dinner no. 02: Chicago French Market

Chicago French Market

131 N. Clinton (at Randolph)

For tonight’s dinner, we strolled from office locales to meet friends and their 2 younguns at the city’s attempt to “bring back the European-inspired marketplace.” Located at the Ogilvie train station, the French Market consists of a hodge-podge of items to consume onsite as well as lots of ingredients to take home. Also square pegs like homemade soap and woven baskets. The meat, cheese, and fish vendors displayed some great-looking stuff. Live lobsters in a tank entertained the kids. One of my favorite places, Pastoral, has a prime spot by the front door. But as a whole, it felt like the gastronomic version of a buddy cop film: suburban mall food court is paired with an urban gourmet shoppe and as long as they stick together, they’ll be given one hell of a deal on rent.

We camped at a table and took turns hunting and gathering before returning to the den with food for the kids.

From Frietkoten Belgian Fries & Beer: Frites with curry mayo and blue cheese mayo. But no beer, as the liquor license is still snarled in the city’s red tape machine. The allure of frites+beer after work had been the focus of my afternoon. Le sigh.

From Necessity Baking Co.: Tsoureki (Easter egg loaf shaped like a wreath with dyed, hard-boiled eggs as garnish). Turns out an entire hard-boiled egg can cram nicely into the mouth of an 18-month-old.

From Bowl Square: Bibimbap with beef. Also “some kind of really spicy French dressing.”

From Chundy’s Bistro: Curried chicken and saffron rice. Also a discussion about being allergic to chicken.

From FLiP Crepes: Buckwheat crepes filled with brie, fig jam, onion confit, walnuts and spinach. Also samples of Nutella-filled crepes that were for the chocolate tour group, not us. Completely busted by chocolate smeared lips and fingers. This would be the adults, not the kids.

From Vanille: A chocolate eclair. Also a perfect-looking raspberry macaron, which fit into an 18-month-old’s mouth in a single bite.

From Delightful Pastries: An small cake loafette, decorated like an Easter egg. Crumb survey revealed that the 3-year-old was a big fan.

Overall, everything was pretty tasty. And the company was excellent, with ample entertainment by adorable children. I estimate that we spent about $15 a person (not including the kids).