Hello Chicago hounders,
I finally made my trek to Chicago last week. I spent three days in the city proper before heading to the south suburbs for Thanksgiving weekend.
All in all, I had some great food. Thanks so much for recommendations. I ended up trying Erwin for our nice big dinner. We actually were staying at a hotel in the neighborhood and it was fun to walk to dinner in a neighborhood setting rather than trekking downtown. I had a truly fabulous meal there (entree of duck confit and sweetbreads with pan sauce and spaetzle succotash was more than I thought it could be) with great service. It was everything I wanted in my nice dinner out in Chicago.
I also ended up at Le Bouchon one night quite by accident (i.e. happened to be in neighborhood cold tired and hungry). I loved it for what it was: cozy and very French. The portions were huge though. I gave up, exhausted, halfway through my pork loin. My boyfriend was *extremely* happy with their steak and frites.
My other happy discovery in Chicago was the Bittersweet bakery on W Belmont, where we had lunch and then spent gobs of money for things to take to Thanksgiving. Truffles, cookies, baked cheese crostini, jam cookies, almond and coconut macaroons. All extremely tasty. And the egg salad and watercress sandwich for lunch was the best rendition I have had in many moons. And their hot chocolate: also the best ever. Note that their signature hot chocolate comes with a strong orange flavor, which I enjoyed, but you should be clear if you want a plain one.
Our one major misstep was Leona's pizza in Lakeview. I unwisely looked at my Lonely Planet book that gushed about this place and went there on our first night in town. Yech. I should have known if you guys hadn't talked about it, it wouldn't be good.
Not much to report on south suburbs except for a steady diet of Aurelio's pizza and great beer at the Flossmoor station brewery. There didn't seem to be much else on offer in that area. We decided that Aurelio's must put crack cocaine or something in their pizza as we couldn't stop eating it. However, we noticed that only the pepperoni pizza was good - it has several different kinds of cheese, whereas if you order a pizza with different ingredients you only get mozzarella and the appeal is much diminished.
Anyhow, thanks again for the recs and helping me eat well on my vacation. I'd be happy to return the favor on the SF board next time any of you visit!
p.s. I was much tempted to try that popcorn place on Michigan avenue but there were at least 50 people waiting in line. Is it that good? Is it worth mail ordering?