Just got back from a big city escape and had some amazing food in Chicago so I thought I'd give you a brief taste, so to speak. We ate at several great places including North Pond, a craftsman inspired building in the middle of Lincoln Park (if you go make sure you know exactly where it is, or that your cabbie does or you may have trouble finding it). It reminds me a lot of Chez Panisse in Berkeley. Same feel on the inside and same seasonal menu idea. Some of the standouts on the Spring tasting menu were the olive oil poached halibut with lots of fresh spring veggies (hello early fava beans and baby artichokes!) and a wonderful saddle of lamb with another delicious veggie mix including beautiful asparagus and a sheep's milk ricotta tortelloni on the side.
Had lunch at a great "Gastopub" (where do they come up with this stuff?) called The Gage, right on Michigan Avenue across form the Art Institute. Had an AMAZING truffled egg sandwich--thick slices of boiled egg in a super rich truffle mayo with lots of arugula on a great baguette--oh and don't forget a side of tiny roasted fingerlings with blue cheese. This place is certainly on the repeat visit list. (They also serve dinner). And it was PACKED by the time we left with a 30 minute wait for lunch (they do take reservations though).
Finally, we had dinner at L2O, also in Lincoln Park. This place is superb. The service is impeccable (I mean, they drove us back to our hotel in their town car when we asked them to call us a cab), the ambiance is very modern, but also warm. Some of the items that really stood out were the bread selection first of all--6 different housemade breads (and the teeny tiny rosemary croissants, I could eat about 20 of them) and housemade butter which was so good (I don't think I have had housemade butter in a restaurant since I lived in Europe). The second course was the most unforgettable for me and hubby--we actually shared them equally. We had the peekytoe crab in a foie gras emulsion (can you say rich and decadent in all the right ways) and the housemade papardelle imprinted with parsley leaves (beautiful and delicious) with asparagus and morels in parmesan foam. Wow. Also, a standout--hubby's seared pork belly with a truffle sauce and little rounds of yukon gold potatoes stuffed with cheese. Perfectly crisp on the outside and just delicious!
Anyway, even though it wasn't an Indy restaurant experience, I thought, hey, Chicago's not that far away and I just had to write about these meals. What a great culinary experience! (Sorry there are no photos--I really wanted to take them, but hubby refused to let me) We're thinking the next time we go, we are going to take the kids and do some of the family sightseeing stuff--anyone have any suggestions for good restaurants in Chicago where you can take kids? I would love to hear them!
2610 North Cannon Drive
Chicago, IL 60657
24 S. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60603
2300 Lincoln Park West
Chicago, IL 60614