Book: The Michelin Guide Chicago Restaurants 2011
Genre: travel guidebook
Publisher: The Michelin Guide
Publication date: 2010
Summary: Covering not only restaurants but hotels, this book has listings by neighborhoods with detailed maps. If you want to taste Chicago while staying in a nice hotel, this is the only guidebook you need (but I also recommend the DK Eyewitness Travel Chicago for walking tours of downtown and other areas as well as great information on museums).
Thoughts: Yes, I’m going to New York next week for BEA and BBC and I just got back from Chicago. I sometimes go a year or more without traveling, so twice in one month is a real feat for me.
Besides the Michelin Guide, we had an in-person guide to Chicago — our nephew is a wholesale wine salesman so he knows all of the best places. Most were in the Michelin Guide, but one memorable Mexican meal was not. Rick Bayless’ restaurants are nearly impossible to get into on the weekend, but our nephew knew of former Bayless chefs who have started their own restaurants and the one he took us to was terrific! It was in a crowded basement garden apartment with loud music and BYOB, but the food was just amazing.
Here are the places we ate that were in the Michelin Guide:
The Purple Pig: page 50. This vibrant spot with communal tables served very creative and tasty small plates including the seasonal asparagus salad with hazelnuts.
Bonsoirée: page 184. This nondescript location with no sign provided the best meal we have ever eaten, eight exquisite courses creatively presented and so delicious. The salmon was as creamy as the best quiche and we were given a selection of tiny different chocolate dishes for dessert! The best part was that they had no difficulty at all handling Rick’s red meat allergy — he scored big with duck instead of pork at one course.
Nightwood Restaurant: page 105. We had Sunday brunch here. My French Toast bread pudding (yes, bread pudding made from French Toast) was wonderful, but so was Rick’s oyster salad sandwich, and our nephew’s quiche — we all shared everything. The donuts looked to die for but donuts and I aren’t on speaking terms anymore since it took me ten months to get over craving them when I improved my eating.
Mercat a la Planxa: page 95. I was pleased to find this on my own when Rick and I went to the Museum of Contemporary Photography while the nephew was working on Monday. All the food was delicious, but chocolate croquettes? Goodness! The Michelin Guide says they are fried, but our waitress said that they are rolled in cornflakes and baked which doesn’t make them sound near as amazing as they are.
I’m missing some meals, maybe they will come to me later! We are very much looking forward to our next trip to Chicago.
Appeal: If you are traveling to Chicago, you will want this guide to make sure you are getting the best food that this foodie town has to offer. I also used it to choose our hotel and we were reasonably happy with our choice of Hotel Indigo on page 292 (although we liked the one in Columbus, Indiana better). It gave us walking distance access to The Magnificent Mile. Next time, we will probably try Hotel Blake on page 288 where we will be able to walk to the Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium.
Challenges: I’ve finished the Foodie’s Reading Challenge, but I’ll throw this book into the nonfiction category anyway because we are making such a great list of books there. I’ll also count this in my Buy One Book and Read It challenge.
Check the Weekend Cooking post at Beth Fish Reads for more culinary blog posts.