Chicago's culinary scene continues to lead the pack in innovations and creativity. These current trends are definite "must tries" for any foodie.
Fresh ingredients are always in high demand, and these restaurants are
getting as close to the source as possible by starting their own gardens packed
full of veggies and herbs to bring the freshest ingredients to their kitchens
and your plate.
- Lockwood Restaurant & Bar's executive
chef Joseph Rose offers a unique farm-to-table, seasonally influenced menu
inspired by the restaurant's rooftop garden and apiary. Try the Chef's Daily
Garden eggs breakfast (a mix of the freshest seasonal vegetables from the
garden sautéed with eggs) or the farm-raised pork entrée complimented with
celery root puree, sweet potato and cabbage.
Homestead is literally a farm-to-table
restaurant that sits above the restaurant Root (same owners). The outdoor dining
and patio area allows guests to be surrounded by the growing veggies and herbs,
twinkling lights and the great views of Chicago Ave. Artisanal cocktails (the
No. 6 showcases fresh blackberries, mint and lemon juice with cognac) and light
appetizers like braised candy-striped beets with mint and house-made yogurt
cheese warm the palate for their heartier dishes like the beer-braised beef
with fennel and kale. Be sure to plan accordingly — Homestead is only open from
early summer through October.
Markethouse Restaurant's executive chef Scott Walton is a
Chicagoland native who incorporates seasonal root vegetables and lettuces from
the rooftop garden into the menu including items like heirloom
squash risotto with mushrooms, potpie with asparagus, potato, celery root and
artichoke, and side dishes of Yukon Gold potatoes and charred Brussels
Restaurants around Chicago are eliminating some beverage-related
dilemmas by mixing their favorite beers with some hard liquor to get the
ultimate beer cocktails.
- Fontera Grill's signature After the Gold Rush cocktail
is a strong mix of Riverboat rye whiskey, Rocky's Revenge Beer (from Tyranena Brewing Company in Lake Mills, WI) and a hint of maple
& Eagle prides themselves on their
researched and personally tested approach to cocktails and unusual spirits. Indulge
in the Bitter Bourbon Buck, a mix of Buffalo Trace whiskey and Fernet Branca (a
bitter, aromatic spirit) with citrus and ginger beer.
has one of the larger beer cocktail menus in the city. Sweeten up the night
with the Georgia Peach (Peche Lambic beer, peach-mango rum, citrus and more),
head to warmer climates with the Lager-Rita (tequila, blood-orange liqueur and
homemade margarita mix), or try the Hoe-Moba (Hoegaarden Belgian white beer
with orange juice).
Gluten-free living has moved beyond the fad stage, and these sensational
restaurants haven't skimped on flavor. These delicious dishes have gone beyond
satisfying dietary needs to top-of-the-menu worthiness — even for gluten
Senza, located in the
Lakeview neighborhood, focuses an entire menu on gluten-free items made with
local ingredients. Dishes are prepared with modern and classic techniques, and
the homemade baked goods are prepared with love by the owner Susan McMillan. Be
sure one of your four courses includes the scallops and foie gras or the white-chocolate
Italian and gluten-free are possible in a meal with VINCI's rice ziti pasta adorned with a hearty
veal ragu. Enjoy the steamed mussels
appetizer, roasted duck entrée with mushrooms and truffle oil, or marinated hen
with roasted potatoes.
- Wildfire Chicago is a steakhouse
specializing in 1940s supper club fare with hearty steaks, wood-roasted seafood
and a complete gluten-free menu that boasts pizzas made with Domata Living gluten-free
flour, grilled steak and blue cheese salads, shrimp penne brown rice pasta with
fire-roasted tomatoes drizzled with garlic broth, and of course, steaks.
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photo credit 1 - Markethouse dish
photo credit 2 - Embeya cocktails
photo credit 3 - VINCI dish