Portillo's or Poochie's in Skokie
I am in town for one day staying at the doubletree on skokie blvd. I noticed a Portillo's a couple of blocks away and Poochie's a good deal further away. I am a big fan of Italian beefs (in my visits to chicago, I've tried Johnnies, Mr. Beef, and Al's) but I am also a fan of Chicago dogs (so far I have tried Wiener's Circle and Superdawg). Seeing as I don't have a car (the shuttle will take me to the yellow swift which is 1.4 miles from Poochie's), which of these places do you recommend? Is Poochie's dog special enough to make the trek? or is the portillo's beef solid enough that I should walk two blocks out of the hotel?
Walk the two blocks to Portillo's. They do an excellent Chicago hot dog as well as excellent Italian beef, so you can get both of them there.
Incidentally, you have some more good food options within a five minute walk. The hotel itself has a Boston Blackie's, with good burgers and great cole slaw. It's kitty-corner from Old Orchard Center, a large mall with mostly chains but some of the better ones - Maggiano's (I love their chopped salad), Cheesecake Factory, California Pizza Kitchen, etc. There's also a Frontera Fresco, the fast-food concept from Rick Bayless, at the entrance to Marsha... I mean, at the entrance to Macy's. DO NOT go to McCormick & Schmick, the seafood restaurant there, as it's awful. For a complete list of places in the mall, see www.westfield.com/oldorchard/dining
A block south of the hotel (in the strip mall just south of the IHOP, before you get to Portillo's) is Ruby of Siam, a decent Thai restaurant. And in the next strip mall (just south of Portillo's) are Bonefish Grill for seafood, and Edwardo's for stuffed pizza.
All of the above places are on the west side of Skokie Boulevard. The hotel is on the east side of Skokie Boulevard. If you need any groceries, there is a large Jewel supermarket immediately south of the hotel and the Center East concert venue next door.
I think Poochie's dog is definitely worth the trek. Portillo's makes a good dog, but Poochie's also does char-dogs, which you can't get at Portillo's. Also, you can get a char cheddar burger at Poochie's, which I unfortunately find myself eating about once a week because it's just that delicious.
However, since you are here one day and you don't have a car, you might find Portillo's just more convenient for your situation. The beef at Portillo's is excellent; I find the dogs to be reliable, but not mind-blowing.
It is possible to get a char dog at Portillo's but it takes a little longer as you have to wait. I like the hotdogs at Portillo's, everything is pretty good there. I get everything on it including the sport peppers which I squeeze over the dog. The tomatoes are always nice and ripe, winter or summer.
I went to Poochie's once and have never been back. Nothing special, just a hot dog. My opinion, that's all.