From USA

Chicago Travel Guide || pilsen & bridgeport

Screen Shot 2013-11-13 at 12.10.10 PM

Here is our take on our favorite haunts in the Pilsen & Bridgeport neighborhoods. It is just our 2 cents on what we think you should put on the EAT | SEE | STAY list. Have fun exploring our handsome city.tumblr_m8ipzx2xnN1raz3uuo1_500We love these hilarious banners. Check them all out over here.
Screen Shot 2013-11-12 at 3.48.03 PM

  • Birreria Reyes De Ocotlan – This spot is all about the goat, and the goat soup/consommé is what you should stop in for, deliciously rich but somehow light, it was a delightful surprise, along with the service, so friendly and filled with smiles.
  • HonkyTonk BBQ - Quirky southern BBQ joint – finger lickin’ good.
  • Nightwood – A Food & Wine best new chef award and for good reason. I love the Brunch, but great for other casual meals too [R&H review]
  • Maria’s Packaged Goods – A hole on the wall bar. Great cocktails. A must visit. Grab a pie next door and have it delivered here with its ready.
  • Pleasant House Bakery – The best savory pies in the US hands-down, a small little bakery / fish & chip shop [R&H review]
  • Simone’s Bar – The decor is ‘hipster-chic’ made from recycled pinball machines, bowling alley lanes & an assortment of other factory parts. It is really creative in design, very comfortable, good friendly service, and an interesting beer selection. They have a decent food menu too.
  • Skylark – A tidy little dive bar, with surly service as you would expect, cheap drinks and a old-school-chicago-bar experience worth having, they serve food too – top of the list tater-tots – yum!

Insiders Tip: Take an Urban Culinary Adventure and hit almost all the spots in one trip. Head back again for breakfast at Nightwood.

Screen Shot 2013-11-12 at 3.47.42 PM

  • Festivals & Events: There are loads of summer based activities in this area check lists for details

Screen Shot 2013-11-12 at 3.48.15 PM

  • We don’t have any recommendations for you at this time.

Screen Shot 2013-11-12 at 3.48.24 PM

  • Knee Deep Vintage – if you like vintage attire this is a good spot.
  • Fabric Store – Even if yo are not looking to buy fabric – this place is fun to explore, head to the basement.

Screen Shot 2013-11-12 at 3.48.33 PM

Screen Shot 2013-11-13 at 10.17.47 AM

ABOUT THESE GUIDES: We will be updating as things close/open, & our tastes change. You can see other Chicago Neighborhood Guides here.

Chicago Travel Guide || fulton & west loop

Screen Shot 2013-11-13 at 12.09.34 PM

Here is our take on our favorite haunts in the Fulton Market & West Loop neighborhoods. It is just our 2 cents on what we think you should put on the EAT | SEE | STAY list. Have fun exploring our handsome city.tumblr_m7b992OyGN1raz3uuo1_r2_500
We love these hilarious banners. Check them all out over here.
Screen Shot 2013-11-12 at 3.48.03 PM

  • Au Cheval – A french diner. The buyer here is spectacular.
  • Aviary – Get a reservation online to avoid the lines. The most exquisite presentation & creations in the cocktail world. [R&H review
  • Avec – Communal tables, plates for sharing, fabulous wine. It has been a staple & a fave for 10+ years. Don’t miss out. Go early if there are more than 2 of you to get a table [R&H review
  • Blackbird – A little more formal, delicious fish dishes.
  • Girl & the Goat – Huge space, loads of tables,  but it is popular so book ahead of time. Great menu small plates [R&H review]
  • Glazed & Infused – Holy load of delicious handcrafted donuts. So sugary good, several locations across the city.
  • J.P. Graziano Italian deli with the best italian subs in town.
  • Maudes Liquor Bar – French bistro with a focus on seafood, great room & amazing cocktails. Love the tartare [R&H review]
  • Moto innovative, fun but fancy meal, I have always had a good time.
  • Next – The menu changes 4 times a year. Buy a ticket, it is $$$ but worth it, get the wine parings, turn up, enjoy the show [R&H review]
  • Publican – Great pub food, that has a wicked brunch on the weekends, Good for all meals. [R&H review
  • Publican Quality Meatsis good for a lunch spot and for taking goodies with you for later [R&H review]
  • RM Champagne – Hidden down an alley, great outdoor space in the summer. Good for drinks & a nibble.
  • Sepia – Delightful dinner stop, live this room and of course the food. Seasonal menu focused on classic dishes.
  • Sushi Dokku – Great sushi spot. Excellent Sake selection. Sit at the counter & order the omakase option.
  • Wishbone – Across from the old Oprah Studios, this is ‘southern reconstruction’ food. Fun breakfast spot.

Screen Shot 2013-11-12 at 3.47.42 PM

Screen Shot 2013-11-12 at 3.48.15 PM

  • There aren’t any hotels in this area YET but they are under construction. Coming soon Soho House.

Screen Shot 2013-11-12 at 3.48.24 PM

Screen Shot 2013-11-12 at 3.48.33 PM

Screen Shot 2013-11-13 at 10.17.47 AM

ABOUT THESE GUIDES: We will be updating as things close/open, & our tastes change. You can see other Chicago Neighborhood Guides here.

Chicago Travel Guide || top five list

Screen Shot 2013-11-13 at 12.13.01 PM

So you don’t have enough time to do it all. Here is our take on our TOP FIVE haunts across Chicago if you are looking for an express tour, or just want to narrow it down. This is just our 2 cents on what we think you should absolutely put on the EAT | SEE | STAY list to get the best experience possible. Have fun exploring our handsome city.

Screen Shot 2013-11-12 at 3.48.03 PM

OK – we cheating a little bit here, but when a city has 25 restaurants with Michelin Stars you know there is a lot of good stuff going on. So we broke it down into different meals & of course drinks.

EAT – BREAKFAST / BRUNCH

EAT – SNACKS

  • Black Dog Gelato - best gelato in town, get the salted caramel & mexican hot chocolate.
  • Glazed & Infused – Holy load of delicious handcrafted donuts. So sugary good, several locations across the city.
  • Hoosier Mama – A cute little storefront with delicious pies of all sorts. Take it to go – or snag one of the few tables for a slice. [R&H review]
  • Pleasant House Bakery – Alright this is pushing it, but I want to get it on the list. The best savory pies in the US hands-down. [R&H review]
  • Wow Bao - steamed asian buns filled with all sorts of deliciousness.

EAT – LUNCH

  • Big Star – the best ‘taco & marg’ in town. Do yourself a favor, catch the train downtown from ORD, get off at Damen, head across the street & kick-off your vakay starting here [R&H review], then taxi it to your accommodation. It will be the best welcoming to a city you can have.
  • Franks & Dawgs  - Elevated Chicago Hot-Dog’s, better tasting than Hot Doug’s because they make their own dawns in-house, the buns are delicious, and the sides are perfection [R&H review].
  • The Purple Pig- Good for Lunch or Dinner. Casual wine bar with incredible plates for sharing get the pig’s ear salad [R&H review]
  • Sable – Friendly service, slick room, great food to share & a fave place for a G&T – get the one with rosemary [R&H review]
  • XOCO - Rick Bayless is a legend when it comes Mexican Food. This casual eastern is a good way to sample his offerings [R&H review]

EAT – DINNER

  • Alinea – It will send you home broke – but the guy is a genius. Fine-dining, so wear something fancy and be prepared to be blown away. It’s art on a plate.
  • Avec – Communal tables, plates for sharing, fabulous wine. It has been a staple & a fave for 10+ years. Don’t miss out. Go early if there are more than 2 of you to get a table.
  • Bavettes – Chicago is known for its steak house – this one we can always agree on – newish to the scene – but divine – french bistro style [R&H review]. If you must do traditional then we say Gene & Georgetti est. 1941.
  • Ruxbin – We take all our guests here. Casual elegance – we love it. They are constantly winning awards and the hearts & stomachs of everyone. Oh and it is BYOB. [R&H review]
  • Schwa – World best BYOB. Modern fine dining in a casual atmosphere [they play black sabbath]. Good luck booking [R&H review]

DRINK

  • Aviary – Get a reservation online to avoid the lines. The most exquisite presentation & creations in the cocktail world. Not to be missed.
  • Billy Sunday - Fantastic bar, a delightful room to spend time in, and they serve really good food.
  • Signature Lounge - Best view in town – the cocktails are so-so but go for one drink just for the view. And pick off hours to avoid the crowds.
  • Three Dots & a Dash – If tiki was disneyland this would be the place. Great way to start the night with tiki drink to make you smile. It’s down an alley, and relatively easy to find look for the tiki torches.
  • Violet Hour – Beautiful velvet wrapped speak-easy cocktail bar with tasty craft cocktails.

Insiders tip: This is what the experts are currently listing as fave places to eat: Michelin & Eater.

Screen Shot 2013-11-12 at 3.47.42 PM

QUINTESSENTIAL CHICAGO

  • Architectural Boat Tour – A great way to see the city and the world’s original skyscrapers. It is restricted to weather, take a walking tour if you are brave enough to visit in the winter.
  • The Art Institute of Chicago – Our favorite is the Modern Wing, but do see the miniature rooms collection, and of course the text-book classic paintings, and admire the architecture too.
  • Lake Front / Lincoln Park – Lake Michigan is huge it truly looks like an ocean. Walk along the Lakefront from Oak Street to North Ave bridge and then wander thru Lincoln Park. Don’t miss the Studio Gang shelter, and the free Lincoln Park Zoo.
  • Millennium Park – Check out the gardens, the sculptures, the fountains & see a concert whilst enjoying a picnic in the warmer months. It is not considered a world-class park for nothing.
  • Wrigleyfield – Get some tickets in the bleachers, grab a beer before the game, munch on a Chicago Dog & watch the beloved Cubs, where they have been playing since 1916.

HIDDEN GEMS / FURTHER AFIELD 

  • Chinatown Food Tour – Great way to see this part of the city, eat & learn along the way. Go hungry [R&H review].
  • The Driehaus Museum – WOW this is a magnificent home perfectly preserved in downtown chicago.
  • Farnsworth House  - A world-famous piece of architecture. I wish I could call it home – well a holiday home. [R&H review].
  • Osaka Japanese Garden – Located within Jackson Park it is a lovely spot for a picnic or to contemplate life.
  • Pullman District – Good for history & architecture buffs. You need to travel a little south, but amazing to step back in time to the hey-day of the railway.
  • Public Art Walking Tour – I am sneaking this one in – self guided – see Picasso, Miro. Chagall, Calder Kapoor etc.

Screen Shot 2013-11-12 at 3.48.15 PM

  • ACME Hotel – Reasonable prices, central location to all the ‘hoods. Modern and has a fun casual atmosphere.
  • The James Hotel – Smaller Hotel with a modern interior design, located downtown making it easy to get anywhere.
  • Park Hyatt Hotel – You can’t beat the location on the mag mile, and the views are pretty amazing too. Their spa has the best treatments, and Nomi is a great in-house restaurant / lounge.
  • Public – A little off the beaten path giving you a rest from the maddening crowds. Simple rooms.
  • The Thompson – a beautiful hotel with style & great on-site bar & restaurant [coming soon Dec 2013] also downtown.

Insiders tip: Chicago has decent transportation & taxi system with good prices. Locate yourself downtown, especially if you are a first timer, to make it easier to get anywhere in the city within 10-15 minutes. Book in advance & pre-pay for the best rates.

Screen Shot 2013-11-13 at 10.17.47 AM

ABOUT THESE GUIDES: We will be updating as things close/open, & our tastes change. You can see other Chicago Neighborhood Guides here.

Chicago Travel Guide || lincoln park & lake view

Screen Shot 2013-11-12 at 3.02.43 PM

Here is our take on our favorite haunts in the Lincoln Park & Lakeview neighborhoods. It is just our 2 cents on what we think you should put on the EAT | SEE | STAY list. Have fun exploring our handsome city.
tumblr_m79b1i8c2U1raz3uuo1_500tumblr_mavo2i9vh31raz3uuo1_r2_500

We love these hilarious banners. Check them all out over here.

Screen Shot 2013-11-12 at 3.48.03 PM

  • Alinea – It will send you home broke – but the guy is a genius. Fine-dining, so wear something fancy and be prepared to be blown away. It’s art on a plate. [R&H review]
  • Balena – Great italian food from wood fire oven thin crust pizza to pasta to , a great bar, and the interior is spot on [R&H review].
  • Bar Pastorl  - When a cheese shop that sold wine turns into a bar – perfection.
  • Browntrout – BYOB sustainable dining. The cheese plate rocks it for me : )
  • Chez Moi – A charming french bistro small and romantic.
  • The Coffee Studio - Great coffee in a warm wood interior.
  • Crisp – Casual & tiny best for taking to go, enjoy it in the park : )
  • Floriole Cafe & Bakery – Started as a farmers market stand. Delicious baked goods & sandwiches.
  • Franks & Dawgs  - Elevated Chicago Hot-Dog’s, better tasting than Hot Doug’s because they make their own dawns in-house, the buns are delicious, and the sides are perfection [R&H review].
  • J.Parker – Rooftop bar with lovely views. Grab a drink & some nibbles.
  • Molly’s Cupcakes – Stuffed cupcakes. And swings for counter stools.
  • Intelligentsia  - Great Chicago coffee & tea company. Delicious.
  • North Pond – Historic prairie style architecture, beautiful views over a pond with the Chicago skyline. Romantic & delicious.
  • Perennial Virant – Garden fresh, beautiful space, great service. Order everything. [R&H review]
  • The Peasantry - Great elevated pub / street food in a wonderful setting, casual neighborhood spot [R&H review]
  • Riccardo Trattoria – Delicious italian – one of our fave true ‘italian-italian’ places in the city.
  • Senza – Michelin Star & gluten free. Chefs & Bar has some serious pedigree. The food is super pretty.
  • Sweet Mandy B’s – Makes me drool for the red velvet cupcakes just writing this. Cupcakes rule here.
  • Stella’s Diner – Good solid breakfast with cheery servers.
  • Twin Anchors – Est. 1932 they serve up BBQ baby-back ribs and are a classic Chicago institution.
  • Vosges Haut Chocolat – Chocolate heaven made here in Chicago. Makes great take home gifts.
  • Wiener Circle – Hot dog stand that is a true experience, always filled with antics especially later in the evening when customers arrive after a few adult beverages.

Screen Shot 2013-11-12 at 3.47.42 PM

  • Lake Front / Lincoln Park – Lake Michigan is huge it truly looks like an ocean. Walk along the Lakefront from Oak Street to North Ave bridge and then wander thru Lincoln Park. Don’t miss the Studio Gang shelter
  • Lincoln Park Zoo. - A great free Zoo, lovely to stroll thru [it does get busy after 11am on the weekends].
  • Lincoln Park Conservatory - Lovely glass house filled with interesting terms, palms & orchids.
  • Wrigleyfield – Get some tickets in the bleachers, grab a beer before the game, munch on a Chicago Dog & watch the beloved Cubs, where they have been playing since 1916.
  • Festivals & Events: There are loads of summer based activities in this area check lists for details

Screen Shot 2013-11-12 at 3.48.15 PM

  • Hotel Lincoln – fantastic interior and great roof top bar & restaurant next door.

Screen Shot 2013-11-12 at 3.48.24 PM

  • Name brand stores can be found at North | Halsted | Sheffield – and constantly changing [Wholefoods, West Elm, Crate & Barrel, CB2, William Sonoma, GAP, REI, J. Crew, Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, Anthropologie]
  • Boutiques and other designer stores along Armitage between Halsted & Clybourn & some drift north of Armitage along Halsted
  • More shopping along Lincoln Ave around Diversey & Belmont
  • Green City Market – moves indoors in the Winter, bit great place to stroll in the warmer months, the burger stand kills it. Excellent organic produce from IL | WI | MI farmers.
  • Art Effect –  is great for gifts & women’s clothing, & kids goodies too.
  • Lori’s – Girls get your shoe on.
  • PaperSource – well for great paper & other related paper related goodies & host gifts.
  • Heritage Bicycles & General Store – bikes, bike related goodies & coffee. Bespoke bikes.
  • Waxman Candles – If you can’t find the right candle here it is not available. Hand made & hand dipped since 1970.
  • Rotofugi – premier seller of [world wide] designer toys, art & other items – it’s also a gallery.

Screen Shot 2013-11-12 at 3.48.33 PM

Screen Shot 2013-11-13 at 10.17.47 AM

ABOUT THESE GUIDES: We will be updating as things close/open, & our tastes change. You can see other Chicago Neighborhood Guides here.