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Back for a visit -- new places to try?

Hi Chowhounds,

Former Chicago resident (left in 2008) who will be back for a vacation over the holidays. I'll be visiting some of my old favorites - Hot Doug's (straight from ORD since he closes the 23rd!), Pequod's/Burts, Publican/Blackbird/Avec, Irazu (Oatmeal-Mamey shake!), Sultan's - as well as trying some places I never got around to when I lived here (Calumet Fisheries, Al's Beef), but I'd like to fit in a couple new places (meals, snacks & beverages) as well. I'll be splurging on Alinea, so I'd like to keep the rest of my dining choices $-$$ish.

Currently considering:
Fat Rice
Honey Butter Fried Chicken
Longman & Eagle (& Sunday Donut shop?)
Au Cheval
Hoosier Mama Pie Co.

What do you think of these options, and/or are there any other new-ish places that you'd consider must-eats?

Thanks in advance!

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  1. You didn't say where you are staying. Most of the places you named (except Au Cheval) are in Logan Square or thereabouts.

    Fat Rice - also high on my list, but I haven't gotten in! Even on Tuesday at 6 pm. Very hot. Very small. No reservations. Be there by 5:30 when they open. Or be prepared to to hang around and wait.

    Honey Butter - good chicken. Looks like a bbq joint with picnic tables and benches.

    L&E - one of my faves. Also no reservations and this time of year, they can't even use the patio seating. You might want to consider going for brunch. They serve every day. Or just be prepared to hand out at the bar for a while.

    Hoosier Mama pies are awesome. I've only bought them at the Green City Farmers Market and brought them home. I've not been to their cafe, but I've heard great things about it.

    Au Cheval is also very good twists on comfort food on the West Randolph restaurant row.

    Enjoy Alinea. And them all.

    1. Honey Butter is a favorite of mine and I think is well worth a visit. They recently added lunch hours, too, so that may affect how/when you fit them into your schedule:
      Wednesday - Sunday 11am-2pm
      Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday 5pm-9pm
      Friday and Saturday 5pm - 10pm

      For pies, I love, love, love Bang Bang (also in the Logan Square-ish neighborhood). They have a much larger area for sitting than Hoosier Mama though they may offer fewer 'by the slice' options.

      1. Publican Quality Meats - esp for lunch
        Girl & the Goat - I am guessing you might want to do an early or late dinner @ the bar
        Purple Pig - go at off hours to avoid a line

        1. Thanks for the tips!! Looks like I may be doing a lot of waiting. I'll have to remember to bring extra layers for standing idly outside now that I have a weak California disposition :)

          @kathryn Yes to Publican Quality Meats. Definitely hoping to fit one lunch in there. I would love to try Girl and the Goat too if time (and wallet) allows.

          @danimalarkey Will have to try HBFC. Bang Bang looks great!

          @chicgail - I'll be hopping around a bit, staying a few nights in Logan Square, Wicker Park, Gold Coast and Pilsen. I'll also have access to a car for part of the time, so I'm willing to travel.

          1. Two for Pilsen:

            Nightwood, generally terrific

            & Dusek's (haven't been yet but it's owned by the people behind Longman & Eagle

            1. Longman & Eagle is wonderful for brunch. Publican is another winner for brunch. Au Cheval's burger is the best in the city. I've also enjoyed my meals at Little Goat. It's not as fancy as Girl and the Goat but still super tasty.

              Hoosier Mama has the best pie, imho. I've tried Bang Bang but prefer Hoosier Mama for their flavors.

              If the weather warms up a tiny bit, give Doughnut Vault a try. Weekdays are better than weekends. And it's best to get there early because once they sell out, they close.

              One last suggestion... Tanta. It's the new Peruvian restaurant that has opened up. It's incredible.

              8 Replies
              1. re: Gelato_in_Roma

                What do you recommend at Tanta? It's right by my hotel.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  Everything we tried is bursting with flavor. No subtlety at all.

                  Niguiris nikei pobre... skirt steak, quail egg, chalaca, ponzu. Best thing I've ever eaten!!
                  Causitas clasica... crab, avocado, tomato, egg, huancaina Super duper tasty. It's served cold.
                  Pulpo... Tender, grilled octopus with potato and a variety of sauces. Simply incredible!
                  Chaufa Aeropuerto... pork fried rice, shrimp tortilla, spicy garlic. Deliciously rich and heavy.

                  I also thought the Chupe traditional was good. It's a peruvian stew with prawns, potatoes, and peruvian corn. I thought it was delicious. My husband thought it was good but not awesome.

                  For dessert... Los Picarones... traditional warm pumpkin and sweet potato fritters, spiced syrup. These were quite tasty and worth trying if you have room.

                2. re: Gelato_in_Roma

                  Little Goat sounds more up my alley than GATG. Will have to put Tanta in the mix too!

                  Doughnut Vault looks delicious. Will definitely have to give them a try. Hopefully on a day when they're serving pistachio glazed.

                  1. re: eatingculture

                    Little Goat recently starting hosting a Sunday Goat Supper in their private dining room. It seats approximately 30-35 people at three communal tables and Chef Izard and some of her staff cook up a family style feast around a theme in front of you (the private dining room's kitchen is open, in plain view of the dining tables and you can mingle in the kitchen between courses).

                    I attended last week's event (Moroccan theme) and had such a blast am heading back this Sunday (Chinese theme). Prices are very reasonable (about $80 covers a massive amount of food, unlimited wine and beer, tax and gratuity). I found the event to be well run (only small negative was they were a few minutes late starting and had you waiting in a crowded Little Goat Bakery before the doors opened) and thought the food was bountiful and great quality. Friendly atmosphere too.

                    You might want to check Chef Izard's website to see if they offer one while you are in town (she has been putting tickets on sale on the Wednesday before the dinner along with a description of the theme):


                    1. re: Gonzo70

                      I love family style feasts! Sadly there will be no Sunday Goat Suppers while I'm in town. I'll have to check it out next time though. Thanks for the tip!

                      1. re: eatingculture

                        Check the website the Wednesday before the Sunday you will be in town; Chef Izard has only been posting information a few days in advance of the suppers.

                        1. re: Gonzo70

                          She's got one posted for Dec. 29. No word on what the food will be, but the theme is ugly sweaters. The person who is wearing the ugliest sweater eats free.

                          1. re: chicgail

                            I totally have that locked up; I am a terrible dresser!

                3. Similar to Fat Rice, Ruxbin! Be there by 5:30 when it opens since there are only 32 seats and bonus - it's BYOB!