So you’re in Chicago for the NRA Show and you want to know all the cool spots to check out in your free time? I’m not a local but I visit Chicago quite a bit on business and the below destinations come highly recommended. (click the restaurant names for a link to their site)
Rick Bayless’s Xoco is shaping the future of the fast casual industry – and the food is just plain awesome. This is a mandatory stop every time I am in Chicago and I *highly* recommend checking it out. What should you order?
Ahogada – this torta – served sitting in a bowl of tomato broth, is one of the signature items on the menu.
Caldos – the “soups” here – any of them are awesome but in particular I would get the Pork Belly (coming from a full blown pork addict).
Churros w/ Chocolate dipping sauce…. Heavenly.
Also – check out the acqua frescas – I recommend the one with Hibiscus
Billy Dec and the Rockit Ranch crew (one of Chicago’s biggest restaurant players) really outdid themselves when they created Sunda (great video about Sunda’s creation here). This beautifully designed Asian fusion restaurant sports a massive menu, including a full sushi bar, of delicious food.
the Peared Sake – literally tastes like you are drinking a chilled pear – I get this every time.
The menu is so huge picking favorites is like picking children – but I would say the Cripsy Rice with Tuna is one of my favs, along with the Rock Shrimp Tempura.
A well hidden food craze in Chicago. This entire restaurant is jam packed into literally a hallway in the back of a building. You won’t even see the building walking by, but you can’t miss the line of people pouring out the door. They tweet how long the line is and what doughnuts they are running out of so make sure to keep an eye on them @doughnutvault so they don’t run out!
If you want to hit these guys up, they are CLOSED on Sunday/Monday so keep that in mind. Well worth making the journey for their delicious and oversized doughnuts.
An awesome bar and tex mex joint in Chicago’s Wicker Park. The food is great (you won’t believe how tiny their kitchen is) but you really go for the atmosphere. Great place to sit and have a drink and a few tacos for happy hour.
The thing to order here is a glass of Templeton Rye. A small batch rye native to Iowa and tough to find anywhere but the Midwest – one of the smoothest and most delicious rye whiskies you will ever drink. Templeton Rye was the choice drink for none other than Al Capone who actually bootlegged it for a number of years during prohibition.
Their food menu is short and sweet but their whiskey menu is deep.
Hope you enjoyed my suggestions! Let me know what you think in the comments and on Twitter and enjoy NRA 2012!