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Sunday - Brunch and Dinner

Thank you for the great suggestions.

Feb 24, 2015
obiwandog in Chicago Area

Sunday - Brunch and Dinner

Hi all.

Planning a day with my wife as a surprise for her birthday (~1 month away). For those who can ID me based on my username, shhhh! You know she deserves better than me so let her have this day….

Looking at brunch and significantly later dinner. I’d prefer to keep brunch a bit lighter and focus on mimosas and maybe a little music and conversation without needing a 3 hour nap afterwards.

Dinner preferences would be seafood, Italian, steak or contemporary (avoid Asian please) – huge tasting menus are out, but we love to share small plate and mix and match our way through a menu.

Logistics: Downtown, River North, Gold Coast, Streeterville, Near North – we are locals and adept at “L”, Walking, Uber, etc. – think South of North Avenue and North of Congress, East of Halsted…
Price is not the primary concern, but dinner ballpark would be $100 bottle of wine and $70/pp on food before Tax and Tip.

Past winners mirror nsxtasy’s top 10 or so, add Bavettes and eliminated Alinea and a few others as they are over the top for this (and too hard to get in to), but Sable, GT, Purple Pig, Anteprima are on track

Considering Nico Osteria as my current backup for dinner, but we have been there before and like to try new places.

The following are out as we’ve done them, but wanted to give a flavor for our tastes:
We liked Tanta, but too loud for this night,
Prosecco was great, but too recently visited
GT Fish
Boarding house didn’t rock our world, good but they seem confused and it shows

Any and all ideas appreciated and thank you in advance!

Feb 24, 2015
obiwandog in Chicago Area

Boston - Monday night, casual dinner, serious foodie

Thanks. I'll try to update post event. Appreciate the ideas!

Mar 02, 2014
obiwandog in Greater Boston Area

Boston - Monday night, casual dinner, serious foodie

Hi. Visiting from Chicago for business. Planning to go to dinner with a small group 3-5 near Liberty Hotel Cambridge (?). One is a serious foodie who prefers small plates, sharing, etc. Examples of Chicago restaurants that worked well include Girl and the Goat, Sienna Tavern, Sable, Mercado and Bar Toma.

Cost is not a huge concern - moderate to expensive is ok, ludicrously expensive or a place known to be extremely high priced may be of issue. Generally, good food, good service, interesting fare and preferably "Boston". Not looking for the standard white table cloth steak business dinner.

Thanks to all in advance.

Mar 02, 2014
obiwandog in Greater Boston Area

Last Minute Trip

UPDATE: Thanks to all!

Sat. Dim Sum Brunch at The Source - was quite nice. Outstanding service and food familiar enough to keep my dim sum addicted daughter happy and upscaled enough to keep it interesting and fun.

We had a very long dinner at Central - partially due to our dining style and certainly extended by a server who spent most of his time elsewhere, not completely neglected but not the favorites for sure. Good food. Short-rib was great. Desserts took the prize.

Brunch at Tabard Inn was also great - loved the old building and the food was spot on.

Dinner at Dino disappointed. They had a very large party that I think threw them into turmoil and the service was very good with apologies a free app and a gift card (a little over the top as we never complained). However, the food really didn't wow us at all. Everything was ok, but missing something to make it great.

Jaleo was really good. Wish we had more people to try more things.

Thanks again for great suggestions as always!

Last Minute Trip

Sorry as I am sure there are good posts to assist, but I'm struggling to find them and bingo on time. Chicagohounds found a last minute flight deal...

Just booked a trip to DC for this weekend. I need a few suggestions for my family including a 9 year old who is quite used to dining out, well behaved and sometimes adventurous i.e. no Chuck-e-Cheese.

Saturday lunch ideas near the National Mall
Saturday dinner ideas - willing to Metro within reason from JW Marriott ideally cocktails and worth dressing up a little wife wants to wear fun dress and uncomfortable shoes

Sunday love a good breakfasty brunch
Open to ideas for dinner pretty much anywhere without car, metro or cab

Monday I have no idea what will be open, but the Spy Museum and Jaleo if open might be in the plan - other thoughts welcome....

Thanks to any and all in advance

After Work Dinner - mostly foodies

Hi. Looking for a venue for a few post work dinners with a group of 7-8 in August, starting point is near the Merchandise Mart. Typically looking to split a variety of apps then order starters and mains to allow the group to try a wider variety. Not looking for tasting menus

Doesn't need to be formal but does needs a solid focus on food and good service. I love the Purple Pig, but I need a reservation as this group won't want to wait in a crowd.

Thanks so much

May 29, 2013
obiwandog in Chicago Area

Nice dinner - atmosphere is key

Thanks - it does feel we have similar tastes as we went to Sprout on a similar evening some time back and had a good time.

Had been thinking about Longman and Eagle but wasn't sure if the "dress and heels" would be too much - never been there - thoughts?

May 14, 2012
obiwandog in Chicago Area

Nice dinner - atmosphere is key

Looking for suggestions on venue to take my wife on a night out without the kid.

She is looking to model her new dress and risk a stumble on some serious high heels.

We are both looking for lively atmosphere without having to scream at each other all night long.

I am looking for good food, excellent service and to keep the whole shebang under $200 – assume appetizer, entrée and wine.

Location: prefer to stay North of Armitage / South of Foster and East of Western

Current backup reservation is at Sola which we both like.
Previous similar (albeit wrong location) night at Sable.
We like places like BrownTrout and Chalkboard – but are looking for more lively, fun, get dressed, atmosphere and these tend to be a little more homey.
Last note: no sushi please and we've been to Deleece to many times so thank you but...
Any thoughts appreciated

May 14, 2012
obiwandog in Chicago Area

Dinner with In-Laws?

Thanks for all the great suggestions and the reminder about Savored! I'll try to to post the results once we decide and have dined.

Nov 04, 2011
obiwandog in Chicago Area

Dinner with In-Laws?

>>That's funny, because it really is otherwise such a good match. As I read your description, I kept thinking about Deleece.

I know and we might still go there, its about perception as they will just have driven in from the burbs. I'm actually going to Deleece tonight with friends and family. Time to see the new space.


Nov 04, 2011
obiwandog in Chicago Area

Dinner with In-Laws?

Looking for suggestions for dinners with my in-laws. We are taking them out to celebrate their birthdays this year and I'm stumped. Providing as much info as I can to help you help me...please help me...

Location: We live in Lakeview near Southport, but are more than happy to venture farther from home, although I'd prefer to stay out of River North as we'll likely have 2 cars - in-laws are coming in from the West and have good access to either 290 or can take 90

Food: Two foodies, One "I'll try anything", One "I'll try nothing" and a 7 year old - I am more worried about the "I eat nothing" as the 7 year old has been to Purple Pig, Girl and the Goat, Browntrout and a wide variety of other places and is very well behaved and can work with whatever the menu offers. The challenge is finding entrees, preferably fish that are simply prepared and do not have ingredients listed that are not recognizable (by the picky individual) - explanations from wait staff are shrugged off as "If I haven't had it, I won't like it" (yes this can be frustrating).

No Asian cuisine
No chains or restaurants with siblings in the suburbs i.e. "Mia" Restaurants
Atmosphere that feels like a restaurant not a club
Upscale enough to show respect and denote that we are treating this as a special occasion not a casual night out.
No refinancing my home - average entree prices $28-$35+ is pushing it - unless you have a real winner as I'd prefer this be a nice night than say "at least it wasn't too expensive".
Must take reservations as my 7 year old is great at a table, but not overly patient waiting for one (likely going on a weekend)

Currently being considered, some as backups - but I'd really like some other ideas:
Ceres' Table (I've never been there)
Province (I've never been there)
Socca (backup)
Deleece (backup, but honestly as it is right out our door it shows a lack of effort on our part - despite quality and match)
LM (30/70 on whether this would pass for our picky eater)

Any ideas welcome and generally thank to all members as your posts have been very helpful in the past.

4111 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60618

Girl and the Goat
809 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60661

Purple Pig
500 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

Nov 04, 2011
obiwandog in Chicago Area

Pizza Delivery to North Center

You might try "Pizzacos Italian Eatery" - 3605 Ashland
Has good thin crust. Much thicker than Apart and more NY style than Chicago style as you can fold it over and the crust has a nice chew to it. Delivery has been very reliable

Oct 24, 2011
obiwandog in Chicago Area

Looking for BYOB restaurant for rehearsal dinner in Chicago

Obviously with a party this large calling first is critical. A few thoughts take what helps and leave the rest. First if you can agree to just serve beer and wine you ,might pull this off on budget at a restaurant more easily - with that out of the way, I doubt you'll find BYOB in the neighborhoods you mentioned for a group this size (so a lot of my ideas will be significantly North of there)
1. Sushi or Thai restaurants are often BYOB and if they can give you a semi-private room might work well if that is a style fo food you and your guests will enjoy (think Butterfly on Grand or Thai Classic on Clark Street - I could probably list a dozen of these)
2. Terragusto on Addison - you'd need the whole place but might be able to work something out with the owners - great food
3. Machu Pichu is Peruvian and while it looks like a dive the interior decor is decent and the food is quite good and I'd bet they'd be very happy to have your party and are definitely BYOB (~3900 N Ashland), parking during Cubs games might be an issue
4. Maybe one of the Hearty Boy's Spots?

1851 W Addison St, Chicago, IL 60613

Thai Classic Restaurant
3332 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60657

Jan 06, 2011
obiwandog in Chicago Area

Wine Shops in Myrtle Beach


Jun 30, 2010
obiwandog in Southeast

Wine Shops in Myrtle Beach

thank you

Jun 30, 2010
obiwandog in Southeast

Wine Shops in Myrtle Beach

Visiting Myrtle Beach and meeting up with friends who are able to drive there - we'll be flying. Guessing they'll raid their wine cellar to bring a nice bottle or two and we'd like to reciprocate without filling the suitcase and doing security, etc. for air-travel.

Any suggestions on wine shops in MB? Not looking for 20 year old Bordeaux, but perhaps something beyond the local grocery / liquor store selection.

Any other suggestions while we are there? 4 adults , 3 kids... - the following sounded good from other threads:
Salt Creek
Michael's Pizza
Marina Raw Bar
Gordon Biersch

Thanks to all - will report back post trip

Salt Creek Cafe'
4660 Highway 17, Murrells Inlet, SC 29576

Jun 28, 2010
obiwandog in Southeast

New Trader Joe's yea/nay thread 2nd quarter 2010

Roasted red pepper and eggplant dip/spread - good on its own, excellent when used to jazz up spaghetti sauce
Pinot Grigio Sausage great sliced and served with cheese and crackers
Frozen Spinach and Artichoke dip - I'm not usually a big fan of these, but this one is pretty darn good and my wife who does normally likes these say it is "the best"

Nay: almost any bread sold here in plastic bags (like a grocery bread aisle) - their fresh "bakery" bread is very good, but this stuff - I have yet to find anything I like

Jun 28, 2010
obiwandog in Chains

New Trader Joe's yea/nay thread 2nd quarter 2010

bland, bland, bland. completely agree with you on flavor and price

Jun 28, 2010
obiwandog in Chains

Suggestions for Big Family with Kids in May

Furama (Just S. of Chinatown) is a great location for Dim Sum with large parties including kids. I think you may have a real problem getting a table at Phoenix with 10 ppl. I do like the food at Phoenix better, but the wait time and close quarters can be a killer with kids.

Zapatista (Mexican) in the S. Loop is good for large groups with kids - although the kids menu burrito is nearly the same size as the adult version (a little intimidating for a 3 year old - but in a good way).

1307 S Wabash Ave Ste Lobby, Chicago, IL 60605

Apr 22, 2010
obiwandog in Chicago Area

Brunch/Lunch near the Loop

I hate to do this, but Petterinos in my opinion is not good. I have been there twice - once my decision and once someone else's and both times were just plain bad. I normally like Lettuce ( restaurants but this one is dreadful. Bad service (both times), bad food - uninspired and cold (both times) - this place will pack them in due to location and revolving groups of theater go'ers tourists, but you can do much better. Try Osteria Via Stato less than 1 mile N. and you'll be much happier.

Osteria Via Stato
620 N State St, Chicago, IL 60610

150 North Dearborn, Chicago, IL 60601

Apr 22, 2010
obiwandog in Chicago Area

Favorite brand of eggnog

Oberweis - get is at their retail locations or most local groceries around the holidays. Great stuff.

Nov 09, 2009
obiwandog in Chicago Area

ISO Lakeview area and/or downtown dinner recs that won't break the bank

I really like the style of restaurants you named, but can't handle the day to day prices either - not that they are bad, just too bad they are more than I choose to spend most nights out.

Here are a few:
Terragusta - two locations, Addison is BYOB, great food, you can find many reviews to support this view

Raw Bar - bit of an odd menu in that it covers seafood and then for some reason goes middle eastern - we stick witht eh seafood and entrees, great food, cozy dining room - not great rest rooms (they should fix this)

Sapori Trattoria - neighborhood Italian feel without being all about big heavy red sauce. Excellent food, solid service and the price is right.

Mia Francesca - a bit Chicago cliche, but I still like it - you will likely have to wait for a table though

Cafe 28 - it has been a while but we liked this despite the odd location right by the tracks - noise was not a problem outside of Cubs game days in the bar area (which I still find odd)

Sapori Trattoria
2701 N Halsted, Chicago, IL 60657

Mia Francesca
3311 N. Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60657

Nov 04, 2009
obiwandog in Chicago Area

Tasso Ham and Boudin Sausage

Paulina Meat Market definitely has Tasso (quite good). I am fairly sure the have Boudin, but have not purchased myself so phone first.

Nov 04, 2009
obiwandog in Chicago Area

Help with 3 dinners in/near downtown loop

I'll take a swing at #2, I am not Indian, but work with many and have spent time in Bangalore and appreciate the cuisine. I can truly say one thing about Indian food - everyone has a different opinion of what is good, especially from region to region.
India House @ 59 W Grand Ave is very good. When we have home sick colleagues in from Bangalore we send them here and they seem to come back refreshed. The atmosphere and food here is a bit more conservative/traditional (white table clothes and formal service) than the West Loop locations to follow.

Jaipur West Loop on Randolph - excellent food and relaxed atmosphere - still upscale, but dimmer lighting and less formal. I really like this place and recently took my brother there who raved about the food. More laid back than Indian House, with excellent service.

Veerasway West Loop on Randolph - calling this Indian is a stretch as it is not traditional Indian by any means. It is "creative Indian style" - and I mean that in a good way. I like it, my wife enjoyed it, but my visitors from India were horrified at the idea when they read the menu alone. Similar to some dining experiences I have with Italians at Chicago pizzerias. If interested, please review the menu before going. Atmosphere is tight and loud as is true of most smaller locations in the West Loop.

844 W Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60607

Oct 30, 2009
obiwandog in Chicago Area

Suggestions appreciated

I’ll take a Swing at the places by Wrigley (My wife and I live 5 blocks West of the Park):
Deleece 4004 N Southport
Good atmosphere, great food, reasonable and neighbor friendly

Someone else mentioned Coobah 3423 N Southport Ave – good food, a bit loud depending on whether they have music that day – I was impressed by the food in terms of creativity and quality

Cafe28 1800 West Irving Park – this place is a sleeper in that the street view will never lure you in, yet the place is usually packed due to the good food, service and atmosphere. I’d call it Cuban-Mexican – if you want to switch gears after the game and sit down to relax and eat

Raw Bar 3720 N Clark - – one of our favorites, totally casual front bar room that crowds after a game, quiet dining room perfect for a nice dinner and romantic when they have a pianist/singer. Food is a little too varied, we stick with the seafood and it does not disappoint. Only negative, the men’s room is more “Wrigley bar” than you’d expect - Crawfish Bisque more than makes up for it.

Aug 12, 2009
obiwandog in Chicago Area

Torontonians visiting Chicago

For fun Italian:
Ms. Chow mentioned La Scarola - agreed if you like old school Italian (good call Ms. Chow)

Quartino is a good location with lots of things to try, from wine (available in smaller sizes and flights) to antipastos and small plates and a vibrant scene of distractions - a bit of a human zoo - try their website for more info:

Gioco (also Italian) in the S. Loop is also a good bet - the best smelling wood oven around (IMHO) and top notch Italian food (certainly calmer than Quartino

I'd also recommend The Gage by Millenium Park. I'd describe this as Gastro-Pub with well beyond a pub menu and a lively atmosphere - friends who cannot decide between a bar and a restaurant often end up here and everyone is happy.

Total side note - if you are interested in picnicing or snacking in the park or Hotel - try Pastoral on Lake St. - huge selection of cheese with some wines to match - fun place to duck in and try things with a wonderful staff. Their other location (much smaller) was on FoodTv sometime back and they have kept with what got them there.

If you plan to venture North (Lincoln Park, Lakeview, Etc.) - let me know for more rec's, not sure how far you intend to venture.

Aug 12, 2009
obiwandog in Chicago Area

Geneva On The Lake (GOTL) - Restaurants / Activities

Hi. We have an upcoming trip to Geneva On The Lake (GOTL) - never been there before - and we are looking for restaurant and activity recommendations.

Any help appreciated, don't mind driving a bit to get to less touristy places.

thanks in advance