Chicago Journals

Chicago: From Top to Bottom

A January 2008 trip to Chicago by Michael Green

Quote: Chicago has long been known as a bastion of low-brow delicacies but it is in the midst of a culinary revolution

Chicago: From Top to Bottom

Overview

Quote:
From hot dogs to pizza, Chicago has long been known as a bastion of low-brow delicacies—and I mean this in a good way. I love a good deep dish and a cheese dog as much as the next man, but it’s still great news that Chicago is in the midst of a culinary revolution, with inventive pizzas, mad-scientist chefs (or molecular gastronomists, as some like to be called), and even (illegal) foie gras hot dogs spicing up the food scene in the Windy City. Whether you want a relaxing meal after a day of shopping, or a mind-bending culinary experience, Chicago has quickly become a go-to destination.

Quick Tips:

Best Way To Get Around:

Alinea

Restaurant

Quote:
Best Food Science
With 12 and 24 course tasting menus as the only options in chef Grant Achatz’s secretive, dark restaurant, Alinea is not a “quick bite” sort of place. Expect food to be frozen, fried, gelled, foamed, immersed, and ionized—in other words, altogether redesigned to the point of being unrecognizable. Wonder what I’m talking about? The “transparency,” a first-dessert course, is a series of translucent candied chards of raspberry, rose petal, and yogurt. Sound weird? A little, but absolutely delicious!
www.alinea-restaurant.com

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 8, 2008

Alinea
1723 N. Halsted Street
Chicago, Illinois 60614 5501

Avec

Restaurant

Quote:
Chef's Favorite Late-Night Place
Located adjacent to executive chef Paul Kahan’s legendary Blackbird in the West Loop, Avec (French for “with”) serves inventive small plates and wonderful charcuterie. The space, basically a long, narrow wooden box, is a fitting backdrop for dishes like braised cod with caperberries. And with service until 1 a.m. on the weekends, Avec is a popular haunt for other cooks and chefs. They don’t take reservations, and seating is limited, so if you make it to one of their prized tables, consider yourself amongst an elite few.
www.avecrestaurant.com

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 8, 2008

Avec
615 W. Randolph St.
Chicago, Illinois 60661
(312) 377-2002

Hot Doug's, Inc.

Restaurant

Quote:
Best Hot DogThe debate about the best hot dog in Chicago will not be solved by this listing. People can be as odiferous about dogs as they can be about the Red Sox, Yankees, or White Sox. That said, Hot Doug’s, located in a truly bizarre part of town, maintaining comically limited hours, (10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday), and occasionally serving a now-illegal foie gras hot dog under the table, has attained near-mythic status in the city of Chicago. Billing itself as the “Sausage Superstore and Encased Meat Emporium,” and serving dogs like smoked alligator sausage with spicy shrimp mayonnaise and smoked Gouda cheese, this dog-stand packs as much bite as bark.www.hotdougs.com...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 8, 2008

Hot Doug's, Inc.
3324 North California
Chicago, Illinois 60618
(773) 279-9550

Hot Chocolate

Restaurant

Quote:
Best Dessert
Chef Mindy Segal creates delicious savory dishes like brined bone-in pork chops in her Wicker Park restaurant, Hot Chocolate. But it’s her expansive dessert menu—containing milkshake flights, hot chocolate made with 72 percent French chocolate, and poppy-seed shortcake streusel crisp with slow-roasted strawberries and rhubarb—that really sets the place apart. Come for dinner, but make sure you stay for dessert.
www.hotchocolatechicago.com

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 8, 2008

Hot Chocolate
1747 N. Damen Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 60647
(773) 489-1747

NoMI

Restaurant | "NoMI @ Park Hyatt"

Quote:
Best Afternoon Tea
Located just off the Magnificent Mile, NoMI is perfect when you want a break from shopping. The interior, designed by Tony Chi, features a marble mosaic and a rotating collection of modern art. Come for high tea, and enjoy traditional service with a three-tiered presentation of treats, including amazing house-made potato chips, alongside the more than 15 kinds of teas to help you unwind.
www.nomirestaurant.com

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 8, 2008

NoMI
800 N. Michigan Ave. # 7
Chicago, Illinois 60611
(312) 239-4030

Quote:
Most Interesting Fusion
Co-chefs and owners Mohammad Islam and Malika Ameen opened this East-meets-Mediterranean bistro in an odd part of town. Located near the Loop and the famed Merch Mart, this is the perfect place to come after a long day of shopping with your interior designer. Besides a to-die-for “Greek pizza” with pulled lamb, olives, and French feta, there is a fabulous list of small grower’s Champagne to choose from.
www.aigredouxchicago.com

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 8, 2008

Aigre Doux Restaurant and Bakery
230 W Kinzie Street
Chicago, Illinois
(312) 329-9400

mk

Restaurant | "MK's"

Quote:
Best Upscale Casual
Specializing in fish and wild game, MK’s champions upscale food with little ego, one of my favorite American inventions. The restaurant’s style is casual, with a lighthearted approach to fresh, local food and wine, but the clientele is well-kept and stylish. The space, an open two-story building with exposed brick walls, wooden archways, and a glass ceiling, adds a feeling of heritage to the meticulous dishes of chef Michael Kornick. Make sure to try anything coming off of the hardwood charcoal grill—it’s almost always a winner.
www.mkchicago.com

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 8, 2008

mk
868 North Franklin St
Chicago, Illinois 60610
+1 312 482 9179

Quote:
Open since 1932, this Chicago favorite has served its delicious ribs to the likes of Frank Sinatra; it was also the set of the 1999 film Return to Me, starring David Duchovny and Minnie Driver. The menu is nothing remarkable: onion rings, baked beans, chili, and burgers. But the ribs are amazing, which keep upwards of 300 people a night storming through this nautical-themed Chicago favorite.
www.twinanchorsribs.com

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 8, 2008

Twin Anchors Restaurant and Tavern
1655 N. Sedgwick Street
Chicago, Illinois 60614
312/266-1616