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Returning to Chicago for first time in 2 years; what's new?

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Returning to Chicago for first time in 2 years; what's new?

kyra1 | Jul 2, 2013 10:50 AM

I have made several trips to Chicago in the past five years or so, to visit family and friends there. However, I have not visited your lovely city for two years (long story). I am returning soon to see family and friends and an exhibit at the Art Institute. Normally I keep up on the Chicago food scene but have not done this as much lately.

I've had excellent advice from many board members in the past, and thank you in advance for your assistance.

One member of our travel party lives in Cincinnati, and the rest of us live in Columbus. We eat anything. The family member whom we are visiting in Chicago, who will be dining with us some of the time, is a vegetarian (no seafood but dairy and eggs okay). At any given time, there may be between two and eight people dining out. We will be in town from around July 12 to July 16 or 17. I understand it will be difficult/impossible to get reservations at short notice.

I prefer small plates so I can taste as much as possible without getting full. My SO and I love tasting menus, but we usually can't do this with other people along.

Places I have eaten at, and enjoyed, on previous visits include: Sable, Publican, the Girl and the Goat, Purple Pig, Frontera Grill/Topolobampo, another regional Mexican place whose name I cannot recall, Mercat a la Planxa, and Miller's Pub (friendly service, good beer, and the best burger I ever ate at 1 am after a long day waiting for a U2 concert). There were more but I'm blanking on them right now.

I know we will be visiting the Art Institute. Our two go-to places for lunch nearby are Terzo Piano and The Gage. I have also put Henri on my list for this trip as well, unless you don't recommend it.

Otherwise, I am uncertain of our itinerary. We will be staying with friends in Elmhurst (any recommendations there?) and commuting into the city. So, I'm not sure about what neighborhoods we will be in at what times of the day; if our party is willing to travel for food; et cetera. I'm open to your suggestions.

I would like to know what is new in the past two years, as well as places I still haven't visited. Here is what I am considering:

-if just my SO and I go out for dinner, maybe Naha or Goosefoot
-Slurping Turtle
-Balena
-Province
-Vera
-Fat Rice
-Chez Moi
-a Bill Kim place, since I've not been to any of them
-I'm curious about EL Ideas, but uncertain
-anyone tried Little Goat? what did you think?
-for the members of our party with a sweet tooth, Floriole, Vanille Patisserie, Do-Rite, Glazed & Infused, Doughnut Vault
-French Market at the Ogilvie Transportation Center (if we're on the Metra, we might as well stop in)

I apologize; I am usually more organized. Thanks for any advice, help, and suggestions you can offer.

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