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Chef w/ Child (2yr)

The OP is not trying to decide between the restaurants on that list; he listed those as restaurants he has recently been to and enjoyed.

Mar 16, 2008
mailsf in Chicago Area

NY Foodies visiting Chicago

No need to even call Hopleaf and ask. I'm there frequently and the policy is no underagers at all, no way, no how. Not even with their parents, not even if they're 3 and there's no way they'll try to sneak a drink.

Feb 23, 2008
mailsf in Chicago Area

Best place to get chocolates?

My vote is for Canady le Chocolatier. My family is there weekly, sometimes more. Michael makes truly fantastic chocolates, and they are a short bus/cab ride from the heart of the mag mile. Plus they seem to be cheaper than many other options.

It may sound strange, but try the passion fruit chocolate. They're all exquisite, though. You really can't go wrong.

Feb 11, 2008
mailsf in Chicago Area

Passover in Chicago

If you are a student, talk to your school's Hillel people. Or if you're not sure you have a Hillel presence on campus, contact someone at Hillels of Illinois. They can probably help find you community or home hospitality. Nsxtasy's link to the Guide to Jewish Living is also a good idea.

Hillels of Illinois

Feb 07, 2008
mailsf in Chicago Area

Modest Business Dinner Downtown

I think one can do much better than Maggiano's for a business dinner.

What about Bin 36?

Of the previously mentioned restaurants, I think Brasserie Jo would fit the bill very nicely.

Jan 29, 2008
mailsf in Chicago Area

Kosher wedding- Chicago options

Friends of mine had a solid experience with Goldman-Segal.

You might also see whether Puck does off-site catering, now that they have the cafe at Spertus (though the Cafe itself is meat, I'm sure they could accomodate dairy or parve if they actually cater).

Perhaps the hotels that have kosher capabilities can do off-site as well? Hyatt Regency does some nice stuff.

Check out the Guide to Jewish Living online for more info. Type in "catering" and it'll give you pages of caterers:

Mazal tov!

Jan 29, 2008
mailsf in Chicago Area

Chicago Kosher Rehearsal Dinner

As I mentioned on the Chicago board, Hyatt Regency (on the Chicago River) and the Hilton on S. Michigan Ave. frequently cater kosher meals for the Jewish org. I work for. Nice affairs. They're already setup in-house to deal with things in their meeting/ballrooms.

Jan 05, 2008
mailsf in Kosher

Chicago Kosher Rehearsal Dinner

Now that I think of it, the Hyatt Regency (right on the Chicago River) and the Hilton on S. Michigan Ave. both have the capacity to do very nice kosher dinners, and they have gorgeous rooms as well. The Jewish org I mentioned in my other posts holds lunches and dinners, frequently at both locations. They've got caterers they work with and do a pretty stellar job. All my experiences there have been with meat meals.

Jan 05, 2008
mailsf in Chicago Area

Chicago Kosher Rehearsal Dinner

A new kosher restaurant just opened up in the west loop. MetroKlub is located in the Crowne Plaza hotel at 733 W. Madison.

I was taken there for my goodbye lunch when I left my position as a Jewish organization. My sandwich didn't blow my mind, but it was well executed. The fries were great. There were some nice-sounding entrees as well, but my party all stuck with sandwiches and salads.

The one catch is that I'm sort of remembering that they're only open for lunch... perhaps for a private party they'd make special arrangements? After all, they're not prohibitively expensive, and they're downtown. I recall there being a separate room from the main diningroom as well.

Hyatt Regency, right on the river, has the capacity to do very nice kosher meals in some pretty elegant rooms. Same with the Hilton on S. Michigan. The aforementioned Jewish organization holds many events at both places.

733 W. Madison (in the Crowne Plaza Hotel)
(312) 602-2104

Jan 05, 2008
mailsf in Chicago Area

Schwa-- closed until further notice?

Ben, whether you do the pairings at Avenues or not, I would highly recommend letting the sommelier, Aaron something (Elliot?) guide you. He is a phenomenal guy, and each of the pairings he gave me and my two dining companions was spot on. Seriously, the most enjoyable wine and food experience of my life. Believe it or not, on food & drink alone I enjoyed it more than French Laundry. The overall experience is a discussion for elsewhere. Suffice to say, you'll have a great time at Avenues.

Oct 09, 2007
mailsf in Chicago Area

Favorite Restaurant in Andersonville/Ravenswood area?

I agree with babychef - Hama Matsu is fantastic. Fresh fish, inventive but not overpowering rolls (if you're into rolls), very reasonably priced.

Calo's pizza isn't my favorite. I'd say if you're ordering in, get it from Chicago's (a few locations).

Svea is a great low-key breakfast options (cash only, and they close in the early afternoon).

Kopi Cafe is a great for vegetarian and vegan options, and they make some mean nachos.

If you're looking for tasty food in a bar, but without the wait of Hopleaf, T's also makes fries with garlic mayo, and they have a nice selection of other bar food and great drinks.

A little further east from Clark, on Broadway, are tons more options. Many excellent Vietnamese, Thai, and other Asian options to be had. Further north on Broadway you'll get to a couple of the Ethiopian places (Ras Dashen and Ethiopian Diamond).

Feb 06, 2007
mailsf in Chicago Area

Potbelly alternative in downtown Chicago?

I know they cater for somewhere around $11/person. I don't know if there's a minimum number of people, though. Depending on the budget, it may be worth looking into.

Jan 11, 2007
mailsf in Chicago Area

Potbelly alternative in downtown Chicago?

I'd recommend Spa Cafe. It's a healthy alternative as well. Great soups, interesting wraps, quesanini (quesadilla panini), and salads. I like the combo where you order a soup and 1/2 wrap/quesanini. The carrot with peanut butter soup is great. Add on a side (barley/jicama slaw, anyone?) for a dollar.

Spa Cafe
112 W. Monroe

If that doesn't work for any reason, I also enjoy Goodwin's, Specialtys, and Hannah's Bretzel (which would be best suited for takeout, as there is only seating for about 4 people).

Jan 10, 2007
mailsf in Chicago Area

Best High Tea in City for Holidays?

I have been with both my mother and with friends to tea at NoMi (Park Hyatt) and the Peninsula.

I would not recommend NoMi, but would go to tea at the Peninsula every day of the week if I could.

Dec 14, 2006
mailsf in Chicago Area

Groceries in Andersonville?

As another newish (May 06) resident of Andersonville, I feel your pain. But I have to admit, the Jewel on Broadway at Berwyn really isn't bad. The one on Clark across from Edgewater produce is abominable, though, I'll give you that. But if you haven't gone to the Jewel on Broadway just on principle, I urge you to at least go once.

That said, no, I haven't found anything better than either Treasure Island, Trader Joe's or Whole Foods. I trek down to one of those every so often, but it's tough to buy too much because I have to cart it back on the red line or the bus.

Nov 09, 2006
mailsf in Chicago Area

Argyle Street eats?

Sadly, I can confirm. Walk by every day on the way to the train and I've definitely missed the BBQ aroma recently.

Oct 24, 2006
mailsf in Chicago Area

Wheat Free, Gluten Free, Celiac Safe Restaurants or Cafe's in Chicago

A colleague of mine who needs wheat/gluten free meals has said that Wildfire is incredibly helpful in pointing out which menu items are okay for her.
I want to say that the menu even has a gluten free section, or designation, or something. But I haven't been in a while so I can't recall for sure.

Oct 04, 2006
mailsf in Chicago Area

dessert junkie

The Tru tasting is wonderful, and when I was there it was 3 or 4 courses for $25/person. You will most certainly have to get dressed up, but I think it is worth every dime.

To be frank, I much preferred my dessert tasting experiences at Tru to my full meal there. Not that the food was bad, I just thought the desserts were better. I'd recommend it.

Sep 26, 2006
mailsf in Chicago Area

Non-French Onion Soup Recipes

If you're not averse to using red onions, do a search on epicurious for "red onion soup." There's a very simple recipe that, if you add a bit of red wine and a smidge of garlic to, is quite tasty. I made it last fall and it hit the spot.

Sep 18, 2006
mailsf in Home Cooking

Avenues More Expensive than Alinea-Worth the cost?

I have not been to Alinea so I can't compare, but Avenues is far and away the most outstanding meal I have had in Chicago. Three of us went, did 1/2 wine pairings (the sommelier, I think his name is Aaron something, is fantastic), and came out at about $900 when all was said and done (We didn't do 12 courses, though). Not cheap, but less than the same group spent at French Laundry, and it was very close to as perfect a meal.

Honestly, I think you should stick with Avenues.

Sep 16, 2006
mailsf in Chicago Area

Need anniversary dinner for tonight!

If you can get in, though I'm not sure whether you'd be able to or not, Spring would be a good choice. I went there for an anniversary a while back and it was perfect. The food was great and service very attentive (and congratulatory).

Another one would be Crofton on Wells, which is very quiet, somewhat dim lighting, so the ambiance is probably right. I recall some very nicely balanced seafood dishes. I was there for a birthday and the servers knew just how to handle it. There was no HUGE production made of it, but it was acknowledged warmly and discreetly. Crofton may be easier to get into.

Sep 16, 2006
mailsf in Chicago Area

Rogers Park / Clark

I think it's

Gruppo di Amici
1508 W. Jarvis Ave.

Haven't been yet, but I just moved up to Andersonville, so it's not far from me now. I intend to give it a shot soon.

Aug 15, 2006
mailsf in Chicago Area

Any suggestions for food to bring on a cross-country flight? [Moved from Home Cooking]

Lots of the items you list have pretty distinct smells to them. While I love samosas, I wouldn't necessarily want someone eating Indian food next to me on a plane. The smell permeates clothes and skin for days, sometimes.

Your fruit choices are interesting too. Bananas and oranges are both very aromatic. Not terribly nice to unleash smells like those, even if they're good smells, in small spaces like airplanes.

It's not exciting, but I bring PB&J sandwiches, cut up veggies, dried fruit and nuts, and granola bars. If I have to buy food in the airport it's usually from Potbelly.

Jul 11, 2006
mailsf in General Topics