Need feedback re: 1 week in Chicago
My husband and I will be in Chicago for a week in April. I'll be in a training class 4 days and he'll be on vacation. We're staying at 410 N. Dearborn, and my class is at 300 N. Wabash. We won't have a car, but are willing to travel around downtown, just not out to the burbs. We really like places that focus on local/seasonal food and support local farms. I can't handle anything spicy, while he loves spicy, expecially Mexican. We're looking to stay around $30/each for dinner and $10-$15/each for lunch, since Alinea is on the schedule.
Here's my plan:
Monday lunch - Goose Island Brewpub - Clybourn
Monday dinner - Sable (thanks nsxtasy!)
Tuesday lunch: ________
I need something near 300 N. Wabash.
He needs something fast/casual/healthy near the art museum.
Tuesday dinner - Cafe des Architectes - do you have to ask for the under $30 special?
Wednesday lunch _________- he needs something fast/casual/healthy near the museum of natural history.
Wednesday dinner - Pizzaria Uno / Pizzaria Due
Thursday lunch ___________ - he needs something fast/casual/healthy near the museum of science & industry
Thursday dinner #1 - ___________ - Need suggestions on where to grab something light before dinner #2 at Alinea at 9:30. We might go back to Sable, since there are plenty of choices and it's near the hotel. It's our first time at Alinea and I can't even describe how excited I am. I told my husband it is right up there with going to see U2 in concert. He's a huge U2 fan respectfully disagrees. It will be interesting to find out what he thinks after the dinner.
Friday lunch: Grahamwich. Friday snacks for the train: French Market or Fox & Obel
I have this problem where every time I see the word "brewpub", I am compelled to chime in ;)
As far as Goose, if you're looking for an amazing Chicago brewpub, I would really recommend Revolution instead. On paper, Goose's food menu looks great with lots of local farms and in-season ingredients. However, the gap between what's on paper and what you get on your plate can be fairly large. Which is to say, the menu aims much higher than the kitchen seems able to produce. Revolution's menu is a little more straightforward but their execution tends to be spot-on. I tend to like their beer more, as well (though Goose Island's brewpub does try a lot of interesting things, to give them credit). Revolution is right off the blue line, so it's a little bit trickier to get to from your hotel but still easy to get to.
I would also encourage your husband to get out of the city center after he visits the museums (which are wonderful though and shouldn't be skipped). However he will have some hours to spare. The neighborhoods are incredibly easy to get to via public transporation. He could check out the hipster scene in Wicker Park/Bucktown and eat for way cheaper at The Handlebar. Big Star, Sultan's Market. (Blue Line to Damen)
Or take the Pink Line to Pilsen and check out the National Museum of Mexicoan Art and then eat at Nuevo Leon Restaurant. (Pink Line to 18th Street or Damen)
Or take the Brown Line to Kedzie and check out some really cool Middle Eastern/Koren/Mexican shops. Eat at Semaris for Lebaonese food.
If you husband wanted to treat himself, he could eat at Terzo Piano at the A.I. It overlooks Millenium Park and is quite lovely.
Alternatively, he can grab a Chicago style hot dog at the stand by the Bean. The food court at Macy's is actually pretty good and cheap too. He can get something on the go and eat it outside. I second the idea of Cafecito and Bodega. The A.I and the Field Museum are pretty close to each other. He'll be surprised by the walkability. I also second the idea of XOCO.
What about the Purple Pig before Alinea? It is small plates and you can just get something to tide you over before your 9:30 reservation. I know I can't let my blood sugar drop so I would have to eat something. I hate the idea of repeating a restaurant.
Don't forget about Garret's popcorn. Get the Chicago mix. It is not healthy. But it is delicious!
Your husband should enjoy popping over to Xoco for lunch -- you're staying just a couple of blocks away from Bayless's block. Tell him to get there early to avoid long lines.
He could hit this place on the way to a museum or try it for breakfast if he wants to get going early.
The Ahogada is one of my top sandwiches in the city, and probably in the country.
The Museum of Science and Industry might be the toughest challenge; Hyde Park has good but not great places for lunch. The problem is that it's a huge museum and worth spending hours at. Tell him to buy submarine tickets ahead of time, and maybe Omnimax.
I guess I would recommend a big breakfast at Salonica on 57th Street. It's got that great old-school Greek coffee shop feel.
Piccolo Mondo, casual Italian, is right across the park from MSI, and their pastas are usually pretty good for lunch. I wouldn't recommend Salonica unless you are a real aficionado of those old Greek coffee shops, but you can pick up some pretty good pastries a little further down on 57th at the Medici bakery and Z&H Market cafe
You want to eat before going to Alinea? The current menu has a lot of food. I don't know what the April menu will be like, but eating even small bites beforehand seems risky. Better t be a little hungry than coming off and hour or two of drinking and bar snacks. Just my thoughts.
For something near the Art Institute, Cafecito is a local spot that offers inventive Cuban and Cuban-style sandwiches along with Cuban coffee in a bohemian coffee-shop environment. Great for a fairly healthy lunch. Otherwise the options nearby are more chain-y or fancy.
Mercat a la Planxa is a lovely tapas restaurant in the area that also has a smaller location (Bodega No.5) in a shared space that offers quick bites for breakfast lunch. This is also walking distance to the Field Museum. If he wants something more brunch-y then Bong Room is also nearby with creative pancake options (okay, so maybe not the healthiest, but he is on vacation).