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Chicago trip

post #1 of 4
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I got back into LaGuardia this morning... really easy flight from Midway (you can take public transport doorstep to doorstep). I was visiting Chicago to spend time with a friend rather than play tourist so I might not have the insight and observations that others may share... Shopping: I had an afternoon by myself, so I headed out to the Art Insitute for the better part of three hours. I was staying near the Water Tower so I had some time to shop before I met up for dinner. In comparison to NYC, Chicago is missing much of the nicer merchandise found in the flagship department stores in NY, London, Paris, HK, and Tokyo (can't only speculate on the last two cities). The service was actually better at the Paul Stuart in the Hancock building compared to the Mad Ave. store in Manhattan. I chatted with a middle-aged skinny caucasian fellow about a pair of Stowe's I tried on... WAY more knowledgeable about his product than the dregs at the NY Stuart store. Marshall fields was a bust. Hermes had nothing in stock, but the clerk was extremely helpful in providing me with information for upcoming trunk shoes involving JL. Barney's and Bloomingdale's were both pretty disappointing. Overall, Im pretty content with slumming through random warehouses (aka sample sales) searching for the next best thing... Food: I helped flier for a free Chinatown health clinic before a suprisingly nice dinner at a small restaurant called Tweet (located a couple blocks away from the Argyle Red Line stop). Apparently, the chef was a former employee at Tru--some chi-chi establishment. Good food, mediocre service, BYOB with no corkage fee... A highlight for me... Thanks for the suggestions. I decided to try Aria in the Fairmount hotel since my friend is a big fan of fusion cuisine. The octopus appetizer was quite original, but a tad bit salty. Their desserts are served in huge proportions--I sampled a Lemongrass creme brulee with a passion fruit granita. I felt like I was eating a Pottery Barn candle, but in a good way. My friend went with the sorbet selection (the food coma wouldn't allow for anything heavier). Most interesting combination: finely ground red peppercorns were mixed into the strawberry sorbet--a suprising kick that complemented the sweetness of the fruit w/o being overpowering. The service was decent, however uninspiring, while the decor was generic modern. Total bill, with no alcohol, and one lightweight eater= 105 (including tip). I would recommend Aria as an alternative to traditional French or Italian. matt
post #2 of 4
I'm on my way to Chicago the weekend of the 30th, actually. My favorite places to stop are the Neiman Marcus on Michigan Ave, the Saks Men's Store, and sometimes I make it down Oak Street. The latter location is home to a relatively new specialty store that carries Kiton, but I don't recall the name. As far as restaurants, I think one of the best things going is Morton's Steakhouse, Spiaggia for italian, and the hotel restaurants (four seasons and Ritz carlton). I'll be attending the Cigar Afficionado Big Smoke on the 29th, can't wait- although this year it's held in the Hyatt O'Hare.
post #3 of 4
The Chicago store with Kiton, I believe, is George Greene. Regarding the first post, there are many Chicago restaurants better than Aria (and Morton's)... My favorites: Kevin's (incredible new restaurant), Tru, Blackbird, Spiaggia, NoMi, Everest (for view) and Biggs (french steakhouse in a converted mansion). Mortons has gone very much downhill. Gibsons is overcrowded and touristy, but usually has excellent steakes (although if you want dry-aged go to Smith & Wollensky's or go to Nine for the scene). Grab drinks at the bar at the Peninsula or the Park Hyatt.
post #4 of 4
Matt, You said you were disapointed at Marshall Field's - which location did you go to, the Michigan Ave. or State St? The State St. location seems to carry most of the items that Sak's carries - plus many more that appeal to a younger guy like me. The reason I prefer them over Sak's is that they have a LOT of stuff on sale whenever I go - usually 30-75% off.
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