Red Snapper in citrus-rum sauce at Hemmingway’s
Chef Chris Ala’s Oak Park eatery Hemmingway’s Bistro is a long way from Key West, Florida, but the Ernest Hemingway enthusiast and Caribbean-fish-grilling guru cooks with the kind of flare even the Pulitzer-winning novelist could appreciate. Ala orders fresh fish daily from places like Bimini, an island where glimmering pink Red Snapper is typical catch-of-the-day fare. He complements the snapper with a sauce cooked over a flaming stovetop with rum, butter and chunks of mango, grapefruits, oranges, lemons and limes. After grilling the snapper, Ala flips it in cornstarch so it stands, silvery pink skin, fins, tail and all, in the yellowy, creamy sauce.
Hemmingway’s Bistro, 211 North Oak Park Avenue, Oak Park, (708)524-0806, hemmingwaysbistro.com/
Best of Chicago 2012
Photo: Kristine Sherred
Regardless of whatever misgivings you might have about supporting a corporate yoga company, there’s no denying the advantage of having seven—soon-to-be-eight—studios located throughout the city, each with almost a dozen classes each day. Regardless of where you plan to get your next drink, there’s somewhere nearby that gets you a yoga high and yoga bod beforehand—no excuses. But the CorePower mecca is the South Loop studio: As you search for a drishti (gazing point) in tree pose, you can choose to focus on an element of Chicago’s downtown skyline, which the fifth-floor studio showcases through its large windows.
12 West Maple, (312)266-9642
1704 North Milwaukee, (773)227-9642
945 West George, (773)862-9642
Audience choice: (tie)
Bikram Yoga Chicago
47 West Polk, (312)922-9642
1344 North Milwaukee, (773)395-9150
2736A North Clark, (773)348-9642
Best of Chicago 2011
Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio
From the Robie House in Hyde Park to what seems like every other house in Oak Park, Chicago’s a kind of open-air Frank Lloyd Wright museum. To comprehend it all, start at his home and studio. Wright began work on the house in 1888 when he was only 21, and made additions and changes for almost a decade. After establishing his own practice, he added the open-plan studio and continued to tinker with the design of the rest of the building. In effect, the tour guide’s descriptions of the house’s evolution match the evolution of Wright’s style, so it’s like walking into his cranky baroque mind. There are traces of the influence Japanese design had on Wright, insights into the growth of the Prairie Style, and one particularly pleasant revelation: an amazing, barrel-vaulted children’s playroom that any adult would wish to have nostalgia for having played in as a child.
951 Chicago, Oak Park (708)848-1976.
Best of Chicago 2002