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1 week stay in Chicago-these restaurants OK or suggestions?

1 week stay in Chicago-these restaurants OK or suggestions?
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  • 1 week stay in Chicago-these restaurants OK or suggestions?

    Post #1 - March 17th, 2006, 3:53 pm
    Post #1 - March 17th, 2006, 3:53 pm Post #1 - March 17th, 2006, 3:53 pm
    Hi, our family of 4 (Mom, Dad and 2 teens will be staying a week in Chicago this summer during Taste of Chicago. 6 years ago we spent a 9 days in Chicago and had a great time.

    We are on a tight budget, but want to try different ethnic foods.

    Any opinions on this possible list of restaurants--

    Nuevo Leon (Mexican), Pompei Bakery (Italian), Opart Thai House (Thai), Lou Malnati's Pizza, Wishbone(southern cooking), Sweet Thang (bakery), Mr. Beef (because we've never had Mr. Beef).

    We will have visitor passes for El and bus, want to be safe (we are from a small town), stick to our budget and try new things and have fun.

    Suggestions welcome!
  • Post #2 - March 17th, 2006, 4:28 pm
    Post #2 - March 17th, 2006, 4:28 pm Post #2 - March 17th, 2006, 4:28 pm
    You should noodle around the site. Many of your choices, while good, happen to be really close to other, possibly better, options serving the same types of food; other places are also equally L-convenient.

    Opart-> Sticky Rice, Spoon (doors away)

    Nuevo Leon -> every other place in Pilsen noted here

    Pompei -> D'Amato's/Bari (differnt area, but easy to reach)

    Wishbone -> Feed, soul food places mentioned here (though I'm not sure So. Cooking is a good use of your Chicago time)

    Sweet Thang -> BomBon, in Pilsen close to other things on your list

    Mr. Beef-> Al's (though I have no problem w/ mister Beef)

    You should also seriously consider fitting in some Polish, South American (Argentine/Colombian/Peruvian/Ecuadoran), Balkan, and, you really, really should spend some time on Devon (Indian/Pakistani/former USSR), Argyle (SE Asian and Chinese) and possibly Chinatown, all of which are public transport friendly and endlessly rewarding. If you are here on a Sunday, Maxwell St. is a no brainer.
  • Post #3 - March 17th, 2006, 4:54 pm
    Post #3 - March 17th, 2006, 4:54 pm Post #3 - March 17th, 2006, 4:54 pm
    You need a Greek restaurant. Try Costas.
  • Post #4 - March 17th, 2006, 5:00 pm
    Post #4 - March 17th, 2006, 5:00 pm Post #4 - March 17th, 2006, 5:00 pm
    Here's a visitor's thread from last year that has some good info you might find useful, too. I agree with most of JeffB's comments-- Pompei is a chain and not very good, Lou Malnati's is a very good example of "Chicago pizza," a Pilsen trip that included any of several restaurants down there (Nuevo Leon is only the most famous, not necessarily the best; do a search on birria, lots of posts) and a stop at Bombon bakery would make you very happy, do some reading on Spoon Thai here and you'll discover lots of wonders, and Devon is well worth the semi inconvenience of getting up there....
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
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  • Post #5 - March 17th, 2006, 6:21 pm
    Post #5 - March 17th, 2006, 6:21 pm Post #5 - March 17th, 2006, 6:21 pm
    Don't forget to hit:

    Little Three Happiness
    209 W Cermak Rd
    Chicago, IL 60616
    (312) 842-1964
    Bruce
    Plenipotentiary
    bruce@bdbbq.com

    Raw meat should NOT have an ingredients list!!
  • Post #6 - March 17th, 2006, 6:41 pm
    Post #6 - March 17th, 2006, 6:41 pm Post #6 - March 17th, 2006, 6:41 pm
    Hi Joby.

    If your family is up for it, you may want to consider some "crawls" in some of the areas mentioned.

    Devon is a great place to just walk around and there are many good Indian/Pakistani and related restaurants to check out. It could be fun to wander around and eat at 2 or 3 places over the course of several hours.

    You could do something similar for Vietnamese, etc. along the Argyle strip, Thai along Western/Lincoln Square (Spoon, Opart -- which personally I much prefer to Spoon, and Rosded are all within a block of each other in the Lincoln Square area, which has a lot of potentially interesting shops to check out, e.g., Merz's Apothecary.). And if you hate the idea of a Thai crawl and just want to go to one place, I'd add TAC Quick (off the Sheridan red line stop) to your list of possibilities.

    And Mexican at either Pilsen or the Sunday morning Maxwell Street Market. And Chinese in China town, etc.

    Assuming your family really likes to eat of course.

    But that way you aren't limited to just a single destination spot for a particular type of cuisine and can scope out the places, stopping in where you want.

    My sense is that there would be a lot more consensus on general CTA-friendly strips or areas with good ethnic food from a certain region represented by several restaurants to choose from (Devon, Argyle, Pilsen, China Town, etc.) than the single one restaurant you must try for x type of ethnic food (e.g., a knowledgeable friend who dines in Chinatown with her Taiwanese friends on a regular basis tells me to avoid Little Three Happiness, yes the little one, like the plague; personally I've never been there so I can't say, but my point is that it may be more enjoyable to assemble a list of lots of places in a contained area and wander around that area checking out 2 or 3 or more as suits your collective fancy).
  • Post #7 - March 17th, 2006, 8:44 pm
    Post #7 - March 17th, 2006, 8:44 pm Post #7 - March 17th, 2006, 8:44 pm
    Nuevo Leon is a good deal and great Mexican (especially the chicken in Mole sauce, the mexican hot chocolate and Pan Dulce- fresh mexican sweet bread-sugar/cinnamon topping on a flaky roll). After your meal, check out Bom Bon Bakery across the street..a fave also of ours.

    One tip for Nuevo Leon is get there early...tends to get packed around meal times. If you get there and there is a line..don't be scared off...it moves pretty quickly.


    Enjoy Chicago!
  • Post #8 - March 17th, 2006, 8:50 pm
    Post #8 - March 17th, 2006, 8:50 pm Post #8 - March 17th, 2006, 8:50 pm
    You mentioned you were on a budget....

    Just found my menu for Nuevo Leon...

    Most entrees are anywhere from $5-13.50
    Breakfast...$3.50 -6
    Appetizers..$3.50-7

    Hope this helps.
  • Post #9 - March 17th, 2006, 8:59 pm
    Post #9 - March 17th, 2006, 8:59 pm Post #9 - March 17th, 2006, 8:59 pm
    Wow! Thanks for the starters! We will be in town from Thursday-Thursday.

    6 yrs. ago when we visited Chicago we went to Chinatown and loved it. We ate at a place called Evergreen. The kids and I liked it, but my husband thought it was just OK. So, it's off the list this time. We also went to Ann Sathers for rolls, Mia Francesca, and Taste of Chicago. All were good, but we want a bit more adventurous this time.

    We love Mexican. We've been to Mexico the last 4 summers and we always eat where the locals eat, never the tourist places because-- 1. we can't afford the price and 2. when we spend our hard earned money it has to be special and worth it.

    To help with the suggestions--

    Daughter and I love to shop for off beat handmade things. Husband and son are not carried away with shopping unless it's something that is unusual. We usually all love to shop in grocery stores and bring home local foods as souviners.

    --we have 1 picky eater (son) to consider. He doesn't like veggies, but loves meat and spicy things.

    --We kind of like to eat at a destination place and not graze at various eateries.

    I just found out about Maxwell st. today while digging around. Looks fun and will remind us of Mexico we're hoping.

    Indian sounds interesting. We really want Italian. The kids have never had Chicago pizza. We really want a good bakery. We want either Thai or excellant Chinese. The Polish, South American(Argentine/Colombian/Peruvian/Ecuadoran), Balkan sound interesting. What do they taste like?

    Many times we do a museum or activity during the day and then go to dinner. 6 yrs. ago we did ALL of the museums on their free days. I see the museums no longer have free days in the summer.

    This trip we are going to the Art museum (free), Brookfield Zoo, Taste of Chicago, Aquarium, free loop El tour, maybe Architecture boat tour, maybe Mexican fine arts museum, Hancock bld., fireworks at Grant park on 4th...

    Keep in mind we are on a tight budget and we need areas that are safe for a small city family to walk around and either bus or El to/from.

    Please continue to give suggestions and I will continue to dig around this site.
    I really appreciate all of your opinions.
  • Post #10 - March 17th, 2006, 9:01 pm
    Post #10 - March 17th, 2006, 9:01 pm Post #10 - March 17th, 2006, 9:01 pm
    It's pretty hard to break $20 a person at NL. Since we stick mostly to the antojitos, we find it hard to break $10 a person. If you make it there, I'll specifically recommend you pay special attention to the norteño dishes. Their flour tortillas are especially good.

    And the Nuevo Leon/Bombon combination is really a very hard one to beat. Bombon is just fantastic, and, to me, blows sweet thang out of the water.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #11 - March 17th, 2006, 11:18 pm
    Post #11 - March 17th, 2006, 11:18 pm Post #11 - March 17th, 2006, 11:18 pm
    If you're on a tight budget, don't go to Taste of Chicago. Your money will be better spent getting your own "tastes" around town, as you plan to do. If you are set on going to the Taste, my advice is to eat beforehand.
    Greasy Spoon
  • Post #12 - March 18th, 2006, 9:57 am
    Post #12 - March 18th, 2006, 9:57 am Post #12 - March 18th, 2006, 9:57 am
    Joby- Where do you and your family hail from? That might help us guide you to different cuisines. :D
    The clown is down!
  • Post #13 - March 18th, 2006, 10:21 am
    Post #13 - March 18th, 2006, 10:21 am Post #13 - March 18th, 2006, 10:21 am
    JeanneBean, we hail from the middle of Indiana. Only about 4 hours south of Chicago, but miles and miles away from ethnic food varieties (other than Chinese buffet, Taco Bell, Fazoli's and Pizza Hut)!

    We want to be a bit adventurous, but not too far. We also need to keep in mind that we are NOT from a large city, though we have traveled a bit by bus and car in Mexico's smaller towns.

    We need to feel safe and comfortable in our surroundings. We know the "rules" of safe travel, but we are still a Caucasian family with 2 teens from rural Indiana. We don't want to stand out like rubes from the country!

    Does that help any? Again, I appreciate all of the opinions that everyone has given so far. Please keep them coming!
  • Post #14 - March 18th, 2006, 10:28 am
    Post #14 - March 18th, 2006, 10:28 am Post #14 - March 18th, 2006, 10:28 am
    grant park doesn't do fireworks on the fourth of july. they're on the 3rd.

    for fireworks on the fourth, you'll have to head out to the burbs. we usually go to evanston's fireworks display, which is very nice, not mobbed with millions of people like chicago's, and you can sit right along the lake and watch.
  • Post #15 - March 18th, 2006, 10:35 am
    Post #15 - March 18th, 2006, 10:35 am Post #15 - March 18th, 2006, 10:35 am
    elakin, thanks for the heads up about the fireworks. Can you give me any more specifics on the Evanston fireworks--time, etc.?

    Are the fireworks on the 3rd in Grant park mobbed? How early would we have to get to Grant Park to get a good spot to watch. Is the bus/El difficult to get for transportation back to our lodging in the Loyola area?

    FYI, we will have our car, we just try not to use it in the city. It's easier and chaeper for us to get 7 day visitor passes for the bus/EL.
  • Post #16 - March 18th, 2006, 12:00 pm
    Post #16 - March 18th, 2006, 12:00 pm Post #16 - March 18th, 2006, 12:00 pm
    A further set of comments and suggestions.

    - The Grant Park fireworks on the third are generally very nicely done displays but almost all of the area is mobbed and the mobbing of the best viewing spots does start pretty early; there are, however, some slightly off the beaten path places which give a good view and don't get completely overwhelmed.

    - For what it's worth, I agree with the negative view expressed above about the Taste of Chicago. Obviously, if you've been and liked it, then maybe you want to go back, but it is not a good way to experience the culinary diversity (and quality) of Chicago.

    - Pilsen/ Mexican. You can take public transport but if you have your car, you might as well drive -- it would make life simpler and there is nothing daunting about driving and parking down there.

    As Gleam says, Nuevo Leon's strength is norteño fare (the mole, for example, I find uninteresting, whereas simple northern dishes such as tacos de Sabinas are great). As others have said, across the street is Bombon and a pleasant walk away (or a very short drive) is the Mexican Fine Arts Museum. That would make for a very nice outing. Perhaps a meal, the museum, then a snack and coffee or cool drink at the café Mi Cafetal (which is directly next to Nuevo Leon).

    Nuevo Leon is a good restaurant with a broad menu; if you're feeling more adventurous, try a carnitas place (Uruapan is near the museum) or the outstanding Birrieria Reyes de Ocotlan (specialty: goat).

    Here's a relevant thread:
    http://lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?p=49465#49465

    - Italian.
    As swell as Bari and D'Amato's are to buy things at, there's no sit-in option (but if you go for subs at Bari, stop next door at D'Amato's and get a couple pieces of their pizza to try as well). If you want to buy Italian subs and sit down to enjoy them, go to Conte di Savoia on Taylor Street. Taylor Street has some other offerings that are perhaps of interest: Al's Beef and Mario's Ice across the street down on the east end, Fontana's subs, Carm's Beef just a couple blocks to the north of Al's; Gennaro's and Conte, the Moroccan joint, Rosebud are all further west, down toward Ashland ... Take a walk through the streets to the north of Taylor, up to Notre Dame. Nice old houses, nice old church.

    If you want to enjoy a quiet and interesting little neighbourhood, visit 'Little Tuscany' down on Oakley ca. 25th Street. There are several Italian restaurants there, as well as a Spanish place, which some love and some don't (search for Bruna's, Fontanella's, Ignotz, Il Vicinato, Haro). An excellent Mexican place is right nearby on Western: Tayahua. Not all of these have been written up here but most of them have.
    Tayahua: http://lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?p=15776#15776

    I also recommend you consider the following:

    - Spanish: Iberico... very easy to get to, good food, nice place, not all that expensive. I assume that there isn't any Spanish food to be had in your part of Indiana (forgive me if that is a wrong assumption) and Iberico would be a good place to go if you're interested in trying tapas.

    - Spacca Napoli. You mentioned wanting to try Chicago style pizza, and there are a couple of sorts of Chicago style pizza; I'm not a particular fan and leave that to others. But if you'ld like to try pizza that approximates pretty well the pizza style of the place that pizza in the general modern sense comes from, namely Naples, then go to Spacca Napoli. Not too expensive (not cheap) but really quite good and definitely something that you won't find in your home town.
    http://lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?p=64730#64730

    - Greek Town. See the current thread:
    http://lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=7548

    - Albany Park (you would probably want to use your car) for Middle Eastern: Semiramis, City Noor, Noon-o-kabob, Salam, Al Kheymiah, Al Mataam. There are many posts on this board about this area and these restaurants.

    Of course, Thai and Chinese options abound and deserve the most serious consideration, as does the amazing Devon, but I'll leave those to others to discuss...

    Antonius
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #17 - March 18th, 2006, 12:20 pm
    Post #17 - March 18th, 2006, 12:20 pm Post #17 - March 18th, 2006, 12:20 pm
    Navy Pier does fireworks on July 4.
    I agree with the comments about Taste of Chicago. I live within sight of it (or would, except a building or two blocks my view) but I have not gone in about six years. Too much money, too uncomfortable, with the heat, crowds, etc.
  • Post #18 - March 18th, 2006, 12:25 pm
    Post #18 - March 18th, 2006, 12:25 pm Post #18 - March 18th, 2006, 12:25 pm
    I assume that there isn't any Spanish food to be had in your part of Indiana (forgive me if that is a wrong assumption)


    Improbably enough, it is: Don Quijote

    http://www.donquijoterestaurant-in.com/

    (Okay, that may not be their part of Indiana.)
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
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  • Post #19 - March 18th, 2006, 12:40 pm
    Post #19 - March 18th, 2006, 12:40 pm Post #19 - March 18th, 2006, 12:40 pm
    Mike G wrote:
    I assume that there isn't any Spanish food to be had in your part of Indiana (forgive me if that is a wrong assumption)


    Improbably enough, it is: Don Quijote

    http://www.donquijoterestaurant-in.com/

    (Okay, that may not be their part of Indiana.)


    Joby said that they live in central Indiana, about four hours away from Chicago: that sounds as though it's close to Indianapolis. Valparaiso is, relatively speaking, closer to Chicago and, to my mind, not the same part of Indiana. I was aware of Don Quixote from a query about it by JeffB.

    But maybe there is some other Spanish place in Indianapolis, or elsewhere that is about four hours away from Chicago.

    Antonius
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #20 - March 18th, 2006, 1:11 pm
    Post #20 - March 18th, 2006, 1:11 pm Post #20 - March 18th, 2006, 1:11 pm
    Tony,

    Thanks for the helpful clarification! :D

    Mike
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #21 - March 18th, 2006, 1:52 pm
    Post #21 - March 18th, 2006, 1:52 pm Post #21 - March 18th, 2006, 1:52 pm
    Thank you again for the comments/suggestions.

    We are about an hour north of Indy. We do like a Chinese place in Indy--Forbidden City. Whenever we go there are always lots of Asians eating there. It's a buffet, but they do replenish often, have unusual dishes (to us, such as pho) and offer some variety so that our whole family really enjoys it (even picky son). As for lots of ethnic restaurants I don't think there's all that much variety. A Jewish deli comes to mind, authenic Mexican is not well represented, Italian is OK... Indy is a large city, but doesn't have a large variety of ethnic restaurants.

    I think goat may be a bit too adventurous for us. Possibly work up to that in the future.

    In Mexico we love to try different meat and cheese dishes, BUT we have not worked up the nerve to try tongue tacos or the more off beat fillings. I did try nopale (cactus) and found it pretty good. Mole was NOT on our to try again list. TOO much..something.. after a few bites. We do like achiote spiced foods too. Horchata and jamaica are also drink favorites for us. Flan, tres leche cake and sweets are tops for us!

    Daughter and I do not like hot spicy foods, husband and son do! They seem to like to compare sauces and see which one is more "kickin' " than the other. Must be a man thing to them.

    We would like to try inexpensive places that hopefully when we get back home we will say "boy, I sure wish I has some of the... from...". Our budget is very tight ( for our family of 4 to spend $50 for a nice meal is quite a bit for us!). It's much nicer if we can keep the tab at $20 or so for the 4 of us, especially if we will be eating out several nights.

    I'm so glad that no one has slammed me for being on such a tight budget or not having a sophisticated palate. We always say we have champagne taste on a box wine budget! We just try to enrich our family and teach them that there is lots of variety out in the world and we have to sample that on the budget that we have to work with--good or bad!

    Please continue suggesting.
  • Post #22 - March 18th, 2006, 2:08 pm
    Post #22 - March 18th, 2006, 2:08 pm Post #22 - March 18th, 2006, 2:08 pm
    I second(or third) Opart Thai.
    Being gauche rocks, stun the bourgeoisie
  • Post #23 - March 18th, 2006, 2:56 pm
    Post #23 - March 18th, 2006, 2:56 pm Post #23 - March 18th, 2006, 2:56 pm
    joby wrote:I'm so glad that no one has slammed me for being on such a tight budget or not having a sophisticated palate. We always say we have champagne taste on a box wine budget! We just try to enrich our family and teach them that there is lots of variety out in the world and we have to sample that on the budget that we have to work with--good or bad!


    Hi Joby,

    Don't worry, folks here are not too likely to criticize budgets or anything else. I think it's great that you all want to continue exploring the city's neighborhoods!

    Here's a link to an old thread that may be of interest, on "If you had $10..."
    http://lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?p=21630

    The Polish restaurants in town are a very good value. One that's not too far away from the Loop, and right by an el stop, is Podhalanka:
    http://lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=2666

    And, if your hotel is up north near Loyola, you should definitely go to Devon Avenue for some Indian or Pakistani food. One quite inexpensive place which sazerac posted on last fall is Ghareeb Nawaz:
    http://lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=5501

    Regarding Pilsen, I think Nuevo Leon isn't a bad choice at all, as others have said above. Another possibility might be carnitas (slow-cooked pork, not at all spicy), which you could get at Carnitas Uruapan on 18th Street very near the el stop and very near the Mexican Museum. Here's a write up by Antonius on a meal we had there -- a pound of carnitas, tortillas, soft drinks, and a nopales salad was $11.50. (They advise getting a half pound per person.) But if you want to go to this or any other carnitas place, aim for lunch time, because they are often closed by dinner time.
    http://lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=312

    You were asking for more details on the South American idea: a possibility would be going to Pico Rico for a roast chicken plus sides. Their chickens are really big, and one (plus a few extra side dishes) would be enough for all 4 of you. A whole chicken including 3 sides is $15; extra side dishes are 1.75 each. (I happen to have a menu here...:-)) But I should point out that Pico Rico is pretty far west, and would be easier to get to if you use your car (which you would probably do on the day you go to Brookfield Zoo, right?). And I've only been there for lunch -- someone else can maybe comment on how the neighborhood would feel for Joby and family in the evening.

    Pico Rico thread: http://lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=3201

    Amata
  • Post #24 - March 18th, 2006, 5:26 pm
    Post #24 - March 18th, 2006, 5:26 pm Post #24 - March 18th, 2006, 5:26 pm
    I've lived in Evanston for five years; we always go to South beach for the fireworks and are never disappointed even though they're several beaches away (though you can see the northside Chicago ones sometimes if you look backward; depends on the weather) You can reach this easily if you take the Red Line to Howard and the Purple Line to South Blvd (one stop) and then walk East until you hit water. The beach has a fee, but that's waived after its official closing time which I think is 7pm and the fireworks are at 9 or 9:30. http://www.evanston4th.org/fireworks.asp

    Lots of good authentic Mexican in Rogers Park that you could easily get as takeout and bring with you - get off at the Lunt or Touhy stop and walk a bit West to Clark St. (do a search for places to go; we just enjoyed Quesadillas Dona Lolis recently, but there are plenty of options)
  • Post #25 - March 18th, 2006, 8:45 pm
    Post #25 - March 18th, 2006, 8:45 pm Post #25 - March 18th, 2006, 8:45 pm
    Thanks Mhays for the fireworks info.

    Thanks also to Amata and Christopher Gordon for the info. This board seems to be a wealth of info!

    The chicken sounds like the pollo we get in Cozumel. 60 pesos ($6) for a whole chicken, fresh tortillas, slaw and (this is odd) spaghetti in a tomato sauce. The chicken is roasted on a spit outside (with about 60 others) over wood burning embers. It goes until the pollo man is sold out--around 4pm every day. That's a meal we come home and say "man, I sure wish we had a pollo from the pollo man". We crave it!

    This board reminds me very much of a Cozumel board I also read/submit to. Cozumel is VERY touristy, but if you look hard enough you can find the true Mexican way of life. We stay in a B&B for $35/night and it inc. breakfast and tax for the 4 of us. Very simple, but spotlessly clean. It enables us to go to Cozumel and dive and then have enough to go to the mainland to the small towns that we also love.
  • Post #26 - March 22nd, 2006, 2:55 pm
    Post #26 - March 22nd, 2006, 2:55 pm Post #26 - March 22nd, 2006, 2:55 pm
    Average $20 for FOUR people?

    Wow, is food that cheap in Indiana?

    Seems like you have to go to the cheap lunch type places. I always thought Potbelly had one of the cheaper sandwiches, but it's $4. Just the sandwich.

    Are you going to be able to cook at all, and then only go out sometimes, so you can spend more when you do?

    I mean, if you can't handle $40 for four people, it's going to really limit your choices.

    Nancy
  • Post #27 - March 22nd, 2006, 4:17 pm
    Post #27 - March 22nd, 2006, 4:17 pm Post #27 - March 22nd, 2006, 4:17 pm
    For Chinese food, the two places I most frequent (both are in Chinatown)these days are

    - Lee Wing Wah, for Cantonese style--think great whole shrimps in salt n' pepper crust, excellent Chinese style crispy (read fried) chicken, and assorted vegetables of the day.

    - Mandarin Kitchen - The menu is a mix of Shanghainese and Northern/Beijing style food. It's probably not what your used to for Chinese. Think rice cakes, all the hot and cold appetizers (if you can stomach stomach in chili oil, you'll love it) and anything done in the classic Shangai braise of soy and sugar like the meatballs or pork shank.

    All visitors should hit the ur-hot dog stands: Jim's or Original Maxwell St. Express. They are on a weird side street just east of Halstred and south of Roosevelt.

    Rob
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #28 - March 22nd, 2006, 4:51 pm
    Post #28 - March 22nd, 2006, 4:51 pm Post #28 - March 22nd, 2006, 4:51 pm
    Nancy Sexton wrote:Average $20 for FOUR people?
    ....
    I mean, if you can't handle $40 for four people, it's going to really limit your choices.


    Well, "average" (and an earlier Joby post) indicate that there is some room above that on occasion, and I think the suggestions herein are great so far. I love the idea. Also, joby, I've got a Chicago Entertainment book with a number of coupons to board recommended joints (of the Buy One, Get One entree sort). PM me if you're interested.

    Another thought may be Kababish on Orleans. Not too far from Mag Mile area, and if the $6/plate still holds, should be right about at your budget. Others may have more to offer on the "cabbie joints" in the area, and be able to comment better on the atmosphere. I've never been to Kababish with my family...it could be a little off putting.

    I think Vital Information takes his family, though. Or maybe Baba Palace is a better option. Pakistani-Indian food on offer at these places. You can find more info by searching.

    Cheers,

    Aaron
  • Post #29 - March 22nd, 2006, 5:16 pm
    Post #29 - March 22nd, 2006, 5:16 pm Post #29 - March 22nd, 2006, 5:16 pm
    Joby,

    You were saying you like Tres Leches cake...I know I mentioned Bom Bon Bakery across the street from Nuevo Leon...this in my book is a must in your trip. I have not had it but all I have talked to LOVE their Tres Leches cake. They have individual tarts/cakes also in their case if you do not want to purchase a whole cake (the whole cakes can be a little pricey so ...on a budget I would go with their tarts/individual cakes in the case).

    I rec the double chocolate tart (chocolate ancho fudge filling) and Mocachino cake.

    In case you are having a sweet craving...I thought I would just throw this into the mix!

    Enjoy your visit!

    www.bomboncafe.com
    Last edited by PBandFluff on March 22nd, 2006, 5:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.
  • Post #30 - March 22nd, 2006, 5:19 pm
    Post #30 - March 22nd, 2006, 5:19 pm Post #30 - March 22nd, 2006, 5:19 pm
    Joby, hello from one small town gal to another. Prior to Chicago I hailed from a mountain town of about 1500.

    I can imagine you are hoping to get both a cultural and food experience out of your meals. Chinatown is great, right by the el, and completely safe. It is filled with funky and affordable shops that might even entertain your men. You could do a dim sum meal there at a very reasonable price. Dim Sum is kind of an "appetizer meal". Depending on the restaurant you either order from a menu or you order from little carts rolled around the room and point to whatever interests you. The staff at the various restaurants are generally helpful if you want to know what is in something. You can do a search for dim sum on the forum.

    Tapas might also be interesting to your family. Tapas origonally started out as bar food in Spain. It is served on small plates so you can try multiple dishes as a family. The food isn't spicy as a rule. My family goes to Cafe Iberico (near an el) and generally plan on 5-6 dishes for four of us. Plates are 4-6 dollars.
    http://www.cafeiberico.com/menu.html

    I definitely have to add my nomination fro a trip to Devon for Indian food and culture. The buffets are resonably priced and even if it isn't always the very best Indian food (a buffet is a buffet is a buffet afterall), it is pretty good and it would give the family a chance to try out different foods. We often end up at Indian Garden for lunch. The Patel grocery store and the gifts/cookware store beside it are great places to shop.

    If your family is into animals or gardens I would suggest going to the Lincoln park zoo and conservatory- it is free or perhaps Garfield Park Conservatory -it is $2 p.p. . Both are easily accesible by transit.

    You mentioned going up the Hancock. If you do decide to do that, you might want to go to the lunch buffet on the 95th floor. The view is just as good as the observation deck and for a few dollars more you would get lunch. If you get there as lunch opens you will have the place to yourself and will be able to walk around and take pictures.

    As far as Wishbone, I would suggest instead to go to Dixie Kitchen. There are locations in both Hyde Park and in Evanston. In my humble opinion, the food is better and about the same price.

    Good luck and feel free to PM me if I can be of further help.

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