Q: I am planning my first trip to Chicago for sometime in mid-June. What are your recommendations and must-have food experiences for a newcomer to Chicago?
—Lea Thompson, Austin, Texas
Q: I'll be in Chicago in July doing a dinner. Have some restaurants on my bucket list but do you have any recommendations on where to eat?
—Brandon Frohne, Nashville, Tenn.
A: Lea meet Brandon; Brandon meet Lea. I hope you two don't mind that I grouped your questions together but they seem to be two sides of the same coin: What to do food-wise in Chicago?
There are far too many venues for me to do justice in this column space. So, I'm going to point you to a new e-book from this newspaper: "The Chicago Tribune Guide to Chicago: Restaurants, Bars, Theaters, Museums, Festivals, Sports and More." Free to the Tribune's Digital Plus subscribers, you can pick it up wherever e-books are sold.
In the meantime I recommend that Lea Thomspon begin by tackling Chicago's culinary trinity: Hot dogs, deep-dish pizza and Italian beef sandwiches. Lots of choices for all of them.
Of the three, let's focus on the hot dog — simply because I'm craving one right now! Here are five suggestions recommended by The Daily Meal in a recent list of America's top hot dog purveyors: Hot Doug's, 3324 N. California Ave.; Wiener Circle, 2622 N. Clark St.; Superdawg Drive-In, 6363 N. Milwaukee Ave.; Fat Johnnie's Famous Red Hots, 7242 S. Western Ave.; and Gene and Jude's, 2720 River Road in suburban River Grove.
I'd walk off all these calories with a quick trip to Lincoln Park and the Green City Market for some of the best produce and local foods in the Midwest. The market, which takes place Wednesdays and Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., is located near the southern end of Lincoln Park.
Brandon Frohne is executive chef of Mason's, Mason's Bar and Forage South Pop-Up Restaurant, all in Nashville, Tenn. A quick email exchange unearthed some of the dining experiences he's looking for: "Filipino, creative bar snacks, Southern and shared plates."
I posed Frohne's question to the Tribune's Dining section staff and they pointed to Fat Rice. This restaurant, located at 2957 W Diversey Ave. in Chicago's Logan Square neighborhood, bills itself as "a casual neighborhood joint serving up Euro-Asian comfort food."
Fat Rice's menu is based on the distinctive cuisines of Portugal's former colonies in India (Goa) and China (Macau) along with a dollop of Southeast Asian flavors. I think you'll be intrigued, chef.
Happy times to you both in Chicago!
Do you have a question about food or drink? E-mail Bill Daley at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Snail mail inquiries should be sent to: Bill Daley, Chicago Tribune, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago 60611. Twitter @billdaley.