On the Road Eats: Chicago

Hotel: Sheraton Grand Chicago
Would I stay again?  Maybe.  The location was not too convenient to where my client meetings were but the room was clean, I was able to grab a quick breakfast and bottled waters in the lounge and my room had a good view of the river.

Restaurants:

Lunch: Frontera Grill
Would I dine again?
Yes.  I have walked by this restaurant so many times and always thought, I must eat here.  Well, after 10 years of traveling to Chicago I did and it was great.  It was a Tuesday so I ordered the pork milanesa lunch special – Crunchy-coated pork shoulder, roasted tomato-serrano sauce, black beans, pickled red onions served with an arugula salad. Delish!

Dinner: Portsmith
Would I dine again? No.  I was underwhelmed by my whole experience.  The restaurant was empty, my meal- shellfish risotto- was just ok and there are too many other spots to try in this city.

Lunch: Tanta Chicago
Would I dine again?
Yes.  Yes.  Yes.  My lunch was fabulous and I think it is because I was able to order a sampler and try various dishes.  Order the power lunch marino which includes criollo cebiche, calamari jaleita, and criollo rice and you will not be disappointed.

On the Road Eats: Kansas City

Hotel: Residence Inn Kansas City Downtown/Convention Center
Would I stay again? Yes. I was reserved at the joint Courtyard but they did not have any non-accessible king rooms left so they moved me “next door”.  I did go into the room and they were clean which was good to know for next time.  For me, the location was convenient and the Residence Inn gives you access to a nice lounge with breakfast or to use for a common area to work. I don’t love hotel breakfasts so I stopped in just for coffee. Room was clean and they upgraded me to a two bedroom which for one person checking in at 9pm wasn’t really an upgrade.

 

Restaurants:

Dinner: Le Fou Frog
Would I dine again? Yes.  My dinner was great. I loved that they had a whole second menu with specials and during cooler weather they had a great little outdoor section. We missed happy hour but the food specials looked good.

On the Road Eats: Houston

Hotel: Courtyard Houston by the Galleria
Would I stay again? Yes. The hotel staff was great, the rooms are updated, the lobby has the standard courtyard bistro plus it is in the galleria so you can walk to numerous restaurants and the Galleria Mall.  It is off the main corridor and has a parking garage.

Standard King at the Courtyard

Restaurants:

Lunch: Pizzitola’s BBQ
Would I dine again? Maybe.  We tried to hit Truth BBQ but it had a line out the door and I had a meeting after lunch.  I googled and found Pizzitola’s close by and it had good reviews.

Brisket over a loaded baked potato

Dinner: Yauatcha Houston
Would I dine again? Probably not.  Houston has too many restaurants and especially too many options for asian.  The food was good BUT the service was terrible.  I sat at the bar with only a couple other guests,  my wine came after my food, it took a while to be able to order additional plates and the bartender never explained all of the sauces he placed in front of me which changed my experience, especially after I heard him explain to the man next to me.

Lunch:  Étoile
Would I dine again? Yes.  I have dined here before and always have a good meal.  They also have a great food happy hour.

On the Road Eats: Ohio (Cleveland, Akron and Columbus)

Restaurants:

Lunch(Cleveland suburbs):  Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink
Would I dine again? Yes.  Convenient to my client’s office and a great menu for lunch and dinner.

Homemade Pastrami Sandwich with gruyére, red cabbage slaw, thousand island dressing, rye

Snack(Cleveland suburbs):  Mitchell’s Ice Cream
Would I dine again? 
Absolutely.  You cannot go wrong with ice cream.  I tried two – mango sorbet and wild berry crumble.  And it was right across from Michael’s so I didn’t have to go far!

Dinner (Akron suburb): Vaccaro’s Trattoria
Would I dine again? Yes.  I had to drive down to the Fairlawn/Medina area which is closer to Akron than Cleveland.  I found a little italian spot and had my favorite italian wedding soup along with some pasta.

Hotel: Courtyard Akron Fairlawn
Would I stay again?   
Yes.  The hotel looks old on the outside but it has a modern lobby.  I spent most of the night doing work and my room had a great living/office area and a separate room for sleeping.  The staff was nice and it was central to numerous restaurants and shopping malls.

Lunch (Akron suburb):  Swenson’s
Would I dine again? Yes.  I needed to get on the road to Columbus before the rain hit and before rush hour in Columbus.  This drive-in has been around for years so I had to make a stop.

Snack(Akron suburbs):  Malley’s Chocolate
Would I dine again? 
Yes.  A little snack for the road.  Chocolate.  Of all kinds.  Plus candy.  yum.

Hotel: Fairfield Inn & Suites Columbus OSU
Would I stay again? 
Yes.  It was clean, the staff was nice and my room was conveniently laid out for rest and for work.  There are some higher-end hotels in Columbus but they were over my allowed rate.

Dinner (Columbus): Third & Hollywood
Would I dine again?  
Yes.  I was staying near the Ohio State but this was a quick drive.  The menu was great and my favorite ice cream shop was around the corner.

Dessert(Columbus):  Jeni’s
Would I dine again? 
Always.  Jeni’s is my favorite ice cream shop.  My favorite flavor the riesling poached pear is seasonal so I tried two new flavors.  Churro and WOW- dairy free Roasted Peanut Butter & Strawberry Jam.  If only my local Central Market would carry the DF PB&J.

Lunch (Columbus): High Bank Distillery
Would I dine again? Not sure.  I found this restaurant on Eater and I am guessing it has great energy at night.  I ordered a salad and it came out, well, let’s just say, not to chef standards.  They quickly made me a new salad and didn’t charge me.  I appreciated the fact that they made things right and it was good but….there are so many options in Columbus.  If it is close by, try it.  I’m sure the drinks will be good based on the menu I saw.