Chicago Insider: Amy Hoffman on Kiki’s French Bistro and biking the city
President of Arts & Artisans
How long you’ve lived here: Born here, raised inthe suburbs and moved to the loop 20 years ago.
What you like best about Chicago: Down-to-earth people, a beautiful lakefront, parks and architecture, excellent restaurants — all in walking distance.
Best meal you’ve had recently: Lunch at The Gage on Michigan and Monroe. Amazing brie fondue starter, puree squash soup and the peppered salmon club. Oh so good! I can’t wait for their new French restaurant to open next door.
Favorite big-name restaurant: Sweetwater on Michigan Avenue and Southwater Street. It’s been open almost a year and is a high-energy, classy bar with booth seating and quality food.
Favorite “hidden gem” restaurant: RL. The Ralph Lauren restaurant on Chicago Avenue just west of Michigan Avenue has a stellar menu of favorites and a perfect atmosphere. You’ll see.
Best sports bar to catch the game: The new Blue Frog Bar on East Hubbard. Tasty wings from mild to blazing hot and inexpensive pitchers of beer. Finish up a fun evening with some karaoke.
A great night out with friends usually includes… “The Triangle,” as the locals call it, between Division, State and Rush. There is something for everyone to enjoy, from casual outdoor settings to five-star dining and clubs that are open all hours.
Favorite store or best shopping area: Arts &Artisans on South Michigan Ave. has the greatest collection of unique jewelry, wearables and home decor for a variety of tastes and occasions.
The best way to spend a fall Saturday in Chicago: Outdoors. See and do as much as you can. The leaves have incredible colors for about three weeks, so enjoy every minute.
One thing every visitor must do here: Millennium Park! It’s romantic for couples and fun for families. Then take the best tour on the Chicago architectural boat cruise.
While in Chicago, don’t bother… going to a sporting event, which can be a waste of time when there are so many other wonderful things to do and see. That is, unless you are a big fan.
Secret Chicago spot: KiKi’s French Bistro on Erie has authentic dishes and a lovely French country ambiance.
Underrated activity in the city: Biking is a great way to see the lakefront, parks and city.