Basically we have not stopped eating since we arrived here in Chicago. Our friend JO sent us a Chowhound post he wrote after a recent trip here, which has served as a helpful guide. It also helps that we are staying with JL, whose mother describes him as a cross between Zagat and a GPS, but who himself says he's better than Zagat. We do not disagree.
Despite our love of the very tasty Vietnamese, Sichuan and Indian food here (we are partial to the foods from Asia), we have really enjoyed our introduction in the Lettuce Entertain You® family of restaurants. First we hit Mon Ami Gabi® in the stately Belden-Stratford with KMZ and JL, and even though the waitress hurled insults at JL's choice of steak, we had a delightful time. On Saturday, we loaded up on carbs with CH, JL and ZH at R.J. Grunts as CH prepared for the Marathon (despite the fact that CH didn't eat anything and JL, ZH and we were not actually running the marathon). R.J. Grunts is famous for its Salad Bar, which apparently was the first of its kind. CH was not impressed, but anywhere where you can put processed shredded cheddar on your salad and top it with Thousand Island is heaven for us.
We have so taken to the Lettuce Entertain You® brand that we have started to collect the collectable wallet sized mini-brochures from each Lettuce Entertain You® establishment we frequent (even though ZH collects them even if he HASN'T been there, but we don't judge). We cannot in fact wait to come back here in December to start expanding our collection at places like Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba!® and Wow Bao®. For our friends in the DC metro area - note that you have four options yourself, so we hope you will try out these establishments if you have not already. We have also joined the Frequent Diner Club®, and cannot wait to achieve Silver Status like JL (though it probably didn't hurt that he was Bar Mitzvahed at at Lettuce Entertain You® establishment - but we are sure he would have gotten Gold status if his Bar Mitzvah had a theme).
And with that, our time in Chicago has come to its end. In addition to the food, we enjoyed the crazy 70-80 degree weather over the last 7 days, and we trust this will be the case when we return in December, especially since such weather results in greater numbers of nice corn-fed boys running along the Lake sans shirts. A big shout out to JL and ZH for hosting us this past week - and their lovely Miss Meaty, whom we have named best cat for her failure to make us sneeze or cringe in fear.
Back in NYC tomorrow for a brief 36 hour layover.