Let's say you only have one day downtown and you're the hungry sort (it takes one to know one). I know this seems like an impossible predicament but hold fast! As it happens, you can take a tour of a few of Chicago's best eateries and you don't need more than two to three square city blocks to do it. Head to the corner of Randolph and Green Streets and get ready to take in the delights.
A star is born and it's serving Stumptown Coffee. Little Goat is Chef Stephanie Izard's new diner concept and while you can order a few classics, "basic" is decidedly not on the menu. Go early to avoid the weekend crowds or stick to the coffee shop and bakery for a Hair Bender and a baguette to-go.
If you love a cook (and yes, you count), you cannot miss PQM. Chef Paul Kahan has this deli and pantry stocked with the best of the best. Read: Good enough to check your luggage for. My favorites for locals include Avec's famous chorizo-stuffed dates with red pepper sauce and the house pimiento cheese. My favorites for visitors include anything not in a refrigerator case. Specifically the salt and olive oil selection and the Pok Pok Drinking Vinegar (it makes an excellent shrub if you're a cocktail person).
My motley crew stumbled onto this location entirely by accident while waiting for PQM to open up. I've never been so grateful for a wandering two-year-old. This doughnut shop is superb. Take it from someone who knows and... ask your friendly doughnut slinger. They are a wealth of perfectly iced information. I'd tell you what I had but I'm pretty sure my eyes glossed over and the actual order was "one of everything, please."
You're going to want a cup of joe to go with that jelly doughnut (just a guess). Look no further than La Columbe. Native to the city of brotherly love, this Chicagoan wants to write Philadelphia a thank you note. The coffee is strong and the baristas are sweethearts.
A friendly staff and a great burger - there are days when I very simply don't need any more than that and already Grange is a winner. Pair those with a cozy interior and a great brunch menu and I'm about to be a regular.
From here you can take an espresso-powered walk through Union Park, gallery hop around the West Loop, or you can keep going. These are all excellent options and, if you have the strength to power through, you could be richly rewarded by the following:
A shaved vegetable salad, a jewel-toned mountain studded with blue cheese and apples.
Primi piatti of fresh chestnut agnolotti (or any number of other amazing fresh pastas).
Secondi of wood-fired lamb chops in a red wine reduction.
Dessert. Just pick one. You won't be disappointed and you can eat it at the bar.
A celebratory glass to toast your successful day. If weather allows, the RM patio is pure magic.
RELATED: The Good Life: RM Champagne Salon
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