Perhaps you've never been to the River North area of Chicago. Some call it RiNo (pronounced like the sizable animal) and this linguistic reduction is just another way to move more quickly to a description of the area's steakhouses, lounges and other pastimes.
If you've never been, you might want to plan for a night over at the Hotel Palomar. Of course, if you have frequented the area before this is also the perfect time to spend the night, slow things down and enjoy all they have to offer.
Inspired by the White City, Fair Memories Surround You
Ah, the World's Fair of 1893. How it changed Chicago forever. It is the kernel, the beginning, the ur-experience that informs the design of the Hotel Palomar as it cast about for an aesthetic vision to inform the rooms, the hallways, the elevators, the lobby and other public areas. Interior designer Orlando Diaz-Azcuy drew on this legacy to create over 250 guest rooms and suites that all partake of this unified vision that draws on dark reds and beneficent blues throughout the various treatments.
As with all the hotels under the Kimpton banner, visitors will find the usual touches that make such a stay quite inviting. There's a complimentary wine hour every night, complimentary Wi-Fi for Kimpton Karma Rewards members, a range of in-room spa services for an additional charge, a fitness center, and a most excellent pool on the 17th floor with views of nearby skyscrapers and the Chicago River.
And up to your room, you'll find a rather upwardly mobile level of amenities, as one can lounge about in a throwback animal print robe reminiscent of Bettie Page's style, look over the gourmet treats in the honor bars or just throw yourself into an easy chair. You can also opt for a suite that includes a spar bath which is a perfect way to reflect on the day or evening, as the case may be.
Wrapped up in Sable
Just a short elevator ride down from your room is perhaps what might be your only stop at the evening. And why not? This novel gastro-bar and kitchen, Sable Kitchen & Bar, is under the careful direction of Chef Heather Terhune and she works closely with her staff to create a brocade of fish, meats, and amuse bouches that are very much in demand.
If you're coming down by yourself, you might want to post up at the bar and start with one of their signature cocktails. I'll cast my vote with the Kentucky Grazer (with a fine base of Buffalo Trace) or the buttoned-up-then-down styles of The Devil in Denim, which brings together gin, maple, Benedictine, lemon, and soda.
After such a beverage or two, make your way on over to their dinner offerings. My personal favorite as a nod to the Badger State are the Wisconsin fried cheese curds. Accompanied by a bit of spicy ketchup glaze they are perfect to share with a companion or maybe a new friend. Moving on, I can also vouch for the light touch of the deviled eggs (truffle oil is what elevates these, above) and the short rib sliders. For your main, I'd try the buttermilk fried chicken & waffles (below) or the shrimp and roasted pumpkin curry. The final touch simply must be the dark chocolate soufflé cake. And when you rise in the morning, you can make your way back down for brunch on weekends or their breakfast buffet during the week.
Photos: Hotel Palomar; Sable Kitchen & Bar