The Oncologist's Guide to Chicago, the Universe, and Beyond

Nancy Terry


May 27, 2011

In This Article

If bound for Chicago, you are headed for a destination of rich and varied attractions. The Windy City is home to world-class art, killer music, sizzling theater, intoxicating eateries, and soaring architecture, and for 1 week in June it is host to the annual meeting of the American Society for Medical Oncology® (ASCO®). The meeting is what brings you to Chicago, but there is plenty to keep you happy when you are not absorbed in presentations. For the hours you are not at McCormick Place convention center, here are a few suggestions for what you might do.

Everybody's Gotta Eat

Whether you intend to snack or dine, Chicago is a gastronome's delight. Hot dogs are serious food here. People go on pilgrimage to sample the encased meats of Hot Doug's and Franks-n-Dawgs, the Chicago hot dogs of Al's, and the Italian beef of Portillo's. Did I mention pizza? The famous Chicago-style deep-dish pie can be found in all its glory at Lou Malnati's and Pizzeria Uno (or its sister, Pizzeria Due). For the best burger in town bring a good appetite to Kuma's Corner, but be prepared for the loud, heavy-metal "atmosphere." For a quieter but equally legendary burger, try Billy Goat Tavern, which is the inspiration for the late John Belushi's "Cheebooger Cheebooger" skit on Saturday Night Live. When you're out seeing the sights, pop into Garrett's Popcorn(at several locations in the Loop) and treat yourself to their cheese- and caramel-flavored popcorns (with or without macadamias, cashews, or pecans).

If you're looking for dining with a capital D, however, a visit to one of Chicago's palaces of haute cuisine is in order. Spiaggia is considered to serve the best Italian cuisine in Chicago, but some predict a meal there may cost you as much as airfare to Italy. Café Spiaggia, a sibling of the grander Spiaggia, offers an authentic Italian sidewalk eatery and trattoria. Alinea's molecular gastronomy offers tasting menus of 24-course bite-size offerings that combine in a meal that can change the way you view food.

For ethnic fare, take a short cab ride to Chinatown where favorite spots include Moon Palace,Phoenix, and Lao Sze Chuan. Mexican favorites include Rick Bayliss' duo Topolobampo, the more casual Frontera Grill, and Xoco, his casual torta counter. All 3 are located on North State Street.

If the elite spots are booked or beyond your budget, check the restaurant page of Metromix Chicago, which features recent reviews and a calendar listing restaurants offering special deals on dates of your choosing. From sidewalk gnoshes to 30-course meals, Chicago is a wide-open frontier of fooderies. Bring a large appetite for adventure.


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