The Academy gave out their awards last night and while arrival on “Just A Chi Town Girl’s Best Of Chicago” list might not be as coveted as an Oscar, I thought it was time to give some Chi-town favorites a high five.
The drumroll, please…
Bagel: Eleaven. The raisin bagel seriously blew my mind and I thought I found some hidden gem…until I saw all of the “Voted Best Bagel in Chicago” signs plastered everywhere. But for reals, these bagels (and macarons) are amazing hunks of carb gloriousness.
Brunch: Southport Grocery. Creative spins on classics, healthy if I want it, indulgent if I don’t…and let’s not forget to take a cupcake for the road. SPG has the only vanilla cupcake I have ever tasted that was worth forgoing chocolate.
Sandwich: Panes. Put anything on their uber fresh tomato focaccia and you pretty much have the best sandwich in the world. It was a Saturday staple when we lived in Lakeview and now Panes is the driving force behind ever getting us up there. I am near obsessive about their Turkey Turkey; Ryan opts for the Popular.
Small Plates: Quartino. Small plates seem to be popping up everywhere but the price, wine, atmosphere and food quality at Quartino can’t be beat. Ryan and I pop in when we’re craving the cavatelli for a quick bite at the bar but Quartino is awesome for family, girl’s nights, you name it.
Mexican: Xoco. I had apparently been living under a rock because I didn’t know what a torta was until I went to Rick Bayless’ Xoco (it’s a Mexican sub, FYI) but I do now. And I love them. The churros with a side of house roasted cocoa beans that have been turned into the richest chocolate you will ever taste isn’t too shabby either.
Whiskey Cocktail: The Gage. This is Ryan and my dad’s contribution to the list.
Happy Hour: Ra Sushi. Half off until 7pm? For sushi? In the Gold Coast? Best deal ever.
Sports Bar: Theory. Great wings, turkey burgers, lots of TVs, special cups on game days…sold.
Cupcake: More. They have nailed it when it comes to cake to frosting ratio, as well as offering creative favors in addition to the oldies but goodies. I am particularly loyal to the Black and White.
Sunday Scene: Dose Market. Once a month, this art, fashion and foodie fest descends upon our fair city. Local love, at it’s finest.
Pizza: Pequod’s. Deep dish be damned; give me Pequod’s signature burnt crusts and a pizza that’s actually good enough to have a second piece.
Special Occasion Spot: Tie- Mastro’s and MK. Fine dining as it was intended to be.