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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Windy City Ho!

I'm heading to Chicago tomorrow for a long weekend organized by my dear, sweet husband. In case you didn't hear, I turned thirty a few weeks ago, and to celebrate, my best friend Meg (aka Queenie) is meeting us out there, along with one of our closest friends from college and his very cool wife. I'm so excited! And of course, all we've really planned so far is where we'll eat. The first night is dinner at the famous, venerable Charlie Trotter's, and it's extra special because we're eating at the chef's table! I'm hoping this means what it sometimes does--a table actually inside the kitchen where we get to watch the cooks in action. Whatever the setup is, I know it will be a blast, and I can't wait to taste the food that put Chicago on the map as a major culinary destination.
Our other dinner plans are equally exciting: Alinea and Tru. Described as upscale Mediterranean-influenced French food, Tru has won a James Beard Award and countless other accolades, and is widely considered one of the best restaurants Chicago has to offer.

Alinea is Grant Achatz's cutting-edge restaurant dedicated to exploring the best of new techniques married with classical flavors. It was named one of the world's fifty best restaurants last year, and I can't wait to find out why! Our college friends have been there and described it as one of the most singularly amazing culinary experiences of their lives. Take a look at that picture gallery, folks! Yes, it's food (the image to the left is apparently hearts of palm,) and I'm going to eat it! I promise to take pictures. Unless it feel super awkward, then I probably won't. But Meg will! She never lets awkwardness stop her from capturing the food on film, which is why she's a much better food blogger than I ever will be.

I want to hit up a great sushi bar while I'm there, because I'm craving chirashi like you wouldn't believe, and of course no trip to Chicago would be complete with a hot dog! Any Windy City readers out there want to weigh in on not-to-be-missed Chicago hotspots? Doesn't have to be food--even I will probably have to take a break from eating at some point!


Have you made plans to check out Rick Bayless's newest (and very casual) restaurant, Xoco? Maybe for breakfast? He kind of reminds me of an older Adam in that happy alpha chef way. :) And he's big into local/organic foods, including growing a bunch of his own foods for his restaurants.

Chicago Model City is a cool, free exhibit at the Chicago Architecture Foundation building. A scale model of the whole city with info on various parts of the city and when they were built. Maybe 30 minutes to visit.

If the weather is decent, you should definitely take one of the Wendella Boat Tours:

These are amazing--you get history and fun stories about the city while cruising by boat up and down the Chicago River. My favorite is the combined River/Lake tour. Fabulous photo ops. Totally worth it, even on a chilly day.

You're so lucky !! I'll be in Chicago next april and I'm counting the days...
Of course, we me being french, when I'm there I prefer to go to R.J. grunts near Lincoln Park for the best hamburgers of my life !!
Have fun ;-)

I'm so jealous you're going to Alinea. I'm basically jealous of everything you eat. lol

Nice photo. :-)

Greatest Picture, Ever!

Awesome photo!

Thank you for the recs! Jenifer, I definitely want to try a Bayless restaurant, but we couldn't get reservations at Topolobampo or Frontera. Xoco sounds like a perfect solution! I love Mexican breakfast more than anything.

Nephele, I'm very interested in doing a boat tour--thinking of the architectural one, since Stinger's really into that stuff...

Hi :)
Thank you for sharing.
I wish you safe journeying and an excellent time. I have never been to Chicago but I know a lot about it. (Thanks to Chloe Neill)
All the best,

My son went crazy while recently attending a wedding of his friend in ORD....he's a chef and said you have so many incredible venues

Sounds like you're in for a great trip. Post pics!

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