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Just finished my short arty/foody trip to Chicago. My eating was very much guided by the Chicago board so a big thanks to everyone who contributes. I had a really excellent time in spite of the cold (minus something Farenheit!!) which seemed to be cold even by Chicago standards. Never has so much unlimited use been made of an unlimited transport pass which enabled me to get around efficiently and do everything I wanted to.
Breakfast: thanks to all the recommendations on my question, I went to both Tempo and Meli, both of which had delicious French toast, but I much preferred Tempo for the ambience and variety of customers (Meli seemed to be entirely blokes having business breakfasts), and the friendliness of the staff.
Dinner: Lou Malnati's felt exactly like I expected a Chicago pizza place to feel. Bustling, busy, lots of family groups. In a country where the portion size often defeats me, the personal pizza for one was indeed the right size for one!
Mexique: I would never have found this place without Chowhound, and it is exceptional. One of the best meals I have had in memory. French/Mexican, which is one of the reasons I chose it - I like to eat food I can't get in Europe when away. I had a salad of roasted beets and pears, followed by braised pork belly with mole sauce, sweet potato purée, seared scallops and roasted Brussels sprouts. What makes it so... sorry, running out of words... Is the different layers of flavour and seasoning. Good list of wines by the glass too. What I can't understand is why it was so empty, admittedly on a very cold weekday evening. It's a bit away from downtown, but only 15 minutes on the 66 bus which stops right outside. Definitely worth the trip.
Eataly: liked this place when I ate at one in Italy, liked this too. Good place to eat on your own as it is great for people watching. Excellent pasta.
Lunches and snacks were taken wherever was handy. Cosi has a fine club sandwich, Sugar Fixe in Oak Park good coffee and pastries, and I had a salad at Wolfgang Puck at the airport before leaving.
Only tipped my toe in the waters of what Chicago has to offer so must come back.
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