Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Chicago Takeover: The Food- Part One

Even with combining some of our Chicago meals, it's still going to take multiple blog posts. But, hang in there, because we had some good eats while in the windy city.

Day One of the conference (Night at the Expo) went much longer than we had expected. Suddenly, it was around 9:30PM (10:30 Cleveland-time), and we hadn't had dinner yet. There was no time to consult the list of suggested restaurants from you all, and we needed something quick and within walking distance of the Sheraton. Lucky for us, the concierge seemed to not only be good at his job, but also a foodie. We asked for "good food, and preferably craft beer" within walking distance, and he immediately sent us to Howells & Hood on Michigan Avenue.
This place is huge, and the patio was still hopping for a late Thursday night. We sat in a comfortable cabana-like booth, with great views of the city buildings. They boast 114 unique beers, and offer a sample or full pour of their drafts. We were both in the mood for something light to eat, since we'd be headed to bed shortly. The Fish Tacos with chili crusted Sitka Sound halibut, chipotle citrus cabbage, micro cilantro,  jalapeño puree, smoked bacon pinto beans, and house made white corn tortillas (three for $15 with a side of beans) sounded good to both of us.
These may be some of the best fish tacos that I've ever had. The chili-crusted fish, combined with a drizzle of the jalapeño puree packed quite a punch of flavor.

The craft beer list did not disappoint, the menu was lengthy without being overwhelming, and the space was comfortable, fun, and vibrant. For a casual bite to eat, I'd go back there.

The next day also brought us a late start for our dinner plans. Back to the concierge! Unfortunately, our buddy wasn't there, and we had a very unhelpful woman that pointed us to a few places on her pre-printed map. Luckily, one sounded good to us---Emilio's Tapas. Also within walking distance from the hotel at their East Ohio Street location.

We started off with a round of Sangria.
The menu is broken into several different categories of small plates, and the intention is for you to build a meal with a couple of dishes. I opted for the Queso De Cabra Al Horno with goat cheese baked in‏ tomato sauce with olives and served with garlic bread ($8.50).
And a beef tenderloin special with forbidden rice in a sherry sauce.
Both dishes were good (but not great), and I enjoyed the meal, but I wouldn't be in a rush to go back. I think there is much better food in Chicago, and we happened to end up with a terrible server (Jose R.) that absolutely ruined some of the experience for us. It's always fun to mix and match small plates, and the sangria hit the spot. But, this was probably my least favorite meal in Chicago.

Next Chicago food post: The Deep Dish Pizza!!!!

Howells & Hood
435 North Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611

Emilio's Tapas Restaurants
215 East Ohio Street
Chicago, IL 60611