Chicago: Dining Options

I was in Chicago for a business trip so my dining experience was mostly of the food provided during our conference, but I did have a good dining experience in Chicago because each time we were out, our host and my friend made sure that I tried things that were not offered in my home country, or were popular in the windy city.

Sprinkles Cupcake, Ice Cream and Cookies
First off my list is Sprinkles.  Yup, we do have cupcakes in the Philippines, but this was most interesting because of its Cupcake ATM, which dispenses freshly baked cupcakes and cookies 24/7.

Our host’s daughter demonstrated how the ATM works, and it was a marvel to watch her order being processed.  When the boxed cupcake was dispensed, my co-delegates and I laughed at how prior to seeing how it worked, we all thought the cupcake may be flat to fit through the slot, or it’s all smashed!  Ha!

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My verdict:   I ordered Vanilla and here’s how its website described it:  “Purists will delight in Sprinkles Vanilla cupcakes, though our vanilla cake is anything but simple. A favorite of the bakery staff, this soft, delicate cake is perfumed by the sweet flavor of Nielsen Massey Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla for an effect that is simply… heaven.”  Yup, it is one very yummy cupcake, but a little too sweet for me.

Sprinkles in Chicago is located in 50 East Walton Street.

Fogo de Chão
This is one authentic Brazilian steakhouse and I must say this was my best dining experience in Chicago.  Everything was such a gustatory delight!

Here’s the fun part:

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Each diner is given this round card and our host told us that if the green side is up, it means the diner is ready for the restaurant’s gaucho chefs to begin tableside service.  Sixteen (16) cuts of delectable fire roasted meats will then be brought to the table, sliced and served by the chefs.  When satisfied with the serving, the diner has to flip the disc to the red side until s/he’s ready for more offerings.  Cool, huh.

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I must say their meats are succulent and my favorites were Picanha (Top Sirloin), Filet Mignon, and Beef Ancho (Rib Eye).  My, they’re simply mouth-watering that I’m wishing I were in Fogo de Chão as I write this piece.

Here’s another set of photo from my memorable meal.

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There’s my salad plate with cheeses, bacon, macaroni, and whatnot.  Our host cautioned us to go easy on the salads and bread because we were yet to be served meat, thus my salad plate looked bare.

There’s the bread too, which was the best bread I have ever had.  It was soft, buttery, and oh so yummy.  We liked it so much we asked for more and they were nice enough to refill it not once but twice!

They gave complimentary chocolate bars too (the red ones) and for dessert, we had their Fogo de Chão Signature Papaya Cream, which was their most requested dessert.  Heavenly!

Fogo de Chão in Chicago is at 661 N LaSalle Street.

Citè
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Located at the top of Lake Point Tower, which is the only skyscraper in downtown Chicago east of Lake Shore Drive, Citè is known more for its views than its food.

It was rainy when we visited the place and at some point, there were flashes of lightning so our view of Chicago skyline was quite a sight to behold.  Too bad I wasn’t able to capture it as we were too engrossed at chatting with each other.

Here’s my order, which was a set meal (Chef’s Tasting Menu).  Pardon the photo quality since I took this using my mobile and the lighting at the restaurant was a little dark.

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Prawns Dejonghe was my appetizer, while my soup was Lobster Bisque.  For salad, I had Heirloom Tomato Salad and for my entrée, I had Filet Mignon.  Dessert was Crème Brulee.  My verdict?  It was a good meal, though the food was not that impressive.  Service though was excellent.

Visit Citè at the 70th Floor of Lake Point Tower, 505 North Lakeshore Drive, Chicago IL.  Visit their official website for more information.

Emperor’s Restaurant

Whenever I am in a Chinese restaurant, I always order Sweet and Sour Pork.  My friend, meanwhile, ordered battered deep-fried oyster.

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I loved everything!  The Sweet and Sour Pork was just the way I liked it and the oysters were very tasty.  And the serving was so generous we were not able to finish everything and were so full we did not order dessert, but they did serve us fortune cookies at the end of our meal.

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I loved what my fortune cookie said.  I just hope (and will work hard for) it to come true.

Emperor’s Choice is in 2238 S Wentworth Avenue, Chicago.

Bubble Tea
These were very popular in Chinatown.  Though still full from our lunch, my friend who rarely visits Chinatown, asked that we try this out since she heard that they’re a must-try.

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I was disappointed though, since my Watermelon Smoothie was too sweet.

Wow Bao

My friend introduced me to this when we went shopping at Water Tower Place.  Wow Bao offers bao and other authentic Asian dishes with a modern flair.  As its name implies, Bao is their most popular item in their menu.  It is Chinese for bun and Wow Bao offers it in interesting flavours like Teriyaki Chicken, Spicy Kung Pao Chicken, Thai Curry Chicken, Spicy Mongolian Beef, and Barbebue Pork.  They also have sweet-flavored ones like Coconut Custard and Chocolate.

This must be a pretty popular dining option in Chicago because people were lining up to get their fill.  I ordered Teriyaki Chicken and it was good.  Tastes so much like our local siopao.  The bun was soft and the filling was flavorful.

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For more information, visit www.wowbao.com.

Café Galileo’s by Food for Thought
This is located inside Adler Planetarium and serves sandwiches, salads, soups, beverages, and desserts.

My fresh roasted chicken sandwich came with large Pepsi and a pack of potato chips.  I did not like my sandwich because the bread was too thick, with too little meat and veggies.   It was also dry and lacked dressing.

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Despite my disappointing lunch, I enjoyed my meal because I was able to get a respite from a whole morning of walking at Adler.  More importantly, the views at their balcony were stunning!

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See how the view of Chicagos’ skyline from Cafe Galileo’s extends from Shedd Aquarium to Navy Pier?

And thus concludes my dining experience in the windy city.  Too bad I was not able to document my experience with their famous Chicago-style pizza as we were so hungry we dug in before I got to take photos.  Compared to New York’s, Chicago’s is known as deep-dish pizza with a crust that can reach 3 inches.  Yummy, especially since it’s topped with large amounts of cheese!

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