Iconic Foods of Chicago Food Tour
Devour all five of the iconic “Chicago-style” dishes from the eateries that perfected them on our most popular downtown tour.Get Tickets
Need to getaway, but want food to be the focus? Here our some of our favorite food focused getaways in the US that are perfect for Memorial Day weekend. Some might be closer than others, but they are all some of our favorite food cities in the United States! Use these getaways for Memorial Day weekend to clear your head and reset for the summer ahead.
Three Oaks Michigan / New Buffalo
We are going to start with the most unexpected of the short list. Just a 90-minute drive from Chicago, Michigan’s Harbor Country is fast becoming a culinary vacation destination. Located a hop over the Illinois/Indiana border on Lake Michigan, the area has classic restaurants and delis that have been around for decades paired with new, very cool craft beer desinations, doughnut shops, wineries, creative eats and more, which combine to make the area so much more than antique shopping and sandy beaches. Which we would like to note are pretty sweet draws to the area as well! Just be sure you set your watch as you could get confused as to whether you are on Michigan time or Chicago time!
Dine: The Stray Dog
Open year-round, seven days a week, this sweet joint has a great atmosphere, delicious food, an outstanding rooftop deck, and some of the best bloody mary’s in the area. You interested yet? While the menu is pretty typical bar food, they do it well. From juicy burgers, to ribs and salads they have a nice variety. The downstairs is kid friendly while the rooftop bar and deck is 21+ which is a nice draw if you’ve secured a babysitter for the weekend! Perfect couples getaway. Plus, the big draw here is the great view of the lake – perfect for dinner and drinks as sunset. How can you beat that?
Drink: Journeyman Distillery
Beat the crowds and get to Journeyman Distillery early to score a seat at the bar (enjoy some live music if available or get a nice buzz and take a walk through the quaint shops of Three Oaks). The staff is knowledgeable and will give you great recommendations on how to drink its collection of spirits (which are fully organic and kosher by the way) or guide you to the perfect tasting flight for you. If cocktails are your poison, the Lavender Gimlet, made with lavender-infused Bilberry Black Hearts Gin, is sweet-and-sour gimlet perfection, and all of the classics—specifically the old fashioned—are not to be missed. They make one of the best old fashioneds our staff has ever had (and believe me, we are well seasoned in this area). The whiskey was the beginning of Journeyman, but the newest addition is Staymaker, their in-house restaurant that partners with local farmers, butchers and craftsmen. Try the Crisp Pork Belly shared plate, the self-named Journeyman Detroit Style Pizza (square and has a thick deep-dish style crust) and their bread pudding for dessert. You will be rolling home! Reservations can be made in advance online for tours of the distillery on Saturdays, and include a tasting at the end.
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The fresh seafood in Seattle is an obvious reason the city has great food. Even more integral is the fact they have a food focused market at the center of the city. If you haven’t been, you can easily create a vacation that starts at Seattle’s historic Pike Place Market and expand from there.
We recommend hanging with a food expert from our friends at Savor Seattle for a quick and delicious exploration of Pike Place Market. Expand to the rest of the city from there.
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Dine: Serious Pie or Meet At The Moon
Want pizza? It’s clearly not Chicago-style, however Serious Pie makes some of the most delicious pies of both the pizza and dessert variety. The mushroom and truffle cheese pizza is out of this world – seriously! No surprise that this is one of famed chef/restauranteur Tom Douglas’ restaurants. Venture off-the-beaten path to the other side of Seattle to a neighborhood called Madrona. You’re rewarded with less crowds but delicious food and you can Meet At The Moon for some delicious New American fare in a rustic setting.
Drink: Rachel’s Ginger Beer
Opened their flagship store in Seattle’s historic pike place market in the summer of 2013. Stop in one of their locations and have a moscow mule made with your favorite ginger beer flavor, enjoy an rgb ice cream float, or pick up a growler from their selection of seasonal flavors. We love the White Peach RGB – it actually tastes like real white peaches and is bright and just perfectly sweet enough, this brew would pair well with gin so perhaps you can mix up your own version of the “Porch Swing.”
* 1.5oz gin
* .5oz Aperol
* 4-5oz rgb
* 1 large wedge lime
You haven’t lived until you’ve eaten a fresh lobster on the water at Portland Lobster Company or had fresh oysters at Jay’s Oyster Bar while listening to the water softly lapping and the hurried hustle of waiters plying endless customers with heaping portions of clam chowder, Oysters Rockefeller and other heavenly seafood delights.
Dine: NOSH Kitchen Bar
NOSH Kitchen Bar has created an urban style eatery with a casual, neighborhood environment where you can eat in, take out, enjoy drinks and just NOSH while enjoying our outdoor dining. They are known for their burgers, sandwiches and get this: bacon-dusted fries. Bacon. Dusted. Fries. Please, leave the scale at home and indulge yourself. In addition to the food, there is a neat atmosphere that has a skater boy feel to it. Good food with an open kitchen. I could see it being a pretty lively place all year round and a fun place to hang at night. Get a ‘gansett, chill and nosh on a sandwich.
Drink: Gritty McDuff’s Brewing Company
Go to Gritty McDuff’s Brewing Company. It’s the first brew pub in Portland and has been around a long time. If I were to live in Portland (which is an honest possibility) I would be a regular. Not only because the atmosphere is inviting no matter your mood, as they have a large upstairs bar with more of a party feel, a downstairs bar that’s a little more quaint or more restaurant style areas if you have a large group; but also because you get to have your own mug with a membership number saved for you at the bar.
Ohhh, home sweet home Chicago – where to start? We firmly believe that Chicago is the best all around food city in the world. This makes a short blurb tough, but we’ll give it a go. Number one – must eat pizza. I don’t care if it’s deep dish or thin crust, just do it. Chicagoan’s know how to do pizza, all sorts. For classic deep dish, visit the always delicious Lou Malnati’s. Craving thin crust or something funky? Try Happy Camper for a fun twist on pizza. Even more creative is the Oven Grinder where you can get a pizza pot pie of sorts. It’s as amazing as it sounds and a foodies getaway dream.
Dine: Mindy’s HotChocolate
Sweets and brunch – check out Mindy’s HotChocolate, the James Beard Award Winner has everything you need. Her rotating menu keeps in mind seasonality, freshness and supports local and always shows her creativity and understanding of flavors. Make sure you have a dessert or take some Iced/Hot Chocolate to go! Which, as a side note, you get on our 3-1-Chew Food Tour.
Dine: Au Cheval
As their website says, this modern upscale “diner” has a passion for eggs. While every dish is likely to be a favorite upon first taste, the cheeseburger á cheval brings locals back time and time again and visitors will happily wait in line to grab one of these savory burgers.
Drink: Chicago Distilling Company
Chicago Distilling Company was founded in 2010 and is family-owned and operated by the DiPrizio family. They distill, craft, bottle and package everything by hand in their full-service Logan Square distillery where you can take some pretty cool tours. The entire staff is great and seem to interact as family. Between this welcoming atmosphere and the unique and delicious cocktails, this is a place to enjoy a cold beverage. As one of the owners, Jay has stated: “Noah, Chicago Distilling Company’s Beverage Director is the genius making the cocktails and creating…all kinds of crazy shit.” Go on, take a tour and stay a while. You might get lucky enough to find Noah at the bar, doing his thing and creating a crazy, one of a kind cocktail just for you! Try the Tonic Classic Highball Cocktail with the Finn’s Gin and Jack Rudy Tonic. Perfectly refreshing.
Want a taste of everything? We recommend no matter what city you visit, try out a food tour to learn about the area, try a variety of authentic foods, and get the best of all the city’s highlights.
If you’re adventuring in Chicago or looking for a gift this May – try a Chicago Food Planet Tour or buy a gift certificate.
An eclectic city, constantly growing its food scene and its populous is one of the best places in the US to go for BBQ, among other delights.
Dine: Franklin Barbecue
Let’s start with BBQ recommendations, shall we?
Franklin Barbecue is the most famous in the area and deservedly so. The brisket will melt in your mouth, and while there are many other delicious meats you will want to buy repeat after me: I must get at least 1 pound of brisket. The brisket is the foundation on which Frankline Barbecue was built, this brisket is seasoned and barbecued by Aaron Franklin, the chief pitmaster and an owner. As with most of the “best” things in life, time is a factor here. Franklin Barbecue (as with most BBQ restaurants in Austin) is only open for lunch and until they run out of the ‘cue. This means getting there early and waiting in line, a long line at that. You should expect to wait at least 2 hours in line. It’s definitely worth it to do so once in your life, but more often than that – it’s hard to say.
Dine: La Barbecue
As the line at Franklin will the longest in town, try one of our other favorites: La Barbecue. Again, get the essential brisket, splurge on the pork ribs or sausage and stay for the sides (and occasionally some free beer). A permanently affixed trailer on the East Side, this spot has character. While you wait in line (yes, another line) you can enjoy the company of those around you as you enjoy the shade of the old trees around you and sometimes live music. Perhaps it’s also the humble, friendly nature of the 22-year old pitmaster, Dylan Taylor that also makes this one of our favorite spots in the city. It could also be the chipotle spice in their house-made sausage and coleslaw or the dash or granulated garlic they add to the traditional salt and pepper rub. No matter what it is, it’s a place you should check out. Just be sure to get there early again, otherwise you might wait in line only to have them run out of meat before you get to the counter. Talk about having a bad day!
Drink: Adelbert’s Brewery
After all this waiting in the hot heat of Austin, you’re bound to get thirsty. Check out Adelbert’s Brewery. Here they are “committed to brewing Belgian-style, bottle-conditioned ales for people to seek, savor, and share with others.” They have enough of a selection that you can have an entire group appeased, a food truck serving up daily specials to pair with your pint and a friendly atmosphere designed for mingling and enjoying the company of friends and strangers. Check it out.
Dine: Torchy’s Tacos
As many establishments do, this started as a trailer in South Austin and is now an institution and a “bona fide institution” with multiple locations throughout Austin. The tacos are addictive and all unique. The filings range from fried avocado to jerk chicken and beef brisket. We love that they incorporate Austin’s BBQ scene into their tacos. Try “The Democrat” full of shredded beef barbacoa, fresh avocado, quest fresco cilantro, onions, tomatillo salsa on a fresh corn tortilla or “The Trailer Park” which includes fried chicken, green chiles, lettuce, pico de gallo and cheese on a flour tortilla. Do yourself a favor and “Get It Trashy” – take off the lettuce and add queso. The house-made queso is to die for. Trust. PS: don’t miss their breakfast tacos. Perfect for when you’ve been enjoying the plethora of live music and drink venues throughout the city too much and need a little something to take that morning edge off. You’ll be craving these tacos as soon as your feet are outside Austin city limits.
Wherever you decide to spend your time this Memorial Day, we hope that you enjoy your time, savor the company of those you are with and always remember why we celebrate the day. Please take a moment to remember all the brave who made the ultimate sacrifice for the United States while serving in the armed forces.
And as always; stay hungry friends!
Satisfy your sweet tooth with decadent desserts in Chicago's West Loop neighborhood
Devour all five of the iconic “Chicago-style” dishes from the eateries that perfected them on our most popular downtown tour.
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