I hope you have your tickets because it’s sold out! As always, they have an incredible line-up all weekend long. In honor of Lollapalooza, I’m posting my personal memo, that I send to friend’s when they visit my beautiful hometown. Aside from our numerous & diverse communities, shopping, history, & architecture; my favorite thing to do when I go home is eat. Chicago is home to several restaurants that are in the top 100 in the world. They’re fabulous & worth every penny, especially if you visit Charlie Trotter’s & Tru.
Welcome to my hometown:
Avec, 615 West Randolph, (312) 377-2002 http://avecrestaurant.com/. It’s my absolute favorite restaurant & am usually there for a few hours eating every time I go w/out realizing it. It’s a Mediterranean fusion. You must have the dates, truffle focaccia, hanger steak & the whole roasted fish. Umm…excuse me, I’m salivating. Feel free to take pics so I can eat vicariously through you.
Greek Islands, in Greek town, 200 South Halsted, (312) 782-9885 http://www.greekislands.net/. The best Greek food you will ever have. Make sure you get saganaki, which, btw was started in Chicago. Everything is incredible here. My fave is the Greek chicken w/ potatoes, the skewers, & (omg) the desserts.
La Scarola, my favorite Italian spot, 721 West Grand, (312) 243-1740 http://www.lascarola.com/. It looks teeny tiny, it’s old school Italian. Everything there is amazing. My fave is the lasagna & caprese salad.
Charlie Trotter’s, 816 West Armitage, (773) 248-6228 http://www.charlietrotters.com/. Very high end & expensive, but he’s one of the best chef’s in the country & well worth the money.
Garrett’s, http://www.garrettpopcorn.com/, popcorn place. Heaven. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
Gino’s East, http://www.ginoseast.com/flash.html, pizza, deep dish w/ patty sausage is incredible & a Chicago classic. Need I say more? This is where real Chicagoans get their pizza. Period. There are a few locations.
Al’s, http://www.alsbeef.com/, beef sandwiches & fries, make sure you get the beef sandwich “dipped” & whatever peppers you like. It’s a messy & delicious sandwich that will have juices running down your hands. There are a bunch of locations scattered around Chicago. This is something you can ONLY have in Chicago.
Reza’s, Persian, 432 West Ontario, (312) 664-4500 http://www.rezasrestaurant.com/. The kabobs are AMAZING. Make sure you get extra feta ; ) To die for. They have a huge menu & everything is delicious.
Bongo Room, 1470 North Milwaukee, (773) 489-0690 http://www.thebongoroom.com/. My favorite breakfast & lunch spot, they have normal lunch stuff, but I love their breakfast stuff, is ridiculous! Banana pancakes w/ creme brûlée sauce, so amazing. Fellow dj’s: Reckless Records, one of the few record stores left in the city is on the same street. Walk over & grab some vinyl while you’re waiting for a table. Gramophone Records is also still open, but a bit of a drive away.
Irazu, 1865 North Milwaukee, (773) 252-5687 http://www.irazuchicago.com/. It’s just past all of the hot Wicker Park & Bucktown spots, a hidden gem. It’s Costa Rican food. Best arroz con pollo, everything is fresh & amazing. They also have these fresh shakes that you can combine or bring your own alcohol to add to. A definite must. I may have proposed to everyone in this family because the food is that good.
Cafe Iberico, Spanish tapas, 739 North LaSalle, (312) 573-1510 http://www.cafeiberico.com/. Very authentic & delicious. The fun part of having tapas is ordering a bunch of things, so I’m not sharing my faves. Try everything that appeals to you. You can’t go wrong. Cough, cough, queso de cabra, cough, cough. They also have the best sangrias there. I love the white & champagne one. It’s moderately priced, you get a lot for your $ there.
Mario’s, Italian ice, 1068 West Taylor Street. Only open during the summer. Local place to be during the summer. Incredible, delectable, & refreshing, & there’s an Al’s across the street. It’s a very Chicago thing to do. Mario’s plus Al’s is an unbeatable combination.
Last, Chicago is home to the largest Polish community in the country. If you know anything about me, you know that I am half Polish & grew up in this community. You must try some Polish food! Even better, if you’re in the area, you can check out where Hef went to high school & grew up close to.
Staropolska, Polish food, 3030 N. Milwaukee, (773) 342-0779 http://www.staropolskarestaurant.com/. Pierogi’s. Go in on this one.