Saturday, July 28, 2012

A Taste of Chicago by Margot Justes


I may have mentioned once or twice before that I love to travel but I also love going out to eat and trying new things. I was raised on simple fare and going to eat in restaurants was not the thing to do. You ate at home.
The one thing my father instilled in me was the love of travel; we moved frequently and lived in some pretty amazing places. Maybe that is why to this day I have wander lust and always want to see more.

Growing up in that environment allowed me the freedom to sample different cultures, but as I matured and became more independent my taste for travel grew as did my palate.
I live near am amazing city. I'm 35 minutes away from Chicago and that means world class museums, theatre, opera, orchestra and food. The restaurants are simply amazing. All of that... just minutes away.

Not raised on fast foods and to this day, the only fast food  I buy is from the Pita Inn, love their falafel. Falafel is basically ground chick peas and assorted seasonings formed into balls and quickly deep fried. Stuffed in a pita bread with tomatoes, lettuce and tahini sauce makes a yummy sandwich. (Tahini sauce is made from sesame seeds)

Chicago and the surrounding area offers amazing restaurants, from The Lettuce Entertain You chain of restaurants, like Everest that provides an exquisite dining experience, to the very casual and delightful R. J. Grunts with a funky menu in the Lincoln Park area.

And of course, any discussion of fine restaurants must include Frontera Grill and Topolobampo, and I don't even have to whisper the chef's name, but I will...Rick Bayless.

Inexpensive fare to the very high end and everything in between can be found in Chicago. And because we're so culturally rich and diverse, all ethnic foods abound.

One of my favorite restaurants in Chicago is the Russian Tea Room, first because of its location, as you step out of the Art Institute and look across Michigan Avenue, you can see the sign. They serve traditional Russian fare and the black bread as the saying goes-is to die for.  Their afternoon tea is reasonable and delicious.

Another favorite is Sayat Nova, a Middle Eastern gem on Ohio Street, off of Michigan Ave. A small intimate place with a big sign. It has been in that location for decades, charming Middle Eastern decor with a great menu selection from kebabs to couscous. And the lentil soup is amazing.  

Cheers,

Margot Justes

A Hotel in Paris

www.mjustes.com

8 comments:

Terry said...

Reading your post was like taking a virtual tour of a city of which I had a totally different expectation! I would have expected Chicago to have offered a variety of 'family' restaurants, based on stories of the mobsters in the thirties. But you found (and shared) a wide variety of cultural experiences. Thanks for sharing your trip!

Debra St. John said...

Margot,

It's always nice to get a reminder of how much the city has to offer. Living so close, I tend to take it for granted and not take advantage of the wonderful delights it holds. I love to travel, too, but I need to remember the fabulous city I have right in my 'backyard'.

Margot Justes said...

Terry,
Thank you for the comments.
The fantastic thing about this city is that it for families too. All our museums encourage family participation. A while back I took my kiddies to the Art Institute and they met Babar. (In person as it were)they loved it.
Deb,
It's so close many of us do take it granted. That is why anytime I visit, I automatically become a tourist.
Margot
www.mjustes.com

Morgan Mandel said...

Margot,
I'm glad you can find so much enjoyment from dining in Chicago.

After working for close to 39 years in Downtown Chicago, I must admit I don't make it my priority to get back to the area often.

Also, I've found so many fine restaurants in the suburbs, I'm never without a good place to eat.

The DH and I also enjoy carryouts. So much easier to eat at home, to get all fixed up, although I like to do so occasionally for a change of pace.

Morgan Mandel
http://morgansbooklinks.blogspot.com

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Margot Justes said...

Morgan,
When I visit I usually visit a museum, even just taking a walk is fun, the dinner is a bonus.

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Margot
www.mjustes.com