I will be in Chicago the week before Memorial day. The first time I was in town, I was alone, but now I'm bringing my parents. I want very much to show them exactly why Chicago is such a wonderful restaurant town, so I was hoping you could give me your thoughts on my very preliminary itinerary:
*North Pond: I wanted to try this last time, but there just weren't enough days in the week. It seems to me that the food/setting comb is unique to Chicago and that is what I am aiming for.
*Frontera/Topo: I love Mexican food, so does my father; my mother? She's not adventurous. That said, I'm sure she will love either of these places. I'm aware of the reservations issue with Frontera, but aside from that and the fact that Topo is more expensive, what are the differences between the two restaurants in terms of the food? I did go to Topo for lunch the last time; I remember liking it, but not being blown away. Of course, that was 3 years ago - and it was for lunch.
Mundial Cocina Mestiza: If I find myself in Pilsen, I might go here. It's gotten good reviews and it's a different kind of Mexican than Bayless offers. If not Mundial, what other authentic Mexican can you recommend in this area? Is it difficult to get to Pilsen from the Loop?
Thai: I think this is a must-do while I’m in Chicago. My mother might not want to, but if not, I’ll go on my own, lol. I think it’s very important to take advantage of a city’s strengths and Thai seems to be one cuisine that Chicago does a lot better than NY. I’ve read a lot about Spoon Thai; is that the consensus best Thai? I know that TAC Quick has a lot of fans. I haven’t read as much about it as I did before my last trip; I imagine I couldn’t go wrong with either. I would love to hear your thoughts. I take it the best thing to do at either place is to order from the real Thai and not the American-Thai menu?
Alinea/Tru: I took a chance on Alinea when I came to Chicago last time; I wasn’t sure if I was going to like the whole molecular gastronomy thing, but boy was I wrong. It was the most incredible dining experience I’ve ever had. It was FUN- and I was treated very well as a solo diner. I still remember it like it was yesterday even though it was 3 years ago; I was “wowed” by every course. That’s also how I remember Tru. What a fantastic meal – and I remember being downright giddy at seeing the candy/lollipop cart. It might be moot because even if I tried, I don’t know if I could get into Alinea at this stage, but I’m completely torn as to which restaurant to go to.
Blackbird: This was another place I wanted to try last time. I’ve heard wonderful things about their lunch. True?
Of course, I will definitely have deep dish at Lou Malnati’s – yum!!!
Sorry to go on, but I am just so excited about returning to Chicago; it’s not just a great food city, but it’s great in every way – I just adore it. So, if anyone could chime in, I would appreciate it.
Mundial Cocina Mestiza
1640 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608