The Berghoff, Chicago

Why have I lived in Chicago for two years and not been to The Berghoff till yesterday?

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I knew it was old and cool, but the website is confusing. It was closed, then it was reopened, the concept seemed different. I dunno, I just didn’t. But we like to go out after work so I’m always looking for cool old places. I saw that The Berghoff was having a Flights and Bites event last night, and it was only $15 per person, so I got us some tickets. I don’t see another one scheduled anytime soon, but they do have lots of other events.

ANYHOW, we went and it was fab. The bar and the whole restaurant, in fact, IS old and cool.

berghoff bar, chicago

The Berghoff started during the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. Mr. Berghoff couldn’t afford a booth at the fair, so he sold his beer outside the gates. He opened the bar (saloon) in 1898 as a men-only place where he gave out corned beef sandwiches with the purchase of a stein of beer. Later the restaurant opened. But the bar stayed men only till 1969. 1969!!! This place is soooooo cool, that after prohibition, they got liquor license #1 from the city.

berghoff chicago liquor license #1

We got all this info along with  beer and food tastings. It was tasty and fun!

flights and bites, at the berghoff in chicago

One of the original murals in the dining room is a painting from The Worlds Fair.

berghoff worlds fair mural

After the tasting we went to the bar to eat and drink more. They have a seasonal “Stock” beer right now that was super good.

berghoff seasonal beer, stock

And some delicious potato croquettes.

potato croquettes from berghoff in chicago

The Berghoff is located at 17 W Adams St, Chicago, IL 60603. So if you’re just visiting, and especially if you live here, be sure to go!  They serve  lunch in a downstairs cafe from 11-2 Monday thru Friday, and a more substantial lunch and dinner in the bar and dining room from 11:00- 9:00 Monday thru Saturday. Closed Sundays.

How I decide where to go for Chicago Restaurant Week (2014)

I love Chicago Restaurant Week! This year it’s actually two weeks and takes place from January 24th to February 6th. Last year we went to Kinzie Chophouse and Bistrot Zinc. Both were very enjoyable. We rarely go to steakhouses or French restaurants because they tend to be pricey, and we’re not rich. So Restaurant Week is a great time to hit them up. If you haven’t heard of Restaurant Week, it’s a week (two this year!) when all the fancy restaurants in town do special prix fixe menus for $22 for lunch and $33 or $44 for dinner.

Restaurant Week 2013 at Bistrot Zinc, Chicago

Restaurant Week 2013 at Bistrot Zinc, Chicago

Restaurant Week 2013 at Bistrot Zinc, Chicago

Restaurant Week 2013 at Bistrot Zinc, Chicago

I want to be adventurous, and I know I should be, but I don’t really like weird trendy food like kale and duck confit. But I also don’t like boring things like roast chicken. I appreciate a good beef dish and vegetarian dishes and Italian places, too. So this year maybe along with the steakhouse and French, we’ll go to a third, possibly more unusual spot. And, unless it’s something ridiculously fabulous, we stick to the $22 lunches and $33 dinners- another way I choose is to check out their regular menus and see if the places are a really good deal during Restaurant Week or if you can get basically the same thing any time.

So, based on all that, here are the contenders:

French: Bistro Voltaire, Mon Ami Gabi

Steakhouse: David Burke’s Primehouse, Sullivan’s Steakhouse

Italian: Riccardo Trattoria, Piccolo Sogno

Other: The Refinery, Two

Where else should I absolutely not miss? Where are you going to go?

Winter Things To Do in Chicago- Christkindlmarket!

The Christkindlemarket in Daley Plaza is an authentic (and free!) European (German mostly) Christmas marketplace. You can get handmade ornaments, scarves and hats, Christmas decorations, mugs, cuckoo clocks, candies and much more. They also sell German food, hot cider, beer, and warm spiced wine- yum! Pro Tip: go after work during the week instead of on the weekend, it’s prettier at night and you can beat the crowds!

The Christmas Tree in Daley Plaza, Chicago

The Christkindlmarket, Chicago

Authentic German Christmas market, Chicago

Authentic German food is available at the Christkindlmarket in Chicago

Authentic German food is available at the Christkindlmarket in Chicago

Handmade ornaments from all over the world are available at The Christkindlmarket in Chicago

You can get fun international candies at the Christkindlmarket in Chicago

 

 

Chicago Summer

Gelato, French Market, Chicago

Gelato, French Market

Gene and Georgetti Classic Italian, Chicago

Gene and Georgetti Classic Italian

Greek Islands Restaurant, Chicago

Greek Islands Restaurant

Andersonville, Chicago

Andersonville

Espresso Milkshake, Intelligentsia, Logan Square, Chicago

Espresso Milkshake, Intelligentsia

Homemade gelato, JP Graziano, Chicago

Homemade gelato, JP Graziano

Chicago River view from a rented electric boat

Chicago River view from a rented electric boat

Summer storm, Chicago

Summer Storm

Navy Pier, Chicago

Navy Pier Swing Ride

Tiki cocktails at Three Dots and a Dash, Chicago

Tiki cocktails at Three Dots and a Dash

Umbrella, North Avenue Beach, Chicago

Umbrella

Splashing speedboat on Lake Michigan, Chicago

Splashing speedboat on Lake Michigan

Classic Chicago Dog, Flub a Dub Chub, Lakeview Chicago

Classic Chicago Dog, Flub a Dub Chub

2013 Air and Water Show, Chicago

2013 Air and Water Show

Sears Tower, Chicago

Sears Tower

Divvy Bike Share, Chicago

Divvy Bike Share

Taste of Chicago: Half-Baked

See what I did there in that headline? It’s a food-related play on words on a post about food. Pretty clever, right? Of course it is.

But let’s get back to the meat of the story, shall we? (OK, that one’s just ridiculous, and I’ll stop now.)

For more than 30 years, the Chicago food world gets some tents and sets up shop in a park and offers the hungry masses a taste of what Chicago’s restaurants have to offer.

Here’s what they have to say about it all on their website:

Taste of Chicago is the nation’s premier outdoor food festival showcasing the diversity of Chicago’s dining community. The delicious array of food served at Taste of Chicago is complemented by music and exciting activities for the entire family. Every summer since 1980, Chicago’s beautiful Grant Park on the city’s magnificent lakefront has been home to the world’s largest food festival.

Seriously, people, lots of really good food available here. But why do we say half-baked, then? There were some problems with this Taste of Chicago 2013 that could really be easily fixed. First of all, it’s miserable hot out there, and the festival is on pavement? Nice going. Whatever, though, it’s probably easier to maneuver the grills and all the equipment. But then all the shaded areas are fenced off? Do you want me to die of heat stroke, Chicago?

Second, in addition to not having any shaded places available, there were no places to sit, either.

Anyway, I’m sure it’s nicer in the evenings. And the weather probably isn’t Taste of Chicago’s fault. But whatever with that. Spring for some chairs and tables, you guys.

Other than that, though, the food was delicious, as we expected. For $16, we had some red beans and rice with jerk chicken from Vee Vee’s African Restaurant, a pulled-pork mini from The Smoke Daddy, a veggie chickpea bowl from Bombay Spice Grill, two slices of cheesecake (key lime and regular) from Eli’s Cheesecake Co., and a cup of sherbet from Original Rainbow Cone.

Overall, even though my stupid bald spot got sunburned, the cheesecake and sherbet made up for it.

Eli's Cheesecake Co., Taste of Chicago 2013

Found a sliver of shade, and stood there with my slices of dessert from Eli’s Cheesecake Co.– key lime and regular. Oddly, the regular was tastier.