Cherry Circle Room, a new restaurant at the Chicago Athletic Hotel, was named one of the best new restaurants in Chicago for 2015 by Time Out Chicago and Chicagoist, so I decided to give their lunch a try during Restaurant Week. The restaurant is tucked away in the very back of the second floor at the Chicago Athletic Hotel, on the other end of winding wooden hallways. Continue reading
I’ve made no secret of the fact that Boka is one of my favorite restaurants in Chicago or the fact that, at $44 for four courses at a Michelin-starred restaurant, it’s one of the best deals in all of Restaurant Week. Boka is, in fact, the restaurant by which I judge restaurants during Restaurant Week – whether or not I would have rather been at Boka instead. Therefore, I’ve decided to visit Boka three times this year during Restaurant Week in order to sample as much of the menu as possible. For this, my first visit of the year, I’ve chosen a seafood-focused meal progression. Continue reading
NoMI Kitchen at the Park Hyatt offers a three-course lunch for $22 during Restaurant Week, which is a terrific deal – compared to their regular menu prices, it’s similar to getting a first course and dessert for free. Compared to my previous lunches for Restaurant Week 2015 and Chef’s Week 2015, my main course fell a bit short, but the dessert was distinctly better. The service was also more attentive. Continue reading
For the start of this year’s Restaurant Week, I travelled all the way to The Duck Inn, recipient of a 2016 Bib Gourmand, in Bridgeport. Unlike many restaurants, The Duck Inn doesn’t provide multiple options for most of their Restaurant Week courses – only for the third course. And although the menu seemed rather standard (soup, green salad, pork or chicken for the main course, and crème brûlée for dessert), the food turned out to be interesting and well-executed. The service is also excellent, competent yet warm and welcoming. Continue reading
My New Year’s resolution for 2015 was to see more theatre, and given that I went to 326 shows in 2015, I think it’s safe to say that I succeeded. On average, I went to 27 shows a month (32 in both April and July, 31 in August). 47% of shows were plays; 32% were musicals; 10% were readings; 3% were operas; 3% were concerts; and the last 5% were other kinds of shows (puppet, magic, dance, etc.).
I saw 153 plays, and although nearly all of them were separate plays, I did see the Hypocrites’ 12-hour-long Greek play festival All Our Tragic twice. I saw 104 musicals, though only 70 different shows (I tend to return to musicals). I made my first trip back to Broadway since 2006 – over two weekends, I saw nine shows, including the 2015 Best Musical Tony Award winner Fun Home and the presumptive 2016 Best Musical Tony Award winner Hamilton. And since Broadway shows like Hamilton rather skew the results, I will limit my 2015 list of favorite shows to Chicago productions. Continue reading
On the outside, Fulton Market Kitchen doesn’t look like much, nestled among warehouses and loading trucks, farther off the beaten path from their neighbors The Publican and Next, only a block or two away. Inside, however, is a different story entirely, as the restaurant is filled with bold colors and a rotating art collection. The menu, too, is interesting, although it perhaps not as successful as the decor.
With its oyster bar, Loop restaurant Pearl Tavern has a seafood focus. Although possibly one of the better options in the Loop, I think it still relies heavily on its location in Chicago’s financial district and proximity to the theatre district. The food is tasty and nicely plated, but for the price, there are better restaurants in the city.
I love good food almost as much as I love good theatre. Well, perhaps that’s a bit of hyperbole, but delicious food can certainly put a smile on my face. Luckily, Chicago is a terrific city for both food and theatre, which is a significant portion of the reason why I love living here.
In no particular order, these are my favorite 15 dishes of 2015:
Fried Chicken Sandwich – Frontier
While I haven’t been able to see all of the new shows on Broadway this year (living in the Midwest makes that particularly hard), the shows I did see were enough to know that 2015 was a tremendous year for Broadway. Something Rotten! gave us one heck of an entertaining show with terrific performances. The King and I breathed new life into a classic. And then there were the groundbreaking musicals that, by their very existence, expanded the possibilities of the new Broadway normal: Fun Home, Hamilton, and Spring Awakening. Continue reading
The curse of being a perfectionist is that, unless harsh deadlines are imposed, things are rarely finished. Therefore, my 2016 New Year’s resolution will to post reviews more frequently, starting with reviews for the nine shows I saw on Broadway in 2015. Until then, however, I will leave a few brief words on my initial reactions to each show, just for fun, in the order in which I saw them. Continue reading