'Windy City' Cuisine: Tourist Treasure Trove

writestuffStarred Page By writestuff, 15th Mar 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>North America>United States>Illinois

Presents and Recommends 8 Combo-styled Tourist Attractions in Chicago

Chicago's Unique Tourist Attractions

Chicago is most definitely my kind of town and if you love food it could probably become your kind of town too. So, for an exceptional tourist destination consider combining Chicago’s great cultural/ historical sites with its quintessential culinary delights. Without so much as a boisterous belch, the Windy City’s has nibbled its way to the top of the gastronomical pyramid. Once known by the occupational moniker 'Hog Butcher for the World’, Chicago is now home to over 7,000 restaurants. This makes Chicago a very unique tourist attraction for those who want to explore new sights and food choices. Since Jean Point du Sable’s 1770 settlement, on the river’s bank in Eschecago aka ‘Wild Onion’ residents of the Windy City have embraced and enjoyed feasting upon diverse ethnic and multicultural cuisines.

The Critiera


Any food item made here or brought here and considered to have ‘taste bud appeal’ was a potential keeper. After generational comparisons, local haunts with their ‘house specials’ eventually became well-known outside their community for their edible treasures. Whether sweet, spicy, savory, comfy or vegan, we love it all. Hence, Chicago is now the go-to town to satiate an eclectic palate.

In the past, probably due to an historic association with our infamous stock yards and notorious beer barons most older Chicago diners disproportionately favored beer, beef and bacon. However, today’s dining styles are not chiefly based upon regional traditions, comfort foods and/or pop nostalgia. Our love of ‘taste bud appeal’ food and tendency towards gluttony has exponentially contributed to the ‘Windy City’ notoriety as a cross-cultural diner’s treasure trove.

Honoring the Past and Enjoying the Present


‘Chi-beria’ is a foodie’s heaven replete with old foodstuffs to haute cuisine and traditional as well as avant-garde libations. The new surge in the restaurant business is an example of Chicago's acceptance of cross-cultural cuisines. Windy City diners explore the new, honor past favorites and embrace fresh takes on traditional dishes.I love comfort food. I love spicy food. I love sweet and savory food dishes. I love beef. I love bacon. Long story short - I love tasty dishes.

The following are personal favorites worthy of recommendation: macaroni and cheese, Red Beans and rice, Collard Greens, deep-fried Catfish, creamed spinach, deep-dish pizza, dry-aged steaks, crispy bacon bowls, deep-fried turkey legs, Chicago Chicken and Waffles, Cajun Gumbo with Jalapeno Cornbread, Chicago-style Hot Dogs, Chicago Tips, Franco Mint Chocolate Ice Cream Pie, Mango-Peach Smoothie with tapioca pearl, peach cobbler, Key Lime Pie, BBQ Rib Tip & Hot Link Combo, Sausage, Peppers &Onions, Greek-style Lamb Chops, Mexican Corn Cobs, Mississippi Delta Tamales, Vietnamese grilled pork chops, Beef Pho’, double-batter dipped fried chicken, grilled biscuits, Sapphire 75, craft beers and rye whiskey.

Downtown Community Attractions


Plan to visit the Art Institute of Chicago and make it your 1st combo tourist experience. After viewing various exhibits dine in-house at Terzo Piano or Caffé Moderno. Other options I would suggest include either Berghoffs or Miller’s Pub*. These two popular eating establishments are within walking distance of AIC and are known for their ambience and scrumptious ‘house specials’. My preference is creamed spinach at Berghoffs and Key Lime Pie, Sausage, Peppers & Onions, Greek-style Lamb Chops, Fried Chicken, Seafood Combo Platter and Roast Prime Rib at my favorite Loop spot, Miller’s Pub which was formerly The Wabash Inn. I began eating at the Inn while in undergrad school and still enjoy the food, drink, hospitality and ambience some 30 years later. For sentimental reasons, I especially enjoy dining on the second floor level seated beneath the stock playbill photo of Marriott Lincolnshire’s production of “Big River”.

My 2nd duo attraction is another before and after tourist destination. Begin by enjoying a free concert or either the juxtaposition of nature and amazing sculptured art like Cloud Gate and Crown Fountain at Millennium Park and then culminate the day’s excursion with leisurely dining at Chicago’s most noted generational department store restaurant. For your consideration, I suggest sipping a Sapphire 75 before ordering an entrée salad, Peach Nest or Sirloin Steak and a dessert of Frango Mint Chocolate Ice Cream Pie at the historic Walnut Room.

51st, 53rd, 55th, 57th St./ Hyde Park

Hyde Park is an urban campus community. Historic Hyde Park is noted for its richly diverse cultural heritage and Quaker Parakeet nestings. Many independent thinkers have been residents of this beautiful lakefront community. Renown socio/political activist, economic theorist, medical scientist, as well as academic and musical visionaries have walked these tree-line streets. Some of our famous residents include 44th United States President Barack Obama, U.S. Senator Carol Moseley Braun, U. S. Senator Paul H. Douglas, Mayor Harold Washington, first ladies Mary Todd Lincoln and Michelle Obama, writer Saul Bellow, lawyer Clarence Darrow and Gospel Singer Mahalia Jackson to name a few. Recently there has been renewed interest in the neighborhood walking architecture tours. It showcases the Gothic-style quadrangles of the University of Chicago campus, Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie-style Robie House, and Mies van der Rohe's 1st high-rise. My 3rd choice is a trio attraction with four restaurant selections.The DuSable Museum of African American History has an informative, interactive exhibit that dramatises the struggles and accomplishments of Mayor Harold Washington. The Museum of Science and Industry still remains a wonderful experience for new and returning visitors. Within walking distance behind MSI is the serene and beautiful Osaka Japanese Garden which should not be missed. Popular area dining destinations in the immediate vicinity that I favor are Medici on 57th, Bonjour Bakery, La Petite Folie and Pho 55. The 4th and 5th destinations can be found on 51st & 53rd street. With deep pride, locals fondly consider this area as 'Presidential Territory'. Although you won't be able to take pictures of President Obama's house, couples often enjoy taking photos at Hyde Park's Historic Marker located at 53rd and Dorchester. Stroll east along this bustling business district and dine at the the upscale A10 or world-famous Valois' Restaurant. If you encounter a long line, it's due to tourist capturing each other while order an 'Obama Favorite' dish for either breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Still Trending

Some things are long gone and somethings will never be gone. Our infamous stockyards closed forty-four years ago. Much to the chagrin of Windy City political leaders ‘Chi-gangster’ sites still remain the most popular tourist attractions. My 6th suggested tourist attraction is a must see especially if you are intrigued by Prohibition Era events. Tommy Gun’s Garage offers an excellent entertaining dinner-theater venue. Since Chicago is also known as - ‘the toddlin’ town that Billy Sunday could not shut down’ my 7th recommendation would be a brewery tour which pairs well with dry-aged steaks and/or the Bacon Fest. If your preference is a stunning botanical setting you would definitely enjoy Beer Under Glass. For those inclined to a more festive mood, set your plans to visit during the time honored, Berghoff’s Oktoberfest. Naturally, I’ve saved the best for last. After thirty years, the iconic 'Taste of Chicago' still ranks high as the most culturally diverse culinary festival in North America. It is the premier all-time great sampling of Windy City Cuisine. Make this your top tourist destination. Plan to visit the Windy City July 9-13, 2014 and attend the 33rd annual ‘Taste’. It is supercalifragilisticexpiallodocious!! If by chance you cannot attend this years annual food fest, please schedule for things to do on your events calendar for next year.

CREDITS:
Photos by C.A. Lofton

Tags

Chicago, Comfort Food, Craft Beers, Cuisine, Culture, Ethnic Style, Fine Dining, Food, Food Habits, Foodstuffs, Fun Events, Multiculturalism, Prohibition Era, Restaurants And Bars, Taste Buds, Tourist Attraction, Tourist Destinations, Traditional Food, Windy City

Meet the author

author avatar writestuff
C.A. Lofton is a proponent of Positive Thinking. Her creative works: lyrics, short stories and poetry. B.A. in English and certificates in counseling and publishing. Website: www.calofton.com

Share this page

moderator Mark Gordon Brown moderated this page.
If you have any complaints about this content, please let us know

Comments

author avatar Steve Kinsman
20th Mar 2014 (#)

Great town, Chicago. Lived there many years ago in the late sixties. Beats New York hands down. Awesome article writestuff.

Reply to this comment

author avatar writestuff
20th Mar 2014 (#)

Thanks for the read & supportive comment. A lot has changed since the 60's especially the weather. The weather is worst - it's really a bone-chiller in 'Chi-beria' these days.

Reply to this comment

author avatar madugundurukmini
20th Mar 2014 (#)

Chicago Tourist Attractions

Reply to this comment

author avatar writestuff
20th Mar 2014 (#)

Thanks for your read and comment.

Reply to this comment

author avatar writestuff
20th Mar 2014 (#)

Mark,
Thanks for the star,moderation and instructive comment.

Reply to this comment

author avatar madugundurukmini
23rd Mar 2014 (#)

tourist

Reply to this comment

author avatar n.c.radomes
5th Apr 2014 (#)

This piece is truly a perfect representative of your by-line writestuff, who writes perfectly well. Keep up!

Reply to this comment

author avatar writestuff
5th Apr 2014 (#)

Thanks for your read and most kind and encouraging comment.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Kingwell
18th Apr 2014 (#)

Great article. I have ever been to Chicago but once had a friend who led there.

Reply to this comment

author avatar writestuff
10th Aug 2014 (#)

Thanks for your read and much thanks for taking the time to comment.

Reply to this comment

author avatar snerfu
15th Jun 2014 (#)

I like your seventh attraction, steaks and ale. Not that the ones on top are not attractive to me. Look forward to more articles like this.

Reply to this comment

author avatar writestuff
10th Aug 2014 (#)

Thanks for you reading, comment and support. Health permitting I'll be up about and writing again soon.

Reply to this comment

Add a comment
Username
Can't login?
Password