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Best burgers: Food blogger Kit Graham’s favorite spots for a fantastic burger in Chicago

Au Cheval photo by Kevin J. Miyazaki/PLATE

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By Kit Graham

Au Cheval

Eating at Au Cheval is all about luck and timing. The burger is out of this world amazing, but you need to either get there 30 minutes before they open, go late night on a weeknight, or be very, very lucky to score a table. The Au Cheval burger is the best because the beef patties are just the right size and thickness for stacking, the cheese is perfectly melted over each patty and the dijonnaise, chopped onion, and thinly sliced pickles are the perfect complement to the beef. read more

The Big City Blog: From Christkindlmarket to Macy’s windows and Navy Pier’s Winter Wonderfest, here are the best Christmas and holiday activities around Chicago

By Trent Modglin

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This annual outdoor market in Daley Plaza offers traditional German food and drinks, and vendors in this quaint, illuminated village sell handmade ornaments, nutcrackers and cuckoo clocks. The market has been a Chicago tradition since 1996 and is influenced by the Christkindlmarket in Nuremberg, Germany. Admission is free. Christkindlmarket Chicago runs Nov. 16-Dec. 24 Sun.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-8 p.m. and Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-9 p.m. 50 W. Washington. read more

Good Eats at Momotaro: The Boka Restaurant Group takes authentic, contemporary Japanese dining to another level

Photo by 2017 Galdones Photography

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By Dante Vaisbort

Where it’s at: 820 W. Lake Street in the West Loop.

The scene: Momotaro’s massive state-of-the-art complex is a brisk walk from the city center and urban nightlife. The award-winning restaurant is divided into two sections: the main restaurant on floors one and two, which features multiple sushi bars and robata (charcoal grills). Beneath the restaurant lies the subterranean Izakaya, featuring a 30-seat bar with decor inspired by the Tokyo street scene. read more

The Big City Blog: Jack’s Pumpkin Nights, Seadog haunted cruises and more Chicago Halloween fun

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By Trent Modglin

For a fun, new Halloween pop-up experience complete with carnival games, bounce houses, live performances, nighttime light displays, food trucks and a beer and cider-stocked bar inside of a giant corn maze, head to the two-acre lot near Goose Island for Jack’s Pumpkin Nights. Perfect blend of entertainment for the kids during the day and the adults (and a bit of a singles scene) later in the afternoon into the evening. With plenty of fall-themed props, Instagrammable photo opportunities abound. Open daily through Nov. 4. 1467 N. Elston. Tickets available at read more

The Big City Blog: Barrel-aged beer festival, a 90210-themed pop-up bar and Picks n’ Treats at the Randolph Street Market

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By Jeremy Lindenfeld

The Festival of Wood & Barrel-Aged Beer is back

For the 16th year in a row, The Festival of Wood & Barrel-Aged Beer, North America’s largest barrel-aged beer festival and competition, is making its way back to Chicago. November 16 and 17 will see the festival provide its attendees with opportunities to partake in tasting some of the world’s most sought-after and hard-to-find beers, ciders, meads and perries. With more than 400 brews from 200 breweries, the two-day event is sure to have something for every enthusiast. Held at the UIC Forum, 725 W. Roosevelt.     read more

The Big City Blog: The foodie paradise that is Chicago Gourmet runs Sept. 26-30

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By Trent Modglin

Chicago Gourmet, by their definition, is a “concert of culinary delights.” By our definition, it’s one fine collection of food and fun.

Originally founded by the Illinois Restaurant Association, Chicago Gourmet is produced in partnership with Bon Appétit magazine and sponsored by Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits.

It’s an annual event each September that celebrates the foodie in all of us, with celebrity chefs headlining cooking demonstrations, an incredible lineup of food, wine, spirits and beer tastings, as well as wine and mixology seminars to showcase what’s trendy. In all, more than 250 of Chicago’s finest restaurants and chefs partake in this collaboration. read more

A Round of Drinks at Kingston Mines and The Green Mill: These classic Chicago music venues will keep you entertained all night long

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By Jonathan Mandel

If you think the blues is dead, think again. And if you think jazz is dead, definitely think again. The Windy City has been at the forefront of each genre for decades and has some impressive clubs to show for it, many of which have become shrouded in local lore over the years. We chose to focus on two that continue to churn out good tunes and good times: the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge in Uptown and Kingston Mines in Lincoln Park. We caught up with Dave Jemilo, who has owned the Green Mill for 32 years, and Joanna Connor, a local legend in the blues scene and a regular performer at Kingston Mines. read more

The rise of the Boka Restaurant Group: Its domination of Chicago’s food scene continues

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By Trent Modglin

Chances are, if you ask any young chef in the city of Chicago to pick a kitchen to work in, and a group of people to learn from, the answer would be one of the establishments owned by the Boka Restaurant Group.

Founded in 2002 by Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz, it quickly shot to stardom in the food world — and consistently has remained on the rise — as one of the nation’s foremost chef-driven restaurant groups. read more

Kids Corner: Looking for one more fun-filled day with the family in Chicago this summer? We’ve got ideas

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Meghan is a pediatric social worker and mother of two (soon to be three) children. Despite being avid travelers, she and her family are most content being tourists in their hometown of Chicago; specifically, exploring outdoors and enjoying the city’s delicious food scene.

Love the Garfield Park Conservatory. At this stage, we’re looking to go places where our boys can run around without safety concerns and explore without big, annoying crowds. Garfield is much bigger than the Lincoln Park Conservatory. Admission is donation-based, and they always have family programming and lots of hands-on experiences for children: spray bottles to help water plants, snakes and other animals on display, a slide and designated kids’ areas. 300 N. Central Park Ave. read more

Here’s Hyde Park: We asked three University of Chicago students to break down the best of the famous south side neighborhood

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By Jeremy Lindenfeld, Brooke Nagler and Jonathan Mandel


When you walk into Valois, you might be tempted to believe that you’ve stepped into a time capsule. One expects to see Jack Kerouac and Muddy Waters hunched among the infinite array of tables. There’s certainly some sort of magic going on behind the scenes at this old-school cafeteria: In the minute between placing your order at one end of the counter, and paying at the other end of the counter, they’re somehow able to cook all the food you could possibly want and pile it high on your tray. Omelettes, steak, pancakes, sandwiches — they serve it all, from 5:30 a.m.-10 p.m. every day of the week. The staff isn’t made up of university students or locals trying to make some tip money: They’re adults in their 40s and 50s who have been working there for decades, and aren’t going anywhere any time soon. Valois is as affordable as it gets, and it welcomes a true cross-section of the local community at any given time. From its walls painted with scenes of Hyde Park to its menu of President Obama’s favorites — it’s his breakfast spot of choice — Valois is a heavenly bite steeped in the history of Hyde Park. 1518 E. 53rd. read more

Chicago Insider Michelle Fasano on dinner at Ada Street, jazz at the California Clipper and the rooftop at the Robey Hotel

California Clipper

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Michelle Fasano

How long you’ve lived here: I grew up in the Chicagoland area, but I’ve lived in Chicago for the past four years, in both in Lincoln Park and Lakeview.

What you like best about Chicago: Chicago has all the perks of a major city while also being approachable. I love the various neighborhoods, each with their own feel and charm — all accessible by public transit! And no city does summer better. read more

Coffee craze: I visited 52 Chicago coffee shops in 52 weeks, and I have a few favorites to share

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By Michelle Fasano

In January of 2017, I got the idea to visit 52 coffee shops in 52 weeks. As any Chicagoan knows, January-March is a time for hibernation. To escape my apartment, I started hanging out in local coffee shops and got hooked. Some may call that a caffeine dependency, but I think there’s something more to it. Maybe I’m just trying to find my own Central Perk. read more

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