Monday, October 18, 2010

Eating my way through Chicago this weekend I went to Chicago with my husband who was working the Bears game for FOX. I LOVE going with him every time he goes to Chicago. When I can't go, I am sad all weekend knowing that I could be up there with him. Why Chicago you might ask?? Well the shopping (Michigan Avenue is to die for..I know it has all the big name retailers, but let's face it, they are bigger, better, and all in one place.) Second, I love staying in fancy hotels my husband gets put up in. He has been in so many different ones I could start my own travel book on where to stay in downtown Chicago. I love nice hotels and I love the city/downtown nightlife. Drinks out whether it is just me and him, with my AXO lil' sis, or with his crew.. is always fun. However, eating is probably my favorite part of Chicago. I LOVE to eat out and there is no better place to do it than in Chicago!

SO here are some of my favorites..this is by no means a list of all the places I like, just my favorites. And there are still so many left to discover. Next time I am dying to try an Indian place. If you are reading this and have been to a great Indian place in downtown Chicago...let me know!

So here it goes.
(Click on Logo's to go to websites)
1. Bandera
Not your typical Chicago restaurant. In fact, it is a chain and I don't think it originated in Chicago at all. However, the only other ones you can find are in AZ and CA and it is soo good. We eat here for sure every time. It is in the same family of restaurants as Houston's, so if like that place, you will love this place.
What we get:
We start with the Queso (not your typical Mexican food restaurant queso)
I get the beef ribs that are melt in your mouth good. They come with these stringy fries that are perfect.
Charlie gets the rotisserie chicken (what they are known for) and it comes with green rice (sort of like a Spanish rice)
We also both get the skillet cornbread to share. This item is not specifically spelled out on the menu, but they are known for it. It is like cake, but better.
If we have any room left over after that we split a banana cream pie. We usually don't.

Aside from the food, the ambiance is great. It is dark with a jazz band. It also sits above Michigan Ave. Right in the heart of it all!

2. Shaw's Crab House
This was a new place I tried this weekend. Charlie had been before and when I couldn't get us into Joe's (see the #3 on the list), we decided this was a great 2nd choice. Oh boy, was it ever...This might be my new favorite place to eat at every time!

What to get:
For appetizer: We split the crab cake and the Snow Crab California Roll. The crab cake was excellent (but not as good as Del Frisco's in Dallas) and we chose a very safe bet on the sushi. They have a very extensive sashmi/sushi list, so if you are into that, this a great place for you.
We also each got a cup of the clam chowder...YUM!
For main courses he got the Surf/Turf which was the King Crab Legs and the steak, and I got the Surf/Surf which was King Crab Lags and Lobster tail. Not sure which was better. Lobster is my favorite, but the Crab Legs were out of this world! We got a side of green beans, too!
No dessert on this one, but let me tell you they looked divine. We were just too stuffed! They had Raspberry pie, Key Lime pie, Pecan Pie, homemade ice creams (peppermint, no less) just to name a few.

3. Joe's
No I am not referring to Joe's pizza and pasta that you see in every town in America...I am referring to this:
Lucky for me, I could not get us in here over this past weekend. I called 3 weeks ago to get a reservation for 2 people for either Friday or Saturday and they were booked solid. Thanks to that we ate at Shaw's! However, I will want to eat here again. I ate here a few years ago. Funny enough, that night we didn't have a reservation and luckily they did have room at the bar, so we ate at the bar. Full menu, but on bar stools no less. I can't remember exactly what we got. I am sure stone crab and lobster were in the mix. I do remember it being awesome, so I plan to go back. Even if I have to call now for a reservation for next year!

4. Gino's East
There might be native Chicagoans (if that is a word) that would laugh and say I don't know good deep dish when I see it, but I love Gino's East for deep dish pizza. Don't think I ate anything else there because I knew what was coming prior to the pizza and had no room for anything after I ate it.
See what I mean.

5. Soup Box

My AXO lil' sis who lives up there took me to this little gem of a place when I was up there last December. She must have noticed I was frozen, because she suggested we go get soup for lunch. PERFECT! That is all they have there. 12 wonderful soups. You can even taste them like you can taste gelato at a gelato place. They give you a slab of bread to go with it. SET. So I checked the other day to see if there was one here in Dallas/Ft. Worth because I was craving a good soup for lunch, but to my disappointment they are only in Chicago. Boo.

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