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My sister recently took her first trip to the United States to visit me. Living in Chicago, we often forget how truly lucky we are to live in such a wonderful city. Despite the winter, we still can visit different restaurants, museums and all the other architectural attractions this city has to offer.
I took her through some of Chicago’s neighborhoods so she could experience different cuisines. I must confess that she liked the local Dunkin Donuts store the most, which was a new experience for her.
We began at Burkes Public House in Edgewater where she had an all American burger. They have a small but delicious menu, and the waffle fries are quite tasty!
Since we are from Germany, visiting the Lincoln Square neighborhood was a must. Not to mention, I work at The Chopping Block’s Lincoln Square location! She had the chance to explore the neighborhood, visit the shops in the area, eat some froyo (apparently, they only have plain flavored froyo in Germany), and learn about the neighborhood’s German heritage at the Dank Haus.
As we continued to explore the neighborhood, we ended up on Budakis Hotdogs on Damen Avenue, as she wanted to have a “real” Chicago hot dog. Just don’t ask for ketchup there! We met some friends at The Rail, also on Damen, where on Wednesdays they offer half-price burgers and Trivia Night, which can be a lot of fun!
In Lakeview, we visited one of my favorite sushi places, Matsuia on Clark Street. This is a cute little restaurant with great food and service.
Walking thought Lakeview, we got to see and experience a little of the nightlife, and we ended up at Kit Kat Lounge & Supper Club were we stayed for the wonderful martinis (they have so many kinds!) and great entertainment.
We explored the Magnificent Mile, with all of its shopping, people, hassle and excitement. We also took some time to visit the Palmer House Hotel, a Grand Dame on State Street. This is also the oldest hotel in the city, rebuilt after the Great Chicago fire in 1871. We took a break for lunch so my sister could have a chance to experience Chicago’s deep-dish pizza.
For a perfect ending to the day, we visited The Signature Lounge on the 96 floor of the Hancock Tower, which has spectacular views of the city, as well as great cocktails and appetizers.
Of course, we also stopped at The Chopping Block in the Merchandise Mart, which is the largest commercial building in the world, and another place I work.
Saying goodbye is always hard, but my sister fell in love with Chicago, and she promised to come back again as there are a lot more places to visit and experiences to have in our city. She may even take one of my cooking classes next time!
What’s your favorite destination when playing tour guide in Chicago?
Hans graduated from the prestigious Culinary Institute in Pegnitz, Bavaria in Germany. He also completed an apprenticeship program at the Rosenthal Casino in Selb Bavaria. Hans' professional career extends to several hotels. He worked for Hilton International in London before transferring to Chicago where he held different positions for several hotels within the company. We are now proud to have him as a Chef Instructor at The Chopping Block. When Hans is not teaching, you can find him at local museums, coffee shops, farmers markets, or concert venues—mainly classical music. He is an avid reader, loves to travel, and enjoys the company of his family and friends.