48 hours in Chicago

Discussion in 'Odds & Ends' started by heycal, Sep 3, 2009.

  1. heycal

    heycal Hall of Fame

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    Okay, you Chicagoans and veteran visitors. Tell this first time visitor how to make the most of his 48 hours in Chicago from October 19-21. I'm interested in evaluating the famous deep dish pizza, and want to see to various neighborhoods, rich and poor, key must-see spots/landmarks, and perhaps a drive through the John Hughes suburbs I've seen so often in movies. Wish I could go to a Cubs game, but I guess not. Have zero interest in galleries, museums, and that kind of crap.

    Also, of these four hotels, is there one or two that is much more interesting or better located than the others? The Wit, The James, The Seneca or The Hard Rock.
     
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  2. LanEvo

    LanEvo Hall of Fame

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    get a Chicago hotdog, hear they are the bomb
     
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  3. LanEvo

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    hey go check out the nice stores and stuff as well
     
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  4. Lakoste

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    A lot of nice suggestions by LanEvo so far... :rolleyes:

    Seriously though, if you've never been before definitely check out the usual attractions: navy pier, millennium park, sears tower's skydeck, botanical garden. Kind of cheesy but most are cool I guess. You don't seem like the theater type so I won't even list those.

    Highly highly recommend the architectural boat tour. There's also a Frank Loyd Wright tour around UofChicago that I enjoyed.

    If you're a big restaurant/bar guy, then Chicago is your town. I'm having a tough time recalling every place, but Alinea, Blackbird (love the lunch there), Riccardo Trattoria, Moto. Those are good if you're spluring $$$. Mr Beefs and Hot Dougs are pretty good for their price. For pizza, Lou Malnati is pretty good. Giordano's is a chicago favorite for deep dish. Portillos is another place that is very Chicago, a little over the top with their decorations but decent hot dogs and italian beef.

    Can't really help with the hotel reccomendations, I have a condo here.

    Ask if you have anymore questions.
     
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  5. CanadianChic

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    I say go to Navy Pier. Mind you, I've never been there but hear it's worth taking a stroll on.
     
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  6. ubermeyer

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    Shoot... kids these days have no appreciation of taking an in-depth look at culture, and apparently no respect for it either, except me it seems.
     
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  7. CanadianChic

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    Do you go back and forth?
     
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  8. Steady Eddy

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    Like when I went to New Orleans, the people I'm with wanted the chicory coffee. I wondered, "If that's better, then why can't we get it in Phoenix?" The answer, we can. I'm also sure that any major metro area can offer deep dish pizza and a good hotdog. Sorry to burst a bubble, but let's be a little bit real.
     
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  9. Lakoste

    Lakoste Professional

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    Not on a regular basis, but most of my business is done in Chicago so I sometimes have to go for a couple days every other month.

    BTW we should get the chat back together, this weekend or next week I'm thinking....
     
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  10. CanadianChic

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    I was wondering about it and if you guys still went there. Let me know when - I'm on holidays now so everything is flexible.
     
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  11. heycal

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    Thanks. That boat tour sounds like something I might like. And definitely want to check out those deep dish places.

    I hate culture.

    Not sure what your point is, Eddy. Chicago is famous for deep dish pizza. I like pizza, so would like to see what the fuss is about. When I went to Dallas in April, I made a point of seeking out some BBQ places because that's one of their specialities, and I'm sure happy I did. It was incredible, and better than anything I have had in my major, major metro area.

    The bubble remains unburst.

    Here's the point I think you meant to make: why go to musuems, galleries, fancy restaurants, botanical gardens or similar type thing offered in any major metro area? And to that point, I agree 100 percent, particularly being a New Yorker. There ain't nothing no second city or third or fourth U.S. city got that we don't have better of here. But most cities do have unique attributes or particular strengths, and doesn't it behoove us as visitors to experience those things during our visits? If not, why leave home at all?
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2009
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  12. mattp420

    mattp420 Rookie

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    Go to Hot Dougs or Superdawg for hot dogs. I prefer Lou's over Giordanos. Gino's East is really good too;, bring a marker with you. I like the location of the James and Seneca. Go to a blackhawks game; they are playing the Canucks.
     
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  13. LanEvo

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    for those two items, id like to say one word ... Costco
     
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  14. dParis

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    Take Sheridan Rd. up through Evanston, Winnetka, Kenilworth and Glencoe for a taste of Hughes; then a taste of deep dish at Lou Malnati's in Evanston. Don't come back raggin' Chicago's deep dish if you were dumb enough to skip the best and try some other place.
    What, the Cubs won't be playing in October??? AGAIN???:mad:
    Too bad. I still must suggest one and that would be The Museum at the Art Institute. I'm not a huge museum guy, but I think the finest treasure that the city possesses is in those buildings. Great works from the expressionists, Picaso, Dali and other such freaks as well as American classics like American Gothic and Nighthawks. There's even a Pollack in the new, modern wing. Yes, just one Pollock. Why on earth would anyone need to see more than one of those? Many other brilliant and familiar works that I don't recall the names of. If they've re-established the medieval weapons and armor display, that's a bonus. Retrace the steps of Ferris Bueller and friends as well. Exit via the modern wing's north entrance and cross the street to Millenium Park while you're at it. We did that this summer with friends from Europe and we all had an enjoyable time.

    On Tuesday, eat at the oyster bar (Blue Crab Lounge) at Shaw's Crab House. Great seafood, lively atmosphere and live music T,TH and Su. Afterwards, pop next door into Andy's Jazz Club for a little more live music, if you're into that.

    I'll try to post more later...
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2009
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  15. heycal

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    Thanks for the route tip. Is that Malnati's place only in Evanston? That's sort of in the suburbs, right? Is it much better than the Giordano's place someone mentioned?


    Is there some particular quality to the Picasso's et al that make them superior to the ones included in the world famous museums 20 miles from my house? If not, I'm gonna pass on your little museum and maybe ride your subway instead. See if Rebecca DeMornay is on one of the trains.

    Want to see the southside of Chicago too, or wherever your super bad neighorhood is. Looked scary in "Adventures in Babysitting".

    What's your own take on those hotel choices?
     
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  16. Steady Eddy

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    So maybe they serve more deep dish pizza in Chicago? Maybe it's more popular there? But you live in New York, and do really think there's not a single chef in NY who can make the kind of deep dish pizza they make in Chicago? I think you'll find pizza you like in Chicago, but you'll say that it's not something you can't get at home.
    On the news they were talking about how good Costco's pizza is. That's a few times I've heard that. It sounds like an unlikely place for exceptional pizza, but I've got an open mind, so maybe I'll try it today.
     
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  17. mattp420

    mattp420 Rookie

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    No, the original (if that's your thing) is in Lincolnwood. I visit the Elk Grove and Schaumburg locations. The closest to where you're staying is probably River North. Get the buttercrust.
     
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  18. bad_call

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    did one of those tour bus things and luckily it was a nice sunny day. the Navy Pier was nice but rather touristy. bring warm layers cause temps can drop rather quickly. if you're into beers then try one of the Three Floyds brews.
     
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  19. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    I was in Chicago 2 years ago in October. These 4 sites were nice to visit, but if I had to rank them I'd say:

    1. Architectural Boat Tour
    2. Sears Tower
    3. Navy Pier
    4. Some Italian restaurant where I saw Dustin Hoffman
     
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  20. heycal

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    So you're recommending I skip experiencing Chicago's famous deep dish pizza and instead seek out a local chef who does a nice imitation of it?

    So what should I eat instead in Chicago, steadward Edward, whatever they have in the hotel lobby restaurant or at the Bennigans across the street?

    You're one of those people who don't care about food, one of those "I eat to live rather than live to eat types", huh?
     
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  21. mattp420

    mattp420 Rookie

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    There isn't a Bennigans across the street from where you're staying.

    Forgot to mention in my previous posts, instead of a chicago style hot dog, maybe you should get a maxwell street polish. It's a polish sausage with grilled onions and yellow mustard.

    Also try the italian beef. It's similar to a philly cheesesteak, except it uses roast beef. Get it hot and dipped.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2009
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  22. heycal

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    Well, now where do I eat?
     
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  23. Steady Eddy

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    Have some deep dish pizza. Just tell us if it's totally different from anything you can find in NYC just cause you're in Chicago.

    I don't live to eat, but sometimes there's nothing better than a good meal. (Actually there are things better than a good meal, but it's still up there.)
     
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  24. akv89

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    A walk down Millennium Park is always nice, unless you're in a hurry. And don't forget to get some deep dish. I suggest Gino's East.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2009
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  25. max

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    This is really true; just mentioning it makes me hungry. Vienna brand's the way to go.

    Uno's or Due's for pizza; worth it all just for that. You'll probably want to budget time to stroll down Michigan Avenue.
     
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  26. mtommer

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    No. Pizza is in the sauce which is like Barbeque, unique. Think, does Dominoes taste like Pizza Hut? They both make deep dish pizzas. Same goes for the hotdogs as I believe the notable places in Chicago actually have their own dogs made which means different seasonings etc. Not sure on this one though.
    --------------

    HeyCal,

    Chicago is a lot of fun though it can be tiring. Make sure you bring comfy walking shoes. Some of the places I like are the typical tourist sites but I like the Gourmet Popcorn store, Cheesecake Factory (not unique to Chicago, I know), the Hershey's store. There's a few restaurants I've been to that I like but I can't remember their names unfortunately. Previous posters all have great suggestions. Have Fun!!!!
     
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  27. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    Wait til next year!!!!!!
     
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  28. heycal

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    Totally different? Unlikely. Better? Possibly. God knows the BBQ in Dallas was better than anything I've had here. What say you to that, steadyeddy?
     
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  29. heycal

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    Now there are too many pizza suggestions coming.. Get your heads together, Chicago boys, and narrow it down to one or two, please.
     
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  30. bad_call

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    heard about that presidential bbq place in tx where LBJ would have foreign officials and the like dine. gotta be in the top 10 bbq spots in the country.
     
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  31. dParis

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    No, there are multiple locations but the Evanston location is on the Hughes movie route, it's in the Northwestern University area and it's not far from where you are staying, really. Assuming you have a car. I'm going to reiterate, if you are going to have one DD pizza, it must be Malnoti's, period.

    If it's good enough for Ferris Bueller, it's good enough for you. Anyhow, it's not like you'll have to go out of your way. It right on Michigan Ave. next to Millenium Park. Okay, pitch over.

    So you'll skip the Art Institute because you have museums 20 miles from your house but you want to go out of your way to see a bad neighborhood:confused:. I think you have plenty of better choices in the NYC metro area. Whatever floats your boat. Take Lakeshore Drive to the 47th st. exit (Hyde Park). This is actually a very nice area surrounded by bad areas and Lake Michigan. Check out Obama's home by going south to Hyde Park Blvd (51st st.). then west to Greenwood. You can't miss it, it's directly across the street from a big mosque, no kidding. They have recently planted giant trees on Tony Rezko's property next door to block the views, but you can still see the home from 51st st. You'll be near the U of C so you can see Stagg Field under which the work of the Manhattan project came to fruition. Head west to MLK Drive and turn left (south) and soon you'll be driving through the lap of poverty. Take it all the way to 119th st. if you have time and take that to Halsted st. and take Halsted north, back into the city. Good luck with that.

    They're all fine. Can't recommend one over the other. Maybe skip the Hard Rock or consider the W on Lake Shore Dr.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2009
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  32. YULitle

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    There's a great jazz club on the North side called The Green Mill. It's awesome. Go early, it fills up pretty quick.
     
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  33. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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  34. mattp420

    mattp420 Rookie

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    Everyone will have their own favorite. It's like asking people here which is the better baseball team Cubs or Sox. Maybe most of your meals will have to be pizza as you try the different kinds. I grew up eating Lou's so I'm biased, but I have friends who like Giordano's better. Then you have others who swear by Gino's or Uno.

    When getting hot dogs, make sure they advertise they use Vienna Beef hot dogs. That's our "Nathan's". The Vienna Beef ones are slightly shorter, but thicker than Nathan's.
     
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  35. FloridaAG

    FloridaAG Professional

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    Just back from Chicago - only my second time there. Lots of good recs so far, walk up and down Michigan and Lakeshore (although by then it may be awfully cold) - Drinks late night at the top of the Wit; Frontera Grill was really good although packed

    I second (or third or fourth by now) Lou Malnatis for pizza. We ate at the Wells Street location - was excellent. Far better than Giordano's IMO.
     
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  36. S H O W S T O P P E R !

    S H O W S T O P P E R ! Hall of Fame

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    I'm a hardcore native, I'll tell you what you need to do.

    1. Eat a Chicago hot dog, which is like a smaller polish sausage. NEVER order ketchup on a Chicago dog. That's not smiled upon. Almost any other condiment goes; I've even seen pineapple on a dog.
    2. People will tell you the best pizza is at UNO's, but the best pizza joint in the Chi is Giordano's. Hell of a lot cheaper too.
    3. Go to Navy Pier, the Sears Tower (NOT THE WILLIS TOWER :mad:) Millennium Park, etc.
    4. Find a tour trolley. They can be a touch expensive but they are worth it and you can be dropped off at almost any location in downtown. So much cheaper than a taxi :lol:
    5. Walk the beachfront if the weather is good. The sculptures, the characters, the beach is all great.
     
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  37. FloridaAG

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    That ain't no beach, its a lake. A gigantic lake, but a lake nonetheless
     
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  38. S H O W S T O P P E R !

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    Lakeside, whatever.
     
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  39. mtommer

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    You should have seen some of the nice waves we got on the MI side Tues. Oh, it's a beach alrighty.
     
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  40. FloridaAG

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    Just kidding - it is a cool sight actually.
     
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  41. davey

    davey Rookie

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    Just my 2 cents on Chicago Pizza,

    I recommend Uno, Due, Gino's East or Peaquod's.

    Giordano's was my favorite when I was a kid but but has become a local chain and while still decent, just not as good as they used to be.

    Lou Malnati's is also decent but overrated in my opinion. You hear more about them due to marketing more than truely great chicago pizza.

    Edwardo's is a another local chain that's been around a while but hasn't become too big and last time I was there it was pretty good.

    All of the above probably have websites for locations.


    Anywhere you see a vienna beef sign(www.viennabeef.com/) you are probably going to get a pretty good hotdog. While many people have their favorite places for chicago hotdogs, it's just a hotdog, it's not that complicated and most places do it well though it's slightly different at each one. Just remember, NO KETCHUP! For your own safety don't ask for it! Also only ask for peppers if you really enjoy spicy food.

    Navy Pier on the inside is mostly a tourist trap. Walk the exterior and take a few pictures of the city and skyline if you go there.

    The previously suggested drive up Sheridan Road through the northshore suburbs is very nice.

    If you visit Millennium Park check out the Chicago Cultural Center between Randolph and Washington on Michigan ave. The building is really old and I think used to be a lIbrary. It has a few nice large rooms that can be rented for functions but are generally empty and open to the public. It's great old school architecture. It's also where Kostner threw the guy off the roof in the Untouchables. You will recognize the stair case near where he catches the guy climbing down a rope. Just a warning, the building has an art gallery or two.

    The Sears Tower is nice. The Hancock Building also has an observation deck.
     
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  42. mattp420

    mattp420 Rookie

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    You could say the same about Giordanos and Pizzeria Uno, with the former having franchises in Florida (it might be me, but the Lake Buena Vista one did not taste the same) and the latter having frozen pizzas available at the local supermarkets as well as worldwide franchises.

    Should the OP decide on Lou's and likes sausage pizza - get a deep-dish buttercrust pizza with pattied sausage.

    My favorite is the Lou with buttercrust - mushrooms, fresh spinach, and sliced tomatoes. I know tomatoes are used in the sauce, but the pizza is also topped with sliced tomatoes.

    Other foods you can try not mentioned are gyros in Greektown (if you're at a sitdown restaurant there, order saganaki for an appetizer), dairy queen (although many franchises might be closed for the season), Steak 'n Shake and Culver's. The last two are *******ern fast food restaurants. Many of my friends on the west coast seem to like it as much as we (my friends here and myself) like In 'n out. Actually thinking about it forget Steak 'n Shake and Culver's - go to Portillo's or Buona Beef or Brown's Chicken or Al's Beef.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2009
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  43. Steady Eddy

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    So I went to Costco today to try them. (I actually, only tried the pizza, the hotdogs are Hebrew National, good dogs, but not unique to Costco.) The pizza was better than I would have thought, and it was a good deal, but I like mine to be real thin crust. There's only one place in AZ I've found where I like the pizza, (but they came here from Chicago.)

    I used to live in Dallas, but I never tried the BBQ 'cause I don't like BBQ. Maybe I missed out? :(
     
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  44. dParis

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    Agreed with the above, matt. The only exception I would make is with the pattied sausage. That style has one round sheet of sausage covering the pizza from edge to edge. It's overkill IMO, takes something away from the rest of the pizza and toppings. Lump sausage does just fine.

    While not my favorite restaurant in Greektown, for gyros the only place to go is The Parthenon. I believe it's the only place that makes their own gyros on premises - and it's delicious. The rest have the same (Central/Kronos) gyros you can get anywhere.
    Can't believe this is the first mention for Italian Beef. I say skip the hot dogs and get a beef - dipped; with sweet peppers or maybe Marconi giardiniera if you like it a little hot. Or no topping at all, but it must be dipped. Hot dogs - you can get anywhere. Not so with an Italian beef and they're sooooo much better tasting. (I admit, I only eat 1 or 2 dogs a year, if that)
     
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  45. heycal

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    There's only one south side of Chicago, but plenty of Picasso's. I've already been to all the bad neighborhoods in New York, so would like to see the worst (and best) Chicago has to offer. I assume that will make more of an impression on me and contribute more to my sense of America and Chicago than will some painting that happens to currently be on display in Chicago and may some day come to New York. I'm coming to see your city, dParis, not the artwork created by artists that have no connection to your city.

    What is this Millenium Park that keeps getting mentioned, and why do I want to see it? Same with the Navy Pier. What's it got to offer?

    Would like to see Michigan Avenue though, since I've heard of it. And the aforementioned boat ride sounds good too. Beachfront too. Maybe Sears tower also.

    I will not have a car, so will have to rely on some kind-hearted host to drive me around to all the sights I'd like to see. Whilst in Seattle in June, I really lucked out in this regard, and one of my hosts took me on a four hour car tour of the city that began close to midnight. Very comprehensive.

    My instinct was to try and avoid the Hard Rock as well if possible, and the W is not on the list of possible hotels. So Wit? St. James? Seneca? What's the most Chicago of them all, and/or best located?

    As for the pizza, I sense friction among the natives. At this point I'm leaning toward this Malnati's since that has gotten the most votes, followed by Giordanos. It's also possible some of my host people might have strong opinions, and/or circumstances might push me towards one or another. We are probably looking at one night of pizza though, so I hope the right choice is made.



    I don't. I'm more of a pizza and hot dog/italian beef guy anyway. And don't worry, fellas, I would only want mustard on these things, not ketchup.

    As the saying goes, even bad pizza is pretty good.

    What the heck were you doing down there all that time? Within six hours of landing in Dallas, I had done the following: Nosed around the grassy knoll and sixth floor depository, shot a handgun at a range for the first time in my life, and had some kickass BBQ. Six hours, Steadward!
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2009
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  46. FloridaAG

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    I stayed at the Rennaisance on Wacker - very convenient location and we got a great price
     
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  47. Jim Hendricks

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    Deep dish pizza is not a Chicago thing, it was "invented" by a guy in Houston . Real Chicago pizza is thin crust with the toppings under the cheese. Mike Ryko use to write about this. Try any neighborhood pizza joint.
     
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  48. David_Is_Right

    David_Is_Right Semi-Pro

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    lol heycal! That's the first time I've ever seen someone be a food snob about pizza!!
     
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  49. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Michigan street is good for the ladies to shop while the men play tennis.
     
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  50. davey

    davey Rookie

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    Agreed. Michigan Ave is where Paris Hilton types go shopping....
     
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