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steak and breakfast near millenium park

e
elldub Sep 17, 2011 02:42 PM

Hi there - we live in Vancouver BC and we are coming for my spouse to run the marathon. We have 3 days are we're staying near Millenium Park. We love chicago (although we haven't spent much time there) and we eat everything. We are in our early 40s.

The marathoner will want a steak - I made a reso at Chicago Cut but am wondering if Keefer's might be the better bet? I have read the very helpful posts on steakhouses and I've pretty much ruled out Gibsons (it sounds a bit too much about the scene) and Primehouse (the celebrity chef thing, I dunno, it seems a bit over the top).

I think we might go to Sable one night and maybe have some pizza as well (seems obligatory!) or mexican. Our mexican food in Vancouver is quite limited.

Any tips on good breakfast and bakery near-ish to our hotel? Also any ideas on really healthy, clean sort of dinner we might have the night before the marathon?

Finally, we'll definitely spend some time at the art institute - any good breakfast or lunch nearby?

Thanks.

  1. nsxtasy Sep 17, 2011 03:34 PM

    >> The marathoner will want a steak - I made a reso at Chicago Cut but am wondering if Keefer's might be the better bet? I have read the very helpful posts on steakhouses and I've pretty much ruled out Gibsons (it sounds a bit too much about the scene) and Primehouse (the celebrity chef thing, I dunno, it seems a bit over the top).

    David Burke's Primehouse has always been excellent, and although I haven't been to Chicago Cut, I've heard only good things. Burke's really isn't a celebrity chef thing, because David Burke himself is rarely there (he has about eight restaurants, I think); Rick Gresh has been Chef there for a while, and isn't as much of a celebrity chef as Jackie Shen over at Chicago Cut (she's not really a celebrity chef but has a great reputation around Chicago from her previous gigs). I don't think you can go wrong with either one, Burke's or Chicago Cut. Don't know much about Keefer's, haven't been there.

    >> I think we might go to Sable one night and maybe have some pizza as well (seems obligatory!) or mexican. Our mexican food in Vancouver is quite limited.

    Great choices! I love the food at Sable, and it makes a great dinner. Most of the dishes are available in half portions, so you can try a lot of things. Standouts in my fantastic dinner there a couple of weeks ago included the corned beef reuben strudel, pistachio duck sausage, sweet corn creme brulee (a savory riff on the classic dessert), and orange-buttermilk panna cotta. They also have unusual craft cocktails. Getting reservations there is pretty easy, either on Opentable.com or by phone, but don't wait till the last minute. Deep-dish pizza, you could do for lunch; Pizano's on Madison is the closest to Millennium Park. As for Mexican, we have several excellent options. The two famous Rick Bayless places are Topolobampo and Frontera Grill, and both are still excellent, but reservations and waits are tricky. Topolobampo is rather expensive at dinner, less so at lunch when the entrees are about the same as at Frontera. Topolobampo starts accepting reservations (either on Opentable.com or by phone) three months out, and dinner fills up quickly, so you probably won't be able to get a res now for next month, but you might be able to do so for lunch. Frontera only accepts a handful of reservations, only over the phone, and keeps most of the dining room available for walk-in traffic. Unfortunately there is a big demand, so waits (not just dinner, but also lunch and brunch) are often 90 minutes or more; you can avoid them if you don't mind eating early and getting there 15 minutes before they open the doors. If you don't want to eat early or wait forever and lunch at Topolobampo doesn't work for you, then I recommend going instead to Mundial Cocina Mestiza, which also has terrific food, and getting reservations there is easy (and you can sometimes even get seated quickly without them). It's about four miles from downtown; if you don't have a car, you can catch the CTA Pink Line elevated train near Millennium Park at Randolph/Wabash, Madison/Wabash, or Adams/Wabash and take it to the 18th Street stop, and the restaurant is half a block east of there.

    >> Any tips on good breakfast and bakery near-ish to our hotel?
    >> Finally, we'll definitely spend some time at the art institute - any good breakfast or lunch nearby?

    The Art Institute is across the street from Millennium Park, so it's the same area. (Incidentally, all the places I'm mentioning are shown on the map to the right.)

    We'll start with breakfast. If you're just interested in coffee, Intelligentsia has a location on Randolph nearby. If you enjoy sweeter dishes for breakfast/lunch, you could go to Bongo Room. It's about a mile south of the museum, at Roosevelt (12th) and Wabash. They specialize in creative pancakes, such as their pretzel pancakes with white chocolate caramel sauce. If you're there for lunch, they also have sandwiches and salads. Tip: Their standard portion consists of three GIGANTIC pancakes, but you can also order a one-third or two-thirds portion size at a reduced price, which lets you try more items. Heaven on Seven is a cajun/creole restaurant on the seventh floor of an office building nearby, and serves breakfast and lunch. Which is a good lead-in...

    ...to lunch. Pizano's on Madison for deep-dish pizza for lunch, as mentioned above. Terzo Piano is an Italian restaurant in the New Modern Wing of the museum and it's supposed to be excellent for lunch; it's run by Tony Mantuano of Spiaggia. Park Grill, at the entrance to Millennium Park, has very good American fare for lunch. The Gage is a nearby gastropub. For something quick, there are several locations of Pret a Manger, the British sandwich chain, which is very good, but closed Saturdays-Sundays.

    As for bakeries, the Loop (across Michigan Avenue from the Art Institute and Millennium Park) has the usual coffee shops and donut stores etc, including chains like Corner Bakery, Au Bon Pain, etc. Pret a Manger has decent croissants (open weekdays only). There's a Beard Papa store in the Loop for great cream puffs. If you really want to check out a great bakery, though, you'll need to walk a little ways (10-15 minutes) to the northeast, to Fox & Obel, our premier gourmet food store, with the very best of prepared foods, fish, meats, cheese, etc. Their baked goods are fantastic; they were recently named by Bon Appetit among the ten best bread bakeries in the country. Their cinnamon swirl rolls are rich and sinful, they have great brioche, and wonderful breads of all sorts, and their pastries are also excellent. They also have a casual cafe in the rear, where you can get anything from a cup of coffee to a complete meal, prepared to order. Another option is to walk west across the Loop (about a mile) to the French Market, which has a booth for Vanille Patisserie, one of our best pastry shops. Sorry for getting carried away; I love pastries and desserts!

    >> Also any ideas on really healthy, clean sort of dinner we might have the night before the marathon?

    I'm not sure what kind of place you're asking about. Perhaps you could clarify...? Or perhaps lbs could weigh in; she's our (soon-to-be-ex-)resident marathon expert and I'm sure would understand what you mean.

    Feel free to ask more questions! Enjoy your stay, and good luck in the marathon!

    -----
    Pizano's Pizza & Pasta
    61 E Madison St, Chicago, IL 60603

    Fox & Obel Food Market
    401 E Illinois St, Chicago, IL 60611

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

    Bongo Room
    1152 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60605

    David Burke's Primehouse
    616 N Rush Street, Chicago, IL 60611

    Frontera Grill
    445 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654

    Topolobampo
    445 N Clark St., Chicago, IL 60610

    Intelligentsia Coffee
    55 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL

    The Gage
    24 South Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603

    Keefer's Restaurant
    20 W Kinzie Street, Chicago, IL 60610

    Park Grill
    11 North Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60602

    Heaven on Seven
    111 N Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60602

    Terzo Piano
    159 E Monroe St, Chicago, IL 60603

    Sable Kitchen & Bar
    505 North State Street, Chicago, IL 60654

    French Market
    131 North Clinton, Chicago, IL 60661

    Chicago Cut Steakhouse
    300 N LaSalle St, Chicago, IL 60654

    Beard Papa's
    108 N State St, Chicago, IL 60601

    Pret a Manger
    73 W Monroe St, Chicago, IL 60603

    3 Replies
    1. re: nsxtasy
      e
      elldub Sep 18, 2011 08:29 PM

      Thanks a ton for all the tips. I had read about Fox & Obel but I didn't know they had such a nice bakery, so we will go there also. I'll make a reso at Sable. Can't wait for the weekend!

      1. re: nsxtasy
        l
        lbs Sep 19, 2011 07:26 AM

        Well for Saturday before the marathon, I would suggest Quartino. It isn't exactly by your hotel but not a far walk or quick cab ride. I like it because A) food is really tasty; B) the pasta dishes are "simple" in a good way - I.E. clean and C) it is a small plate concept so you aren't stuck eating pasta if you don't want to and the marathoner isn't stuck with a huge bowl of pasta either. I know that before a marathon, I get really nervous and my stomach doesn't want to eat alot of food. Sometimes a smaller plate of carbs/protein works. http://www.quartinochicago.com/menus.html

        For bakeries, Nsxtasy is easily the expert on it and I would not stray from the advice. I have heard good things of a new European Patisserie that opened up a few weeks ago. I haven't been to it yet but it smells amazing when I go past it on my runs. It is close to Millenium Park area on Washington and Michigan.

        http://www.tonipatisserie.com/

        Good luck to your marathoner! Fingers crossed for gorgeous Indian Summer weather on Friday and Saturday and cold, non-windy weather on Sunday! (at least until after the marathon).

        PS: Nsxtasy: sob! I don't want to move. It is no longer Toronto either but Houston..... At least no more winters and really good Tex-Mex. :)

        -----
        Quartino
        626 N. State Street, Chicago, IL 60654

        1. re: lbs
          d
          dulcie54 Sep 22, 2011 12:54 PM

          Your marathoner might enjoy a late lunch the day before. I don't like to eat anything strange/heavy the day before a marathon. A late, light lunch and maybe a bagel with peanut butter and banana in the room that night. Boring for the non-runner, but you can look forward to all the fun, relaxing meals afterwards!

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