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Chicago – Where to Feast

September 13, 2011

With Chicago, I will conclude the travel feasting reviews from the summer. I have only visited Chicago in short spurts, so I am far – very far – from expert on that city’s vast and impressive dining scene.  In any event, over the years of traveling north for girls’ trips, I have assembled a stellar long-weekend dining roster.

India Garden – A long-time Chicago favorite. Just fantastic Indian food. Not much more to say than that.

Frontera Grill – LOVE Mexican food. And if I have a favorite celebrity chef, Rick Bayless is probably the man (I am a documented Anthony Bourdain fan, but at this point he is far more a travel/food writer than he is a chef.)  What did I eat at Frontera? Mole.  Incredible mole.  This dish was far and above any version of this dish that I had had before.  Add some fried plantains, some spicy pickled veggies, and a primo margarita – very happy mouth and stomach.  They don’t really take reservations.  Just budget some time to linger with drinks at the bar.

Purple Pig – Pure serendipity that we found the Purple Pig on this most recent trip. A friendly neighbor in line at the airport gave it high marks. On that alone, we probably wouldn’t have remembered it. But when we came to a point in the afternoon when our feet needed a break and just happened to be across from said Purple Pig, well, naturally, had to try. What did we find? The perfect afternoon snack or late’n’light lunch spot. Lots of vino to choose from. Lots of innovative (read: not tired) tapas snackies to choose from. The fried, cheese stuffed olives were a little intense for me. But the potato and speck croquettes were most tasty.  And I am determined to recreate their lovely purple potato, tomato, green bean, and herb summer salad.

Wishbone – If you’re staying anywhere near Michigan Avenue you will need to grab a cab (or have a local friend with a car) to get to Wishbone in the West Loop. Well worth it though. Like most of my favorite brunch spots, Wishbone has a Southern flavor (e.g. Georgia Browns of DC). Wishbone also has quirky flair that mixes well with brunch (e.g. Luna of DC). The crawfish cakes with cheese grits were wunder bar. They also passed my bloody mary test with flying colors. And, if you’re like me and brunch just isn’t right with out a meeting of savory and sweet, you cannot go wrong with their corn and scallion cakes topped with a splash of syrup.

Le Colonial – This restaurant makes the list more for cool atmosphere reasons (expat/lounge vibe). Convenient location if you are staying North on Michigan Ave. When you make a reservation for dinner, specifically request the balcony – fun little perch.  I regret not trying their pho.

Le Colonial on Urbanspoon

Wishbone on Urbanspoon

The Purple Pig on Urbanspoon

Frontera Grill on Urbanspoon

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