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Need help filling in my itinerary for five day visit beginning of October.

f
fakebunny Oct 3, 2011 03:42 PM

I am joining my husband on his business trip to eat my way around Chicago. I have narrowed down my choices but am having some problems filling in the gaps.

Sat. Oct 8 We get in from the airport around 9:00. Then we are going to the Purple Pig because they are close to the hotel and open late. Also we love pork and "nasty bits" and they seem to have both fronts covered. Hopefully the wait won't be too terrible.

Sun. Oct 9 My husband doesn't have much free time so we are going to Portillo's for Italian beef sandwiches and hot dogs. We can kill two birds with one stone.

I need a place to go watch football while he is in his meetings. Somewhere that has good drinks
and food. Where a woman by herself would feel comfortable.

For dinner we were thinking of Lou Malnati's. We won't be free until late and I haven't had real Chicago deep dish and the butter crust sounds intriguing.

Mon. Oct 10 I am on my own for lunch. I like restaurants that have a neighborhood feel or that have interesting unusual food. Also that would be good for single diner.

For dinner we are going with a group to Sable Kitchen and Bar.

Tues. Oct 11 Another lunch on my own...maybe Xoco or Big Star?

For dinner we haven't decided. I was thinking maybe The Publican with drinks at Aviary. We are kind of on a budget meaning no Alinea or other fine dining spots. Any better suggestions would be appreciated.

Wed Oct. 12 Lunch at Frontera Grill. I had a great lunch there before and hope this time is the same.

-----
Alinea
1723 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614

Frontera Grill
445 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654

XOCO
449 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654

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

Purple Pig
500 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

  1. nsxtasy Oct 3, 2011 06:18 PM

    You've got great choices so far. A few comments...

    >> Sat. Oct 8 We get in from the airport around 9:00. Then we are going to the Purple Pig because they are close to the hotel and open late. Also we love pork and "nasty bits" and they seem to have both fronts covered. Hopefully the wait won't be too terrible.

    On a Saturday it's likely to be lengthy, 90-120 minutes or more, even at 9 pm. If your flight is delayed and you get there say 10:30 or later, the waits will be much shorter.

    >> I need a place to go watch football while he is in his meetings. Somewhere that has good drinks and food. Where a woman by herself would feel comfortable.

    Perhaps the bar in your hotel? You don't mention which hotel, so it's hard to guess on this one. Quartino may be another option.

    >> Mon. Oct 10 I am on my own for lunch. I like restaurants that have a neighborhood feel or that have interesting unusual food. Also that would be good for single diner.

    If your plans change for Saturday night, the Purple Pig would work for this one. So would Blackbird.

    >> Tues. Oct 11 Another lunch on my own...maybe Xoco or Big Star?

    Go to Frontera Grill and sit at the bar, where you can order from either menu, Frontera Grill or Topolobampo. Arrive early (or make a reservation for Topolobampo) if you don't want to risk a long wait to be seated. They're closed Mondays which is why I didn't mention it there; obviously Blackbird or Purple Pig would work for Tuesday lunch too.

    >> For dinner we haven't decided. I was thinking maybe The Publican with drinks at Aviary. We are kind of on a budget meaning no Alinea or other fine dining spots. Any better suggestions would be appreciated.

    I think a dinner that would complement your other choices nicely is Piccolo Sogno and its contemporary Italian cuisine.

    -----
    Alinea
    1723 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614

    Frontera Grill
    445 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654

    Quartino
    626 N. State Street, Chicago, IL 60654

    Topolobampo
    445 N Clark St., Chicago, IL 60610

    Piccolo Sogno
    464 N Halsted, Chicago, IL 60622

    XOCO
    449 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654

    Purple Pig
    500 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

    1. l
      lchifoodie Oct 5, 2011 08:29 AM

      I would recommend checking out Fish Bar for lunch on your own. It's set up to accommodate single diners, the food is great (try the lobster roll), the decor/atmosphere is unique and comfortable, and the wait shouldn't be bad at lunch. I believe they are closed on Mondays, so maybe check that out on your Tuesday lunch.

      Big Star is a hands down favorite of mine, especially on a nice day. Watch out for those margs though - very strong.

      3 Replies
      1. re: lchifoodie
        nsxtasy Oct 5, 2011 12:39 PM

        >> I would recommend checking out Fish Bar for lunch on your own.

        Just to make sure - are you referring to Fish Bar, the restaurant in Lakeview up on the North Side, or GT Fish and Oyster, in River North downtown? I've heard good things about both these new seafood places, and they are often confused with each other. (Either could be a good choice for lunch; GT Fish & Oyster is open seven days.)

        -----
        Fish Bar
        2956 N Sheffield Ave, Chicago, IL 60657

        GT Fish and Oyster
        531 N. Wells St., Chicago, IL

        1. re: nsxtasy
          l
          lchifoodie Oct 5, 2011 01:29 PM

          I meant Fish Bar in Lakeview. GT Fish and Oyster is also very good, but maybe a bit overkill for lunch.

          -----
          GT Fish and Oyster
          531 N. Wells St., Chicago, IL

          1. re: lchifoodie
            nsxtasy Oct 5, 2011 01:31 PM

            Well, if someone is downtown (as the OP apparently will be), going all the way to Lakeview just for lunch may be a bit overkill too, LOL! :)

            There are always plenty of good choices in Chicago!

      2. h
        hoppy2468 Oct 5, 2011 02:00 PM

        When my wife and I went to Aviary a few weeks ago we dropped $168 on "bites"( you have to buy them in groups of three) and drinks. For drinks, my wife did the tasting and I went a la carte...three drinks for each of us and then we ordered one more that we split. The drinks are great and the bites were good but it's actually kind of dull in there. Drinks at Sable or any number of other places would be a better option IMHO.

        3 Replies
        1. re: hoppy2468
          k
          kathryn Oct 7, 2011 06:54 PM

          To clarify: the tasting menu at The Aviary is only available at the Kitchen Table, which is typically booked a few weeks in advance.

          Otherwise, you'll order a la carte or from the prix fixe (3 drinks). You cannot do substitutions in the prix fixe -- prix fixe drinks can only be ordered as part of the prix fixe, a la carte drinks can only be ordered a la carte.

          The drinks are excellent but if you are on a budget, have a snack beforehand and dinner elsewhere, as the bites are very small. The prix fixe is $45, service inclusive, which I didn't find to be too pricey. Really, it was the bites (some at $5-6 each) that drive up the bill.

          Sable is good, but you can find Sable or something like it just anywhere these days. Not so much w/ The Aviary.

          1. re: kathryn
            nsxtasy Oct 7, 2011 08:37 PM

            >> Sable is good, but you can find Sable or something like it just anywhere these days.

            I disagree. That's where I had my best dinner in Chicago so far this year, with delicious food that's way better than many other highly-acclaimed restaurants I've visited. And the cocktails are not at all something you can find "just anywhere", as anyone who looks at their drink menu can easily tell.

            1. re: nsxtasy
              k
              kathryn Oct 7, 2011 11:41 PM

              I was speaking only of the cocktails, and The Aviary is much more unique than Sable, whose rough equivalent can be found in many major cities these days.

        2. l
          lbs Oct 5, 2011 02:15 PM

          Keep in mind that Sunday is the marathon. Some streets will be closed and others blocked off. You don't mention where you are staying but it could affect your route to Portillio's since State Street from Hubbard to Jackson will be closed and LaSalle from Jackson to North Avenue will be closed. However, those are early miles so if you are around normal lunch time hours, it should be ok. For football games, it depends on where you are staying but check out Miller's Pub for games. Also, complete end of the spectrum, but Rockit too. I'm a female and would feel ok at both.

          For Monday since you'll be on your own for a day, I would check out one of our neighborhoods. I would go down to Andersonville as you can poke around the stores (good bookstores, antiques, etc) and get a really great lunch and dinner. I'd start out at M. Henry's for a breakfast/early lunch, walk to Gethsemane Garden Center, and then from there walk south down Clark lesiurely, grab a coffee at Kopi's, check out the Middle Eastern Bakery and bring back some spinach pies to your hotel and have dinner at one of the fine restaurants in that area. Anteprima and the Hopleaf are my faves. Google Andersonville for a complete list of restaurants.

          I would go to Big Star over XOCO only because you are going to Frontera Grill. Big Star is fun and funky and since the heat wave will be still be going on, you can sit outside and people watch. Get the dulce de leche shake. One of the best things I tasted this year.

          -----
          Frontera Grill
          445 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654

          Anteprima
          5316 N Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60640

          Hopleaf Bar
          5148 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640

          Miller's Pub
          134 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60603

          M. Henry
          5707 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60660

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