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Chicago 3.0 Preview

We will soon be heading to Chicago – however, this time our trip will contain a 3rd member to our team. This will be our first trip with Baby Oz – to one of our favorite cities to visit and a straight shot from Nashville (and a place where we don’t need a car to navigate).

As usual, we want to explore and try new places but still hit up some of our old faves. We hope to return to Bongo Room (our Chicago “tradition” breakfast), Big Star, XOCO and The Purple Pig while we’re there. After having Voodoo Doughnuts on our trip to Portland, OR last year we’ve also been on a mission to find the best doughnut in every city.

For those with kids, I’m sure you understand – our itinerary is not written in stone (and this also means no Alinea, Next or upscale/fine dining on this trip). Here is our preview for Chicago 3.0


To Stay –

The James – we are heading back here this trip. Last time we loved the modern aesthetic, service and central location (near but not right on Magnificant Mile)


New Places to Try –

Doughnut Vault – creative doughnuts from the Gilt Bar team. Lines are reportedly enormous, so we plan to get there shortly after opening.

Publican Quality Meats – artisan sandwiches and charcuterie from Paul Kahan, who’s track record has been spot on so far in our book (Blackbird, Big Star, Publican). Special Burger night is Tues at 6pm!

Avec – although we just heard that their chef, Koren Grieveson has recently left the kitchen, we are still interested in trying some of their famous small plates.

Mindy’s HotChocolate – we’ve passed by this Wicker Park restaurant/dessert shop before but were usually too full to try anything. After her James Beard win this year as Best Pastry Chef we may have to save some room. We’ve heard they also have one of best burgers in town.

Cafe Spiaggia – more casual Italian next to upscale/legendary Spiaggia on North Michigan Ave with pizzas, pastas, soups, and salads.

Au Cheval – chic diner in West Loop (think – homemade fried bologna sandwich)

Balena – new Lincoln Park Italian eatery featuring a wood burning oven from the same team as GT Fish and Oyster and The Girl & The Goat (Boka Group).

Glazed and Infused Doughnuts – though the Doughnut Vault gets most of the press, we’ve heard good things about these creative doughnuts – as well as shorter lines. Several locations (Wicker, Lincoln, West Loop).

Do Rite Donuts – if we haven’t already OD’d on fried dough, we will try get here to try one of their many flavors of doughnuts, including vanilla bean glazed.

Franks n Dawgs – these Lincoln Park haute dogs may be a good place to try after a jog through Lincoln Park Zoo.

Heritage Bicycle General Store – this Lincoln Park coffee shop/bike store serves Stumptown coffee and we’ve been itching to find more coffee shops in Chicago in addition to Intelligentsia.


Old Faves –

Purple Pig – we loved their small plates and wine list last visit and are looking forward to sampling some more of their pig-centric menu just around the corner from our hotel.

XOCO – we plan a return to Rick Bayless’ casual Mexican restaurant for breakfast and/or lunch to try their churros and tortas, both of which we didn’t get to try last time around

Big Star – Paul Kahan’s whiskey-taqueria was one of our favorite places that we went to last year (and still wish there was something like this here in Nashville).

GT Fish and Oyster – if nothing else, we hope to get back to this beautiful fish/oyster restaurant to get another one of their ridiculous Key Lime Pies – deconstructed and served out of a jar

Bongo Room – a trek to Wicker Park followed by a decadent breakfast and shopping has been one of our favorite things to do in Chicago. We hope to continue that tradition this trip as well.

Grahamwich – these creative sandwiches from Graham Elliott were fantastic and it’s location near The James Hotel may bring us back around for more this trip.


Activities –

Shopping on Magnificent Mile – touristy, we know, but still tons of great shopping to be had in this area

Lincoln Park Zoo – a free fun excursion and reason to get up to Lincoln Park

Wicker Park – a morning and afternoon here for great food and boutique shopping

Oz Park – we don’t know much about this park other than it has the same name as our son. We’d love a pic of him in front of it’s sign.

Millenium Park and Lakeshore Drive – the run on Lakeshore Drive right by the water is one of our favorite places to run followed by a walk through the park for some photo ops

West Loop – a foodie destination with several places we are interested in trying this time around – Publican Quality Meats, Au Cheval, avec, and possibly Grange Hall Burger Bar (if Au Cheval is no good for a 3 month old)


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