Will be going to Chicago next month and would love comments on my itinerary. We do not want to return to restaurants we visited previously, which include Alinea, Lou Malnati’s, Purple Pig, Publican, Frontera Grill, Bongo Room, and Perennial Virant. We live in NYC so are trying to find things that aren’t as common for us here – for instance, we have great sushi places (and we’re going to Japan in a few months) so I’ve intentionally left those off my list.
We land in the evening so I’m hesitant to book a tasting menu given that we’d lose a deposit if our flight was delayed (which, for instance, happened with our last trip). Also we’re having a tasting menu the next night so we didn’t want to be too repetitive (even though El Ideas looks like something we’d love so we'll have to go there on our next visit!).
I am leaning towards Bohemian House.
Pizza for lunch – We enjoyed Lou Malnati’s. Would Art of Pizza be good? Pequod’s? Any others?
Dinner – Grace – Do we both have to choose the same tasting menu? Reviews seem mixed on the wine pairings. What would our options be if we opted out of the pairings? Are there enough interesting half-bottles that we could create our own “pairing” system from, say one white and one red?
Brunch – Deciding between Jam, Lula Café, and Carriage House
I will also be staying in Chicago for the following week for a conference and have the following on my short list. I would be dining alone at all of these:
The Girl and Goat – This has been on my list for a while. Is it still worth a visit or are there other stronger contenders? Can one eat at the bar without a reservation?
Both these sound appealing Smoque BBQ and Fat Rice – any recent reports?
In an entirely different direction, avec seems to get good reviews. Is there a bar here where I could eat alone?
Donuts – NY doesn’t have many great donut places. Any you particularly love, preferably those reasonably close to the Loop/West Loop/Near North.
Bakeries – Are these worth a visit, and, if so, any particular items to order? Baker Miller, Vanille Patisserie, Lovely, Floriole
Coffee – is Bad Wolf Coffee worth the trek? Is it close to a train stop?
Thanks very much!