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An Already Researched Solicitation for Comments

If you found Grace to be sterile, maybe try Schwa? I can't think of any other place that's a polar opposite of Grace than Schwa right now. And yes, the food is good too visavis the price you pay. I'm not sure if they accomodate vegetarians though.

In terms of bakeries, DoRite Donuts did open a branch close to where you are staying, at 233 E Eerie. And since you are considering lunch on Saturday at Nico, you may be able to catch their brunch specials at that time. They offer pastries for breakfast as well everyday. Their kouign amman is the 2nd best in the city that I've had so far.

Oct 18, 2014
sunbrace in Chicago Area

Eva Airlines - has anyone had their food?

I was hoping the Hello Kitty class seats would be draped in Hello Kitty pink!

Tasting Menus- Chicago

I would vote for Schwa, but have a plan B just in case. Otherwise, try Goosefoot. It's well within your budget range. Both are BYOB as well.

Oct 15, 2014
sunbrace in Chicago Area

Best Cajun/ New Orleans food in Chicago area?

I thought Dixie Kitchen was so so as well.

Oct 15, 2014
sunbrace in Chicago Area

Best Japanese Groceries in Chicago Proper?

Any Chinese or Korean grocery store in Chicago/Chinatown should have miso and lotus root(fresh and frozen). I have not seen the other produce but I don't frequent the Japanese groceries in the area. You can also try Jong Boo on Belmont and Kimball. It's a Korean grocery store so they should have several Japanese brands in stock as well(kikkoman, ajinomoto, japanese curry, yuzu tea, etc). The closest Japanese store that I know of is Akai Hana, but that's in Wilmette. I know of students who take public transit from Loyola Academy to downtown Chicago so there has to be a way to get to Akai Hana. It's a small grocery store that I usually visit if I need to get things most other Asian stores do not carry. Akai Hana is about 2 blocks or so from the school on the other side of the Edens Highway. While you're there, you can also visit Sea Ranch in the same strip mall for fresh sushi and seafood.

Oct 15, 2014
sunbrace in Chicago Area

Trip Report: 4 days in October with kids

Thanks for the report. Love Banh Mi Boys although I'm not a big fan of their kimchi fries. Interesting texture though. Also, if you head out to the Brown line stop on Western again in the future, do try Baker Miller. It's an awesome pastry shop that serves lunch as well!

Oct 14, 2014
sunbrace in Chicago Area

Adventurous food family heading to Chicago

I went to Quartinos last summer. I would say that their food there is good. I really liked their gnocchi with pesto and their breads. Very addicting. I haven't tried their pizzas yet as you need to sit in a different area for it.

Sep 29, 2014
sunbrace in Chicago Area

Delicious Chinese near Mag Mile/River North?

Chicago's not known for Chinese food in general. Beyond the ones in Chinatown, you can probably try Vora in the Gold Coast. They're known for their Taiwanese food but also serve dishes from other regions as well. It's on 1028 N Clark St.

Sep 29, 2014
sunbrace in Chicago Area

Last Visit Coming up to Chicago

Garrett's is much much better than Kernels. I've brought some to Toronto and to Asian, it's still good a couple of days later. It's usually gone by the 2nd day so I don't know how long the popcorn would last. FYI, the more humid the area you live in, the faster it will lose it's crunch.

Sep 24, 2014
sunbrace in Chicago Area

Almond Croissant and Donuts near WrigleyField

La Boulangerie on Belmont and Clark has a good rendition of an almond croissant. Osmium Cafe on Belmont and Racine sells 4 types of donuts fromn Do Rite, which is one of my fave donuts in the city. Lastly, Heritage Bicycles, on Lincoln and Southport, will be selling donuts from the Doughnut Vault in the next three weeks. Their donuts are known to be addicting:). I highly suggest the last option if you're really into donuts.

Sep 17, 2014
sunbrace in Chicago Area

Grace - Fauna and Flora Menus

Perhaps I'm more of the exception than the rule, but when we dined there early June/July, I asked if I could substitute a couple of items from the Flora menu but was politely declined. I'm not sure why this happened to us since the consensus here has been that Grace was accommodating of diner's requests. We both ended up choosing the Fauna menu and the server sold us their main dish from the Flora menu for an additional 75 dollars.

Sep 15, 2014
sunbrace in Chicago Area

China town recommendations

I've never been impressed with any of the Lao's. I've been to three of them including the mothership, Lao Sze Chuan, and was never impressed with the food nor the taste. For a solo diner who wants to avoid the dimsum craze on Sundays, Sweet Station might be a better alternative. Also, there's a hand pulled noodle place across from Lao Sze Chuan. I haven't been but heard good things about it.

And yes, Joy Yee for their delicious tapioca concoctions is a plus! Don't go in for their food though, there are better choices in the area.

Lastly, if you are fond of preserved fruits and candies, try visiting Aji Ichiban. They sell a variety of dried plums, mangoes, and other Asian sweets and fish as well. You can have a sample of the goods before you purchase them as well to see if they are to your liking. I've always loved their dried mangoes and roasted cuttlefish.

Sep 10, 2014
sunbrace in Chicago Area

Weekend in Chicago - Grace, Schwa etc.

Congrats on getting in at Schwa. I really enjoyed my meal there and thought that it was the best value of all the fine dining establishments here in Chicago. Hope you enjoy yours as well.

Sep 09, 2014
sunbrace in Chicago Area

China town recommendations

Are you looking for dimsum which is the most popular option on a Sunday? If so, you can try Cai on the 2nd floor of the plaza, Three Happiness or Ming Hin. If it's just lunch you're after, Sweet Station or Ken Kee in the plaza will do. Most serve Cantonese fare with dishes from other regions mixed in as well.

Sep 08, 2014
sunbrace in Chicago Area

OK, Ready for Feedback: My Heavily Researched Chicago Itinerary

I wasn't impressed with Nico as well. I thought the food was heavily salted. If you do intend to go, I suggest their ordering from their crudo selection or making it your brunch destination instead. I did like their version of a kouign amann. It's only available for breakfast if I'm not mistaken.

It's been a while since I've been to Frontera Grill. I wasn't impressed the first time I was there. Xoco, which is just beside Frontera Grill, on the other hand, was excellent.

Sep 07, 2014
sunbrace in Chicago Area

mooncakes 2014

Thanks for the tips. I'll be meeting him in Cali when I'm starving so I might as well eat them before we get to our hotel. lol

Sep 07, 2014
sunbrace in Los Angeles Area

mooncakes 2014

klyeoh: How long do these mooncakes last? My brother who lives in Sg just bought me some but I won't be meeting him until next week. I wish Chicago has a better variety of mooncakes:(

Sep 06, 2014
sunbrace in Los Angeles Area

Michelin Chicago 2015

If Frontera gets a star, does Topo remain at the same level or should it move up as well?

FYI, I agree with a poster from the NY board, Chipotle deserves 3 stars! After all, the ability to customize your burrito in a gazillion ways should be worthy of a trip!

Aug 29, 2014
sunbrace in Chicago Area

Adventurous food family heading to Chicago

Two other spots that are not as expensive in the downtown area are Heaven on 7 and Eataly. If ever you do venture into Eataly, I suggest you do it during lunch where the wait is shorter compared to dinner time.

Aug 28, 2014
sunbrace in Chicago Area

HK Recs and Fine Dining Walk ins

Thanks Uncle Yabai, PhilD and kyleoh. Looks like I'll either have to book one in advance or change my plan. Tosca and Amber seem to be more enticing to me at the moment. I'll try emailing them to see which ones can accomodate one of my DP's dietary restrictions.

HK Recs and Fine Dining Walk ins

Hi fellow chowhounders,

I was wondering if you can give me some direction as to where to eat in HK. I'm coming from Chicago and the rest of my travelling companions are coming from either Toronto or Singapore. We'll be staying there for 4 nights. So far, I've booked Lung King Heen for my birthday celebration. I would like to go to another fine dining establishment where we can celebrate our mini reunion with the rest of the family on our first day there. Is it possible to walk in and get a table for 4 at say, Amber or L'Atelier? I'm planning to do this for lunch on a Thursday. I didn't want to make any more reservations since I don't know how many of us will arrive on time. The rest of the trip will be spent visiting family and sight seeing.

Also, is Tim Ho Wan worth the wait? And is there a difference between Din Tai Fung in HK vs Shanghai or Beijing? We tried the ones in Singapore and loved them. I'm also hoping to get into The Chairman since it is close to our hotel. Any congee or noodle places besides Mak's that I should try?

homemade ice cream - not so icy

It's happened to me before. I discovered that I have to max out the thermostat on my freezer whenever I freeze my ice cream maker. Basically, I have to keep my freezer really cold in order for the ice cream maker to freeze the custard base.

Aug 14, 2014
sunbrace in Home Cooking

Do Rite Donuts

Just visited Osmium Cafe, a new coffee shop in the Lakeview neighborhood. They carry 4 types of donuts from Do Rite: glazed, chocolate frosted, buttermilk old fashioned, and one other flavor that I can't remember.

Aug 05, 2014
sunbrace in Chicago Area

3-day Trip Report (Schwa, Alinea, Grace)

Schwa and Goosefoot are my top choices! Just be aware that Schwa can cancel last minute but is tops in my pocketbook for value. Also, Senza in Lakeview is great as well.

Jul 21, 2014
sunbrace in Chicago Area

River North and Lakeview recommendations (with big kids)

Not really a lunch place, but do try to visit Jeni's Ice Cream just under the Brown Line in Lakeview. It's very close to the Music Box.

For lunch, besides Deleece, you can go further north to The Roost which serves fried chicken(cooked to order) on Irving Park.

Jul 15, 2014
sunbrace in Chicago Area

Yuba, dried beancurd or tofu skin... where can you get it in Chicago?

Where do you live? Most Asian/Chinese or Korean stores should have them. I've bought them both dried and fresh.

Jul 02, 2014
sunbrace in Chicago Area

Ice cream

Jeni's in Lakeview. It's a tad bit more expensive but well worth the occasional visit.

Jul 02, 2014
sunbrace in Chicago Area

Alinea: Guidance requested in making reservations for a specific date and time.

I was fortunate enough to go to both restaurants this year. While I agree with Gonzo70 that Alinea wasn't as good as the last time I was there, I would say that overall, I would give them my vote compared to Grace.

When I was asked which dish at Grace was the most memorable to me, I must admit that I was hard pressed to find an answer simply because there wasn't much that wowed me. I felt that at Grace, the first few courses were great, but it was pretty much downhill thereafter until I hit the truffle dish which I ordered as a supplement. At the price point both restaurants charge, I feel like taste is only one factor in the equation. The memories and the experience that you make during your visit, much like a vacation, is more important to me. At Alinea, I can still remember the campfire dish and the chocolate torte. I can probably compare 2 dishes that had similar ingredients with both restaurants but that would make this post too long.

In summary, I would still vote for Alinea if I were to spend my precious few dollars and time compared to Grace. But that's just my personal preference and realize others may differ from mine.

Jun 29, 2014
sunbrace in Chicago Area

What if we don't want to wait for food?

By the Loop, you can try Roti. It serves Mediterranean food, Chipotle style.

On Belmont and Sheffield, there's a vegetarian cafe called Native Foods Cafe. It's a small national chain but, as a meat eater, I must say that I left impressed with the food there. Across from it is Big and Little, the lunch time crowd is thinner but there may be a wait during dinner time.

All three places should be able to get you in and out within a reasonable time if you can only spend a small amount of time eating.

I'm not sure how many of you are visiting, but downtown restaurants tend to have a wait for bigger groups, especially during the weekend.

Jun 23, 2014
sunbrace in Chicago Area

Birthday dinner SE of Wrigley? No car . . .

Agree with Senza. It's about a block or less from your hotel. Really great food and service.

Jun 23, 2014
sunbrace in Chicago Area