Star Travel in the Windy City: Adrian Brijbassi drinks in Chicago
I spotted a poll recently that named Chicago as one of the favourite spots for Torontonians to visit. It's no surprise, of course; great food, great bars, great waterfront, great architecture, and a lot more. With that in mind, trusted Star travel man Adrian Brijbassi files this report on his weekend visit.
CHICAGO — The first Chicago Michelin guide is coming out
in November and that's the latest testament to the Windy City's
incessant climb up the world's rankings as a fine-dining centre. I just
ate at the trendy Purple Pig with Steve Dolinsky, a food reporter for
the ABC affiliate in Chicago. Steve also serves as a guest judge on the
Iron Chef and is a 12-time James Beard winner for his reporting and
knows just about everything going on in the Chicago food scene. Still,
in between commenting on the incredible growth in the culinary heights
of Chicago cuisine (which you'll read about in upcoming editions of Star
Travel), Steve spoke about Toronto and was unabashed of his love for
our city's food scene.
He mentioned Susur Lee's restaurants as faves and lamented the lack of Indian restaurants in Chicago like those found on Gerrard Street. He also said he was impressed by Chinatown and its eateries.
But our discussion focused on Chicago and the amazing rise in this city's stature as a hot bed for outstanding chefs.
The Michelin announcement was just made this week and already there's speculation on who will get what stars and how many. The San Francisco Chronicle predicts Alinea, which was recently named the seventh-best restaurant in the world by Restaurant Magazine, to be the only one to get three stars.
Steve loves Alinea, but also fears Michelin will miss a number of outstanding places that are deserving of recognition. They include:
Great Lake Pizza: Recently named by GQ as the best pizza place in the U.S.
Hot Doug’s: A gourmet hot dog joint that the snooty noses at Michelin probably won’t approach.
Café Lula: A casual spot in the artsy neighbourhood of Logan Square that Steve raves about. I hope to check it out.
Sable: At the Hotel Palomar, where I’m staying, and it’s good a killer cocktail list.
The Girl and the Goat: Run by a recent winner of the Top Chef
competition, this restaurant just opened last week — after the Michelin
voters left — and it is the hottest restaurant in the city after Alinea.
Other things happening in Chicago today centered around Michigan Avenue, where filming of Transformers 3 has forced several blocks to be closed off. If you thought the G20 summit was a mess, you should see what makes Shia LaBoeuf look good has done to this town.
More to come, and, as Adrian said, look for more on Chicago in future editions of the Star.