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picky girl looking for romantic, ecofriendly dinner spot...

m
milwaukeefoodgirl Dec 8, 2010 08:42 AM

my husband and i are staying in Chicago 12/18. we are staying downtown at the hotel cass just off MI ave, and i am searching for a romantic restaurant, that also has the following emphases:
1. is within walking distance or short cab ride
2. does not serve foie gras or veal or rabbit
3. tries to serve humanely raised meat products, has good seafood options and promotes local food suppliers
4. is romantic

Help--i have done research and have found great places, but so many of them serve foie gras or veal and as a personal rule, i don't support those restaurants. thanks so much for input and websites!
PS, any great b-fast recommendations also appreciated!!!

  1. j
    jjo Dec 8, 2010 09:22 AM

    I know of no high end chef who mirrors your food philosphy, unfortunately. A few years ago, our city counsel famously passed a ban on foie gras. Nearly all the chefs were outraged. Charlier Trotter, as I recall, swan against the tide and said he'd stopped serving foie gras on ethical grounds. However, I'm fairly certain he serves veal and rabbit. They may not always be on his menu, but he serves them.

    One place that comes to mind is Prairie Fire Cafe. I don't know how romantic it is, but it's a short cab ride from your hotel, and I know all of their beef is from Tallgrass, Bill Kurtis's grass fed beef operation.

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    Tallgrass Restaurant
    1006 S State St, Lockport, IL 60441

    3 Replies
    1. re: jjo
      m
      milwaukeefoodgirl Dec 8, 2010 02:58 PM

      what happened to the ban? foie gras is everywhere!!! Thanks for the suggestion. i checked out the menu, definitely has potential...it has become so hard to find places that work with my personal politics and what many chefs frequently put on their menus, even in Milwaukee. As for a lunch spot, what do you think of la madia for a lunch spot?

      1. re: milwaukeefoodgirl
        l
        lbs Dec 8, 2010 03:51 PM

        Well the ban was lifted a couple of years ago so it is everywhere now. Have you thought of any restaurant more on the veggie side? Spring or Green Zebra comes to mind. Or Vermillion which is Latin/Indian fusion and I personally love.

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        Green Zebra
        1460 W Chicago, Chicago, IL 60622

        1. re: milwaukeefoodgirl
          s
          Siun Dec 8, 2010 04:40 PM

          Madia is a real favorite for me - good food, nice place.

          You might like Green Zebra for dinner ... Quick cab ride, delicious food.

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          Green Zebra
          1460 W Chicago, Chicago, IL 60622

      2. f
        ferret Dec 8, 2010 04:40 PM

        Try Perennial.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ferret
          m
          masha Dec 9, 2010 11:06 AM

          I love Perennial but it does have foie gras on its current menu.

        2. m
          mountsac Dec 8, 2010 05:07 PM

          Province (located in West Loop) satisfies all your criteria. Plus the interior design has Gold LEED certification, and they purify/carbonate their own water.

          6 Replies
          1. re: mountsac
            s
            Siun Dec 8, 2010 09:49 PM

            I was going to suggest Province as well but I think they serve rabbitn... Worth checking.

            1. re: Siun
              m
              mountsac Dec 8, 2010 10:58 PM

              Really? I didn't realize that they serve rabbit (and I've been there a number of times). But again that's also the kind of things that I don't really pay attention to. If that is true, I hope that is not a deal breaker, for Province is as close to her criteria as it gets without going vegetarian.

              1. re: mountsac
                s
                Siun Dec 9, 2010 07:30 AM

                It might make sense for OP to call them and ask since it is such a good choice.

                1. re: Siun
                  m
                  milwaukeefoodgirl Dec 9, 2010 09:48 AM

                  Thanks all for your suggestions, I'm loving all the input--here is what the recon yielded: Perennial serves Foie Gras encrusted scallops, (i was previously leaning there, but that knocked it out). I have been to and love Green Zebra, but wanted to try something new.
                  Province does not have any rabbit or other undesirables on it's menu. I am deciding between Prairie Fire and Province...is one better than the other in terms of atomosphere and food quality?
                  One other question: we want a mellow, swanky (nice view optional) pre or post-dinner drink spot--within walking distance of either restaurant or Hotel Cass?

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                  Green Zebra
                  1460 W Chicago, Chicago, IL 60622

                  1. re: milwaukeefoodgirl
                    s
                    Siun Dec 9, 2010 01:34 PM

                    I haven't been to Prairie Fire but Province is a great room and has a very enjoyable vibe - friendly but super service and real love of food.

                    For drinks, consider the lounge at Sable (505 N State)- they have Violet Hour bartenders working their magic, a good scene (and great food if you need a snack). Not sure if they avoid the food items you do in the restaurant section but the drinks are out of this world.

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                    Violet Hour
                    1247 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

                    1. re: milwaukeefoodgirl
                      d
                      delk Dec 10, 2010 01:24 PM

                      Prairie Fire is in a pretty cool looking old power station. I walk past it when I get off the L one stop early to buy groceries. The L drops you off right in front. We went last month for lunch, partner had the whitefish and I had the ancho skirt steak. We both liked it.

            2. j
              jasont Dec 9, 2010 01:22 PM

              I also really enjoy restaurants that serve sustainably raised meats. Just curious, how is rabbit not sustainable?

              2 Replies
              1. re: jasont
                m
                milwaukeefoodgirl Dec 10, 2010 08:48 AM

                Thanks, will check out violet hour and their menu, because, yes even for drinks, it still matters to me. And my issue with rabbit is this: there are no regulations that I am aware of that govern the care and treatment of rabbits, whereas other animal/meat products can be certified humanely raised, grass-fed, organically fed, free range, etc. and are subject to inspection of facilities and farms raising them. So, in the very rare instances i do eat meat, i try to do so according to those guidelines.

                1. re: milwaukeefoodgirl
                  s
                  Siun Dec 10, 2010 03:22 PM

                  Understand completely. While I eat meat, I do not eat rabbit or venison ... and I do not eat Octopus either.

                  Sable is on N State so close to loop and also has a restaurant (which is my current favorite eating spot ... includes great vegan dishes but may serve rabbit or foie). Violet Hour is a bit aways in Bucktown (or is it Wicker Park ... I alway get confused on the boundaries) and is cocktail heaven with a very small offering of snacks.

                  Either one will charm you with really interesting drinks ...

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                  Violet Hour
                  1247 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

              2. b
                barenakedlizzie Jan 1, 2011 10:37 AM

                I would suggest personally contacting some of these restaurants that sound perfect but have foie/veal/rabbit on the menu... many of them have personal relationships with the farms that they get their meats and produce from, and will probably verify that they would never purchase meats from a farm that doesn't treat their animals humanely. Do you call ahead to places without these proteins on their menu to be sure their poultry, fish, etc comes from a humane place?

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