I have something to share with you.
Shame on me. I usually check for special food events after scheduling trips but this time, I just forgot. So, shame on me…..it was Chef Week in Chicago and I had no idea. See, I recently booked a trip for work where I was only going to be there for 24 hours(ended up 26 hours, but anyway). As usual, I needed two lunch spots and a dinner….which is normally what I search Eater and Chowhound for but the places I picked(correction- reserved on OpenTable) had to be super close to where my meetings were in the interest of time. And wow…I got lucky this time. I only ended up ordering from one of the Chef Week menus but if I had been in town longer, there were some good options.
Travelle at The Langham Hotel
I have heard about this spot for a while, and on Chowhound they recommended visiting for lunch. And with it being right across the street from my hotel, it was a perfect option. I reserved a table for one on OpenTable, was given a corner table to eat and get some work done and had not only awesome food, but excellent service. I decided to order off the Chef Week menu and glad I did. I started with the white gazpacho soup with shrimp, grapes and almonds, then the halibut with spring peas and an artichoke chowder and finished my meal with a lime panna cotta, ginger chips and poached rhubarb. Three courses, $22 plus tip and tax. What a great place! Now if only i could stay at the hotel…..
My friend at work(Hi SB!) often travels to Chicago and she and I both love this spot. It’s great for drinks and small plates or dinner alone, with friends or with clients. This time it was just me, a quick dinner before heading off to my hotel for a night of emails, proposals and at some point, mom stuff(you know – grocery list, the never-ending to-do list for kid and family stuff!). I sat at the bar, and decided to order three different items, although I will admit I had tried two of the three dishes during past visits. The difference- this time I didn’t have to share. I started with the homemade ricotta(awesome), then the meatballs(super delish) and then the pasta carbonara(keep reading). I admit that my favorite pasta carbonara dish is served at La Traviata in Austin, not much compares but the one at RPM was pretty good. They serve it in a similar fashion with an egg on top that gets mixed in by the server and maybe with a bit more pepper than I am used to but I almost cleaned my plate(with the two dishes before the pasta, I just couldn’t do it). If you want to go for dinner, make a reservation(and do it far in advance). I went on the early side and it was already packed. A second option – RPM Steak which I hear is fantastic as well!.
GT Fish & Oyster
I consider 4 city blocks to be close whether it is a freezing day or not in Chicago. I wanted something lighter, and seafood sounded great. This was also a Chef Week restaurant although I did not order off that menu. I needed this to be quick so I sat down right at 11:30am and was out by 12:10p. I started with the oyster po’boy slider with kimchi and peanuts, then the lunch combo of clam chowder and the Tuna BLT with a fried pickle.
Hotel Chicago Downtown, an Autograph Collection by Marriott
This was my second stay and a much better one now that the lobby renovation has been completed. I like this hotel, love the location and I think with my renewed Marriott loyalty, this will be my spot for future trips! It is very modern, they have a large concierge lounge for breakfast and “snacks” and it has a great vibe. I do wish they were a little more in touch with some dining options(no one mentioned it was Chef Week which disappointed me) but they did tell me(after I asked) that I could go to a few restaurants close by and charge it back to my room(this means more points!) So, check out this hotel if you are a Marriott member and let me know what you think!