counter! There's a cafe in the rear if you want to eat anything on the premises, from a cup of coffee to an entire meal prepared to order, and it's a great place for a moderately priced meal. It's six blocks south of the Affinia. www.fox-obel.com

      Enjoy your visit!