I want to first thank JeffB, Chris B, and Vital Info for answering my post. Your information was very helpful and much appreciated.
It's true what they say about "best-laid plans", but I was extremely impressed with your city. Chicago is a world-class place populated by friendly, enthusiastic people who seem to genuinely enjoy sharing it with visitors. I will definitely return with my wife and two kids, maybe to catch a Cubs-Braves game.
We arrived Thursday afternoon and ate a place called Giordano's on Cicero reccomended by the desk clerk. I ordered an Italian beef that was okay, but not near as good as one I would have later. The meat was thin and tender, but the spices were too mild for my taste. It reminded me of a roast beef dip that you can get anywhere. But hey, the fries were excellent and the Heineken was cold. I probably should have had their pizza; it looked delicious.
That night we found the Hyatt, (where our conference was being held) and enjoyed drinks with a great view of beautiful downtown Chicago. The shrimp cocktail was expensive, but very good. It ended up being a late night and on the way back to our hotel, I saw a place, Morgan St., mentioned by JeffB. Took a hot dog, pork sandwich, and fries back to the room. I really enjoyed the mustard and grilled onions on both.
Friday's lunch was an excellent clam chowder at a pub off Michigan whose name escapes me. We ate dinner that night at Smith and Wollensky's. I wanted to go to Gibsons or maybe Gene and Georgetti's, but it did not work out. (I will not bore you with the details.) . Started with a tomato and onion salad, a simple dish, but a combination that I like. My entree was the 20oz bone-in ribeye, perfectly cooked between medium-rare and medium. This was a great steak that I enjoyed with a Chilean cabernet, and the accompanying fries were hot, crisp, and tasty. When the manager noticed one of my companions had not eaten her butternut squash, (she thought it too sweet), he promptly offered to take it off the bill. A small gesture, but appreciated nonetheless. Finished the meal with pecan pie and a glass of port. Overall, a very pleasant dining experience.
At lunch on Saturday, we ate at Randolphs, a bar and grill on Michigan after a wonderful visit to the Art Institute. The fish and chips were filets of cod and catfish in a light, crunchy batter that was really nice. The garden salad was fine.
That night we found Eddie Clearwater's place on Milwaukee Ave. hoping to listen to some blues, but it was closed. I'm not sure why. But across the street I found an Italian beef that was far superior to the one at Giordano's, at least in my humble opinion. (Sorry, but I can't remember the name.) The beef in this sandwich was thicker, spicier, and covered with a zesty mix of different peppers, all held together by a crusty, chewey roll. It was delicious and unlike any sandwich I've ever had. I would go back to try the Polish sausage and some of their other offerings.
We ate a late dinner at Athena. The appetizer was stuffed spinach and feta. The crust on the small triangles was thin and flaky. The entree was grilled lamb chops served with rice and potato. I thought the lamb was excellent, but found the sides extremely lacking in any real flavor. The Greek wine, which reminded me of a Beaujolais, and the baklava were both something I would order again.
Sunday, at O'Hare before our 11:00 AM flight back to El Paso, I couldn't resist ordering another Chicago dog. This one was a Vienna beef with mustard, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, pickles, and hot peppers all nestled in a great poppyseed roll. It was so good I got one to take on the plane for the three hour plus flight.
I know this was long, but I had a great time in your wonderful city and can't wait to return.
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