My wife and I just got back from a glorious food weekend in Chicago (we live in SF). We had many great meals due to wonderful suggestions from Chowhounders. I just wanted to give a report on our experiences and say thank you.
Avec- Awesome seasonal cooking. The food was perfectly prepared. Some highlights included: Pea crostini with fresh mint, ricotta salata, and pine nuts and home cured salami. We also had awesome dates stuffed with chorizo and wrapped in bacon. We ran into Charlie Trotter.
Alinea- This was the restaurant I was the most excited about. I found the food to be very good, some incredible, but beyond expensive. I have eaten many expensive meals in my life, but this topped the list at $800 for two. The worst part...we left hungry. I suggest it for people where money is no object, but for me, I felt ripped off in the end.
Pizzaria Due- terrible, terrible, terrible tourist trap. I found out later from a good friend who lives in Chicago that we should have gone to The Art of Pizza. Oh well
Thai Pastry- amazing Thai food. We had dishes I have never seen before like dried shrimp, coconut and chilies served on broccoli leaves with a honey sauce, or ground chicken wrapped in purple taro with a spicy sauce. The food here was amazing.
Vie- probably our favorite meal. Although not in Chicago, we thought it was incredible. Everything down to the bread was made in house. We had an amazing meal, including homemade sausage, pork with a sauerkraut brik, and a hanger steak with fried chickpeas and grilled ramps.
Topolobampo-ok, not great. Wonderful margaritas. I found the apps and ceviche to be wonderful. The main courses were just fair. Try the tres leches cake for dessert (really three flavors - Mexican hot chocolate, orange, and caheta).
I can go into more detail, but I just wanted to briefly summarize the meal. Thanks again for the wonderful suggestions.