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Jul 22, 2011 09:54 PM

Limited time and want it alll

Just kidding on the title but only kinda. My SO and I will be in from 3:00 pm Friday to late Sunday in September. We are both adventurous eaters and love a significant amount of flavor having lived in Nola for some years but now get bland rocky mountain food. We really love all cuisines so what would your itinerary be if you could have 1 dinner 2 lunches and 2 breakfasts and some snacks? Wedding cuts out one dinner but bit will be a blast

We are staying at Palmer House but don't mind a journey for a unique or local experience so all neighborhoods welcome.

Thanks hounders.

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  1. Oh and we enjoy a great cocktail and fun atmosphere (don't skimp on the quality though). Price is relevant but not a deal breaker.

    5 Replies
    1. re: jdm40

      For cocktails, I recommend 2 places. The first one is for great cocktails, the second one is for very unique/fun but still good cocktails.
      - A solid place would be the Drawing Room. Mixologist Charles Joly works there every Friday and Saturday night. Seat at the bar, don't seat at the tables. Tell them what you like (flavor, texture, strength, whatever..) and they will custom make the cocktails for you. Charles Joly is arguably one of the top mixologists in the nation, so seat back, and enjoy. You need to make reservations, the place is full during the weekend.
      - The second place would be The Aviary. Newly opened during the Spring, the place serves VERY unique cocktails. You cannot order custom-made one like above, only off menu, but the experience is like no where else. They also offer Kitchen Table option, it will be a 4 hour long of 10 different cocktails. That can be fun too. Of course, reservation is always needed for the weekend.

      1. re: theskinnyduck

        For the Aviary:
        - The Kitchen Table can be booked up to 4 weeks in advance. 10 courses paired with bites, $165pp.
        - They also take same day reservations.
        - Otherwise, it is walk-in only. Most waits have not been too long, per their Facebook page.
        - They also offer a 3 course tasting ($50) and a 7 course tasting ($150) at The Aviary. These do not need to be reserved in advance.
        - A la carte drinks are not cheap. $14-28.
        - Web site:
        - Photo of recent menu:

        1. re: kathryn

          I am pretty sure that the 7-course is cheaper than that (since the 10-course KT is $165). If I remember correct, the 7-course is around $120 or $125.

            1. re: theskinnyduck

              Here's a recent menu where I don't see the 7 course option at all. Looks like they have narrowed down the a la carte list a lot, by about half!


      2. >> what would your itinerary be if you could have 1 dinner 2 lunches and 2 breakfasts and some snacks?

        These would be my top three "don't miss" choices for the lunches and dinner, things you can only find in Chicago. I would have dinner at Alinea, the best restaurant in the United States. Expensive, and worth it. They book up quickly, so if this is of interest, call them NOW, as they are already taking reservations for September and they might already be full. One of the lunches would be deep-dish pizza, at Lou Malnati's, Pizano's, or the original Uno or Due. Pizano's on Madison is right near the Palmer House Hilton, so that would be my first choice for that reason. Finally, one of the lunches (could also be a dinner) would be at one of our creative provincial Mexican restaurants. If this were a Saturday dinner, I'd consider making a reservation at Topolobampo or Frontera Grill, but would not go without a reservation. For brunch on Saturday or Sunday (or for dinner), I would go to Mexique or Mundial Cocina Mestiza. Check out the sample menus on their websites for an understanding of how their cuisine differs from the conventional Mexican food you get back home.

        For cocktails, I would go to the Signature Lounge on the 96th floor of the John Hancock Center, for the view. If you're more interested in the cocktails than the view, I would go to Sable for their artisanal cocktails. Master Mixologist Jacques Bezuidenhout and Head Bartender Mike Ryan are the best in town. I also recommend Sable's fantastic contemporary American cuisine as well, so if the above food suggestions don't work for you, it's a fine choice for a lunch or dinner.

        For breakfast, I would go to Bongo Room at Roosevelt (12th) and Wabash, for their unusual pancakes, such as pretzel pancakes with white chocolate caramel sauce. Tip: The standard portion size is three GIGANTIC pancakes, but you can also order one-third and two-thirds portion sizes at a reduced price, which lets you try more items. For a second breakfast, there are lots of options, but traveling away from downtown might start impinging on your lunch plans, so I might just consider going somewhere close to the hotel, like Atwood Cafe, or the Wabash location of Heaven on Seven (that location is closed Sundays).

        Here are a few topics about places near the Palmer House Hilton.

        For breakfast recommendations near the Palmer House Hilton, see:

        For lunch recommendations near the Palmer House Hilton, see:

        For dinner recommendations near the Palmer House Hilton, see:

        For cheap eats recommendations near the Palmer House Hilton, see:

        For late night recommendations near the Palmer House Hilton, see:

        For recommendations of new restaurants near the Palmer House Hilton, see:

        Finally, here are links to two discussions that will give you an overview of what Chicago has to offer. This discussion tells what foods and places are unique or specialties in Chicago, foods that Chicago is particularly good at:

        first time Chicago -

        This discussion has an overview listing some of our best in various food categories, as well as advice for getting the best value for your dining dollar:

        Where are the best Chicago dinner *values* - the hidden gems? -

        Feel free to ask more questions, and enjoy your visit!

        1723 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614

        Mundial Cocina Mestiza
        1640 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608

        Bongo Room
        1152 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60605

        Frontera Grill
        445 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654

        445 N Clark St., Chicago, IL 60610

        1529 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

        4 Replies
        1. re: nsxtasy

          If you go to the Signature Lounge I would stick to beer or simple cocktails...went there a few weeks ago with an out of town guest and ordered a pisco sour that tasted like some type of orange/mango fruit juice and my friends manhattan looked like a coke and tasted like some had been put in it as well. Very disappointed is an understatement to how I felt at the time and I'm frankly confused having made both drinks before as to how they even got close to either of those flavors - especially for the price

          1. re: nsxtasy

            Went to Sable a couple of weeks ago and loved it...good rec.

            1. re: HoosierFoodie

              Brilliant cocktails - with an enormous drink menu - and very good food to go with it.

            2. re: nsxtasy

              Thank you all for the specific recs and links. Looks like I have some more research to do to finalize, but this is a great start.