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Hottest New Brunch in Chicago

Brunch is a booming business in Chicago, with new restaurants and menus emerging seemingly every week. Especially lately, the city has seen a surge in reputable brunches debut, each offering a stylistic and innovative approach to the weekend pastime. From internationally inspired dim sum to morning fare rooted in culinary traditions of France and Spain, […]

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May 24, 2018 11:51 PM
The Perfect Day of Eating in Chicago’s West Loop

In Chicago, dining and drinking is a full-fledged tourist attraction in and of itself,  Eating in Chicago’s West Loop Right up there with other world-famous institutions like the Bean, the Willis Tower and Navy Pier. Eating in Chicago’s West Loop Considering this, strategy is important when planning out a day of dining in the big city, as coordinated […]

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May 19, 2018 02:41 AM
Cinco de Mayo Guide, 2018 to Dining and Drinking

Cinco de Mayo: Where to dine and drink on Mexican cuisine and cocktails for May 5. One of the liveliest and most colorful food- and drink-filled holidays of the year is almost here, and all over Chicago, restaurants and bars are gearing up to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. From cocktail specials to full-blown parties, here’s where […]

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May 09, 2018 04:21 AM

Top Picnic Picks in Chicago

Few things exemplify summertime quite like a good picnic. Considering Chicago is chock full of picnic-friendly parks and restaurants and shops brimming with provisions, it’s never been easier to stock up and revel in the season in style. Here’s where you should go to pack a picnic this summer in Chicago: 




Cheeses, charcuterie, wine, bread and more. This can all be had at Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine, AKA your dream store for all things picnics. The market has locations in Lakeview, the Loop, Andersonville, and the Chicago French Market, ensuring customers are never far from their next picnic experience. Either assemble your own feast, order some sandwiches and sides, or compile a combo of both. They also have customized picnic packages, just to make things easy. 

If you’d like to give your picnics at Italian accent, why not check out Eataly and go on a bit of a shopping spree? The Italian market and restaurant complex contains a dizzying array of grab-and-go dishes and drinks spread over 63,000 square feet and two floors. The first level contains a grocery-style marketplace stocked with produce and even a vegetable butcher on-hand to chop and prep your veggies for you. Go around the corner to purchase chocolates and other sweets before heading upstairs to peruse cheeses, wines, beers, meats, sandwiches and lots more.

Located around the corner from Millennium Park, Grant Park, and Maggie Daley Park, Toni Patisserie & Cafe is ideally situated for picnicking. Just in time for the height of summer, the cafe once again released its “pique-nique” lunch and dinner boxes, each containing a sandwich, a salad, a side, and dessert. Entree options include ham and Gruyere sandwiches, apple and Brie sandwiches, roast beef, and tuna sandwiches, while salads include Nicoise and Mediterranean. For sides, there’s chips, fruit, or mixed greens, followed by a brownie, chocolate chip cookie, macarons, or shortbread cookies for dessert. Place an advance order by calling the cafe or emailing info@tonipatisserie.com. Boxed are a mere $14.95, and splits of sparkling wine, white, rosé, or red wine can be added for $15. 

Picnic baskets are back in action at The Florentine. The Loop restaurant is within walking distance to a variety of park-based activities, making it another apt spot to fuel up with al fresco provisions. There are two custom baskets available for order, including the Ciao Bello Date Basket ($65) brimming with grissini, assorted cheeses, marinated olives, prosciutto and melon, grilled vegetables, roasted chicken, assorted biscotti, and a bottle of red or white wine. Then there’s the Italian Summer in the City Basket ($40), rife with homemade chips with rosemary salt, chicken panini, spinach salad, and panna cotta, plus bottled water or Pellegrino sparkling juices. Baskets are available through Labor Day and both come with two cans of soda, two bottles of water, and all the essential napkins, flatware, plastic wine glasses, and plates. Call the restaurant at least three hours before pickup to place an order. 

- Matt Kirouac

Neighborhoods: River NorthLakeviewWest LoopLoopLoop

An authentic neighborhood cheese shop in the European tradition, Pastoral offers the highest quality artisanal domestic and international cheeses, freshly baked breads and selected wines. You'll also find a number...

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With two other Chicago locations, Pastoral is known for artisan cheeses, small-production wines and freshly baked breads, along with charcuterie, olives, tapenades, honeys, jams, olive oils and sweets. Gourmet salads,...

This restaurant from BLT Restaurant Group, inside the JW Marriott, offers a seasonal and substantial menu of Italian-American cuisine featuring top imported Italian pastas, cheeses, salts and meats.

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Toni Patisserie treads in sweet, sophisticated indulgence. This charming Loop cafe, an offshoot of a suburban cafe in Hinsdale, offers an array of freshly prepared sweets and savory items. Cakes,...

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