When I heard that WEAR: A Babywearing Conference was going to be in downtown Chicago, I was so excited! I may live a little north of the city now, but I am a reluctant suburbanite. Prior to our move, I lived in Chicago for 10 years, and the city still holds my heart. And one of the reasons that Chicago is my favorite city is the food. Let me tell you – Chicago has the best food!
I was asked to provide my personal recommendations for places to eat near the conference, which will be located at the beautiful Westin on Michigan Avenue. There are so many options nearby, though, that I will never be able to mention them all! This first WEAR foodie blog will focus on a few of my favorite places to have a quick and delicious lunch on event days.
A quick 2-minute walk south on Michigan Avenue is Café L’Appetito (875 N. Michigan Ave. Hours: Mon-Fri 7:30am-630pm; Sat: 8:30am-630pm; Sun: 8:30am-5:30pm), which is located in the lower level of the Hancock Tower. This authentic Italian deli was the first to open in downtown Chicago more than 30 years ago. It offers a deli, coffee bar, bakery, wine bar and imported food items sure to please even the pickiest of eaters, both big and small! Café L’Appetito offers breakfast items, toasted sandwiches (similar to a panini), American and Italian sandwiches, pasta, pizza salads, soups and more! I was always partial to the Verdure Arostite, a vegetarian sandwich with arugula, roasted red peppers, roasted eggplant, and herbed goat cheese on rustic Italian bread. Yum! And if the weather is nice, take your food to go and sit outside on the steps leading down towards the lower level. It is a great place to enjoy the early summer weather and people watch!
Walk a little further south on Michigan Avenue, and you will come across Water Tower Place. Just inside the shopping center is Wow Bao (835 N. Michigan Ave. Hours: Mon-Sat: 10:00am-9:00pm; Sun: 11:00am-6:00pm), which serves Asian-inspired hot steamed buns, filled with various meats and vegetables, soup, pot stickers, noodles and rice bowls. Time Out Chicago even named their lemongrass and ginger infused Thai herb broth as one of the best soups in the city! A bowl of that soup and a spicy Kung Pao Chicken Bao sounds delish!
When I want to have a fresh grab-and-go meal while participating in a little retail therapy at Water Tower Place, I head straight to Foodease (835 N. Michigan Ave. Hours: Mon-Sat: 10:00am-8:00pm; Sun: 11:00am-7:00pm). Foodease has salad and soup bars as well as sandwiches, sushi, hot entrees and a bakery! All great options for a quick bite before heading back for more babywearing activities and education!
Feel like some Thai food? Keep heading south on Michigan an then make a left on Ohio! There you will find DAO Thai Restaurant (230 E. Ohio St. Hours: Sun-Thus: 11:00am-10:00pm; Fri-Sat: 11:00am-11:00pm). This restaurant serves up all of the tasty Thai classics including Crab Rangoon, Pad Thai, Green Curry, Pineapple Fried Rice and, my favorite, Spicy Basil Leaves! I’ve had many meals at DAO and everything I’ve had has been very good.
Chicagoans love breakfast food all day long! Just around the corner from DAO is the West Egg Cafe (620 N. Fairbanks Ct. Hours: Mon-Fri: 6:30am-3:00pm; Sat-Sun: 7:00pm-3:00pm). It has been serving up delicious breakfast food in that spot since 1988! West Egg Café’s aim is to provide a family friendly atmosphere, where you can be comfortable and relaxed! Their menu options range from breakfast foods with Tex-Mex, Italian, and Greek influences to lunch items such as sandwiches, soups, and salads. With so many great items to choose from, you really can’t go wrong!
These are just a few of the many excellent restaurants near the conference. With so many different restaurant types and cuisines available to choose from, there is an option for everyone! Enjoy!