Saturday, August 15, 2015

Some Chicago Land Dining Experiences, 8/01 to 8/12/2015

There are so many restaurants here that is hard to figure out where to go! But, of course, we had Amanda as our tour guide and she always comes up with some interesting places to eat! It is said that if you ate out every day for 42 years, you still would not get to every restaurant in Chicago. I believe it!

Barn & Company: Before seeing the Million Dollar Quartet show on Saturday night, we grabbed a bite to eat at Barn & Company that is located just around the corner from the Apollo Theatre. 

We got our order to go so we could watch the performers warm up before the show in the theatre (since we have the inside connection with Amanda working there). We also had a cocktail while waiting for our order to be prepared. 

We enjoyed our pulled pork sandwich (John), cheeseburger (me) and fries. The theatre cast and crew sometimes frequent this place after shows. 

Big Star: This is a very popular Mexican restaurant with indoor and outdoor dining. Amanda and Justine had a softball game (on the Blue Man Group team in the Theatre League) and we met here to eat first. 

One reason that we wanted to eat here, other than the great food, is that we had Sadie with us and she was allowed to join us on the patio. They even brought her a dog bowl with water. We had some appetizers and then some exceptionally good tacos! My margarita was also delicious. Although it was crowded, service was great. This place is reasonably priced and would be a popular stop for us if we lived in the area. Loved it. 

Harry Caray's Tavern: This is one of seven Harry Caray restaurants in Chicago land. It is located on the Navy Pier. We ate lunch here prior to embarking on our Architecture Tour Cruise (that also departed from the pier). 

It's an upscale establishment with loads of famous athletic and celebrity memorabilia displayed throughout. Our food was good and service was excellent. 

Au Cheval:  After a walking tour of part of the downtown area, we made our way to this well-known, small restaurant. It has a reputation of serving the best burger in Chicago and has been recognized nationally as well. There are frequently long lines waiting for a table or seat at the bar; they do not accept reservations. Amanda and Justine had plans to see Pippin that evening, so we arrived for an early dinner and were lucky to get seated right away. 

By the time we left there was a long line of diners waiting to be seated. John had one of their fabulous burgers; Amanda had an amazing bologna sandwich; and Justine and I had a salmon salad-like dish with soft boiled egg on top and tasty bread. I enjoyed it, but Justine was not a fan. They took her meal off the check when our server saw that she did not eat much of it (which was pretty awesome). They have a great cocktail menu, as well as craft beers and wine.

This place is highly recommended! Loved the food, service, and ambiance.

Eataly: This is the second location in the United States (first opened in New York City) of this huge Italian marketplace. The Chicago location is a 63,000 square foot space with 23 eateries (7 are sit-down restaurants) and an amazing array of food (butcher shops, fresh fish, produce, cheese, pasta, pastries, sweets, etc.), olive oil [over 100 brands], ceramics, housewares, culinary books, wine, and more. Craft shows are frequently held and cooking classes are available.

There are 12 Eataly locations in Italy (where it all began!) as well as one in Japan, Dubai, Brazil, and Turkey. Three more will be opening in the US soon (Boston, Los Angeles, and a second one in NYC). 

We enjoyed a lunch of pizza (delicious) and an appetizer of mozzarella cheese served with olive oil and sea salt at one of the restaurants.

You could spend hours browsing around this vast marketplace. Even if you aren't looking for a place to eat, you should go here to experience the beautiful displays of food, products, and wine. What a unique experience! You will not be disappointed.

Thanks to Amanda and Justine for taking us to these interesting, diverse, and delicious dining establishments. We are already looking forward to dining adventures here when we next visit!

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