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Toronto Ch'er Review of Chicago (Downtown) Visit

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My husband and I visited your wonderful city last week based on recommendations posted on this board... (we didn't post, we just researched all the posting on this board. We were fortunate enough to book 3 months in advance and were therefore able to get reservations at both restaurants.) And here's our report back.

We stayed at the Ritz Carleton by the Water Tower Plaza and we didn't have a chance to venture too far from the downtown area.

Day 1 - First meal was hot dogs at Downtown Dogs. Not horrible. Scratched the itch and it was near our hotel.

Girl and the Goat - ordered 4 dishes plus sour dough bread. Pan roasted halibut, octopus salad, scallops in XO, and goat belly. Had two "best of three" cocktails and my husband had 2 beers. Overall, very nice meal but found the service spotty. Roasted halibut was our first dish and we agreed it was the strongest. Perfectly cooked fish, incredible flavours and contrasting textures. The warm octopus salad with fava beans and radishes was very tasty and unexpected. The vinegrette was incredible. The baby octopus was actually hard to find in the dish as they were cut into tiny pieces. Goat belly was crispy and delish. The scallops dish tasted very velvety and rich and I would preferred to have that as an earlier dish versus the last one. As a result, we probably didn't appreciate it as much as we could have. The big downside to this meal was the service. The wait staff and the kitchen appeared to be slammed. Our server was friendly enough and there seemed to be alot of coordination on the floor. Water was refilled frequently and empty glasses and dished bussed immediately. However, we waited about 30 minutes between our first two dishes and our last dishes. (we ordered everything at once.) We ordered a 2nd round of drinks in between but we waited and waited and waited...

Day 2 - we ventured out to Taste of Chicago in Millenium Park but nothing peaked our fancy... we headed back and we stumbled onto Gold Coast hot dogs out of fatigue on the way back to our hotel for something quick.

Dinner at Topolobampo. We were greeted by an older gentlemen - Rick's dad - who was very chatty and cordial. We felt very welcomed. Again the restaurant was packed but we had a prime seat in the corner banquette. I had the Baja tasting menu and my husband had the Topolo tasting menu. The service was excellent. (I won't go into the specifics of the meal - since there are so many postings... and the tasting menus probably change frequently.) Polished, attentive and organized. We don't have that much experience with Mexican cuisine and we thought Topolobampo was an excellent education.

Day 3 - We originally had planned to eat at Dave Burke Primehouse, but having never tried a deep dish pizza, we cancelled the reservation so we could tuck into a supreme at Gino's East. meh. I know it's an institution, and the pizza wasn't bad but I wished I had saved the calories and eaten some place else. In the evening, we ate and had a couple of drinks at Deca, the bar / restaurant at the Ritz. We split a shrimp cocktail and other little nibbles.

Day 4 - we finally found a half decent breakfast place closeby in the gold coast - Feast. I ordered a poached egg. chicken and apple sausage and toast. My husband ordered a large breakfast (eggs, bacon, sausage, toast) Not expensive - and it hit the spot. It was delicious and fresh (not like the other breakfast places we dined in.)

Chicago is an awesome food town and I look forward to eating here again!

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Topolobampo
445 N Clark St., Chicago, IL 60610

Downtown Dogs
804 N Rush St, Chicago, IL 60611

Baja Restaurant
10749 Randolph St, Crown Point, IN 46307

Gino's East
2801 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60657

Girl and the Goat
809 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60661

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