Eating our way through the Windy City–or Can I just have six tacos?

Though we were in Chicago for a little over 24 hours we ended up doing a whirlwind tour of places I have eaten at before. That’s right—they were all so good I couldn’t help but go back.

Dinner Friday was at the Green Zebra

Some of the things I tried:

  • Thai Spiced Carrot Soup, crispy rice noodles: a nice amount of heat, and perfect for the slightly chillly evening
  • Chilled Sweet Corn Soup, breakfast radish, parsley: sweet, and tastes like what you would expect
  • Farro Risotto, lemon gremolada, zucchini, sweet peppers, mascarpone: the only dish I wasn’t huge on, the risotto was a little bland, but the veggies were really good.
  • Fresh Burrata Cheese, candied olive, lemon, fava beans, tempura squash blossom: A nice cheese, not too sharp, not too bland great texture and flavors (especially with the olives)
  • Honey Hazelnut S’more: How can I love thee…let me count the ways.
  • Five Spice Doughnuts: Doughnuts! Doughnuts! Doughnuts!
Chai French Toast at Orange
Chai French Toast at Orange

Brunch on Saturday was great following a six mile run (Army Ten-Miler in 3 weeks!)

This is what we had at Orange

  • Chai French Toast (It has ricotta cheese in the middle, just think about that).
  • Rosemary French Toast
  • Eggs Benedict
  • Fresh juices

…and an atmosphere is cute, cute, cute. Did I mention you can get orange flavored coffee for those who like inventive coffees.

Plantains at Frontera Grill
Plantains at Frontera Grill

Now we’re coming to the best part. For those of you who know about food I’m sure you had heard about Rick Bayliss long before he won Top Chef Masters this summer. We should have thought about making reservations a long time ago but for reasons I can’t explain we didn’t. So my friend and I headed over to Frontera Grill and Topolobampo at about 4:50pm on Saturday only to discover that the line was out the door and around the corner.

We got in, put our names down for the 2-3 hour wait, then proceeded to stalk the bar tables. An hour later after having a four top stolen from right under our noses (we had recruited a couple from Baltimore to sit with us), we sat down next to a table of U2 concert-goers. They were having a nice sociable conversation with another group of four who were clearly stalking their table.

Then the drama began. The U2 goers departed, the new group sat down. Man 1 is on the phone, Man 2 is tried to get his lime in a bottle of Corona, lime juice sprays everywhere including inside Man 1’s eyes. Man 1 freaks-out talking about how he’s been attacked by juice (now its not angry freaking out, its over the top drama queen freaking out).

Then the waiter comes to get their order and Man 2 says this is what he wants:

Six hard taco shells with nothing but beef.

The poor waiter tried to explain the options for tacos, including that they don’t have hard taco’s. The guy then says–

All I want are six tacos. Three hard and three soft. The beef on the side.

So my question is—why come to a four star Mexican restaurant when you want Taco Bell level food?

Chicken Enchilada's at Frontera Grill
Chicken Enchilada's at Frontera Grill

Anyway—This is what I got:

  • Chicken Enchiladas: Beautiful Mole sauce.
  • Fried Plantains: Sweet, and tasty.

While we had to eat pretty fast (the concert started at 7 and we decided to forgo seeing Snow Patrol) and it was 7 when we got our food, it was just delicious.

So when you’re in Chicago check out all these places and eat your heart out!

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