I was in Chicago recently for a couple of days on business and while we were fairly booked with meetings, we did manage to get in some good eating. We stayed at the JW Marriot downtown which is practically around the corner from the CME and about a 10 minute walk from the Mart. It has a huge lobby with a nice lounge and restaurant/bar area. The rooms are nice sized and new with big comfy beds. Bathrooms had separate showers and baths and high end grooming products. If you need to get a workout in the gym downstairs was awesome and has everything you need and more. Never had a chance to check out the Spa…but if the gym were any indication, I’m guessing it was pretty sweet. Service was top notch throughout the hotel.
We were heading out for dinner with one of our business partners when the sky opened up and it rained Noah’s Ark like. Since we didn’t have inflatable kayaks on us we dined in at the hotel which worked out well since the Lobby Lounge had very good food. The menu was Gastro-Pub like with Burgers, Salads Flat-Bread Pizzas, and a variety of appetisers. Of note were the Fig Pizza, Burgers and the Spicy Chicken Nuggets. They had a nice selection of local beers and a good variety of wines to wash it all down with. I started both of my mornings at the bar turned breakfast bar with a cup of illy coffee and pretty good bagels with cream cheese. Our first meeting was down by the Mart across the bridge which gave us the opportunity to take some great shots of Chicago on the way back to the hotel to prep for our first meeting.
To fortify for our next meeting we hit Elephant & Castle an English style pub that really does take you to London…looks wise. Menu is primarily English Pub classics with some America twists. There is a full bar with a great selection on tap…which I didn’t get to take advantage of since I had a business meeting coming up. I went with the Union Jack Burger(subbed Chicken Breast ) in Guinness BBQ sauce, with cheddar and bacon. It come with either a side salad , fries or soup of the day for only $11:50. The soup of the day was a pretty good Spinach Mushroom. My biz partner went Chicken Cobb salad which looked big and fresh and his usual Arnold Palmer. It’s a great place to grab a quick or casual meal.
For our post presentation packed day dinner we hit Gibson’s Steakhouse. Quite simply, go big or go home here. The portions are huge, I don’t think I’ve even seen so much food coming and going. We had a group of 10 and feasted on Jumbo Shrimp and Oysters to start that tasted like they were just pulled from the ocean…which is saying something since not a whole lot of Ocean nearby. We all ordered up steaks ranging from their house special 22oz WR Chicago cut, the 14oz Filet(there is a smaller one, but the waiter told us if any of us order it he will make fun of them…I think he was serious:), to a 48oz Porterhouse! Two from our group actually ordered it…but believe it or not they had only one left…we were seated at 7pm. Do they have so few or do so many people order 48oz steaks at Gibson’s?!? For sides we shared garlic mashed potatoes,broccoli, and great spinach and mushrooms. To drink I enjoyed Hendricks G&T’s with a splash of bitters. After taking in X amount of days calories for desert we ordered up the ginormous bowl of strawberry shortcake towering with whipped cream and the “slice” (see pic)of Chocolate Hazelnut layer cake. It was the biggest slice of cake I’ve ever see. We were trying to figure out how big the oven must be to bake a cake that size. I had a slice of the slice and it was a tantric orgasmic bite of delicious chocolate, rich hazelnut butter-cream and oh so moist cake. Of note the service throughout the meal was excellent. A mix of French training with some old school Jewish Deli personality. Well sated we caught the end of the hockey game and called it a night.
After our last meeting we headed over to Millers Place. It’s a classic old school place that’s a combo Greek Diner, Pub, and Steakhouse. Since the steak from the night before crushed me I went semi-healthy with the Green Pea soup with ham…got a cup should have went with a bowl and the Greek Salad with chicken. I washed it down with a Revolution Anti-Hero brewed in Chicago, a hoppy IPA with some citrus notes. My biz partner swallowed his Pulled Pork sandwich…so I guess he liked it. Gave me the slice of watermelon it came with and shot-gunned the rice pudding. From here I headed off to O’Hare to head home.
I love Chicago style spicy beef which is very hard to find in NYC and Hot Dogs done Chicago Style which thanks to Danny Meyer you now can find. Of all places I finally got around to getting my fix in at the airport. Now while I’m not a huge fan of most Airport food the Gold Coast stand at Terminal 3 had a nice sized Chicago spicy Italian beef with hot peppers and Chicago Sport Dog with the works(peppers,pickles on a poppy bun). All in all a solid productive business trip with some good eating. Of course getting out of Chicago from O’Hare…well that’s another story…