I'm meeting an old friend next weekend in Chicago (my first time there.) She's an American coming from Switzerland and I'm a NYer and true chowhound. We'll only be there a couple of days, so I want the food to be memorable. I'd love to hear some local suggestions. We're not looking for super fancy four star places, just local places with nice ambience for talking that have consistently good food. Basically, I want to know your favorite places that you return to again and again, despite the fact that there are hundreds of other places you know you should be trying.
I'd love to eat as Chicagoans do, meaning should I try deep dish pizza, or is that unnecessary? How about steak? For some reason I feel like steak may be one of those things Chicago does well (though, again, what do I know?)
We are open to any and all cuisines. One specific thing we are looking for is breakfast. My friend is craving a "real, American breakfast". By that I think she means a wonderfully executed brunch type menu -- eggs, bacon, pancakes, etc.
I'd personally love to find a nice restaurant with good food and pleasant ambience that makes a really good martini. Not looking for a menu list of gimmicky drinks, just a place that knows how to make a solid, classic cocktail.
Lunch suggestions can even be street food if you think that makes the most sense. Just tell me what you would suggest someone do to fill her tummy while she's in Chicago for a few days.
I know this is a super general request (which is why I added the "Please read!") so if you've gotten this far, thanks for indulging me!
In terms of geography, we're happy to walk/cab it, but I don't want to do a huge amount of schlepping since we'll only be there 48 hours. We're staying at the Swissotel.