I lurked and lurked to get the food right for my 4 day stint in Chicago. What a delight it was to realize that you guys were all right! Here's the round up of what tickled our tastebuds in Chicago (and what didn't).
coffee- we hung around the Lavazza in our hotel and it was good- though sizes seemed to be a little willy-nilly. The take-out sizes were much bigger than the stay-in sizes. And they ran out of small cups for me, so I got a medium and my friend who ordered a medium after me got a small. Go figure. This was the Ohio/Michigan location at the Inn of Chicago.
Best by far- Publican. OMG. Best breakfast/brunch ever. Fast and efficient and friendly service. The place was very busy but no line up for the communal table. I had the red-wine poached eggs with bearnaise - won't soon be forgotten. And the sticky bun! And the endless coffee! And even the grapefruit juice!!
Also super good- Purple Pig on the Mag Mile. Tried for dinner- as you predicted a 120min wait even at 5pm (we thought if we got there early....). So we went for lunch at 1;30 and walked in to a great table. We had an AMAZING server (Hanna) who had to leave after our first course as she was on a split- sad because no one else measured up. We were not that hungry so we just had bits and bites- the brussel sprouts salad was a highlight.
Had a good experience at the Girl and Goat- the atmosphere was great. Noisy but not loud, busy but not crowded. We had some hits and misses. The pasta/mushroom dish was great as was the shank- super yum. We ordered the scallops but when they came they smelled AWFUL so we sent them back- I was nearly gagging at the table. I cannot believe the waiter got all the way to our table with them in front of him and didn't turn back to the kitchen. The manager came over (I think, he didn't introduce himself) and said they wouldn't charge us for them. Uh, yeah! Nothing else comped- not really what I expected from that experience.
Slurping Turtle- super. Just what we needed on a cold, tired first night. Pretty happenin' little spot- got seats at the communal table without a wait. We were near the hostess station during the busiest period and it was never more than a 30min wait (Sat night). The salads are terrific- really punchy and fresh and lively. We had a ramen that was lovely comfort. And since I had a slightly unhappy tummy I had a green tea to drink- don't even know what it was but I asked for 'something like jasmine' and the waiter brought me something that was divine!
e.leaven for breakfast was horrid. Worst coffee and bagel ever- we went 'off list'!!! Never again!
Sable for cocktails- as varied and delightful a cocktail menu as you can imagine. My only disappointment was when the bartender could only suggest a 'smash' (not on the menu) for me. Ack- with all those wonderful options that's it?! Perhaps I looked boring ( : Though it was good, just not very adventurous.
Oh! And Portillo's for Beef Sandwich and Chicago dogs. Perfect! (though the atmosphere was buses of high school kids-icky). And Malnati's for suuuuper yummy pepperoni deep dish (don't ask me where- Lincoln Park maybe- it was with a local friend who drove).