my F-I-L and i are doing a spontaneous road trip from houston to chicago. after a night stay in STL we should arrive in town around noon on tuesday, july 2nd. we plan to leave in the early evening on july 4th to make it back to STL for the night before we hightail it back to houston. i've read some of the other theads started by first-timers and there is some really good info there. we are staying in the river north area near state street and erie. we are parking the car in a garage and i'm not sure how in-out privileges work, so i'm hoping most of our travels will be possible via public transit.
so far, i've got lou malnati's for pizza, and portillo's for a dog and beef. btw, is that pronounced to rhyme with armadillo, or like "por-tee-yo"?
i know there are some great steakhouses that i'd love to hit, but i don't think we plan to bring anything dressier than jeans and a polo shirt. are there any great steakhouses we could visit dressed thusly that we wouldn't look like bums? in houston, you can get away in 99% of the restaurants with jeans and a polo, but i know not every town is so casual. what would you recommend for that?
also, i've seen high recommendations for the bayless mexican restaurants, and i'll consider those, but i'm more keen to try food that is harder to get in houston (we have both great tex-mex and mex-mex). should i look at some old school italian? is there a great chinese (particularly sichuan) place we need to hit? how about a hole-in-the-wall mom and pop place with great food that belies its humble surroundings? or a new upstart that is doing something new and exciting we have to try?
also, since the cubs are going to be away, we'll only be able to catch a sox game. i'm leaning toward the afternoon game on the fourth, which will let us grab a bite to eat and maybe some brews before the game and then after the game head back to the car and head out of town. what do you recommend within walking distance from the stadium that will allow said consumption? i saw one recommendation for the pleasant house (looked good) but it looks kind of far to walk from the metro. is it?
thanks a bunch!