Montreal foodie visiting for Easter - breakfast/lunch/wine shop/EL Ideas recommendations needed
Will be visiting this weekend. So far I have booked:
G&T Oyster for lunch, Publican for dinner, EL Ideas for dinner.
Still looking for breakfast/brunch/lunch options. Deep dish pizza seems obligatory. Any good bakeries in River North around our hotel (State/Illinois)?
EL Ideas is BYOB. Where can I pick up a couple of decent bottles of wine (preferably around our hotel)? Also any tips on getting there? We have the 2nd service at 9:30pm. Public transport (seems a bit of walking is involved, not sure how sketchy the area is)? They offer a town car service for $30. Would taking a cab on our own be a better idea?
Also most places seem closed for Easter. So far I have found Vera that is open. Menu looks great and the staff were super friendly on the phone. Any other ideas?
I think Xoco is great for breakfast, though they are closed on Sundays. Grahamwich, just to the north, might be worth a stop, too.
Fox & Obel is an upscale grocery store and has a really strong bakery section. It's located about a half mile from your hotel.
There's a cheese/gourmet foods shop about a half mile from your hotel called Pastoral -- it's not the largest selection of wines, but the wines are all well chosen. I've often gone in and told them what menu I had in mind and how much I wanted to spend and they have always found a couple of options that turned out great. To the west of your hotel is a store called Binny's -- Chicago's local chain of large alcohol retailers. Much larger selection than Pastoral - and probably better prices - but I always find the service lacking. But if you know what you want to buy, that may not be as much of a concern for you.
Does the $30 fee from EL cover both legs of the trip? If so, then I say go for it. And even if not, actually, a cab wouldn't be that expensive but they may balk at going to somewhere so out of the way (to say nothing of not wanting to come out and pick you up after dinner).
El Ideas is an awesome venue, but is in an out of the way location and the surrounding area is a tad sketchy. As such I do not advise taking public transportation there as a bit of a walk is involved and doing this at night for an out-of-towner would not be advisable. I recommend you take a cab there and do their town car service back. The reason they offer the town car service is they have a hard time getting taxis to pick up from their area. If you are able to get a cab back to the hotel you'd probably save $15, but it might be a hassle.
For Easter are you looking for brunch, dinner or both?
El Ideas is off of one of the diagonal streets (Ogden) that slice through the Chicago grid. Western is 2400 west, I live near 1500 west Ogden. Every so often, I get off of the L at Clinton to hit Jewel (grocery store). If I'm lazy, I take a cab home. It is about $6.50 US. I give the driver a ten, because I think driving a cab is a rough job. So, my cab ride is about a third of the way that you would be taking. Getting a cab to is easy, getting a cab fro may be tough unless the restaurant calls one for you. I'd go with the town car, you are going to have an excellent meal, let somebody deal with getting there and back.
I agree that the Binny's (213 West Grand) is probably your best bet for wine and Fox & Obel, although their baker got fired a couple months ago.
For Vera, take either the Green or Pink line to Ashland, it's a short walk.
2nd Xoco for breakfast on Saturday. Grahamwich also recently started carrying Bleeding Heart Bakery goods. Additionally, Doughnut Vault is open on Saturdays (but not Sundays) if you can stand the line.
For Saturday brunch, try Frontera Grill. For lunch on Saturday or Sunday, try Purple Pig.
For pizza nearby, I think this board's favorite in River North is probably Lou Malnati's.
Thanks for your feedback and tips. Dinner at Vera is not confirmed yet as they do not take reservations. So yes any other lunch and dinner options on Easter are appreciated.