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Old 05-21-2008, 05:28 PM   #26
citanul
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Re: Chicago: Your favorite things to do or places to go

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Wishbone is the immortal nuts for breakfast.
I can't say I disagree here. Wishbone breakfasts are great, and like 2 blocks from my apartment.

I'm a big fan of Julius Meinl or Southport Grocery, which are about 100 feet apart on Southport. Julium Meinl is great when you want coffee and a pastry, or a coffee based drink and a sandwich or some random european egg thing. Southport Grocery does spins on traditional brunch food. (Also, note, I never eat breakfast out, I eat brunch out.) So they've got french toast with ham and gruyere, or bread pudding pancakes, or other stuff like that. Also on Southport (or other locations) for the traditionalists is Anne Sather, which has fantastic cinnamon rolls.

Orange is good, but I've gotten tired of it (and the concept of having oranges in like, everything). But I've heard great things about Bongo Room. I've also really enjoyed the couple of brunches I've had at Sola, on Lincoln, though it's in general fancier than I like my brunch.

Obviously other clutch call for brunch/breakfast is the Map Room, where I think it's free, and there's a great beer selection.
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Old 05-21-2008, 05:31 PM   #27
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Re: Chicago: Your favorite things to do or places to go

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I've never had Due's, but heard it is excellent. Which is it closest to?
I don't understand the question? Do you mean location of Due to something else or do you mean compare the pizza at Due to another pizza place?

(I'll take this chance to echo that while I have somehow never eaten at unos or due in Chicago, due is supposed to be the right choice because of the crowds that choose to go to uno even though the food is identical and they are less than a block apart.)
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Old 05-21-2008, 05:51 PM   #28
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Re: Chicago: Your favorite things to do or places to go

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I don't understand the question? Do you mean location of Due to something else or do you mean compare the pizza at Due to another pizza place?

(I'll take this chance to echo that while I have somehow never eaten at unos or due in Chicago, due is supposed to be the right choice because of the crowds that choose to go to uno even though the food is identical and they are less than a block apart.)
Poor use of pronouns on my part... I meant to ask... which other pizza does it taste most similar to?

Is it a really deep pan like giordanos? Sweet sauce?
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Old 05-21-2008, 05:51 PM   #29
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Re: Chicago: Your favorite things to do or places to go

Wishbone is definitely a top breakfast spot, but if you're on the other side of Clark in Lakeview, Stella's is terrific. Basically a Lake View version of the Chicago Greek diner, and if Stella is in, she makes the hollandaise herself. The extra lemon reminds me of my Yia Yia's cooking.

Some other good, semi-neighborhood places on the near northside: Sola, which has a great, weird mix of asian and american. My wife is from Hawaii and it reminds her of the best food in Honolulu.

Chalkboard, which had a good French menu (outstanding cassoulet, almost as good as mine). Kind of bad service, but still worth stopping in.

Costa's in Greektown. Skip Greek Isles (if they're reopened even. I heard the board of health shut them down). My big picky greek family loves the place.

For a bonus, North Pond is my favorite upscale restaurant in the city. Amazing seasonal menus, beautiful setting in the middle of Lincoln Park, wonderful service, great great great. God that's terrible writing.

Also, I'm semi-ashamed to admit this, but I think Joe's Steak and Stone Crab is my favorite steakhouse in the city.
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Old 05-21-2008, 06:03 PM   #30
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Re: Chicago: Your favorite things to do or places to go

Things my wife and I have enjoyed as tourists (in no particular order):

1) Cubs game. She hates baseball, but will go to a Cubs game every time we visit. You do not have to be a baseball fan to enjoy the experience.

2) Art Institute -- If you enjoy European artists (especially Impressionists) then the Art Institute is a can't miss.

3) Shedd Aquarium -- One of the top 5 in the country

4) Field Museum -- I liked it, but my wife got bored looking at stuffed animals.

5) MOSI -- We really enjoyed this one. Coal mine, train, sub and baby chicks hatching were all good. There is a bus that runs a route among all the museums.

6) Walking up Michigan Avenue and back on the Lake-- On a nice day, it is a pleasant diversion

7) Navy Pier -- We were not fans, but I don't disagree with the positives mentioned in others posts.

8) We ate at Due and it was good pizza (We still prefer Grimaldi's under the Brooklyn Bridge)

9) The view from the Hancock Tower was good.

10) As far as food goes, my wife is picky and sticks to boring chains that meet her pseudo-vegetarian tastes.

We missed the Lincoln Park Zoo. What's the word on that?
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Old 05-21-2008, 06:20 PM   #31
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Re: Chicago: Your favorite things to do or places to go

There have been some solid suggestions so far, but I'll add a few more.

If you're looking to stay touristy, then go to Harry Caray's, Navy Pier, Uno's, etc. Fogo de Ciao is an all your can eat steakhouse that isn't about quality, but trying to get your large intestine to burst.

JW's is a hot steakhouse. Gibson's atmosphere is very nice imo.

Just go to a Tapas bar/restaurant-act like you know what its about and they'll all like it. Sangrias and ton of obscure appetizers is really all you need to know.

Touristy-Dick's last resort. Raunchy and fun at times, out ot town girls/buddies may enjoy it.

Touristy-Howl at the moon. Standard dual piano bar that usually stays packed from those staying downtown.

If you want to travel a little north to old town, there are some nice restaurant spots here. I suggest Topo Gigio's for a nice italian meal, and then headover to 2nd City for a chill night that won't empty your wallet. Old Town Pub is a cool little hangout as well.

If you are staying out late, you could do better than Barleycorn on Clark, but it'll do. Then just head to down to Deja Vu for lol retards till 5am (if that's still the closing time)

Bucktown bars for the 26+ crowd. Stanley's off Sedgwick for Sunday brunch and bloody mary bar. Also a good amount of cougars to be found there on a given weeknight.

S+G's (can't remember what this stands for) on Southport for weekend breakfast-go with a skillet and nothing else. There are some alright nightspots on weekdays on Southport as well. Seconded on Wishbone breakfast-I've seen abotu a half dozen celebs there in the 15-20 times I've been there.
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Old 05-21-2008, 06:52 PM   #32
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Re: Chicago: Your favorite things to do or places to go

Visitors, please treat yourself to a Chicago Style Hot Dog..... whether it is at a chain like Portillo's, or a neighboorhood Hot Dog joint.

Bun, dog, onion, tomato, mustard, pickle, celery salt,relish, sport peppers
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Old 05-21-2008, 06:59 PM   #33
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Re: Chicago: Your favorite things to do or places to go

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Old Town Pub is a cool little hangout as well.
I've spent many drunken nights here, didn't think anyone would mention it.

The rest of your suggestions were good as well.
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Old 05-21-2008, 07:08 PM   #34
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Re: Chicago: Your favorite things to do or places to go

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Visitors, please treat yourself to a Chicago Style Hot Dog..... whether it is at a chain like Portillo's, or a neighboorhood Hot Dog joint.

Bun, dog, onion, tomato, mustard, pickle, celery salt,relish, sport peppers
Agree. Chicago style dogs are very good.
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Old 05-21-2008, 07:39 PM   #35
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Re: Chicago: Your favorite things to do or places to go

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chicago is a great city, especially in the summer. can't think of a place i'd rather not live september-april.
FYP.

More seriously, Chicago is great. I'll probably go there for my MBA, but man, is it cold. The 3 non-cold months are fantastic, but the other months are just brutal. I've never been quite sure how people manage.

My favorite Turkish food was a little place near Ukrainian Village, but I can't remember the name right now.
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Old 05-21-2008, 11:20 PM   #36
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Re: Chicago: Your favorite things to do or places to go

Don't understand the recommendations for Japonais. It's pretty and trendy, but the food is only okay IMO. Not bad, but expensive. My favorite sushi place is Meiji, a little west of downtown. If you want authentic Japanese food, like sukiyaki, try Chiyo. It's a little out of the way and not that well known but really really good. The sukiyaki was comparable to the ones I had in Tokyo.

I personally prefer Tru to Charlie Trotter's, although both were certainly tasty. Haven't tried Alinea yet. Another excellent restaurant if you're not looking for the 9 course $120 meal is Blackbird. Great food, although it's certainly not cheap either. Just not as expensive.

Some personal notes on other places mentioned in this thread:

Whoever recommended Pequod's for deep-dish pizza is right on the money, although if you're going to a chain my favorite is Lou Malnati's.

I also live near Wishbone and agree that it is awesome. Sunday brunch is really crowded, so if you are there on a weekend Saturday is better.

Custom House has good food. As stated previously, the menu is more than just steaks but the steaks are great.

I don't really like Navy Pier - it's just too touristy. There are better ways to spend your time.
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Old 05-21-2008, 11:27 PM   #37
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Re: Chicago: Your favorite things to do or places to go

Big Herm's. God I miss that place.
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Old 05-22-2008, 02:00 AM   #38
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Re: Chicago: Your favorite things to do or places to go

I really need to move somewhere I can get good breakfasts.
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Old 05-22-2008, 05:13 AM   #39
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Re: Chicago: Your favorite things to do or places to go

Gibson's

and this:

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Old 05-22-2008, 09:35 AM   #40
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Re: Chicago: Your favorite things to do or places to go

dean,

you live close to one of the locations of Orange, and I believe you live close to the Bongo Room.

7ontheline,

sounds like we should hang out sometime. we've probably been in the same restaurant a few dozen times already, might as well sit at the same table and grab a beer. i've been hoping someone would suggest someplace that does non-sushi japanese, so thanks for that!

i went to Trotter's last night and it was better than i remember either of my other trips being. i think i still prefer Tru, but there's something to not feeling like you're going to explode at the end of the meal... regardless, the Trotter's menu right now was really tasty.

casau,

i think that chalkboard might have closed? haven't checked right now, but i think i read that somewhere, and it was disappointing since i heard it was quite good.

couple of other random things:

in andersonville (where the Hopleaf is), there is an italian bakery run by a young italian (american?) couple. everything is more expensive than you'd like, but everything i've had has been excellent. they fill canolis fresh for orders, and they are really, realy good.

in lincoln square, bistro campagne is great. traditional french bistro fare (with a couple not so standard things thrown in), a great beer list, a fantastic atmosphere, and realy nice outdoor seating when the weather is good.
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Old 05-22-2008, 12:33 PM   #41
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Re: Chicago: Your favorite things to do or places to go

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I've spent many drunken nights here, didn't think anyone would mention it.

The rest of your suggestions were good as well.

I lived near there for four years, but always ended up at Marge's instead. It broke my heart when Marge's closed. One great thing about the city is the neighborhood bars.
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Old 05-22-2008, 04:29 PM   #42
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Re: Chicago: Your favorite things to do or places to go

Dublin's on State and Maple for great food and beers.
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Old 05-22-2008, 04:51 PM   #43
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Re: Chicago: Your favorite things to do or places to go

i think sushi samba is the best sushi in chicago - i like it better than any of the nobus i've been to.

for french le bouchon is great. not glamorous at all - small and crowded - but great food.

sweets and savories on fullerton - which is a bizarre name because as far as i could tell it's just a restaurant - is a random place i went to a few months ago and thought was very good.

macello on lake street is a place a friend of mine opened over the winter. pretty amazing country italian.
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Old 05-22-2008, 05:49 PM   #44
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Re: Chicago: Your favorite things to do or places to go

M Henry in Andersonville (north of nearly everything else, on Clark) is my favorite place for brunch in the city. Absolutely delicious!

Lula Cafe in Logan Square is a really interesting restaurant. They basically have 2 menus - cheap & expensive. Both options are good, depending on what sort of meal you're looking for and everything tastes great.

If you want real improv comedy, go to iO (formely ImprovOlympic), right across the street from Wrigley Field... it's different from Second City in that 2nd City is sketch comedy that is pre-written, whereas at iO, everything is made up on the spot.

I lived in Chicago for 3 years and have just left a couple days ago... already miss it.
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Old 05-23-2008, 05:29 PM   #45
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Re: Chicago: Your favorite things to do or places to go

I'll add a +1 for the Chicago Architectural Boat Tours, they are a lot of fun. Did one last summer in late August on a perfect sunny, warm afternoon. Great way to spend a few hours and learn about the city.

I've visited a decent number of restaurants since I moved here almost 2 years ago, glad I found this post though. I will have to try some of your suggestions. Places I have liked are Roy's and Blue Water Grill. I know Roy's is not native to Chicago and I don't think BWG is either, but loved both of my meals there.

I seem to like Gino's deep dish for whatever reasons, but Lou Malnati's is close.

As far as improv goes, I just saw a show on the NW side of the city called Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind. You can't make reservations so you have to get in line ~1 hr before the show (30 min before they let you inside) but I had a pretty good time. They do 30 skits in 60 minutes in a random order based on audience input. I think I still like Second City more though.

I'm sure I have more input but gotta run for now.
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Old 05-23-2008, 06:54 PM   #46
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Re: Chicago: Your favorite things to do or places to go

if you have the money i would suggest fogo de chao. i normally hate steak or any meat for that matter, but i think this place is very good. great service, but its pricey and you definitely need a huge appetite before you go or it isnt worth it. it would be better for a date or family get together type thing. ive also been to another place like this called brazzaz that i thought was pretty good. along with the same type of foods as fogo de chao they had cooked pineapple floating about which i thought was magnificent to find at a sit down restaurant.
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Old 05-23-2008, 07:06 PM   #47
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Re: Chicago: Your favorite things to do or places to go

You know Fogo is a chain of churrascarias, right?
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Old 05-23-2008, 07:24 PM   #48
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Re: Chicago: Your favorite things to do or places to go

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You know Fogo is a chain of churrascarias, right?
yes, yes i do. there are about a dozen of them around the US if i remember correctly.
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Old 05-24-2008, 11:52 AM   #49
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Re: Chicago: Your favorite things to do or places to go

Food

Thai
Arun's 4156 N Kedzie.
Considered one of the best Thai restaurant's in North America. Even the NY Times has given this place great reviews and they usually pooh pooh anything connected with the midwest. It's incredibly popular so you have to make reservations way in advance, but you may be able to sneak in once in a while.

German
Cafe Lutz 2458 W Montrose
Mostly known for it's bakery. People usually go there for carry out. If you're a fan of German Pastries, particularly involving chocolate, nugout and marzipan you'll love it here. The cafe is also real nice. Try the hazel nut milk shake. The open face sandwiches such as tilsiter cheese and Westphalian ham are great. The tables are small and cramped and there's still some old fashioned German guests that don't believe in deodorant, but that adds to the charm. When the weather is nice, there's an outdoor cafe.

Polish
Red Apple Restaurant 3123 N Milwaukee
I don't think it's still true, but Chicago was once the largest Polish city in the World. There's still a large Polish community in the city, mostly along Milwaukee Ave. Red Apple is a friendly, inexpensive buffet. So you'll get to try a lot of different Polish dishes. They also sell frozen perogies to take home.

Indian
No particular restaurant. But head up to Devon and Western. The neighborhood is a blast. Very colorful and full of Indian Restaurants, Grocery stores and bakeries.

Late Night Drunks
Golden Apple 2971 N Lincloln
Just regular American Diner Food. It's open 24 hours a day. And this is where all the drunk northsiders go after closing time. It was once featured on "This American Life" on NPR.

Soul Food
Army and Lou's 422 East 75th St
Long time Chicago favorite. Reasonable prices for Southern Cooking in a great atmosphere. Some of the friendliest and most efficient service you'll get any where in the city.

Besides pizza and hot dogs (make sure you get the day-glo relish to be authentic) another local favorite is Italian Beef. Which of course has nothing to do with Italy. You can get them any where.

Just some places off the top of my head. When I get some more energy I'll post some local attractions.
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Old 05-24-2008, 02:12 PM   #50
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Re: Chicago: Your favorite things to do or places to go

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yes, yes i do. there are about a dozen of them around the US if i remember correctly.
It's been mentioned before but if you want to try a "Chicago-only" churrascaria you can go to Brazzaz. IMO Fogo > Brazzaz but it's close.

Another chain that I enjoy having in River North is Grand Lux.
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