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Apr 18, 2012 01:52 PM

How's My 5 Day Eating Agenda Looking? Help Make My Trip Awesome!

I will be visiting Chicago for the first time 5/11-5/16. I have worked on my eating agenda for months now, but I still have some decisions to make. I figured people as obsessed with eating as I am could help me.
Some Info:
-I can only afford one crazy meal and Alinea is it so no Trotters, Tru, L20 etc :(
-My Fiance and I will be doing CrossFit 2-3 days during the trip to be able to make the biggest dent possible.
-I will be staying at the Dana Hotel in the River North area.
-I can eat silly amounts of food, seriously I have a bottomless stomach.

Friday May 11th(arriving at 10:00pm need a late night spot)
Dinner: Longman and Eagle, Owen and Engine (pub menu), Purple Pig (near hotel)
Avec (close by)

Saturday May 12
Crossfit: River North Crossfit
Brunch:The Publican 1:00 pm reservation (after crossfit)
Snack: Gino’s East (or other Chicago style pizza)
Dinner: Yusho early then Barrelhouse Flat (cocktails/pig face poutine)

Sunday May 13
Brunch: 2Sparrows
Snack: Franks and Dawgs
Dinner: Alinea 9:00 pm reservation

Monday May 14
Snack: Borinquen Jibarito Sandwich (a chicago original)
Dinner: Ruxbin or Frontera Grill (near hotel)

Tuesday May 15
Brunch: Longman and Eagle
Snack: Blackbird (pork belly sandwich/burger) Or Kuma’s Korner
Dinner: Girl and the Goat 10:00 pm reservation

Back-Up Restaurants
The Great Lake (pizza-long lines)
The Bristol (GQ Best)
DMK Burger bar
Telegraph Wine Bar
slurping turtle


Donut Vault
Pleasant House Bakery (mini pot pies)
Urban Belly/Belly Shack

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  1. Couple quick thoughts

    >>Friday May 11th(arriving at 10:00pm need a late night spot)
    Dinner: Longman and Eagle, Owen and Engine (pub menu), Purple Pig (near hotel)
    Avec (close by)
    I assume you are asking for which to go to? Avec is not close by the Dana. I would pick the Purple Pig
    -Frontera (as well as Topo and Xoco) are closed on Sunday and Monday- so those won't work on those days.
    -Another snack/dessert- pick up some Garrett's popcorn- the Chicago mix of caramel and cheese
    -If you want to try a variation of Slurping Turtle and Xoco- try the food court 7 on State at Macy's- they have a Noodles by Takashi- which if you're getting miso ramen- is better than Slurping Turtle- and Rick has a spot there too with tortas. The tortas at Xoco are better but they have a couple good ones here. The atmosphere isn't great - and it is closed on Sunday- but if you're looking for a snack and in the area- might fit
    -I also would skip DMK Burger Bar- not that exciting

    1 Reply
    1. re: ms. mika

      Hmmm. I may have to change somthings around to fit in Frontera. Thanks for your suggestions ;)

    2. You have done some impressive research.
      I would swap Lula for 2Sparrows, but that's a pretty minor quibble.
      I think you will do very well.

      1. Looks like you have done a lot of research and have some great places picked out!

        I agree with the prior poster about not considering DMK Burger Bar; it is a dime a dozen and nothing special or unique. If you want burgers, Kumas is the place to go. Also Schwa would not work as a back up venue as it is one of the hardest reservations to score, and they often cancel day of even if you manage to get a reservation.

        Some other spots to consider:
        My favorite brunch spot is North Pond. It is only served on Sundays and you can make reservations on Open Table. It is a savory rather then sweet brunch (though there is a dessert course) and is in a beautiful setting in the heart of Lincoln Park (literally inside the park).

        El Ideas: Really fun, unique new restaurant with a single tasting menu. Only 16 seats; you are encouraged to hang out in the kitchen between courses. Not on Open Table but there reservations information is on their website; you need to book them soon if you want reservations. Cost is $135, but is BYOB so no bar tab.

        Another great new restaurant (also single tasting menu and BYOB) is Goosefoot; $90 per/person. Also need to make reservations quick if you want to dine there. Not as unique as El Ideas, but amazing food and great service.

        Finally, you should go to the Aviary one evening for cocktails (they open at 6:00pm and are closed Sunday and Monday). Tuesday and Wednesday are there slow nights, other nights I'd advise you to e-mail them for a reservation. Awesome, fun cocktails and excellent service.

        Have a great trip!

        3 Replies
        1. re: Gonzo70

          I would quibble about North Pond. It is a beautiful location in the park and is, unquestionably best seen during daylight hours, but the brunch is serviceable, but not outstanding. My brunch suggestions would be Perennial Virant, right up the street from NP or Publican, which is my absolute favorite. L&E, which is also on your itinerary is also spectacular.

          Meanwhile, I love your choices in general and, if you don't mind, I will tag along with you from restaurant to restaurant. :-)

          1. re: Gonzo70

            Just wrapped up an e-mail exchange with The Aviary. I guess if you eat at Alinea you have first dibs there and an easier entry into The Office. I'm going to go there before Girl and the Goat on my last night. Thanks for your suggestions. I actually considered Goosefoot, and El Ideas but considered them to be too pricey (damn you Alinea). We have an amazing underground dinner here in L.A. called Wolvesmouth that is the best meal I have had to date and its in a loft. El Ideas sounds very similar.

            1. re: Gonzo70

              Aviary is an excellent choice. AND they will continue to have an el Bulli section of the menu until the end of May.

            2. You trip sounds awesome! Love Purple Pig, Longman & Eagle, The Publican, Alinea, Jam, Girl and the Goat.

              You should be aware that Xoco is more of a quick service style restaurant. Order at the counter, sit down with a numbered sign, etc., wait for your food. The lines can get pretty long for weekday lunch.

              Doughnut Vault has long lines, too, and is not open Sundays or Mondays as well. From their site:

              "Tuesdays-Friday starting at 8:30am until we run out. And Saturdays at 9:30am until we run out."

              They can start to run out as fast as one hour after they open.

              I liked Do-Rite Donuts much more on a recent trip (sampled both DV and Do-Rite back to back mornings). Do-Rite bakes a batch every hour until about 11am, so less of a chance of standing in a huge line and having a limited selection when you finally get to the fornt.


              1. I think Ruxbin is closed on Mondays. From their website (
                Tue-Saturday 5:30-10:00pm
                Sundays 5:30-9:00pm

                I wouldn't go out of your way for Kuma's, either. Long waits for a table (though bar seating can be easier to come by) for a burger that... is decent, but also just a burger. It's about the toppings more than the ground beef, I think, in a loud, crowded bar. If you really want a great burger, Bad Apple (Ravenswood) would be a more enjoyable experience (for me).

                Also, as already mentioned, Purple Pig might be your best bet for when you come into town since the travel times to L&E or O&E might push your arrival time too late in the evening.

                4 Replies
                1. re: danimalarkey

                  Ahh if Ruxbin and Frontera are closed Monday I need to figure something out. Probably switch days with Yuzo and Barrel House Flat day. I need to check their hours first though. Looks like I'll be hitting Purple Pig when I get in. Heard really good things so far. Thanks!

                  1. re: vissai

                    Yusho opens daily at 5pm, Barrelhouse Flat opens at 6 Mon-Sat and is closed Sundays.

                    1. re: vissai

                      Also Frontera is very popular, I would say it might be too insane on Saturday night so maybe swap Publican for Sunday brunch, and do Frontera for Saturday brunch.

                      1. re: kathryn

                        Hah Done! I changed it. Good idea.