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Jan 16, 2014 09:11 AM

Weekend getaway in March.

Hey all,

My wife and I are scheduling a quick weekend getaway to Chicago in the coming months. After researching the board, this is a general itinerary. Please let me know if there are any misses on our list, we will be staying at the Park Hyatt.

Thursday, we are flying in late afternoon and after getting settled would like a casual Dinner somewhere. Au Cheval caught our eye.


Breakfast/Coffee: Intelligentsia Coffee.
Lunch: The Purple Pig
Dinner: Girl and the Goat
Cocktails: The Drawing Room


Breakfast/Coffee: Dark Matter Coffee
Lunch: We plan on visiting the Museum of Mexican Art and wanted to eat somewhere near by. Would Taqueria El Milagro be a good choice?
Dinner: iNG Restaurant
Cocktails: The Aviary


Brunch: The Publican
Late Lunch: Franks and Dawgs

We are pretty open when it comes to food (aren't most of us on this board though?) Definitely love craft cocktails as well. For reference in Boston where we live we frequent Coppa, Toro, Neptune Oyster, Craigie and for cocktails Drink, Hawthorne and Brick n Mortar.

Thank you in advance for your replies!

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  1. Looks like a nice itinerary. Just a couple of suggestions. Purple Pig, Girl & the Goat and Publican are all somewhat similar in terms of ambiance and style of food (they are kind of like Craggie on Main). They are all outstanding, but I'd recommend swapping out one (perhaps Purple Pig since they do not take reservations) and adding another type of cuisine that will add variety, but still be excellent. Perhaps Friday lunch at Embeya (Asian fusion), Topolobampo (Rick Bayless', Mexican venue), GT Fish (seafood) or Blackbird (American) would be worth looking into. As for Girl and the Goat, do you have a reservation? If not keep checking Open Table for something to open up or else you will have to arrive right at opening to avoid a likely lengthy wait (though if you are able to snag seats at the bar or lounge area, you can order off the menu there).

    My favorite cocktail lounge right now is the Berkshire Room; it is a very short cab ride from Girl & the Goat so you may want to considered adding a stop there Friday or swapping it for Drawing Room (which is good, but Berkshire Room is hard to beat - I highly recommend trying their Weston and their Continuous Negroni cocktails).

    Au Cheval is excellent, but can have long waits. If you arrive there and the wait is too long, other good places in walking distance are La Sirena Clandestina, Maude's Liquor Bar and Nellcote. Hopefully at least one of them would have little or no wait if Au Cheval does not work out.

    1. For your Saturday coffee fix, consider Bow Truss in River North. I believe they were started by some people who used to be at Intelligentsia and they offer up the usual drip/pour over/etc options. They usually have a small selection of pastries, too. Don't get me wrong, I'm about as big a fan of Dark Matter as it gets, but their two locations are pretty far West of downtown. If you're in town for only a short time, I'm not sure I'd suggest spending so much of it in transit.

      1. Thank you both Gonzo and Danimalarkey for the input.

        Gonzo, we do have a 10:00pm reservation at GIrl and the Goat and Berkshire looks fantastic, so will swap that for Drawing Room.

        Danimal, thank you for the coffee alternative. We are huge fans of Intelligentsia (went through 3 bags of their espresso last year) so Bow Truss sounds like a plan.

        Here is the revised itenerary:

        Thursday dinner: Au Cheval, backup: Maude's

        Friday Breakfast: Intelligentsia
        Lunch: Blackbird
        Dinner: Girl and the Goat
        Cocktails: Berkshire Room

        Saturday Breakfast: Bow Truss
        Lunch: El Milagro
        Dinner: iNG
        Cocktails: Aviary

        Sunday Brucn: The Publican
        Lunch: Frank and Dawgs

        One question about the Aviary after iNG. Our reservation at iNG is at 9:00pm and the only reservation available for Aviary is 10:45 that evening. We are planning on the 10 course menu at iNG and highly doubt we will make that reservation, unless the pacing of the meal is fast. How difficult is it to walk in after 11:00 on a Saturday?

        1. Taqueria El Milagro is the opposite of "fine dining" but the food is hearty, authentic, and tasty.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Querencia

            LoL, I was just gonna post the same thing this am. Matt H - Taqueria el milagro is a cafeteria style joint, tho I think they gave some ppl working grills for tacos and such. Make no mistake, it's not bad food, it's just extremely casual. Great tamales if you get there in time, as well. I usually choose Milagro for tamales in the area, but for SUPER casual Mexican food, I'm going to La Casa Del Pueblo which is pretty much right there too, OR to Nuevo Leon,a stone's throw away. Nuevo Leon is the one place that many of my Mexican friends simply call "The Best Homestyle Mexican Food In Chicago." it is NOT fancy, it is NOT pretentious, it is NOT trying to be fusion, it is NOT Tex-Mex, it is NOT competing with Rick Bayless. It is the place that Mexican ppl that grew up eating Mexican food in their grandmother's kitchen go for comfort food. Milagro is a fine choice, but I like La Casa Del Pueblo and Nuevo Leon a bit more. If you dig on pig parts, there's also a few carnitas joints worth checking into that are super casual as well. So many gems in that area. I wish I could explore all of them.

            1. re: gordeaux

              Thanks for the other options Gordeaux. I figured El Milagro would be our stop since we wanted to pick up some tortillas to take back home anyways. I will check out the other spots; They both look interesting. Maybe we could do a little crawl and check out two of them?

              1. re: Matt H

                Not sure when you are leaving, but, I wouldn't hold on to those for tortillas for too long before leaving. You can easily get very fresh ones (definitely el milagro, and a few other brands, and several styles) at pretty much any grocery store on your way out of town. We're kinda spoiled here when it comes to fresh tortillas. I'd say about 50% of the time, when I go to a grocery store to get tortillas, they are still warm on the shelf.

            2. re: Querencia

              Super casual was what we wanted that afternoon and a chance to take advantage of eating some great mexican since we are in the neighborhood anyways. Thanks.

            3. Your itinerary doesn't have much Asian food. When we travel to Chicago we love Fat Rice (food influenced by Macau) and the new Urban Belly (non traditional ramen and dumplings). Both very casual with food I can't find anywhere else.