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Your 2006 Chicago-area restaurant wish list?


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My 2006 top 10 dining wish list:

1. Winter: Alinea; to fight the cold-weather blues

2. Spring: Alinea; dining goddess' birthday

3. Summer: Alinea; my birthday

4. Fall: Alinea; early Christmas present

5. Moto because for some reason I haven't been yet

6. Schwa because people I trust have said great things about it

7. Carlos', a 4-star place that I've somehow skipped over

8. Omakase at Meiji

9. TRU because it's been far too long since my last meal there

10. Charlie Trotter's because Della Gossett's desserts are rapturous.

2005 best meal of the year: last week at Alinea; 12-course (actually 15) plus upgraded wine pairing. Perfection in any form is a stupendous achievement, and I had two completely perfect meals at Alinea in 2005 (and three others that were *this* close).

Favorite dish of the year: Dungeness crab with young coconut and raw parsnip on Alinea's opening menu.

Biggest surprises: Matsumoto for the wonderful world-class food and warm service. And Matsumoto for using paper napkins and el-cheapo chopsticks for a $100+/person meal. But I'll definitely return. (mmmm...salty squid guts)

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Just got back from a week in Cabo and saw this great thread. 2005 was a great year of dining for yours truly, so a 2006 wish list was hard to come up with. Here's what I've got:

1. Quarterly visits to Alinea. Actually, 2005 will end with New Year's Eve at Alinea.

2. Matsumoto - Looks like the girlfriend is taking me for my birthday, so I just wish that I'll like it.

3. Custom House - I'm always looking for a new place to get my meat on.

4. Moto - I still haven't been, and that's inexcusable at this point.

5. Sweets and Savories - I can never go too much.

6. Trio Atelier - Again, still haven't been...inexcusable.

7. Decent Chinese food delivered to my apartment - The one gaping hole in the Chicago dining landscape IMO.

8 - Charlie Trotter - Only been once and wasn't impressed. Of course, the one time I ate there was the night after my first dinner at Trio under Achatz.

9 - Schwa - See Sweets and Savories.

10 - Le Francais - Loved it before, can't wait to try it again.

I think that about covers it. 2006 looks like it will be off to a great start with Alinea on NYE, Carlos' at the end of January and Matsumoto in early February. Happy Holidays all!


Now blogging at http://jesteinf.wordpress.com/

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Just got back from a week in Cabo...

Hope you went to Mi Cocina in San Juan del Cabo. And French Riviera. Those were our two favorites. I expect a report in the Mexico forum! :wink:

No on Mi Cocina, but we did make it to French Riviera on our last night. Report will be forthcoming. My brain is still re-adjusting to reality.


Now blogging at http://jesteinf.wordpress.com/

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  • 1 month later...
I don't think I'll ever have the opportunity to hit all the places I want to hit but if chances were unlimited, here are local the places I'd hit in 2006 (in no particular order):


-- A place about which I've only heard positive things.  Menu looks great; can't wait to try it.

Atwood Cafe

-- Turned out the very best thing I tasted at Recipe for Relief.


-- Would love to sit at the Chef's Bar next time around.


-- Lots of buzz and good comments from friends whose opinions I trust.

Adobo Grill (North & Wells)

-- A friend, who I agree with about other places, described this place to me and it made me really want to try it.

Custom House

-- How can I not try something new from this proven team?


-- I'm skeptical but I've read so much about it, I want to give it a whirl.

Le Francais

-- Really want to return now that Roland Liccioni is back.


-- Can't stop thinking about how much I like it here.  The real deal.

Osteria via Stato

-- Opinions of this place run hot and cold but some folks I trust really enjoy it.

Banana Moon

-- Very close to my house and with a good pedigree.  I hope it's great.


-- A consensus of trusted opinions are all raves and I want to experience it for myself.


-- Had one of my all-time favorite meals here over 2 years ago.  I need to get back and soon.


-- Haven't been since the ownership change and right now is the best season for it.

Hot Chocolate

-- Had some memorably great stuff there recently and can't want to go back and try more of it.

Green Zebra

-- Really want to experience a winter menu here.  Been once -- in the summer -- and loved it.


-- Haven't been since October '04.  Did have a bite at Recipe for Relief but would to have more soon.


-- Same as Blackbird but I've been there slightly more recently.


-- Absolutely need to try it.  Only had a "taste" at Recipe for Relief and I'm very curious

And last but not least . . .


-- Pretty much my favorite restaurant at the moment.  If I get there fewer than 4 times in 2006, I'll feel like I missed out on something.

These are all the ones I can think of at the moment.  I doubt I'll get to half of them but you never know . . .

Anyone else have a wish list?  Please share. :smile:


There are a number of places on your list that I would love to go to, either in 2006 or in the future. There are also a few places that I just don't have any desire to try, though. I have a confession to make, even though it may strike some here as heresy.

I don't much care for avant-garde cuisine, nor do I have any desire to go to places that treat a meal as more of a performance art peice.

For instance, Alinea. No disrespect to Chef Achatz. I understand what he is doing, and I can appreciate it in theory. But when I go out to dnner, what I want is a meal. I get the same vibe with Butter. The chef is careful to slice his toast thin enough so he can maximize the flavor of the foam. Toast foam? If he wants to maximize teh flavor of toast, why not serve toast?

I want to get back to Frontera Grill, but make it early enough that they haven't yet run out of the tamales.

I made it a point to get to the Berghoff before they close on Tuesday.

I've never been to Hot Doug's, but I want to go soon.

I haven't had a slab of ribs from Twin Anchors in years. I need to go again.

I am dying for the garlicky potato salad they serve at Meson Sabika. That, some anchovies, and serrano ham are enough to make my eyes glaze over.

I want a bone-in ribeye at Gene & Georgetti's.

The veal involtini at Volare is a must-have for this year.

Carlos is incredible. I may have eaten the best meal of my life there. But this year, I think I'll go to Froggie's twice for the same amount of money.

Must we always aspire to high concept? Why not just a really good plate of grub, cooked by somebody who does it better than everybody else?

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Must we always aspire to high concept?  Why not just a really good plate of grub, cooked by somebody who does it better than everybody else?

No doubt! But these are the kinds of places I know I will go without having to make a list (or get a babysitter) :wink::smile:


"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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I've been attending college here in Chicago for almost a year and a half now, and have yet to visit the many great restaurants! But if I could go to different restaurants this year, my wish list would include:



Hot Chocolate


Banana Moon

There are other restaurants, but that's all I can think of as of now.

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