Just wanted to post the results of our wonderful trip to Chicago.
First night the couple traveling with us wanted to eat at Rick Bayless's Topolobampo. It was good, not great and pricy for what we received. Honestly felt Frontera would have been much better, but it wasn't our night to choose. Nothing memorable including patchy service, VERY slow drink service. Second night we attended Book of Mormon and needed a late night location. Ended up at Nacional29. The food was wonderful. Great drinks and service. However, 15 minutes after sitting down, the place turned into "Miami night" with Salsa dancing. It was a blast to watch and participate, but the music was so loud, it went right to our bones. Would go back though. Very inventive food. Later went to Maude's Liquor Bar. Drinks were great, loved the place, but got there close to closing.
Next day we went to The Carriage House in Wicker Park for Brunch. The food was wonderful, drinks so good with fresh juices and service was great. Particularly liked the house bacon and sausage. I had pork shoulder and creamy grits. For dinner we chose Café Spiaggia for dinner. My dish of Gnocchi with a tomato/meat sauce was delicious, melt in your mouth. Meatballs were some of the best I have tried. The waiter was one of those slightly pushy, cocky one's. Kept trying to direct us to other items even after we selected, then made jokes if we stuck by our decision. One tacky thing he did (I would expect from a much cheaper restaurant) was he brought our ticket about 1 minute after serving our desserts. Said no rush, but we all know once the ticket is presented, you won't be getting much more service.
Our last day was a bonus as our early morning flight was cancelled and was re-booked for late Sunday night. We chose Girl and A Goat for dinner. We didn't have a reservation and just walked in. They didn't have a table, but offered to seat us "on the patio". The patio was simply a picnic table on the sidewalk facing the street. However, we were seated with several people and it made for a fun time. We had the wood grilled broccoli with smoked blue cheese, Kohlrabi salad, Sugo and Confit of Goat Belly. Each and every dish was divine. The smoky flavor of the blue cheese made the broccoli seem like IT was smoked. The goat was crispy on the outside and tender and moist inside. This meal was by far our favorite of the entire trip.
All four of us absolutely LOVED our first trip to Chicago and will be back for sure.