It was a sunny and chilly December day when my companion and I decided to head to Union House American Kitchen in Winfield for lunch.
In the world of foodie indulgence, brunch has become king. Stacks of fluffy pancakes with farmer's market berries and house-made creme fraiche fill up Instagram profiles. Breakfast foods with a dozen different kinds of artisanal ingredients dot menus across the country.
It was a crisp autumn morning when my friend and I walked into Sage Kitchen + Bar in Bolingbrook.
Having heard the restaurant's roots go back to 1956, and that a family recipe for thin-crust pizza is behind the longevity, we decided to visit Armand's Pizzeria in downtown Elmhurst.
When eating out, it is a rare find that strikes the perfect balance between upscale cuisine and casual comfort, but downtown La Grange gastropub Wild Monk does just that.
Discovering an abundance of delicious options on a menu is particularly pleasing, given my dining companion's finicky nature when it comes to food choices. John & Tony's Ristorante in West Chicago ably meets the challenge with offerings of steak and seafood to pasta, pizza and burgers.
Gracing the corner of a brick shopping center, just off Ogden Avenue and Pasquinelli Drive, sits Citrus Diner, where a fresh and filling feast awaits.
Food cravings have a way of burrowing down into the absolute pit of my stomach and staying there until satiated. Like a troll under a bridge controlling the action, my stomach often waves a hand at the trifles of a salad and instead demands a giant slice of pizza.
As we approached Bella Bacino's in downtown La Grange, diners sat outside enjoying their Italian fare on a mild fall evening.
As the season turns and separation anxieties mount at the thought of backyard grills decommissioned until spring, one restaurant always provides a comforting phalanx of professional Weber grills and charcoal at the ready.
I first attempted to stroll into Vistro on a Wednesday evening without a reservation.
When dining at a fine restaurant, the thoughtful pairing of wine and entree may be a given, but patrons at The Bank Restaurant in Wheaton reap added dividends with delicious fare sourced in a socially responsible manner.
Whether it's a romantic date for two or a meal with friends and family, it's all about sharing when it comes to dining on tapas, the "small plates" that originated in Spain and went on to deliciously infiltrate other cuisines.
Although I knew nothing about Lithuanian food, my companion was thrilled when I asked him to join me for dinner at Old Vilnius Cafe.
Salsas can seem like an afterthought in some Mexican restaurants, only there to placate hungry patrons munching on chips before the meal proper arrives.
We've always been told it's a bad idea to go grocery shopping when hungry, but at Standard Market, that's precisely the right time.
I'm the kind of person who receives a whole wheel of cheese for Christmas, and it's gone before the new year. The kind of person you can't leave unsupervised in a gourmet cheese section for longer than five minutes without having to go back for the full-sized cart.
I made a terrible mistake when I ordered my meal at StoneHouse Pub in Lemont. Don't get me wrong – the dish I ordered tasted fantastic. I really enjoyed every bite, the flavor, texture, quality of ingredients. It was all perfect.
A luxurious reimagining of restaurant and bowling alley is at the playful heart of Pinstripes. On a recent Sunday evening, we discovered it to be home to three B's: a tempting bistro, indoor and outdoor bocce ball courts, and upscale bowling lanes.
Never having eaten at a Brazilian steakhouse, I wasn't sure exactly what to expect when I walked into Chama Gaucha, but the entire evening was impressive from beginning to end.
With its organic, down-to-earth ambiance, Blackberry Market provides a relaxing and satisfying dining experience.
While my years in the Chicago area have opened me up to a wide range of ethnic cuisines, the joy of a quality Indian restaurant lights my fire in a very special way – and not just because of the occasional burning-hot spiciness.
When friends recommended Cooper's Corner, we decided to pay a visit to the restaurant that opened earlier this year in the spot that once housed the venerable Viking.
On a recent evening, I visited White Pines Golf Club with my appetite in tow instead of a nine iron.
About five minutes after we'd been served our entrees, my dining companion indicated her plate with her fork, making a loose circle to include everything in front of her.
During a sunny afternoon girls day out, my friend and I made our way to Il Sogno Ristorante, perched on a second floor in downtown Wheaton. Summoned to refuel by our growling stomachs, we gladly took the hostess' invitation to sit near one of the attractive dining room's plum spots – along a large window looking out over Front Street.
Buddy Holly's older lookalike takes his place at the microphone, ukulele in hand, the waiter in a Frank Zappa T-shirt greets us with a smile, and the woman next to me, also with a ukulele, says, “I bet this isn't what you were expecting for a first date.”
As we approached the black awnings of the corner restaurant, it was no surprise our mouths began watering when Q-BBQ's old-fashioned smokehouse aroma wafted our way.
Good sushi restaurants can be hard to find in the Midwest. It’s usually not a matter of technique, but freshness. Even the best restaurants can sometimes fall short because they don’t have access to high quality fish, obviously the key component in a dish that often consists of only raw protein, rice and seaweed.
In the mood for a romantic dining destination? Think Adelle's in Wheaton, which promises "fine American fare," and seasons it with sophistication, a mix of price points and superb service.
Walking past a colorful case of freshly made gelato on my way to the host stand at Paisans in Berwyn, I contemplated skipping lunch completely and ordering the largest bowl of Oreo cheesecake flavor I could dig a spoon into.
As I approached HB Jones, I only had one goal in mind: to climb Mount Everest. Let me explain.
Whether you're a sushi connoisseur or still struggling to master your chopsticks, Hokkai has a dish for just about everyone. Tucked away in a Glen Ellyn shopping plaza, the restaurant is a hidden gem among the stores.
(Note to readers dated July 22, 2014: The restaurant has closed.)
An avid short story writer could probably enter La Dolce Vita, spin a nice tale about the interminglings in a popular restaurant, and invent back-stories for the large family at one table, the priest getting up from his seat, the singles and young professionals eating at the bar.
When dining out, sometimes it's nice to get hit with some degree of spectacle – bright colors, live music and big tastes. For those times, Mago Grill & Cantina in Bolingbrook is a fine place to indulge in elevated Mexican fare.
Walking into Clara's Pasta, I was greeted by friendly smiles and a palette of rich, warm colors giving the large restaurant a cozy feel.
They say everything's bigger in Texas, and if that's the case, then Al's Char-House not only embodies the stereotype, but celebrates it with platters built for a state-size appetite and portions larger than my forearm.
Celebrating Mexican dishes on its own food pyramid with unexpected fusion twists is Changarro Cocina, a hidden gem in West Chicago well worth seeking out.
Everyone knows the best dinner food is breakfast food; there's just something about eggs Benedict or juicy blueberry pancakes that hits the spot, especially late night.
Sometimes you just want a homestyle meal, a plethora of beer options, and a classy atmosphere to possibly take in a game. Bulldog Ale House takes the concept of a neighborhood sports pub and combines it with a full-service dining room.