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  1. Chicago is FULL of pizza restaurants -- many of which make a very good, thin-crust pizza similar to those served in New York. It would be helpful if you posted the area of Chicago you'd prefer for recommendations. On the north side of the city, I like Pat's Pizza (2679 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago) but others abound. Many may annoy you because Chicago pizza restaurants often cut theirs into squares rather than triangular slices, but I'll bet most will accommodate you if you ask for triangular cuts.
  2. Try Kuma's Corner at 2900 W Belmont Ave (unique, very well reviewed, but not close to an El) and DMK Burger Bar at 2954 N Sheffield Ave (outstanding and a few steps from the Wellington El stop on the Brown line and/or Purple line). While at DMK, check out the Fish Bar next door for a quick change of pace. Both outstanding.
  3. mlarue


    Most all of the above recommendations will give you a taste (pun somewhat intended) of Chicago BUT you've now found yourself in the midst of the great Italian Beef controversy. Generally speaking, you'll find three beef stands with devoted camps of followers: Mr. Beef on Orleans (just under 1 mile west of your hotel; Al's #1 Beef (1 block from Mr. Beef; and Johnny's (in Elmwood Park - about 10 miles west. I'm a proponent of Mr. Beef on Orleans. Order it hot (hot giardinara) and juicy (dipped). The beef gravy is my favorite. I'd add Orange as a potential breakfast venue. They have a location in the south loop. But many Greek-owned coffee shops can make you a Greek-style omlette with spinach, feta and possibly bacon and tomato bits. While not uniquely Chicago, I happen to love it.
  4. I've come to know Carlos (Nieto) a bit over the past four years or so and one overriding characteristic is his desire to please customers -- far more than slavish adherence to arbitrary "rules". My suggestion is that you simply ask for what you want or don't want and it is highly likely that they will bend over backwards to assist.
  5. I've heard Farmer's Fresh is no more. I'd call to double-check before heading out.
  6. Great report -- certainly more than enough to make me want to try it!
  7. It almost hurts to say it, but Buca di Beppo (River North, Lombard, Wheeling, Orland Park) is certainly not subtle. I suppose you could ask most any accomodating restaurant could be persuaded to burn the shit out of some meat, too. Buca (as I recall) doesn't go overboard with garlic but has huge servings and a fun (almost campy) casual vibe. Better Italian food (including spagheti & meatballs) in a homey, old-school neighborhood-feeling environment can be found at La Scarola on Grand near Halsted. Very good food in a genuinely Italian-family kind of environment.
  8. One can only hope that Hot Doug's takes this opportunity to goose (pun fully intended) Joe Moore by hosing something like a week-long foie-dog exraviganza.
  9. "I can understand small restaurants like Sarah's charging for bread." I can _understand_ it, but I can't agree with it. As a customer, I suppose I'd tell the owner/manager that I felt it was similar to charging for water, or butter, or au jus. Logic tells me it's not much different than charging for a salad, but custom and sensibility tells me that it's a nickel & dime move that pisses me off. Maybe they should consider table rental in view of rising commercial rents, or a surcharge for warm food given the trends in energy costs. the descriptive latin phrase is (I believe) chickenshit.
  10. A newer entrant in the "quality Italian" field is Osteria di Tramonto in north suburban Wheeling (www.cenitare.com). It's a concept run by the highly regarded chef team of Rick Tramonto and Gale Gand. My two visits have been quite satisfying. Or, for a more neighborhoody feel I highly recommend La Scarola on Grand Avenue just northwest of the Loop. Excellent, authentic-tasting Italian specialties, affordable pricing and a genuine Italian neighborhood feel that brings me back time and again. (Edited to correct spelling)
  11. It gives me pause to wonder: Is it possible for a suburb to secede from its urb? That is, could Highland Park become a suburb of Milwaukee rather than a suburb of Chicago? It would be less embarrasing...
  12. Independents (in most lines of retail) are a fragile breed. When the big-box retail phenomenan gained traction about 15 years ago I used to joke that the only small retail concept still safe was the neighborhood pet store -- but that was before Petsmart and Petco. Bobaks nearly vanished largely due to intra-family warfare. The same nearly happened to Treasure Island a decade ago. But occasionally others pop up to take their place. Caputo's Fresh Market has been expanding aggressively; Cermak is expanding; and Sunset (on the north shore) is adding yet another unit. In the increasingly complex (and capital-intensive) field of retailing, the independent is increasingly at a disadvantage. But really creative independents -- those who build a better mousetrap -- can still carve out a niche for themselves.
  13. What a great posting! Makes me salivate just to look at it. I may use the restaurant list as an entry in the book of Things I Must Do Before I'm Dead.
  14. It's possible that you're remembering Bennison's Bakery (1000 Davis Street) -- a long-time Evanston institution often lauded for its breads and croissants. Their website is www.bennisonscakes.com.
  15. mlarue


    I took the family there on Mother's Day and everyone had a great meal. My son re-visited about a month ago and once again thought it quite good. I'm not a huge fan of whitefish but thier whitefish entree made me rethink that position.
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