Day 1: arrived in time for lunch and had a car so we decided to drive out to see if Smoque was worthy of the hype. An unequivocal yes. I had the St. Louis ribs; my dining companion had the pulled pork sandwich. We shared fries, cole slaw, macaroni and cheese, beans. Would definitely return for a quick lunch. Having had excellent BBQ in the Carolinas, Georgia, Tennessee (and even in New Orleans), I've tried a few (recommended) BBQ places in Chicago but never found one I thought worth the effort getting there. Smoque was definitely worth it, the real thing.
Dinner: Coco Pazzo on W. Hubbard. This was my second visit, and I wanted my husband, who adores Italian food to try it; it lived up to my first great experience there. We had the antipasti selection and the stuffed zucchini blossoms--and should have stopped there, for while the pasta dishes we also ordered were excellent (rabbit bolognese for me and a special w/ duck for ), we weren't hungry enough to eat more than a few bites.
Day 2: early lunch at Cafe Spiaggia, my husband's absolute Chicago favorite--it's a must-do whenever he's there. He had the wild mushroom and prosciutto pizza--so delicious; I had pasta w/clams (didn't think whole wheat pasta worked so well w/the clam sauce, but it was still tasty). We shared a baby octopus salad--divine.
Late dinner at Frontera Grill, my must-do (that or Topolobampo) when in Chicago. This place never disappoints and did not this time. I had a couple of starters; DH had, I think (we both had too many margaritas!) lamb enchiladas(?) w/mole sauce. Wonderful.
Day 3: mid-morning snack of Garrett's caramel corn w/cashews--couldn't resist--and then a quickie late lunch at Big Bowl, which I like to go to once in a while simply for the fantastic fresh ginger ale. I think of the ginger ale and spring rolls as the beginning of the de-tox after the fat calorie extravaganza!
Alas, it was time (so little for such a big dining city) to leave; once again we'd used up a good bit of our dining itinerary with the must-dos and not gotten to try some new places. Next time, we will do Publican . . . or Osteria via Stato . . . or Table 52 . . . or the restaurant in the new wing of the Art Institute, and Yolk for breakfast, and Hot Doug's. Next time, we must stay longer.
Have I said how much I love Chicago? Especially in August. Even in January if I'm sitting in a wonderful eating establishment.