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I feel like Chicago is often overlooked when it comes to food meccas. But here’s the deal, they have some epic restaurants Alinea, Next, Blackbird, The Purple Pig and Girl & the Goat. While I wish I could have scored a reservation at one of these restaurants, I did score 2 great places on my trip.

#1 GEB Chicago – Graham Elliot Bistro

Most people know Graham Elliot from MasterChef, but he is so much more than that. At the age of 27 he became the youngest Four Star Chef to be named in any major U.S. city and was named one of Food & Wine Magazine’s “Best New Chef” in 2004. In recent years has accrued several prestigious accolades, including multiple James Beard Foundation nominations. He is very cool.

GEB is a hip bistro. The food is divine. Normally as you know, I take pictures of everything, but at GEB I was start struck. As we sat down and ordered a drink, who walked in? Graham Elliot himself!

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Me and Graham Elliot

Let’s talk food. I started the night off with the pumpkin soup. Probably the best soup I have ever had in my lifetime. It was topped with a coffee spiced granola, fried sage & creme fraiche. Best $12 ever spent. The main course. Strip loin, bone marrow, onion jam, truffled fingerling potatoes and grilled sourdough bread. Oh. My. God. A vegetarians nightmare and my dream come true. It was an incredible plate of food. Hands down I recommend eating at GEB, I cant wait to do it again.

#2 Table fifty-two

Chef Art Smith is a southern boy. He was Oprah Winfrey’s personal chef, he was on Top Chef Masters, and he is a James Beard award winner. Table fifty-two is the home of Southern hospitality in Chicago. Who doesn’t like southern food?

The atmosphere at Table 52 is so relaxing. You feel like you are in the south, sitting in a grandmothers dining room. It is beautiful, and the food… the food is sinful.

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Roasted beet salad

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Fried Green Tomatoes

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Pickle Board

For starters we had a roasted yellow beet salad served on top of whipped ricotta, fried green tomatoes served with pimento goat cheese and a southern pickle board. What is a southern pickle board? It is a southern charcuterie board made up of cheeses and homemade crackers, pickles and meats. All the starters were amazing.

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Fried Chicken

The main course. When you go to a southern restaurant what is the first thought that comes to mind? Fried chicken perhaps? It was the juiciest, most crispy chicken I have ever had. It was made with love and I could taste it. And what goes best with fried chicken? Mac & cheese.

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Sinful Mac and Cheese

There is not much I can say about this mac and cheese. It was made with butter, cream, and 3 types of cheese. It was the richest thing I have ever eaten and I still dream about it.

Hands down Table 52 is a romantic, relaxing restaurant in downtown Chicago that serves up the best southern food I have ever had. Next time you are in Chicago, try one or both of these restaurants, you will not be disappointed!

I am a girl who loves food. I grew up with a Mom who was an excellent cook. She wrote a cookbook when I was a child, and as they say, the rest is history. Started a catering business in 2005 and haven’t looked back. I am a mom to 2 beautiful girls and I want them to love food as much as I do. In the meantime, I love life and love my job @ http://www.monicaskitchen.com