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She Cavorts in Chicago
Great solo-friendly eats...


When it comes to eating out in Chicago, the choice this city lays at your feet is incredible. To help us narrow the huge recommended list, we consulted several Chicago Journeywomen who are experienced solo-diners. These are their best bets....

Sharon Wingler, flight attendant and author of "Travel Alone and Love it" took Journeywoman to her favorite Chicago brunch spot and I felt right at home. Tempo (circa 1983) is an inviting neighbourhood diner complete with arborite table tops and old-fashioned leather-like banquettes. Their specialty ? Assorted omelets and crispy hash browns served steaming hot in the skillet. Each order comes with a quirky starter of one prune and one orange quarter, thick brown toast and home-made marmalade. Journeywoman chose a spinach and feta omelet and recommends it highly. Pricing moderate. Service with a smile! (1 E. Chestnut Street)

chefWhat do Journeywoman, Goldie Hawn, Meg Ryan and Sandra Bullock have in common? We've all enjoyed dinner at Bistro 110 (reputed to be one of Oprah Winfrey's recommendations for the woman dining solo). This swell spot is a casually chic combination of American eatery and French bistro. The servers are friendly but not familiar, the wine "by the glass" list is impressive and the eclectic menu absolutely divine. Journeywoman loved their filet of halibut, the signature mashed potatoes whipped with creme fraiche and, the creme brule that arrives at the table smothered in berries. Expect lots of calories and upscale prices but definitely worth both the splurges! Reservations necessary. (110 East Pearson)

Southwestern restaurant, Blue Mesa has a fire going in the fireplace, caramel colored stucco walls, natural wood floors, deep green chairs and crockery in pastel apricot and turquoise. Chicago event planner, Jamie Haddy suggested this inviting location for an interesting solo dinner and she was right. The Tequila Bar is well stocked and offers the opportunity to chat while waiting to be seated. The menu features such goodies as sizzling fajitas, chicken enchiladas, vegetarian burritos and their specialty, Blue Mesa saffron flavored paella. Food portions are huge, servers are friendly and people watching is great! (1729 N. Halstead)

Bed and Breakfast owner, Sally Baker led us to Le Colonial, a sophisticated Vietnamese restaurant in the tony Gold Coast part of town. Think potted palms, bamboo window shades, slowly rotating ceiling fans, black wicker furniture and very pleasant food. Journeywoman sampled Mi Xao Don Chay -- crispy noodles with stir-fried mixed vegetables. Dessert was caramelized lemon tart served with Vietnamese coffee. All lovely! (937 North Rush Street)

Annie Opaltchenski is the able concierge at the Embassy Suites Hotel. When asked where she directs solo female diners, Annie's answer was "Bravissimo." This tiny downtown restaurant serves tasty Italian food with a twist -- Vanilla Poppyseed Salad, Pumpkin Ravioli, Whole Wheat Veggie Linguini and Sweet Pear Pizza. Twenty dollars and a smile will buy you a full course dinner. Better keep your eyes open -- this is reported to be one of Robert DeNiro's favorite places! (508 N. Clark)

Bonus: Peggy Curran is a Montreal-based journalist who recently visited and wrote about Chicago in the Gazette. In her article she suggests, "For a late-afternoon treat, you might wish to indulge in high tea in the Palm Court of the Drake Hotel, one of Chicago's oldest and grandest hotels....The guest register reads like a Who's Who of the 20th century - George Gershwin, Amelia Earhart, Groucho Marx, Walt Disney and assorted kings, queens and emperors" (140 E. Walton Place).

Finally, for those evenings when you'd rather pick your feet up, turn on the TV and just relax, B&B owner, Sally Baker suggested the take-out cuisine of California Pizza Kitchen. A peek at their menu promises such assorted goodies as sesame ginger chicken dumplings ($4.50), Classic Caesar Salad ($6.95), Fresh Vegetable Penne ($8.95) and Apple Crisp Delight ($3.95). To order your comfort food, call 312.787.7300




For Journeywoman's suggestions for great stuff to do in Chicago, click here!



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