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Best Underground Eating Experiences in New York

Sorry all... being in London and 5 hours ahead of local time, I'm running a little behind on my posts. Here's a rather impressive list that I ran across last evening right after posting this...

fm1963, thanks for the info... I'll definitely look into these! I've heard Bite New York tends to be one of the better of the lot, but is currently closed until November.

I've discovered that New York's underground dining scene can be very hit and miss. So, I would suggest the experience to everyone, but strive to get on the more exclusive lists, because those tend to be the most memorable experiences! A lot of places keep FB pages to keep patrons up-to-date on their happenings.

Here's my favorite so far in London:

It's a fantastic experience, and I would highly recommend it to anyone visiting and looking for an authentic London dining experience!

Sep 02, 2010
KateHC in Manhattan

Best Underground Eating Experiences in New York

Hey Hounds,

My husband and I are currently living in London and know the underground "supper club" scene here pretty well.

We're going to be in New York for a wedding in late September/early October and would love to incorporate an underground event into our (already gluttonous) itinerary.

I'm wondering what some of your favorites are?

Thanks in advance!


Sep 01, 2010
KateHC in Manhattan

One Weekend in Chicago -- The Best Picks: Help!

Okie dokie, Slough... you asked for all over and local... here's the list so far...

Violet Hour - Wicker Park - Great cocktails circa Victorian era and fantastic nibbles
NoMi (Terrace) - River North - Views, views, views... expensive sushi, expensive drinks, beautiful people
Peninsula Hotel Bar (Pen Bar) - sexy, dark, great cocktails
Long Room - River North - cocktail trollies, pretty people, rockin' music on the weekends
Map Room - Bucktown - one of most comprehensive beer lists in the city, hipsters
Goose Island - Lincoln Park - local beer brewed in-house, good burgers/drunk food
Hopleaf - Andersonville - 2nd best beer list in the city; some of the best food around
Publican - Meat Packing District - Best beer list in the city; top 3 best food; top oysters

Rick Bayless is king in these here parts...
XOCO - lunch/breakfast... excellent hangover food, churros, Mexican hot chocolate, amazing pibil; long lines at lunch, but very worth it
Frontera/Topolobampo - evening meal; great margaritas; excellent food

Mercat a la Planxa - South Loop - beautiful space across from Millennium Park; fabulous drinks; order the chef's tasting menu

Hot Dog: Hot Doug's (as already mentioned) - Avondale - loooooong lines - not open Sunday - local foodie haven

Hangover Cure: Takashi - Bucktown - authentic Japanese noodles served Sunday lunch only; dinner is also outstanding, but I'd pick elsewhere if you can do Sunday lunch in lieu

Southern Food: Table 52 - Gold Coast - Art Jetter's (Oprah's chef) gem - Fried Chicken!

Burger: The Gage - South Loop - great beer list, too

Dessert/Sweets - Hot Chocolate - Bucktown - also does great brunch
Tru - Gale Gand's old haunts

Where you'll find the locals:
Silver Palm - West Town - this phrase alone: Three Piggies Sandwich -- three types of pork with a fried egg on top... kitchen open late on weekends, best drunk food ever!
Twisted Spoke - West Town - "Biker Bar" - go for the whisky, beer, bloodies, and fried egg sandwich - amazing for a hangover
Bari - West Town - the best sub in town - always a line on weekends
MK - River North - upscale food joint - foie and cake and shake are the best
La Scarola - West Town - Best Italian (hands down) in the City; probably a front, but who gives a damn with food this good
Green City Market - Saturday 7 to 1 - awesome array of local food; great for breakfast
The Publican - brew hall, communal seating, must have reservations, holy trinity of food according to Paul Kahan: oysters, pork, and beer
Avec - also Paul Kahan, no reservations, Basque food, very good people watching
Blackbird - same guy, American fare, very good

I'm no longer getting into a debate over steak -- it's overrated to begin with. All I'll say: Gibson's is a Chicago institution and in the Viagra Triangle.

Also, get the "Chicago mix" at Garrett's popcorn -- two stores located downtown - crazy tourist lines, but so good. Working weekends for toursim, the best hangover crew was always iced coffee from Intelligentsia and a bag of Chicago mix from Garrett's down the street.

Hope this helps!

Happy eating!

Hot Doug's
3324 N California Ave, Chicago, IL 60618

Avec Restaurant
615 W Randolph St Ste A, Chicago, IL 60661

Twisted Spoke
501 N Ogden Ave, Chicago, IL 60642

Hot Chocolate
1747 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

The Map Room
1949 N Hoyne Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

Green City Market
1750 N Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60614

Table fifty-two Restaurant
52 West Elm Street, Chicago, IL 60610

Hopleaf Bar
5148 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640

Silver Palm
768 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60642

Long Room
1612 W Irving Park Rd, Chicago, IL 60613

Violet Hour
1247 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

May 28, 2010
KateHC in Chicago Area

My Chicago picks for this weekend - Good choices?

I have to agree with Go... I misspoke -- er, mistyped -- in my first response. For the money, Gibson's of Kinzie are a lot better to me. Gibson's is also a Chicago institution. And for what it's worth, David Burke is a New York chef. Unless it's Mario Batali or Daniel Boulud serving me steak, I'd stick with the Chicago staples. :)

Also, Le Bouchon and La Sardine are affiliated. As it's closer to Downtown, it may be a metter option for you. But if you don't mind traveling out a bit, I'd still go with Bouchon. You'll get a better feel for what Chicago is really like that way, too.

I would also consider Avec for a more French-style restaurant, too. It's definitely a Chicago-foodie haunt, and is a lot of fun. However, they don't take reservations, but it's always fun to go and wait in the summer. Grab a bottle of wine, a table outside, and just people watch. It's not a bistro, but it's excellent French/Basque food, and it gives you a really good idea of what the Chicago food scene is like.

Avec Restaurant
615 W Randolph St Ste A, Chicago, IL 60661

La Sardine
111 N Carpenter St, Chicago, IL 60607

Le Bouchon
1958 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

May 27, 2010
KateHC in Chicago Area

Puglia Markets

My husband and I are traveling to Puglia in June for a week. We've rented a private place outside of Martina Franca with a full kitchen, grill, etc. I'm planning on cooking most of our evenings meals and eating out at lunch. I've been researching markets and whatnot, but have been sketchy results on the best places to purchase ingredients.

We'll have a car and are up for experiencing just about anything Puglia has to offer, so please feel free to throw it all out there... proteins, seafoods, produce, olive oil, cheese, wine -- all of it! What shops and markets do it best?


May 26, 2010
KateHC in Italy

Romantic downtown chicago restaurant

North Pond tends to be a little out of the way, unless you take a cab up Lakeshore (outside of rush hour).

Eve in River North is very dark and sexy... also, (on the much more expensive ends of things) try NoMi at the Park Hyatt or Sixteen at the Trump Tower. If anything, go for a drink on the terrace at Sixteen; it's an exquisite view on the City. The Gage across from Millennium Park is really a lot of fun. The low-lighting at dinner time tends to keep the bar area more hushed, so that it doesn't disturb the diners in booths toward the back wall.

Hope you have a great trip!

North Pond
2610 North Cannon Drive, Chicago, IL 60614

May 26, 2010
KateHC in Chicago Area


Oysters ARE MY THING! Hands down best oysters in Chicago are at The Publican. My husband I went for oysters once a week when we were living nearby. The selection is fanastic! Also, try the ham plate, and the frites with egg. We generally always ordered a 750mL bottle of Malheur to wash it down.

Oysters at Pubican are one of just a couple things that I miss most about Chicago!

Make sure you make a reservation at least a couple weeks in advance, because there is generally no way you're walking in and getting a table here.


May 26, 2010
KateHC in Chicago Area

My Chicago picks for this weekend - Good choices?

Definitely drop David Burke's. I've been several times, and have never been truly satisfied with the meal. It's also more expensive than other well-known steakhouses in Chicago. For the money, I'd say either Kinzie Chop House or Gibson's.

Our favourite bistro is Le Bouchon in Bucktown. Has a very authentic feel to it, and the steak is always really good. Two birds with one stone here!

Le Bouchon
1958 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

May 26, 2010
KateHC in Chicago Area