NFT Travel Guides: Good Food and More in Chicago

Ed Forteau's picture

One of our travel guides partners, Not For Tourists, has several unique offerings for travelers on their website this week. Check out the following highlights from their Chicago correspondents this week...



Grab It By the Horns! by Jamie Smith

Icosium Kafe

If you've walked by the Icosium Kafe once, you've walked by it a dozen times. Perhaps you've filed it away in that area of the brain where you put restaurants that look intriguing but not so interesting as to divert you from your current plans. Or maybe the cheap has signage led you to believe that the meal will be of equal quality. You would be wrong on both counts. The variety on the menu is stunning for a restaurant that specializes in crepes and the food is delicious and satisfying. In addition to the standard drink menu you'll find at every restaurant, they serve North African teas and coffees that are perfect for accompanying your Algerian meal or savoring during an afternoon spent enjoying a little peace and quiet. Icosium has somehow managed to be the best-kept secret in Andersonville, despite being prominently located on one of its busiest intersections. Stop by and check it out before the suckers standing in line at the neighboring restaurants realize what they're missing.


Your Reason is Your Own by Jill Jaracz

Five Star Bar & Grill

Maybe you come to Five Star Bar for the tasty food (hand-cut fries!). Maybe you come for the pool table or back room decked out with a stripper pole. But you're definitely coming here for the bourbon. This bar is a whiskey lover's dream, with nearly 100 bourbons, whiskeys, and scotches on the menu. You say you don't know anything about bourbon? Well, you're in luck, because this Saturday January 31, Five Star has its first Whiskey University course from 4-6 PM. Led by Whiskey Professor Steve Cole from Beam Global Spirits & Wine, each month's class will look at various aspects of whiskey and feature a tasting of different brands. This session explores bourbon, with information on how it's made, how to read a bourbon label, and samples of four different bourbons. The class costs only $10 ($5 for industry professionals). Space is limited, so call to reserve your spot.


The More Things Change... by Jamie Smith

Richard H. Driehaus Museum

Opulence is out in these uncertain economic times, but you can still explore the lifestyles of the rich and famous at the Driehaus Museum. Located in one of the grandest mansions of Gilded Age Chicago, the museum has taken some of the most spectacular objects of the nineteenth century from the Driehaus Collection and placed them alongside the original furniture and restored architecture of a home once known as the Marble Palace. During the ninety minute tour, you'll see elaborately carved woodwork, stunning stained glass, and authentic Tiffany lamps in their natural habitats. Don't worry if you don't know Tiffany from Stacy, as the docent will explain in great detail and no background knowledge is needed to appreciate the exquisite beauty of the art and architecture. Just as interesting as the intricacies of the house are the idiosyncrasies of its former owners--you have to wonder about the kind of people who mount animal heads from floor to ceiling. You may not share their tastes, but you might relate to their circumstances: a few years after the home was built the American banking system collapsed. The Driehaus Museum is available for tours on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays.


The Replacement by Jill Jaracz

Y2K Cafe

When my favorite Chinese restaurant closed, I thought I'd never be able to find a replacement. Chinese restaurants are funny like that--they're everywhere, but figuring out which one is right for you takes a lot of effort. After spending months trying several options, my husband and I happened upon Y2K, and in it finally found our new go-to Chinese place. And bonus--they also serve sushi and other Japanese specialties. Y2K's menu is really varied, with familiar favorites like Mongolian beef and moo shu, many fish and duck dishes, and more unusual items like strawberry chicken. They've also got velvet chicken corn soup, which is not easy to find at a Chinese restaurant, but is quite possibly the best remedy when you're feeling under the weather. Lunch specials--even served on Saturday--are a great bargain. Top it all off with friendly service, and you'll find this is a number to put on speed dial.