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What have you made lately?

please can someone help

LeilaR Aug 16, 2012 08:32 AM


I am travelling to Chicago in September and staying at the James Chicago where would anyone reccomend that you can eat that is cheap near the hotel ?
Also are there any vinyl record shops that anyone can reccomend as me and my BF are coming from the Uk especially for the vinyl and the tourist stuff.
My BF is in to Chicago house music hence the reason we are going

  1. nsxtasy Aug 16, 2012 05:36 PM

    This topic has some great suggestions about how to eat cheap:

    Where are the best Chicago dinner *values* - the hidden gems? - www.chow.com/topics/697829

    In particular, you can eat for bargain prices by going to nicer restaurants for lunch, when prices are significantly lower than at dinner. That $20 will buy you a nice lunch at most restaurants that are open for lunch. Then for dinner you can grab a burger or sandwich or something light and cheap. (I like kathryn's suggestions for this.)

    1. l
      LanaD Aug 16, 2012 03:44 PM

      Trader Joe's is a good idea. If I recall correctly, it's just around the corner from the James. My aunt taught me to buy cheap eats for the hotel room then go out and splurge for at least one meal a day while traveling. Of course, you know your budget. Big Bowl is near there (Ohio & Rush http://www.bigbowl.com/ohio) and so is Chick Fil A on Chicago Ave. Near there on Rush, just off Chicago is a good hot dog place - Downtown Dogs. There's also a food court in Water Tower Place, lower level. Food Ease has a large selection of hot and cold buffet for carry out. Also check out Jazz Record Mart http://www.jazzmart.com/ at 27 E. Illinois for Jazz and Blues. Ah, Whole Foods is on Huron and they also have a hot and cold buffet for carry out comparably priced to Food Ease. Both are around $8/lb.

      1. l
        LeilaR Aug 16, 2012 03:00 PM

        Are there any old style burger places there where I can get a burger and milk shake really want my BF to love the states as much as I do as he has never been there I have told him food and the people make the states

        2 Replies
        1. re: LeilaR
          jbontario Aug 16, 2012 03:07 PM

          Cheap and right next door to you, is M Burger. Great burgers and shake in my opinion.

          1. re: LeilaR
            LanaD Aug 16, 2012 04:20 PM

            Jak's Tap was just in the Roscoe Village Burger Fest and I liked their burger. It's west Loop so it's a bus ride from the hotel. http://www.jakstap.com/ In case your curious, the winner was Rockit Bar in Wrigleyville ( you'll need to take a train ride, i.e, the CTA from your hotel) http://www.rockitburgerbar.com/

          2. l
            LeilaR Aug 16, 2012 02:19 PM

            Thank you. I thought I would be able to get a meal at $20 as that was what I was paying in Orlando in June.
            Is there any 50's style restaurant there where you can get a burger and milkshake as my partner has never been to the states I want him to experience pure America.

            1 Reply
            1. re: LeilaR
              jbontario Aug 16, 2012 03:05 PM

              You can't really compare Orlando to Chicago. The city of Chicago has over 2 million residents and the greater Chicago metropolitan area has close to 10 million which is more than 5 times larger than Orlando AND Orlando is strictly driven by being a tourist and convention city thanks to Disney. If Disney was not there Orlando would be small town in the swamp.

              That said, to your question about a burger joint, please don't go to the only place like this in Chicago called Ed Debevics. It's not an American experience, I bet you're thinking about that 50's diner place in Disney World. If you want great burgers we have many. Close to downtown and my current favorite burger is Au Cheval. It's a great bacon cheeseburger without a bunch of other crap piled on (that's the trend these days--bury the burger under a ton of other junk).

              Also, you're receiving a lot of recomnedations that are far from your hotel and would required multiple forms of public transport, wasting many hours, or cabs which are not expensive like in London or other cities but could start to add up. A cab from the James to Wicker Park where you'll find vinyl and lots of good restaurants and bars is about $12 + a small tip if the cab is clean. As such, seeking out more reasonable food prices but spending too much time or money on transport defeats the purpose in my opinion.

              Check out menus online for some of the many places recommended and if you find a couple/few that would be perfect let this group know and then additional comments/recs can be made.

              Enjoy your trip!

            2. l
              LeilaR Aug 16, 2012 01:43 PM

              Thank you I am expecting to pay about $20 for an evening meal also want to know where can I get a cheap breakfast about $5.00 how much are you expected to tip at restaurants as in Uk you are not expected to tip.
              Is there targets or Walmart that I can buy food in near the James

              3 Replies
              1. re: LeilaR
                jbontario Aug 16, 2012 02:07 PM

                Ouch, you are going to have a tough time on that type of budget. Chicago is a large city and while we are not NY or Tokyo, other than fast food you will have a tough time getting a $20/per person out the door meal. REstaurant tax alone is 11% in the city and tipping is expected at 15% for average service, 20% for good service. It is totally expected not to tip on the tax so base your tip on the pre-tax amount.

                There is a Jewel Grocery store about 2 blocks from your hotel for food stuffs.

                For budget eats near you I would suggest Portillo's which also has "fast-food" italian items which i like, had a baked mosticoli and chopped salad last night actually, but even that was $15 and served in plastic.

                Also in the area that is more reasonable is Grand Lux Cafe, Oysy Sushi, Cosi, the Cafe at Nordstrom.

                You could get some great noodles at Slupring Turtle -- one bowl is enough for two to share and then you can get a few yakitori to round it out. Two people with one drink each should be about $30 - $40.

                For breakfast you can try Eggsperience or NYC Bagel both a couple blocks away.

                1. re: LeilaR
                  lbs Aug 16, 2012 02:10 PM

                  $20 total or per entree? Tipping is usually 15% - 20% for sit down restaurants. Right next to the hotel is a Traders Joes. You can find a bunch of stuff there for on the cheap.

                  1. re: LeilaR
                    danimalarkey Aug 16, 2012 02:16 PM

                    Your hotel is very close to a store called Trader Joes -- very affordable grocery store chain with generic/in-house brands only (beer/wine excepted). It's not necessarily the best/most upscale food, but it's good and worth stopping by. There's also a Whole Foods nearby (more upscale) and a Jewel (standard grocery store).

                    $5 might be tough for breakfasts unless you want to stick to a pastry and a cup of coffee. Even then... $20 for dinner might also be tight. Kathryn's list is good, though. In Wicker Park/Bucktown, I think Big Star, Antique Taco and Piece are all good contenders. If you don't mind a vegetarian-centric restaurant, Handlebar is affordable. Belly Shack (BYO Asian/Puerto Rican) and Revolution (brewpub), both to the Northwest slightly and still on the city's Blue line, are good and reasonably priced, as well.

                    Chinatown generally offers up reasonably priced meals. My current favorites include Lao Hunan and Double Li, though they also tend to lean on the spicier side of things.

                    As far as tipping, it is customary to add 15-20% for a tip if the service is good (some would suggest that you should tip even if the service is bad -- that's probably a debate saved for another day). At a bar, I typically tip $1/drink if I'm just ordering from the bartender -- if it's a more upscale place and I'm ordering cocktails that involve a lot of work, I may adjust the tip upwards. At a place like Starbucks, tipping is not customary (though I'll throw in whatever change I get back since I personally hate carrying coins around).

                  2. l
                    LeilaR Aug 16, 2012 11:12 AM

                    Thank you sorry I didn't know sorry if I upset any one

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: LeilaR
                      chicgail Aug 16, 2012 12:18 PM

                      No one is upset. Nothing is wrong. Just setting your expectations for what works and doesn't work on this board. Keep asking questions. It's all good.

                      Did you way what your budget expectations are so we can be most helpful about that?

                      1. re: LeilaR
                        kathryn Aug 16, 2012 12:30 PM

                        Nope, nobody is upset. Just wanted to make sure you knew the rules of the boards, that's all! :)

                      2. k
                        kathryn Aug 16, 2012 10:49 AM

                        Flea markets, vinyl stores, and transportation are off topic for Chowhound; the moderators prefer that we stick to food and drink questions. For flea markets and vinyl stores, try searching on Yelp.com. For transportation questions, checkout TripAdvisor.com.

                        Some cheap eats in River North:
                        Italian beef - Portillo's, Al's, etc
                        Pizza - Uno, Due, Malnati's
                        Tortas - at Xoco


                        1. d
                          danimalarkey Aug 16, 2012 08:58 AM

                          Wicker Park is going to work well for you -- both in terms of record stores and, more germane to this forum, cheap food. For tacos, I like Big Star and Antique Taco -- the former is more of a bar with good food (and great drinks, great people-watching and an overall fun, lively setting) while the latter is quieter and is a more of a traditional restaurant. And I would be remiss in not mentioning Tierra Caliente - amazing al pastor in a much more casual setting than these other two ideas (ie. it's in the back of a tiny grocery/convenience store). Plenty of other spots, too, in the neighborhood -- Piece (pizza/brewpub), Hot Chocolate (contemporary American), Bristol (gastropub), Bangers & Lace (beer bar with decent sausages), Lillie's Q (American BBQ) and... probably many others I'm blanking on at the moment. Logan Square is just to the Northwest of Wicker Park and is home to a number of great restaurants, too -- Longman & Eagle, Lula's, Yusho and Scofflaw. Not all of these places are necessarily cheap, but I wouldn't consider them necessarily expensive. What sort of budget do you have in mind?

                          Going off-topic, the two stores I'd check out first are Dusty Groove (http://www.dustygroove.com/) and Reckless Records (http://www.reckless.com/). You might call/email them to ask for other suggestions as to where to go shopping. Note that Reckless also has a location downtown.

                          Your hotel is in the River North neighborhood and is full of hotels and a variety of dining options -- I'm sure there are a lot of threads asking for inexpensive eats in the downtown area already and it might be helpful to search through some of them.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: danimalarkey
                            LeilaR Aug 16, 2012 09:20 AM

                            Thank you for your advice. Never been to Chicago and really excited when visiting the states I tend to go to Orlando so the prices I am hoping to spend are Orlando prices are there any flee markets worth a visit and how would you reccomend getting from the airport
                            Thanks again

                            1. re: LeilaR
                              danimalarkey Aug 16, 2012 10:57 AM

                              Kathryn is correct about it being best to keep things food-focused, but I will say that the city's public transit system works especially well in getting people to/from the airport. The Wicker Park & Logan Square neighborhoods are also well served with the city's Blue line. More information on public transit can be found here: http://www.transitchicago.com/. Cabs in Chicago are also pretty cheap compared to most other cities.

                              And I'd say that Chicago is... well, I don't know how it compares to Orlando. Possibly cheaper, though we have a higher sales tax. For dinner, are you looking to spend $15 tops? Allow for multiple courses, multiple drinks, etc?

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