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"A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart who looks at her watch." - James Beard


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Monday, January 7, 2013

Detour - Chicago Part 2


Last time we visited Bell's Brewery in Kalamazoo, Slurping Turtle and Frontera Grill.  Now for our final day in Chicago.


We did a little shopping on the Magnificent Mile and then for lunch we decided to go with the recommendation of a local friend of Matt's and try Portillos, a famous Chicago institution for Chicago-style hot dogs, Italian Beef, and Polish Sausage.


Chicago had its own special style of hot dogs and Chicagoans are proud and protective of them. A Chicago dog is an all-beef frank on a poppyseed bun topped with mustard, relish, onions, a dill pickle spear, tomatoes and pickled sport peppers (hot peppers) and celery salt. There is no ketchup on a Chicago dog and some vendors will even refuse to add it!  So, this was Matt's lunch.  

Portillos Italian Beef

I had an Italian Beef, another famous Chicago sandwich.  It is thinly sliced roast beef, dripping in beef juice served on an Italian roll, also dipped in beef juice and topped with sweet peppers or hot giadiniera.  It was very delicious.  


After that, we hopped in a cab to do some shopping on the Clybourn corridor, an emerging shopping area near Lincoln Park.  We took a little walk to grab a drink at Local Option, one of the best beer bars in Chicago, so Matt could have his first birthday beer.  They had a great selection and we had more than a few rounds.  We'd planned to do a bit more shopping but instead grabbed a cab back to the area near our hotel and had a coffee so we'd be ready for our special dinner.  


We made reservations at The Publican for Matt's birthday dinner.  This is a farm-to-table restaurant that has an excellent beer list so we thought it would be a good fit.  I don't have many photos but here's the scoop:

Most of the seating is long, communal tables but we were in a booth that closes completely. Service was great and food is served family-style so we ordered several dishes to share. We ordered pork rinds (incredible!), arctic char (fantastic), suckling pig (delicious) and 1/2 farm chicken with frites (amazing, wish we'd ordered the whole chicken). Plus brussels sprouts. This was for 4 people. We also ordered a sampling of ham but it never arrived. The waiter was very apologetic and offered to buy us dessert. We got a popcorn gelato for the birthday boy, plus stout chocolate cake (amazing), rice pudding brule and a cheese plate. 

The next day we drove home and made it in record time.  A very successful little holiday!  Chicago is a great place to visit.

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