I had never thought of Chicago as a place I wanted to take a vacation to. However I had the pleasure of being placed here for work for a few weeks and quickly fell in love with the city. A beautiful city especially if you love architecture, also one of the cleanest and easiest walking cities I have ever had the pleasure of being stuck in without a car. I have enjoyed walking through the neighborhoods of Streeterville, River North and East and Lincoln Park. This city has an indefinite attention to detail, from the food to the attractions and a plethora of activities, something for everyone. One of my favorite things is that so many of the restaurants source from local farms and change the menu with the season. There are also many LEED certified buildings in downtown, as well as recycling at every garbage can on the street.
Girl & The Goat - Located at 809 W Randolph Street This Foodie spot is a must if you can get a table. Had the pleasure of going here with my sister and Nephew. Started off with a loaf of fresh bread with goat cheese baked in. Delicious and there are a few options. Most of the dishes are made to share, so we ordered a bunch. Highlights were the fried duck tongue on Ahi poke with black beans, duck fat french fries, fried squash blossoms and the grilled octopus which I could probably eat every day. It is a cozy environment so if you like having lots of space and not talking to your neighbors this may not be for you. This however is not a great place for kids as there are few options other than bread and french fries that most kids would eat.
Avec- 615 W Randolph ST. Dying to try a french restaurant this spot was suggested from some friends in Chi town. Avec was an intimate dinner having what seemed like space for about 40 people and communal tables which always stirs good conversation and suggestions from your neighbors on what to order and what to not. Food Highlights- Bacon Wrapped Dates, chicken with Goat Cheese because everything with goat cheese is delicious.
Sunda- a highly noteworthy new Asian restaurant located at 110 W Illinois St. I was not able to try this spot yet because after a 30 minute wait on a reserved table and so much noise I couldn't think I was forced to go seek quite shelter at a more intimate place for a bite to eat. Great for socializing but not for a quite Friday night dinner.
Ing- 951 W. Fulton Market. A Gastronomy experience that you won't soon forget. When I think of Gastronomy I think foams and gels with weird flavors. I was pleasantly surprised at ING. Having a sampling of Street foods there was not a course that I didn't love and there were 10. With a menu that changes every 6 to 8 weeks you will always be trying something new.
Bavettes- Comfy couches and chandeliers create an old Parisian supper club feel in this romantic yet cozy dinner spot. Fare is worthy of a American steakhouse with a french flair, order the crab stuffed avocado, baked goat cheese and steak frites.
Les Nomades - Possibly my favorite and most romantic meal in Chicago. This is a FRENCH restaurant and is very intimate. Order off the Prix-fix menu as opposed to A-LA Carte. The wine selection is amazing as well. Check out my full review on Yelp.
Grace - Stepping inside Grace at first glance reminded me of a mixture of a Japanese tea room and a wedding reception hall with a blah decor of white, grey and Beige and no windows, tables are big rounds that make you feel very distant from your dinner partners. You are served by a team of what looks like CIA operatives who nervously place spoonfuls of gel and pudding on your table. You can choose from two menus; Flora or Fauna we did one of each but save yourself the trouble and order the Fauna the vegetarian menu was more disappointment than deliciousness. It's a good thing they get everyone drunk here with the wine pairings because the food was a giant miss for me.
Topolobampo- A Rick Bayless restaurant located at 445 N Clark St. The sister restaurant of Frontera Grill and known for being a more gastronomical & elegant version of its sister restaurant with a rotating menu selected from different regions of Mexico. Being only 70 seats this restaurant is known to be difficult to get a table in, I secured a table on OpenTable and went on a Thursday at 9:30PM which is the last seating. Staff insisted on ordering from the 5 course tasting menu. I started with an appetizer of trio of ceviches which was the best part of the evening, save for the Margaritas and dessert. . The first course was a avocado and mussel salad which tasted like clams and was not my favorite, there was also a beet and queso Fresco salad which we spooned into tortillas and enjoyed. The second and third courses were fish, sable fish was a fail but the Halibut was good, and the steak with Mole was delicious. Dessert was also great but at $450 this does not get my vote.
Bars Lounges Nightlife
Gilt Bar- Quintessential wine and cocktail lounge come for drinks or dinner with a date
Violet Hour - Speakeasy feel in this Mixology bar. High Chairs worthy of the Mad Hatter in this dark yet elegant bar. A great cocktail menu, there are no Cosmopolitans or Bud Lights here so be adventuresome and order one of their house specialties like the Juliet & Romeo.
The Atrium and the super secret The Office
Three Dots and A Dash - Hidden & Intimate Tiki Lounge where your drinks might just bite back
J Parker - Great views of lake, small plates and cocktails
The Wit- Elegant, hip atmosphere with a moon roof that opens to night sky. Come for drinks, appetizers and late night.
Terrace at the Trump-
Adventure and Health
Try a Run through Millennium Park at night- don't forget to stop at the fountains and take in the light show
Rent a Bike & Bike down the Beach or the one of the many great museums
Rent Paddle boards at North Beach - Chicago SUP
Give your Belly a workout and visit IO or Second city for a night of improv and ridiculousness.
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