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CHICAGO


ABOVE: Grant Park CENTRE: Cloud Gate sculpture RIGHT: Michigan Avenue


luxury tour with spa treatments, cocktails and dinner, all without stepping outside. “Not everyone gets it,” she admits. “But


I just love it. It’s so weird.” Less niche is a boat tour with the Chicago Architecture Foundation. The guides are volunteer staff members who know the buildings brick by brick (or steel rod). I lean back to gaze up at the eclectic parade of beauties. Afterwards, I devour oozy burrata (cheese) with a glass of rosé at Chicago City Winery on the Riverwalk. Food has always been a big deal in


Chicago, though it has moved beyond deep-dish pizza and hot dogs splodged with mustard.


Now the city twinkles with 35 Michelin


stars. One-starred GreenRiver is tucked on the 18th floor of a medical building. Not exactly prepossessing – until I step out to views that swoosh towards Lake Michigan. The encyclopedic cocktail menu


72 — aspire september 2017


was designed by the same team as New York’s Dead Rabbit, regularly rated the world’s best bar. Dishes include ricotta cavatelli pasta with short rib and morels, self-sauced by a runny poached egg. I can’t resist trying a Michelin-starred cheeseburger, rare, juicy and almost truffle-like in its richness. Proxi, in the West Loop, is chef Andrew Zimmerman’s second restaurant. His first, Sepia, already has a star. With sharing plates like tempura elotes (smoked corn fritters) and crisp-fried fish collars with garlic chilli sauce, I predict another. Eden, in edgy West Lake, draws crowds keen to taste (and Instagram) its umami doughnuts with roasted mushroom miso and raclette.


Sepia lighting and scantily-clad staff mean Maple & Ash, in Gold Coast, feels more like an exclusive nightclub than a restaurant. In lieu of an amuse-bouche, the waiter pours a citrussy aperitif, stiff


The symphony soars from under the honeycombed roof. The notes hit my skin like shards of ice. Goosebumps


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