I have been eating my way through Chicago for some time now, however things are about to change. Now that I get to experience Chicago fully as a resident, I am of course thinking of where I want to eat first. So I compiled this list based on some newer and classic Chicago spots I hope to check out (even from outside) in the next few months.
- Schwa - This is one of those tasting menu meets 2014 type of spots, where chefs openly collaborate and bring the food to you (literally). The menu at Schwa changes regularly, and brings some very interesting eats to your table (apple pie soup anyone). Getting a reservation is only reserved for the patient (call and keep calling), as is dining perhaps (turn your cell phone off at the door digital junkies). There may be enough here to eat and write about for days, which I just may do, if I get a call back. :)
- Mana Food Bar - Sorry carnivores, this spot may not be for you. But in my new-found life I have found I don't eat dairy, and vegan restaurants seem to cater to this very well. Mana means "the life force in nature" according to their website, and the vegetarian (not only vegan) fare meets this need, bringing a fusion of cuisines all rooted in plants (and dairy I suppose). Its a no-reservations spot, but on my hot list for vegetarian spots in the city.
- Le Colonial - I never checked out this vintage spot in NYC, but have heard rave reviews about the Chicago version. Le Colonial brings all that is yummy and good from the French influence in Vietnam to the table, with delectable delights like a lotus root and tofu salad, or a whole red snapper in chili sauce. If you love Vietnamese like I do, this should make your list.
- Avec - Another French-inspired spot makes my list, mostly because I have heard about Avec for years and have wanted to try it. The subtle flavors like shrimp with pistachio pesto are right up my alley. And the wine-focus doesn't hurt either.
- Untitled - I have been here a million times for drinks or the occasional burlesque show, but never sat down to eat. But if the drinks are as good as the food, I am ready to take up a fork. What I love about the drinks at Untitled are the classic, old-world style of them, the ambitious bartenders and the plethora of options (they have like million whiskeys). So I hope to sit down to some striped bass with white bean and dandelion greens very soon!
- Alinea - Only for my more my ambitious self, but a trip to Alinea (one of the top 10 restaurants in the world) would make my day (maybe my year even). Though this dining experience comes with a price, it is one which may be worth paying (someday).
This list is my no means exhaustive, but its a great start along my journey through Chicago food. I, for one, am ready to dive into every bite. Bon Appétit!