Gwynnie snuck into Chicago under the radar and took the city by storm. According to her weekly newsletter, she came to “visit her bff from high school.” Here’s a recap of her fav places straight from the horse’s mouth.
The absolute highlight of my trip was eating at Schwa. Chef Michael Carlson and his brother Seth who run it are so punk rock that they don’t even answer the phone, which makes getting a table difficult, yet weirdly fascinating. From the outside, Schwa looks like it has been condemned. Inside, the dining room is small and spare yet cozy. The formality of the service and menu (no orders taken until the whole party arrives, and the elaborate tasting menu) is juxtaposed by all the hot waiters in skater clothes and the blaring hip hop/heavy metal. The food is sublime. We did the 9 course tasting menu, which ranged from a very inventive bourbon Manhattan aperitif to the most unbelievable baked potato soup with crispy potato skin on the side (my favorite) with scallion purée and cheddar cheese. It’s classic American comfort food by way of Ferran Adria/Banksy/Tony Hawk. It’s off the hook.
1466 N. Ashland Ave. 773.252.1466. http://schwarestaurant.com/
Publican was another high point for me. It’s my ideal kind of menu, with oysters, roast chicken, fries, and lots of delicious sides. The room is big and light and open and our booth had little saloon style swinging doors on it for privacy. A great meal.
837 W. Fulton Market. 312.733.9555. http://thepublicanrestaurant.com/
I stayed at the newly opened Elysian hotel and I loved it. I love a new hotel and they have really done it right. I loved its pared down aesthetic and its many shades of grey. It was chic and comfortable, and I also loved being in the heart of everything but not right on Michigan Avenue. The restaurant was delicious and the spa was lovely—I treated myself to a great massage before an overnight flight. Great service—elegant yet cool. I will definitely be back. The hotel has two restaurants and I stopped at Balsan for some great American bistro-style food, with oysters on the menu and flatbreads made in a wood burning stove.
11 East Walton. 312.646.1300. http://www.elysianhotels.com/
For more favs, check out GOOP.