A Taste of Chicago’s Finest

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Seeking a culinary adventure in the windy city?

Imagine this.

You are sitting across from your best travel pal in the comfort of a well-cushioned armchair enjoying the ambiance of Lou Malnati’s, home of the best Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. Your local culinary guide arrives in a room of recently acquainted strangers and makes his introductions. With that, your first taste of the windy city is about to begin. The famous deep-dish pizza lives up to its name and your senses are alert, ready for the next taste of Chicago. You make your way along the busy summer streets of the Gold Coast, anticipating your next stop – the Tea House. The aroma of loose-leaf teas floats past as you enter into the tea haven. A carefully prepared organic iced tea gives you the refreshing boost you need to propel you onto the next stop. Along the way your guide explains the rich culture of the area, stopping to point out the building that doubled as the restaurant Chez Quis from the famous film “Ferris Buellers Day Off”. Although the external appearance of the building has been altered since debuting in the popular 90’s film, fans will surely be in awe.

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Stop. Take it all in.

You continue the walking tour into Old Town Chicago, rich with the cities history. Next stop – Kamechachi. Here you will sample some of the best Japanese culinary the city has to offer. After an arrangement of Japanese favorites, the final taste of sake will be sure to cleanse your palate before you move on to The Fudge Pot across the street, where you will sample sweet treats – specifically their ever famous homemade toffees.

From the steps of the Fudge Pot you will be moments away from entering into the wonders of Old Town Oil. You feel as though you have stepped into the Mediterranean, surrounded by friendly staff and countless infused specialty balsamic vinegars and extra virgin olive oils. Knowing that you are immersed in quality imports from all over the world, it is impossible to resist buying at least one flavor to take home as a souvenir. Perhaps you admire the blackberry ginger balsamic or you crave the lingering flavor of the pear white balsamic vinegar – your options seem endless. You depart from Old Town Oil buzzing about the essence of your favorite oils and vinegars, making your way down the street to The Spice House.

Established in 1957, The Spice House is renowned for its high quality, hand selected spices and herbs. Your senses are awake the moment you walk in the doors and soon you are swimming in an ocean of seasoned aromas. You are lead through the bustling shop to the exclusive back patio, where a spice merchant awaits you. Here you learn lively stories of the spices, their origins, their properties and their uses. Similar to Old Town Oil, you cannot justify leaving this hidden gem without making a small (or large) purchase to take home and share with friends.

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The Last Leg.

You continue to venture through the historic streets of Old Town, stopping at Second City to learn a brief history of the comedy club that propelled some of the biggest names in comedy today, including Steve Carell. Bill Murray and Mike Myers. Walking among newly found friends, you find yourself at ease as you wander towards the final stop, Delightful Pastries. From their variety of signature cakes to mini pastries and gluten-free delights, you can’t help but feel at home when you walk through the door. This sweet reminder leaves you feeling satisfied and ready to take on your next adventure, whatever that may be. With that, your tour guide offers his thanks and bids his goodbyes, leaving you to absorb the culinary and historical knowledge he has provided throughout the tour.

Cue the next adventure.

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Want to learn more about the culinary wizards of Chicago and what they are up to? Check out this hotlist and be sure to keep an eye out for Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard’s newest restaurant opening soon!

Food on the fly? Green City Market has just opened another site at Soho House Chicago, located at 113-125 North Green Street. Supporting small family farms, watch for these marketplaces that connect farmers and local producers directly to chefs, restaurateurs, and the greater Chicago community.

Snap Kitchen offers healthy grab and go pre-portioned meals prepared from scratch daily using organic and locally-sourced ingredients whenever possible. Try the grass-fed bison quinoa hash or a chia cashew milkshake. This is an Austin Texas chain that is planting a significant Chicagoland footprint with more locations planned.

And if you are looking for a spot to stay. In Spring 2016, Conrad Hotels & Resorts is set to open a new hotel in the Windy City at the corner of Michigan Ave. and Erie St.  Designed by Pierre-Yves Rochon, the 20-story Conrad Chicago will have 287 rooms, more than 10,500 square feet of meeting and event space, and new places to eat. Pierre-Yves Rochon also worked on the Chicago Water Tower.

Newly opened hotels in Chicago include the Hyatt Place Chicago/Midway Airport, just two blocks from Midway International Airport in Bedford Park, just 13 miles from downtown Chicago.

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