Markets in Chicago? and Barbecue
We're staying at the Radisson Blu next week and are interested in finding a market to buy some food for breakfast and snacks, etc. We love the Jean-Talon Market in Montreal and the big market in Philadelphia, too. We're wondering if there's anything like that in Chicago.
We'd like to buy some food to keep in our room for breakfast, etc.
While I've got the experts, does anyone have a recommendation for barbecue and/or ribs?
Also, a lovely place for tea would be great!
You guys know all...
Another choice for a wide variety of solid bbq not too far from downtown (a couple blocks north of the Fullerton stop on the red line) is Barn & Company: http://barnandcompany.com/
But if you're interested in iconic Chicago "bar" ribs (definitely not bbq) check out Twin Anchors here:
http://www.twinanchorsribs.com/. Similar ribs can also be found at Millers Pub in the Loop.
Sorry, I have to do it. Twin Anchors is BAD BAD BAD, unless you want to drink sugary sauce on tasteless boiled ribs.
I really like the BBQ at Chicago Q Restaurant. The brisket is as good as I've had in Texas or the Carolinas and their vineagar based sauce (my favorite) is great.
"Twin Anchors is BAD BAD BAD, unless you want to drink sugary sauce on tasteless boiled ribs."
Sounds like a pitmaster's definition of Chicago bar ribs. I've had this dish in a variety of places (TA and Miller's are just the two that I mention) and it's always characterized by a blanket of sweetish sauce and ribs that have been cooked in a variety of smokeless ways (referred to as "meat jello" in some quarters, "fall-off-the-ribs" succulence" in others). It seems, nevertheless, to be a Chicago specialty that's been around for some time (See, e.g. A. J. Liebling, Chicago: The Second City (1952): "Appetizing, but always the same, and the natives eat them smothered with a hot sauce"), and both TA and Miller's IMO both provide good examples of the genre with a considerable display of mid-century ambiance. Perhaps like deep-dish pizza, this is a unique Chicago experience that visitors might want to try at least once in their lives; I think that was what was in Michelin's mind when they awarded TA a Bib Gourmand for the second consecutive year.
While sadly no Reading or Talon here, the Green City Market on Wed and Sat is pretty wonderful for fruits, cheeses, pastries, etc If you go on Sarturday, you cn also brunch at Perennial Virant.
There's also the French Market at Olgilvie train station ... Nice for supplies even if not up to other places like Talon at all.
For BBQ, I prefer Smoque to Honey 1, though it's a a little farther out from the city center. I feel they have a wider assortment and will allow you to add a "taste" of a particular meat to your order for a small charge. Brisket is stellar as is the Texas smoked sausage. Their fries are excellent, too. I think Honey 1 produces better ribs, but they may not be as consistent. Both are BYO.
Another BBQ option is Lillie's Q in Wicker Park/Bucktown area. It's more of a full-service restaurant (ie. full bar, table service, etc) than these other two so it might depend on what sort of restaurant experience you want. Lillie's Q is also very convenient to the city's Blue line (Damen stop). I like the tri-tip a lot and if the fried, smoked chicken is available, that's great, too.
And while they don't offer a formal tea service, Intelligentsia takes it tea very seriously. Located at Randolph and Wabash, it's also one of the city's better coffee shops/local roasters. It's likely to be crowded but definitely worth a visit. There's another location at Jackson & Dearborn, if you find yourself in that area.
Unfortunately, Chicago has nothing akin to the Reading Terminal market in Philadelphia. But your hotel is right by Mariano's, which should provide you with some nice grocery options.
You'll have to travel outside of downtown for good barbecue. The Blue Line train can get you near both Honey 1 and Smoque, two very good places.
A nice combination for Chicago visitors is to visit the Art Institute in the morning, have lunch at the Terzo Piano restaurant inside the museum, and then adjourn for high tea at either of two nearby places: Russian Tea Time or the Palmer House.