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Seven Scrumptious Places to Eat In Chicago ...

American Journeywoman Micheline Maynard writes for Forbes and her food blog, CulinaryWoman, was inspired by JourneyWoman. Follow her on Twitter @culinarywoman. Micheline is a woman with great taste, especially in food. We asked her to tell us about her favorites food stops in Chicago.

Sooner or later, every traveler seems to wind up in Chicago - for business, a convention or just because it's such a beautiful city.

Chicago also has a reputation as one of the best food cities in the country. You can spend hundreds of dollars on a single meal, or find delicious pizza for just $2 a slice. It is a friendly city, where newcomers get a warm welcome (in the first six months I lived there, I never paid for a drink).

Here are seven spots where a Journeywoman and her friends can dine well in the Windy City. (Note: some will require cab rides from downtown, but none are more than about 15 minutes away.)


 

Keefer's ...

Chicago is a meat-eaters paradise. If you've been hankering for a steak, there's no place better than Keefer's, just steps from the Magnificent Mile. You'll find a nice list of wines by the glass, and lots of side dishes. Keefer's also has fast, bargain lunches for just $10, with the same professional, friendly service. Be sure to reserve, because waits can be long. Address: 20 W. Kinzie, Website: www.keefersrestaurant.com

 

Smoque BBQ...

Barbeque is serious business in Chicago, and Smoque leads the list. Portions of its meats, cooked low and slow in Texas style, are enormous. Try the brisket (I like it chopped) either in a sandwich or a platter. Fries and macaroni and cheese are fantastic, and save room for peach cobbler. Smoque has a few tables of outdoor seating and there's often a line on weekends. But you can chat with co-owner Barry Sorkin while you wait. Address: 3800 N. Pulaski Road, Website: smoquebbq.com

 

Bleeding Heart Bakery...

Are you a fan of those competitive cake shows on food television? Bleeding Heart is for you. It's a hang out for punk rockers, where everyone seems to have a tattoo, but the main West Town location serves one of the best brunches in Chicago. The omelets are perfectly cooked, and the big case up front has a huge selection of baked goods from cake balls to donuts (perfect for a hotel room snack). Address: 1916 W. Chicago Avenue and three other locations Website: www.bleedingheartbakerywesttown.com

 

Floriole...

This is the French café of my dreams. It offers sublime croissants, breads, tarts, salads and soups that will make you want to linger there all day. Floriole schedules prix fixe dinners once a month with local farmers, so check their Web site in case one is being held during your visit. There is wi-fi and outdoor seating. Their baristas are the best in the city, and have seconds on blueberry upside down cake. I won't tell. Address: 1220 W. Webster Website: www.floriole.com

 

Cemitas Puebla ...

It's a bit of a hike from downtown, but well worth the trip. A cemita is a layered sandwich, originating in Puebla, Mexico, that is served on a special, soft bun. You can easily split one with a friend, but be sure to get yourself a horchata, the soothing rice milk drink. Owner Tony Antilez is likely to be behind the counter, and there's often Mexican soccer on TV. Address: 3619 W. North Avenue Website: www.cemitaspuebla.com

 

Piccolo Sogno ...

On every trip, I like to have one dress up meal. Here is one spot (the name means "little dream"). Achingly romantic, with an outdoor courtyard in summer. Piccolo's menu includes perfectly prepared, sophisticated Italian food, including house-made pasta and delicate fish. Reservations can be hard to get, but if you're alone or a two-some, try dining in the bar. Address: 464 N. Halstead Website: piccolosognorestaurant.com

 

Not a restaurant, but great dining...

If you're in Chicago on a Saturday, check out Green City Market in Lincoln Park. (Wednesday markets are also held from May through October. You'll find fruits and vegetables from all over the Great Lakes, and a wide variety of local foods, such as cheese curds from Wisconsin and fresh goat cheese from Indiana. There's no end of breakfast and lunch choices, from smoothies made on the spot to crepes and quiches (Floriole has a booth here). Pick up some flowers for your host or your hotel room. Website: www.greencitymarket.org

 

 

Note from the editor...

As members of the Journeywoman Network we are in an enviable position when we begin researching a city. We don't need to have a best pal who has travelled to a destination before us to get the scoop. All we have to do is put a call out for women-centered information in our monthly travel tip newsletter and the tips come pouring in. This time we asked our readers for their travel advice regarding the city of Chicago. What we got back was an interesting sampling of both quirky and practical 'know-how'. Whether you are on your way to Chicago or simply reading as an armchair traveller, we know you'll love them. Read: 20 things to know about Chicago!

 

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