Food Inspiration's co-founder Hans Steenbergen and his team visited Chicago and received a food tour by food expert David Manilow. Where did he take the Europeans to show off Chicago? In the podcast series "The Dining Table," David interviews Hans Steenbergen, where he recaps and reviews his recent Chicago food adventure.

Why do Chicago chefs use so much salt? What's the story behind that great bottle of Verdejo? And how do the Dutch rate their ride on an architectural boat tour?

Or listen to the podcast here »

Here are some of my highlights and takeaways from our visit to this great city:

  • Avec: We had dinner at Avec, a modern wine bar annex restaurant with a Midwest touch on Mediterranean cuisine. The restaurant has a great wine list, and what we loved was the special deal on Tuesday: all wine bottles are 50% off. We ordered a great Verdejo that cost $120 but was only $60 with the deal. The deal enables customers to buy more expensive bottles.
    Also read: at Avec all bottles are half price on Tuesdays 

  • Starbucks Reserve: We loved visiting the Starbucks Reserve in the heart of the city. Four floors of incredible storytelling around coffee and tea. It’s one of six reserves worldwide and a visitor attraction of its own.

Starburcks Reserve Roastery in Chicago

  • A general reflection: Dinners and drinks are quite expensive. A glass of wine for $15 is not uncommon anymore. Dining out is becoming more and more a luxury. Tipping is oftentimes preset at a minimum of 20%. For us Europeans that sometimes comes as a bit of a shock. Even the local cornerstore automatically suggests a tip when buying a pound of coffee and a bottle of water.

  • Eataly: Another classic in storytelling is Eataly. The place measures 62,000 square feet with more than 20 eateries and an inspiring retail space. A must-visit where Italian food is celebrated in a tantalizing way.

  • Time Out Market: A food market with lots of cuisines and a lively atmosphere in the Fulton Market area. 

  • Lula Café: Inspiring creative and tasteful dishes in a neighborhood restaurant where love for food and people is of the utmost importance. Awarded by Michelin with a Bib Gourmand and recently won Chicago's only 2024 James Beard award for Outstanding Hospitality.

Tune in and have fun!