Xoco, GT Fish & Oysters solo/ brief review
Thanks to this board for giving me loads of ideas about where to eat in Chicago on a speedy overnight trip before picking up jet lagged family at O'Hare tomorrow.
Today I arrived at 11:15am and was able to check in to Hotel Felix and trot down to Xoco for lunch around noon. It was busy but no wait and no problem being solo. Ordered short rib caldo, raspberry agua fresca and pistachio tres leches. The caldo broth was VERY salty. It worked well for the scrumptious potatoes but was just imbalanced to my taste. Edible, tasty even, but disappointing. The raspberry agua fresca was fantastic. Ruby red and not overly sweet but full of complex flavor. The cake was very very tasty indeed, moist and nutty with a Cambodian-temple beehive of meringue on top. Happy happy joy joy.
Hit Vosges for some fun chocolate--caramel and stout with dark chocolate, etc-- then hit GT Fish and Oysters as a solo again. Very very friendly warm young women working reception and tables--just extremely nice and easygoing. Had the tuna poke with mango and black sesame. Very nice tho wanted a wee bit more sesame. Then had sunfish ceviche which was very tasty too. Also decided against a cocktail but was accommodated with a fancypants nonalcoholic lemonade with various fruity flavors-freshly made and perfectly balanced.
It's just so nice to be treated well and warmly as a solo diner. And everywhere I went today, people were lovely--extremely kind and funny and warm. Thank you, Chicago, I needed that!!
Tomorrow I plan to buy some ripe fancy cheese at (probably) Whole Foods, which is near my hotel, and then some other groceries and maybe Vanille and/or Floriole for treats to take home for my family, and then some posh meaty treat at Hot Doug's (first time; specials looked soooo good yesterday) at noon before heading to OHare for a 1:20pm arrival. Wishing I could take more of it with me and regretting, as usual, that I have but one life to live and one meal per mealtime, etc, etc.
>> then some posh meaty treat at Hot Doug's (first time; specials looked soooo good yesterday) at noon before heading to OHare for a 1:20pm arrival.
Watch your time so you don't get to the airport late. At lunchtime, the wait at Hot Doug's is often well over an hour, which means that if you get there at noon, you might not be served until 1:20! The waits aren't as bad if you go there early, like the first half hour after they open (at 10:30).
As another alternative, if you want some creative sausages and such but you can't afford that much time waiting in line, you might want to consider going to Franks 'n Dawgs instead; they don't have the crazy waits like at Hot Doug's. (Also, it's very close to Floriole and Vanille!) www.franksndawgs.com
Ahhh. I was afraid my cunning plan might not be cunning enough. Franks n Dawgs looks great. Are there any other super and reasonably quick lunch options around Vanille? And should I bother with Floriole if hitting Vanille? I will plan to check out by 9 to get my shopping done and be up on Clybourne by 11 and lunching by 1130 then. I'm on EST so it's no bother to eat early--one offer advantages to living in South Bend, IN.
>> Are there any other super and reasonably quick lunch options around Vanille?
Franks n Dawgs is 1/2 mile down the street. Pequod's Pizza is a few doors down from Vanille but their deep-dish won't be quick.
>> And should I bother with Floriole if hitting Vanille?
If you have to hit only one bakery - Floriole or Vanille, not both - my choice would be Floriole. But each has things the other does not, and both are worth visiting.
Sorry this answer may not reach you in time...
The broth in my short rib caldo seemed very salty the one time I ate at Xoco as well. Are all the caldos like this?