Tory Burch just added online guides to the all of the cities where she has boutiques, and luckily Chicago is one of them! I anxiously received the list as I was excited to see what she would pick. At a glance I nodded, and thought "Yes, yes," and smiled in agreement. I have lived in Chicago for the last 25 years, so I should be familiar with what is in our city, but also know that from time-to-time one needs to become a tourist in their own town.
Her guide is useful because it is not overwhelming and includes the must-see places in Chicago with which I am familiar, but I could definitely use a re-visit. And thankfully some spots were new to me!
One of my re-visits started with the Tory Burch Boutique in the Gold Coast, just off of the Michigan Avenue Magnificent Mile at 66 East Walton Street. I popped in on a Saturday and the boutique was abuzz. I was greeted immediately by the store manager, who I recognized from the store opening two years ago but I remained in-cognito for my review. I checked out some of my favorite Tory Burch leather jackets, impeccably tailored fitted dresses, handbags and shoes of the season. Decisions, decisions! It is between the small black handbag with gold zipper details and the platform booties for me. The atmosphere was upbeat and cozy and all of the sale staff extremely friendly and helpful. I could hear them ordering items from other stores and getting women fitted.
The next stop I was happy to see on Tory Burch's list was Ikram. How cool she was not afraid to send people to another boutique. I had not been there in a long time and was pleased with the friendliness of the staff there as well. Ikram is a museum of very high-end pieces and eclectic designs, and can be quite overwhelming. The jewelry cases looked like they were filled with vintage pieces and estate jewelry, but they are all new designs. I admired the knit fabric on an Azzedine Alaia piece, and remind myself to check back when Ikram has her red ribbon sale, pre-inventory time.
Next I decided to do what every shopper needs to do. Get a cupcake. So I got the red velvet cupcake at Swirlz just off of Lincoln Avenue in Lincoln Park. Following Tory's suggestion of the red velvet, I bit into light cake and a creamy frosting. This place could become dangerous. They also offered several varieties of gluten-free cupcakes!
My biggest journey was to the Broadway Antique Market at 6130 N Broadway. I suggest Lake Shore Drive as the quickest way to get there if you drive or take a cab. Unless it is summer, then watch out for a Cubs game or lakefront activity! I saw Herman Miller Furniture, and a few pieces from the 30s to the 70s. There was tons of jewelry in cases, glass wear, vintage clothing and you name it! All very well edited that brought me many smiles. I could have spent all day there.
Other places I can vouch for on her SHOP list include A New Leaf, where a very stylish friend of mine always buys her florals, and Urban Oasis, where I have enjoyed a massage or two at the tranquil spa.
The places her SEE list are really big part of Chicago. Like the Lakefront Trail and the Art Institute of Chicago. Something I not have done, but I have been wanting do is take my mother to the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio. For KIDS she suggests the the Lincoln Park Zoo, but big kids, too, can enjoy Zoo Lights which is going on right now through New Year's Day.
Where to go to dinner? Tory's restaurant guide includes all of the popular spots including, Spiaggia, Blackbird and Table Fifty-Two. I have been to Gene & Georgetti's many times before and love the old restaurant feel, where you can get huge steaks and great Italian food (not to mention a stiff drink) as well.
I have to say that I love the fact that Tory added Lem's Barbeque to her list of restaurants. It brought to my mind the casual side of Tory Burch, and of attending the first Fashion's Night Out where they served grilled corn on the cob and beer outside her New York boutique. Lem's is a bit out of the way from downtown Chicago, but I had heard about it before and I will certainly have to give it a try!
I wanted to try a place where I have never been, so I choose Spiaggia, and decided on the more casual Cafe Spiaggia (where men do not need a jacket). The service was wonderful and I just had to start with a Limoncello martini. I loved the beet salad with goat cheese and pistachios. The meat balls were excellent and the pastas were absolutely fresh and delicious. My dinner companion and I tried several varieties of pastas! My arm was twisted to try the Tiramisu, which was super thick, rich and certainly gave me that pick-me-up!
I enjoyed my "Tory Day" and since Tory Burch did such a wonderful job with her Chicago choices, I think I will consult her when I visit another city.
Photos: Second City Style
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FTC Disclosure: Expenses reimbursed for review.