nsxtasy's Profile

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LA Hound visiting KC for football and bbq

Jack Stack is open on Sundays and serves burnt ends. It's the best barbecue in KC, according to many folks.

about 3 hours ago
nsxtasy in Great Plains

Back for more with family of four . . .

>> I'm curious if you have tried Boka since Lee Wolen took the reins.

No, I haven't, sorry. I dined at the Lobby, his previous haunt, on his last day of service there in December, before he went to Boka, and that dinner was excellent. I had also dining at Boka under the opening chef, Giusseppe Tentori, before he went on to open GT Fish & Oyster within the Boka group; I enjoyed the food and was especially impressed with the service. They did an interior remodel along with bringing Chef Wolen in. For all of these reasons, I am quite certain you can expect an excellent dinner there.

Toni may not be quite on the level of the very best French pastry in Toronto (which, last time I was there a few years ago and tried numerous shops, was at La Cigogne), but it's still pretty good. Our very best may be Vanille Patisserie, which is in Lincoln Park and also has a booth in the French Market just west of the Loop. Speaking of which, the rest of the French Market is worth a visit too; in addition to Vanille, they have some other booths that are also among the best in town, including Lillie's Q for barbecue, Saigon Sisters for banh mi and pho, Pastoral for cheese and sandwiches, and Little Goat for breads. Not exactly along your way, but not all *that* far out of the way either.

about 21 hours ago
nsxtasy in Chicago Area

Back for more with family of four . . .

Sounds like a pretty good plan.

About the only thing I would really change is the Doughnut Vault. It's a little bit out of your way, whereas there are several other places for excellent donuts that are directly on your way to the Cultural Center:

Firecakes - www.firecakesdonuts.com
Do-Rite Donuts - www.doritedonuts.com (both locations are on your way)
Glazed and Infused - www.goglazed.com (locations on Hubbard and in the Raffaelo Hotel)

None of these has the horrendous lines that Doughnut Vault has. IMHO the donuts are at least as good, too. You have several mornings so you might even consider more than one of these.

If you prefer French pastry to donuts one morning, also along your way is Toni Patisserie - www.tonipatisserie.com

If you enjoy really good coffee, Do-Rite has Dark Matter coffee, and Intelligentsia Coffee has a location on Randolph near Do-Rite's Loop location.

about 22 hours ago
nsxtasy in Chicago Area

Where to "wow" a visitor with "do NOT miss this place" recommendations

I've been to Sable half a dozen times, and it's one of my absolute favorites.

Now, back to browsing those website menus, as I've been doing much of today...

1 day ago
nsxtasy in Los Angeles Area

Where to "wow" a visitor with "do NOT miss this place" recommendations

FWIW, Chicago has some excellent sushi and Korean food. I've tried them on multiple occasions, here and elsewhere. I just don't like them. Never did, never will. If you like them, good for you! Different strokes.

I'm not looking for food that's "safe". I'm looking for food that others find delicious and that I'm likely to enjoy. I ought to be able to find good food in L.A. without being forced to eat the two types of food I already know I don't like; based on how many other places have been recommended here (as well as on my previous visits), I'm confident I will. :)

Now, I have a lot of website menus to go check out...

1 day ago
nsxtasy in Los Angeles Area

Where to "wow" a visitor with "do NOT miss this place" recommendations

In addition to the single-crust deep-dish started by Uno and Due and popularized by their descendants (Lou Malnati's and Pizano's, both multi-location local chains founded by sons of one of Uno's leaders), there is the double-crust "stuffed" pizza variant served by Giordano's, Bacino's, and Nancy's.

Personally, I mostly go with Lou Malnati's these days; as you can see from the link above, it made my list of top picks in Chicago. I also occasionally enjoy Giordano's too. I don't care much for the charred variant served at Burt's and Pequod's.

Restaurant suggestions for Chicago Trip 9/30 - 10/4 with 20 month old

I gotta say, I understand your question, but aside from ruling out the super-fancy super-expensive restaurants, I'm not sure what constitutes "baby friendly". There are restaurants that emphasize their alcoholic beverage program as much as their food, including several you have named, yet I wouldn't be surprised if people have eaten at some of those same places with infants and found that the staff has been super-friendly, doting on the children. As another example, you mention Naha, which at dinner is quite elegant and not the kind of place you would take an infant in the evening; yet I've heard they are not that busy at lunchtime so that might be a perfectly fine time to go there with your baby (see below, you might want to call and ask).

Speaking of time, time of day can play a big part in this. For example, Purple Pig is a bustling, trendy place that has long waits to be seated at normal meal hours; but if you go there mid-afternoon (say, between 2 and 4), I've observed less than a third of the seating occupied, so you could probably get one of the half-dozen two- or four-tops during those hours. (The rest of their seating is a long bar/counter with about 20 seats, and three high-top communal tables with 10-12 barstools each, neither of which would be baby-friendly.) Elsewhere, early seatings for dinner may also work, more so at restaurants that serve all afternoon than at those who don't start serving until 5 or later.

As another suggestion, you might want to call a restaurant and ask them if and when it might be best to dine with your baby, and see what they say. If you get what seems like a stock answer ("of course everyone is welcome at any time"), you could ask what times other families with infants usually dine there.

>> Worth checking out any of Rick Bayless restaurants coming from Southern California?

Yes. At a minimum, you should check out the menus on their website to get an idea of what they offer and how it may differ from what you have back home. www.rickbayless.com/restaurants

1 day ago
nsxtasy in Chicago Area

Where to "wow" a visitor with "do NOT miss this place" recommendations

>> I would happily eat at each of these places over and over again.

That's exactly what I'm looking for. So let's not get too hung up on the "dish after dish" statement in my original post.

Thanks for the recommendations everyone - I'll look into all of these suggestions, and keep 'em coming!

Aug 20, 2014
nsxtasy in Los Angeles Area

Where to "wow" a visitor with "do NOT miss this place" recommendations

Thank you for posting a reply that is utterly no help at all, and serves only to display how upset you are that your taste is different from someone else's. :rolleyes:

Fortunately, I know enough people in L.A. to know that MOST of the folks there are friendly and helpful.

I appreciate the other, constructive suggestions so far. Keep those coming!

Aug 20, 2014
nsxtasy in Los Angeles Area

LA Hound visiting KC for football and bbq


For barbecue recommendations for my recent trip to KC, I relied heavily on this topic:

What's best these days in Kansas City BBQ? - www.chow.com/topics/926359

What I got from the discussion is that the closest thing to a consensus is that there are two standouts in KC BBQ, recommended more frequently than anywhere else:

Jack Stack - www.jackstackbbq.com
Oklahoma Joe's - www.oklahomajoesbbq.com

I went to Jack Stack and was very pleased. I posted a report on my delicious meal at Jack Stack, complete with photos, at www.chow.com/topics/920267#9030688

Also, Jack Stack has a location right in Country Club Plaza, so that's a plus as well.


For breakfast, I relied on this discussion:

KC breakfast joints - www.chow.com/topics/838705

There was no consensus favorite. After going through all the recommendations and checking website menus, three places sounded the best to me:

Beignet - www.beignetkc.com
Succotash - www.succotashkc.com
Eggtc. - www.eggtckc.com

I only made it to Beignet and was rather disappointed with my breakfast there. It's downtown in the City Market, five miles north of Country Club Plaza. Eggtc is only about 3/4 mile north of Country Club Plaza; Succotash is two miles north of Eggtc.

Aug 20, 2014
nsxtasy in Great Plains

Where to "wow" a visitor with "do NOT miss this place" recommendations

Okay, so here's the situation. I visit L.A. roughly once every other year, and my next visit is this coming October. I'll probably be around SoCal for 5-7 days. I'll have a car, of course (there are some other cities where this is not a given). I'll be staying near downtown and spending time with friends who live and work in Beverlywood, weho, and Hollywood, so geographically those areas would be best, but other areas not terribly far would be okay too, areas like Westwood, Santa Monica, and even Pasadena.

What I'm looking for are recommendations for absolutely terrific food, with some variety. And when I say terrific food, I mean the places where dish after dish, you take one bite and think, "wow, this is amazingly good", places that you go to and the food was so delicious that you're still thinking about it a day or a week later, and eager to return. I'm hoping for recommendations for multiple types of food, at a wide range of price points. (I'm not trying to economize, but I'm not looking for fancy fine dining every day.)

I would love to hear anyone's list of their two, or five, or ten "do not miss" favorites, the places you take friends from out of town you want to impress with how great L.A. food is. To give you an idea of what I'm looking for, check out the first reply in this topic, which is my "do not miss" list for a first-time visit to Chicago:

1 night in Chicago - www.chow.com/topics/977381#8971167

As you can see, there are recommendations for categories including fine dining, casual dining, ethnic dining, breakfast/brunch, and snacking, at prices ranging from haute cuisine to cheap eats.

More details...

I'm open to most kinds of food, although I don't care for raw food (e.g. sushi) or Korean, and I don't eat pizza out of town because I love the deep-dish back home in Chicago. I'm not looking for anything that's necessarily different from what we have in Chicago; I'm just looking for places that are amazingly delicious, even if we have similar places in Chicago. (California Pizza Kitchen!!! Just kidding, of course.)

Along with any recommendations, I'd be interested in hearing tips for whether it might be difficult to get a reservation, or tips for places that don't accept reservations where waits to be seated are likely to be lengthy. Oh, and I hate places that only offer communal seating.

The last time I was in L.A. I ate at Animal and absolutely LOVED it, and I may go back there during this visit. I've also been to Moles La Tia in Boyle Heights, which I enjoyed, but not enough to return on this trip. Similarly, I've been to Griddle Café in weho, which I enjoyed, but I'd be interested in getting a couple more super-creative breakfast/brunch oriented recommendations.

I've looked over the recommendations in this other discussion, which sound like candidates, except that (as noted there) many of them are rather similar to each other in price, style, etc.:

Guidance needed for week-long LA visit - www.chow.com/topics/984817

I've also looked over Eater's 38 essential L.A. restaurants at

With both of those other discussions/lists, the biggest problem I'm having is identifying the absolutely phenomenal "wow do NOT miss" places, as opposed to those that are "merely" very good and worthwhile. Hope that makes sense.

I thank all of you humbly in advance, and offer my help here on Chowhound for anyone traveling to Chicago.

Aug 20, 2014
nsxtasy in Los Angeles Area

Pre-theater dining near Second City, Greenhouse Theater

Another option near Second City is Adobo Grill. But I think your best bet, and only a couple blocks away, is the previously-mentioned Perennial Virant.

Near the Palmer House (within two blocks or so) are two excellent Italian restaurants: Vivere (in the Italian Village complex) and tesori. Both are accustomed to pre-theater dining and can get you through in whatever time frame you request.

Aug 20, 2014
nsxtasy in Chicago Area

From EaterLA: "Grand Central Market Makes Bon App's Best Resto List"......My question is "Who Made This Happen?"

>> It is not by any means the same folks at the Ferry Building.

The article states that the makeover used the architect (BCV) who was part of the design collaboration for the Ferry Building. Not the same management, not the same PR folks, but the same architect.

Aug 19, 2014
nsxtasy in Los Angeles Area

Weekend in Chicago - Grace, Schwa etc.

Since they've been to Schwa and Goosefoot, I'm guessing they would want to try a place they've never been. I'm also guessing that they (and you, since you're going to Grace) might not want a super-expensive super-fancy place like Alinea or TRU. One final guess, since they've been to those two places, is that they might prefer a place that's at least somewhat non-traditional. While Naha and North Pond both serve wonderful, creative food, the décor and format are both fairly conventional (even if North Pond's location in the middle of the park is not), so while they'd probably work fine, you might be looking for something more unusual.

You might want to consider Elizabeth, which is very good and also very much fun and non-traditional, with foraging as a theme. The décor is whimsical and casual, with non-matching furniture and odd utensils. They serve a set (and lengthy) tasting menu; I found some of the dishes to be outstanding, others to be very good, and only a few to be less than satisfactory. The need to purchase tickets in advance, which are generally not refundable (exceptions made for emergencies), may be a concern. Also it is not near downtown; it's in the Lincoln Square neighborhood, a $35 cab ride from downtown and two blocks from the el (CTA Brown Line). Overall, it's a fun experience, with food that is quite good and satisfying. www.elizabeth-restaurant.com

Aug 19, 2014
nsxtasy in Chicago Area

From EaterLA: "Grand Central Market Makes Bon App's Best Resto List"......My question is "Who Made This Happen?"

What I'd like to know is this. The article is about the best ***NEW*** restaurants in America. How the heck does a 97-year-old food hall qualify as a NEW restaurant???

Here's the article: www.bonappetit.com/hot10

Aug 19, 2014
nsxtasy in Los Angeles Area

24 Hours in Chicago - urgent recommendations needed : )

I guess what's not clear to me (after reading gonzo's reply) is what you mean by "THE place that is representative of Chicago fine dining". If you mean the kind of place that is dressy and elegant, with the finest of service, and extensive tasting menus - or, to use gonzo's words, "a more formal, expensive, traditional fine dining experience" - then the places I recommended in my previous post above all qualify, and TRU would definitely be my top pick (and Naha if budget is an issue). However, if you instead intend to include more casual, less expensive places with high-quality food from creative chefs, then a whole different set of possible candidates arises. In that case I would add the following recommendations, in addition to the ones already mentioned by gonzo:

GT Fish & Oyster (River North, seafood small plates) www.gtoyster.com 5:45 or earlier, 9:30 or later

Sable (River North, contemporary American small plates) www.sablechicago.com 6:00 or earlier, 9:00 or later

These first two are STRONG recommendations; both are among my top personal favorites in the entire city. But if you'd like more recommendations in this more casual category, ...

Mexique (West Town, contemporary Mexican) www.mexiquechicago.com 6:00 or earlier, 8:30 or later

Piccolo Sogno Due (River North, Italian) www.piccolosognodue.com availability is wide open

Nightwood (Pilsen, contemporary American) www.nightwoodrestaurant.com 6:00 or earlier, 9:00 or later

Mixteco Grill (Lakeview, contemporary Mexican, BYO) www.mixtecogrill.com availability is wide open

Carnivale (West Loop, Latin fusion) www.carnivalechicago.com availability is wide open

Bistronomic (Gold Coast, French bistro) www.bistronomic.net availability is wide open

Mercat a la Planxa (Loop, tapas) www.mercatchicago.com availability is wide open

Again, these are all fairly casual places (some more so than others) and maybe not what some might consider "fine dining", but perhaps they might fit what you're looking for. All offer excellent food and a nice atmosphere.

I'll also wholeheartedly second his recommendation of North Pond for brunch, in the category of places that accept reservations.

Aug 19, 2014
nsxtasy in Chicago Area

Quiet Friday dinner?

I strongly recommend Naha. It's one of our best fine-dining restaurants, whose chef-owner, Carrie Nahabedian, has won this region's James Beard Award for best chef. Yet it's priced less than Chicago's top tables, most of which generally run $200-300 per person including moderate alcohol and tax/tip. Naha is about half that figure if you order a la carte; you can easily dine for your $300 target for two. Chef can also serve a tasting menu on request, although it's not on the menu, and it will exceed your budget ($135 for 7 courses, $65 for wine pairings). The dining room is very elegant, civilized, and spacious, so you don't have to worry about it being too loud. It's also right in River North, probably a few blocks walk from your hotel. It's perfect for what you're asking for. www.naha-chicago.com

Naha also offers a bargain $25 three-course prix fixe menu for lunch on weekdays.

Aug 19, 2014
nsxtasy in Chicago Area

Back for more with family of four . . .

>> (1) I plan to go to the Jazz Festival in Friday (I played Jazz eons ago) in Millennium Park, and while I'm sure there will be food vendors there, I would be interested in gathering stuff first for a picnic. Since we'd be coming down from a Gold Coast hotel, anyplace roughly along the way would be fair game. I see Eataly is on the way. Other suggestions?

Eataly is the only place I can think of that offers quite a wide variety of items. Pastoral, which specializes in cheeses and sandwiches, is also a good choice; their location on Lake Street in the Loop is on your way.

>> (2) We'll be going to four museums -- Field, Shedd, Art Institute and Science and Industry (the latter on the way in as we drive to Chicago) so we'd love suggestions for lunch spots within a reasonable distance of the museums.

The Field and Shedd are right next to each other, separated by a few lanes of Lake Shore Drive (underneath which is a tunnel for pedestrians). Nearby is Bongo Room, whose specialty is creative pancakes such as their pretzel pancakes with white chocolate caramel sauce. The standard portion size consists of three GIGANTIC pancakes, but you can also order one-third and two-thirds portion sizes at a reduced price, so you can get a sandwich or salad and then get a pancake for dessert. Also nearby is Gioco, a very good Italian restaurant which is open for lunch on weekdays. Also Little Branch Café, which is a coffeehouse with unusually good food.

The Art Institute is further north, and there are many lunch places nearby, notably Pret a Manger and Au Bon Pain, both right across the street from the AI on Michigan Avenue, and both of which have sandwiches and salads in a quick-serve format.

I'm really not sure what lunch choices are close to the Museum of Science and Industry, sorry. (That neighborhood is called Hyde Park, in case you want to try searching for restaurants nearby.)

>> (3) While I won't be making any 2-hour pilgrimages for food on this trip, I would like to do a few outings on the L to see other neighbourhoods and grab a great meal. Any suggestions?

You can take the CTA Red Line to Berwyn (or the #22 Clark bus, to avoid the 10-minute walk from the el) to Andersonville, a trendy neighborhood and home of the breakfast-specialty M. Henry; my favorite neighborhood Italian restaurant, Anteprima; and Swedish Bakery for great pastries. The CTA Blue Line goes to the gentrifying Logan Square area, where you'll find Jam (great for breakfast, lunch, brunch) and Lula Café (farm to table, great for lunch or dinner). For Chinese, take the CTA Red, Green, or Orange Line to the Cermak/Chinatown stop. For Vietnamese, take the CTA Red Line north to Argyle, where you'll find many Vietnamese restaurants including Tank Noodle.


Aug 19, 2014
nsxtasy in Chicago Area

24 Hours in Chicago - urgent recommendations needed : )

Although some of our best fine-dining restaurants are full already, others do show availability for this Saturday on Opentable.com especially if you're flexible with your time of day. Here are the very best places that show openings for a party of two this Saturday, starting with IMHO the very best of these:

TRU (Magnificent Mile, contemporary) www.trurestaurant.com has openings for 8:15 or later

You can stop there if you like - TRU is a great choice and representative of our best fine-dining restaurants, and my top pick of those available - but here are a few more...

Everest (Loop, French) www.everestrestaurant.com has openings for 5:45 or earlier, 7:15 or later

Les Nomades (Mag Mile, French) www.lesnomades.net has openings for 5:30 or earlier, 8:45 or later

L2O (Lincoln Park, contemporary) www.l2orestaurant.com has openings 6:45 or earlier, 8:15 or later

All of the above typically cost $200-300 per person including moderate alcohol and tax/tip. One exception is the pre-theater three-course prix fixe menu at Everest, which is around $50-60 plus bev/etc. If this price range is too steep, here's another terrific choice that's comparable to the above in quality but where the typical tab is about half that range:

Naha (River North, contemporary) www.naha-chicago.com is wide open for availability

For brunch, there are two broad categories of restaurants:

(a) There are restaurants that specialize in breakfast-brunch; typically they do not accept reservations, and waits to be seated are normally 30-60 minutes on Sundays between 9:30 and 1:00. My top recommendation in this category is Jam, which is in Logan Square, about five miles northwest of the Loop. The chef-owner, Jeffrey Mauro, has a fine-dining background, and he applies his creativity to a casual, inexpensive breakfast-brunch restaurant. www.jamrestaurant.com

(b) There are restaurants that are known for their dinner service, but also serve brunch on Sundays; most accept reservations, including on Opentable.com so you don't have to worry about having to wait to be seated. My top recommendation in this category is Shaw's Crab House in River North. They have an amazing all-you-can-eat buffet, with the highest quality of everything. Standouts include king crab legs (hot and cold), best crab cakes in the city, awesome thick-cut caramelized bacon, crab benedicts, a carving station with filet, best crème brulee in the city, chocolate pot de crème, and lots more. Not inexpensive (around $55) but worth it, considering that it's all the crab you can eat and it will fill you up for the entire day. www.shawscrabhouse.com

Aug 19, 2014
nsxtasy in Chicago Area

Weekend in Chicago - Grace, Schwa etc.

Thanks for posting the added info. It's very helpful.

I wouldn't automatically assume that the chances are nil, though. If that's where you would like to dine, phone them to see if it's available.

Aug 19, 2014
nsxtasy in Chicago Area

Weekend in Chicago - Grace, Schwa etc.

How well do you know the other two couples, and what is their level of interest in food? While Schwa and El Ideas appeal to so-called "foodies", I can foresee the possibility that those not accustomed to modern cuisine or non-traditional venues might be turned off by their approach to dining. For this reason, depending on what your friends are like, Goosefoot *might* be a more desirable choice.

I'm not sure whether Goosefoot is "hotter", but it's certainly a more difficult reservation to snag. If you want Goosefoot, you're going to need to act soon in making your reservation. I'm not sure what their advance reservation policy is - it's probably worth a phone call to nail it down - but right now, they are not accepting reservations on Opentable for Saturday October 18, and Saturday October 11 is already sold out for a party of six.

I would also be very reluctant to choose Schwa for a large group, for the propensity to cancel that you mention. Think about it - if Schwa cancelled on you with a phone call 2-3 hours before your meal, it will be difficult to get another reservation at a desirable place at the last minute, plus you'll need to reach your friends with alternative instructions. Why put yourselves in that position?

For your Friday dinner, I would also consider Naha or North Pond, both of which are superb (and neither of which is as unconventional as Schwa or El Ideas, if that's an issue). Their James Beard Award winning chef-owners are turning out some of the very best, most creative food in the city. North Pond has the added bonus of its exquisite setting in the middle of the park; when reserving, request seating in the front room with the full-length windows facing the pond and the city skyline. It surprises me how many food-knowledgeable folks who live here haven't been to either of these local gems.

Some of the places I would consider for a lunch (not brunch) on a Saturday include Cafe Iberico for tapas, Cafe Spiaggia for Italian, David Burke's Primehouse for steaks or burgers, and Shaw's Crab House for seafood. Or, if you'd enjoy grazing from a variety of options, head to the French Market or Eataly.

Aug 18, 2014
nsxtasy in Chicago Area

Cozy/Romantic Restaurants.....Western Suburbs

Vie in Western Springs is an obvious candidate, and may be the best restaurant in the western burbs. www.vierestaurant.com

Aug 18, 2014
nsxtasy in Chicago Area

Milwaukee Trip Report – Bacchus, Rocket Baby Bakery, Maxie’s, Smyth, Odd Duck

This article about the cost of dining out appeared in Esquire last week:

Why Does a Night Out Cost So Damn Much? - www.esquire.com/blogs/food-for-men/co...

I find it interesting that they used Maxie's and Odd Duck as examples. They also mention AP Bar & Kitchen in Walker's Point, which I had not previously heard of, and whose website menu sounds quite appealing. www.apbarandkitchen.com

Those in Milwaukee will be proud to read quotes like these: "If you go to one of the good restaurants, contemporary small-plate restaurants, the kind people actually make reservations for (so in your town it’d be someplace like Odd Duck or AP Bar and Kitchen, which, take my word, are about the cheapest fine-dining places in America)" ... "You have it good. Odd Duck should be half again as expensive as it is; its prices are artificially depressed by its being in Milwaukee, one of the country’s cheaper places to do business."

Of course, there's irony in the fact that the original complaint about the cost of dining out comes from Milwaukee, which, as noted in the article, is generally less expensive than many other cities. There's also irony in the fact that my dinners at Maxie's and Odd Duck met the $50/pp threshold that the article claims is not attainable.

Aug 18, 2014
nsxtasy in Great Lakes

Trip Report -- Chicago July 14 - 18, 2014

Thanks for reporting back. Feedback is always helpful.

Sounds like you had five outstanding dinners, all with excellent food and service. The things that displeased you mostly sound like extremely minor quibbles. Not that they are acceptable, but keep them in perspective. Don't let them spoil your memories!

It's been recommended here many, many times to request seating in the front room when making a reservation at North Pond. Did you try asking them if they could move you to the front room?

Aug 17, 2014
nsxtasy in Chicago Area

Detroit near Hilton Garden Inn Downtown

>> Had the huevos rancheros which were excellent (although no beans which I had always thought were mandatory for this dish).

I've only had huevos rancheros in Mexico. There are three basic ingredients: a fried egg on top of a tortilla, with a tomato sauce on top. That's huevos rancheros. No beans. But as with many Mexican dishes, there may or may not be sides of refried beans and/or rice accompanying the dish.

Aug 17, 2014
nsxtasy in Great Lakes

Is Gordon Restaurant Still Good?

No. And that does not look like River North at the time that Gordon was open (1976-1999). Sorry!

Here is a photo of the interior of Gordon, which appeared in an article in the Tribune on Valentine's Day, 2008, under the title, "Long Gone Restaurants - Our Valentines to restaurants we truly miss". You'll notice the sculpted hands holding the curtain drawstring back, typical of the whimsy in its décor.

Aug 17, 2014
nsxtasy in Chicago Area

Piccolo Sogno

>> But there are a lot of patio tables. What if everyone wants to move inside on a packed Saturday night during a drenching thunderstorm?

I'm sure they do *something* other than leave their customers outside to be soaked. If this is a concern for you, perhaps it might be best to call the restaurant to ask what they do.

Aug 16, 2014
nsxtasy in Chicago Area

Detroit near Hilton Garden Inn Downtown

>> Why can I not reply directly to the comment from aka994?

This is what I've observed under the new software revisions for the Chowhound forums. When a topic is created using the "Discussion" icon, you can reply directly to any post/reply in the topic. But when a topic is created using the "Q&A" icon, as this one was, you can only post a reply directly to the original post, and not to any of the replies.

I was similarly confused when I went to post to this topic earlier. I don't think it's a very user-friendly design!

Another distinction that you may have noticed is, when a topic is created using the "Discussion" icon and you return to it, it expands only those replies that were not there during your previous visit. But one created using the "Q&A" icon expands all replies, so you lose the advantage of not having to read what you already saw.

Aug 15, 2014
nsxtasy in Great Lakes

Bachelorette Foodies on a budget

For Spanish tapas, I'll second Emilio's Sol y Nieve; it's a great choice, and it's very close to Navy Pier. We have some other good tapas spots - notably Café Iberico and Mercat a la Planxa - but both are a mile away.

For other small plates places, I'll second the choices of Sable (American) and Quartino (Italian), and also add GT Fish & Oyster (seafood). All are further from Navy Pier than Sol y Nieve, but closer than Café Iberico and Mercat.

Aug 15, 2014
nsxtasy in Chicago Area

Options in Deerfield and surrounding areas.

Starting with the very best of all and working down from there...

Michael (Winnetka) for finer dining - www.restaurantmichael.com
Inovasi (Lake Bluff) for contemporary American - www.inovasi.us
Abigail's (Highland Park) for contemporary American - www.abigails493.com
Walker Brothers (Lincolnshire or Highland Park) for breakfast/brunch - www.walkerbros.net
Carson's (Deerfield) for barbecue and steaks - www.ribs.com
E+O (Mount Prospect) for contemporary American/global - www.eofoodanddrink.com
Nieto's (Highland Park) for American - www.nietosrestaurant.com
Café Central (Highland Park) for French bistro fare - www.cafecentral.net
Froggy's (Highwood) for French bistro fare - www.froggysrestaurant.com
San Gabriel Café (Bannockburn) for Mexican - www.sangabrielmexican.com
Cooper's Hawk (Wheeling) for American and wine - www.chwinery.com
Jerry's (Winnetka) for American - www.cornercooks.com
Prairie Grass Café (Northbrook) for American - www.prairiegrasscafe.com
Avli Estatoria (Winnetka) for Greek - www.avli.us
Player's Grill (Highland Park) for American, seafood, sports bar - www.playersgrill.net

All of these are pretty good, but if you're looking for the absolute best food in the area, stick with the first six places listed. The distance from the Hyatt Deerfield varies; Winnetka and Lake Bluff are 15-20 minutes drive, and the rest are closer than that.

Most of these are open for lunch (particularly on weekdays) as well as dinner, and most are open Sundays, but it's always a good idea to check their hours before heading out. Better yet, I recommend making reservations in advance if you can, especially for Saturday night, which can be impossible without one at many places. Some of the above accept reservations on Opentable.com while others you may need to call directly.

Here are a couple more ideas.

For our delicious local specialty of deep-dish pizza, Lou Malnati's has locations in Highland Park (east of Deerfield) and Northbrook (south of Deerfield), but both are carry-out and delivery only. www.loumalnatis.com For dine-in, you'll need to go a little further. Malnati's has a location in Buffalo Grove, a couple towns to the west, or you can go to Pizano's in Glenview, a couple towns south. At either, you can phone ahead with your pizza order to avoid waiting 30-45 minutes while seated for your pizza to bake. www.pizanoschicago.com

If you're a pastry fanatic (like I am), there are two nearby bakeries that are wonderful: Three Tarts in Northfield ( www.threetartsbakery.com ), and Gourmet Frog in Highland Park ( www.froggysbakery.com ). Do NOT go to Deerfield Bakery, which is absolutely dreadful!

Aug 14, 2014
nsxtasy in Chicago Area