I wanted to thank the Chowhounds who responded to my inquiry about places to go while visiting Chicago...we were in your fair city over the weekend--trying to keep warm and dry, I might mention...we had two dinners and two lunches, all of which were good, and two of which were outstanding:
Friday evening we tried our hand at getting into Topolobampo/Frontera...after the laughter of the waiting crowd died down, we decided simply to have a cocktail at Frontera, and then walk around the corner to Zinfandel...very smooth Frontera margarita, and a good meal at Zinfandel.
Saturday lunchtime, we tried Frontera Grill again, this time for the brunch; we were seated within a few minutes...this was one of our outstanding meals...when a restaurant and its owner have such a huge reputation, I worry about my expectations being too high, or the place just not living up to the hype...this was not the case at all...everthing was well-crafted and tasted wonderful...for an out-of-towner such as myself, I think the Saturday brunch is a great way to experience the place without getting impatient with a TWO HOUR wait on Friday or Saturday evening.
Saturday dinner was Aruna's Thai Restaurant...very impressive, and, I think, worth the price for some very refined southeast asian cuisine...I certainly recommend the place.
Finally, Sunday lunch on the way to the airport was Cafe Baba-Ree-Ba [might not have the name quite right, but I'm sure you know where I'm talking about]...well-crafted tapas, reasonably priced, remarkably friendly and helpful service.
So thanks, Chicago C'Hounds, we enjoyed our stay.