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Chicago trip report - solo diner

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Thanks to all the Chicago hounds who helped with advice on my itinerary earlier this year. Have recently returned from my USA trip and wanted to post my dining experiences here - had a fantastic time in your wonderful city and hope to make a return visit one day.

Pizano's (dinner)
I'm usually a thin crust gal, but when in Chicago I just had to try the deep dish. Ordered the smallest size pizza available (an individual 8 inch one, compared to the small size 10 inch one), with sausage and mushroom toppings. Lovely crunchy crust and very generous with the toppings (compared to those in the UK!). Extremely filling - could only manage 1/2 a pizza. It was my only deep dish experience of the trip, so can't compare to any other offerings in Chicago.

Topolobampo (lunch)
Thoroughly enjoyed my meal here. I made a lunch reservation online about 8 weeks in advance, and assumed that as I was a lone diner, that they would automatically seat me at the bar - but was surprised when they took me to my own table. Asked for recommendations as everything looked good. The tortilla chips were the best I'd ever tasted - I was feasting on them merrily until my starter arrived. It was the trio of ceviche, which came with yet another batch of the tortilla chips! All 3 kinds were delicious, but my favourite was the yellowfin tuna. For my main course, I chose the Pollito en Mole Landero (garlic-infused Gunthorp rock hen, Jimmy's grandma's velvety Landero mole, tamal de cream, braised carrots & turnips with a sear, savory nut brittle) - tender and full of flavour. Attentive service, but I wish that there had been a longer gap between finishing my starter and them bringing my main so that I could have had a chance for a little digestion - they were standing by as I ate the last mouthful of ceviche.

Sable (dinner)
Turned up without a reservation at 8.30pm on a Sunday night and was promptly seated in the restaurant. I liked that you could order half portions of many dishes. I ordered a half portion of fried green tomatoes with whipped goat's cheese and pepper jelly, which was very moreish. For my main I had one of the specials - crab stuffed squash blossoms with baby carrots and zucchini in a coconut curry sauce. There seemed to be a lot of crab stuffed into those blossoms! Had just about enough room for dessert and opted for the blueberry pie with sweetcorn ice cream. Both were delicious, but I wasn't sure about the pieces of freeze dried corn that accompanied them - interesting to have them there for the different texture, but I wouldn't have missed them.

Purple Pig (lunch)
I'd seen the queues for dinner the previous day, so 5 minutes before they opened for lunch I was waiting outside, along with around 15 other people. Chorizo stuffed olives were a bit too much of a salty hit for me, but I absolutely loved the pig's ear starter with crispy kale, pickled cherry peppers and a fried egg. I'd never had pig's ear before and thought it would come looking like a whole ear. Instead, it resembled delicate bacon bits and the yolk from the egg made a lovely sauce. My main was milk braised pork shoulder with mashed potatoes - the meat was succulent and I loved that it practically fell off when I poked it with my fork. Really great service, I appreciated the time taken to run me through the different menu options as I was really struggling to decide.

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  1. You hit some great places. Good to hear that your visit was an enjoyable one.