Trip report: Topoloblamo, Bongo Room, Sable, Frontera Grill (brunch), Cafe Spiaggia, and Glazed and Infused
My husband and I spent three days in Chicago to celebrate our birthdays (two days apart). Despite the fact that I started out the trip sick (nausea, texture aversion, fever, exhausted - basically my own personal version of hell), the trip was great and the food was also excellent.
1. Topoloblamo - This was our first dinner. Service was excellent. We had a drunk, loud, obnoxious couple sitting behind us and they offered to move us right away. We didn't particularly care, so we stayed and enjoyed the "show". I had the sopa azteca and he had the three bites of oaxaca. Both were excellent; he really liked the chorizo. For dinner, he had the prime rib with mole and I had the turkey with mole (can't remember the names of the dishes). Both were excellent. I couldn't eat much of mine, but what I did eat was great; he finished his and practically licked the plate. Dessert was also excellent. All in all, no complaints and I would definitely return.
2. Bongo Room (by the Shedd) - I had pancakes; he had an omelet. Both were good, solid meals. Nothing great, but definitely edible. We'd return.
3. Sable - This was the second night's dinner. We started with the moroccan spiced nuts. I would not get this again. They needed salt and the spices were burned on some of the nuts. The bacon jam was excellent, as were the pork belly BLTs. The pierogi were also good, and the sweet corn creme brulee was tasty and an interesting riff on the dish. I've had savory creme brulees before, and I liked this one. Dessert here was just all right (apple tart and a chocolate souffle cake) and I probably wouldn't get dessert again. The service was, again, excellent.
4. Frontera Grill (brunch) - Brunch here was great. The blood orange margarita was fab and so was the limeade (he doesn't like to drink at brunch; I have no such reservation). He had the Iroquois hotcakes and I had the tostadas. We started with guac and ended with platains. The entire meal was delicious, and the service was, again, outstanding.
5. Spiaggia Cafe - Food was great. I had the sardines, which were excellent. Highly recommend trying them if you like sardines because they were subtle and interesting. Would have gotten a second plate if I'd known! He had the rucola salad, which was good but nothing too special. He had the fettucine bolognese for dinner, and I had the duck. The duck was phenomenal and incredibly rich. It had a rectangle of polenta with it that was utterly delicious, but too rich for me to even consider finishing. The fettucine was good and the bolognese was nice and complex - it got spicier the more you ate, which was a treat. For dessert, he had the doughnuts and I had the panna cotta, both of which were very good. The service at Cafe Spiaggia was probably the weakest service of any of the places we dined, including the breakfast places. The waiter was distracted and didn't seem very attentive. Probably the only place where we tipped "only" 20%.
6. Last meal of the day was when we were driving back to Wisconsin to beat the weather. We had reservations at North Pond for brunch, but there was supposed to be an ice storm so we headed back early and stopped at glazed and infused instead. I got half a dozen doughnuts. The creme brulee and the bacon/maple were great, as was just the plain chocolate. Haven't had any others, but I have high hopes!
All in all, a great trip.
This trip sounds fun, we are doing something similar for our anniversary in a couple weeks. I hope all goes well. There are so many choices and we go out to eat quite often so we want to go to some really good places to make the weekend special. If you don't mind me asking, which hotel did you stay in and how was it?
We stayed at the Ivy (on Ontario) and the room was great, loved the stay. Would recommend staying there again, especially for a romantic getaway. It had a very nice bathroom with a large soaking tub, a separate living room and bedroom area, and the front desk was very responsive to our needs (room service was fast, for example). Hope you have a great time!
Oh, the couple behind us was pretty funny (in that unintentional manner of drunks). For example, the wife said, "We drove 417 miles just to be disappointed!" and he said, "I told you. I told you so!" At some point during the meal, they discussed how the meal would be improved by the addition of some tortilla chips. Very entertaining.