BEST PLACES TO GET THE ESSENCE OF CHICAGO

Chicago is a complicated place and we (mostly) like it that way. If you're new to the city or in town for a weekend, some of these places would be a good start.
  1. The Paper Machete. Hands-down my favorite cultural happening in Chicago. On Saturday afternoons, Chris Piatt hosts a fascinating mix of comedians and essayists as part of this live magazine, a so-called "salon in a saloon," which just so happens to be the very-famous-in-its-own-right Green Mill.
  2. Lula Cafe. The stalwart of the Logan Square dining scene. It's still amazing after all these years...but now it has a bigger bar.
  3. The MCA's dance programming. For those of us who work in the non-profit sector and can't regularly afford tickets to the ballet, this series is a godsend. I saw Rosas danst Rosas for $20 last fall.
  4. Taste of Lebanon in Andersonville. The most perfect $4 chicken shawarma sandwich you will ever eat.
  5. TJ and Dave's two-man show on Wednesday nights at iO. There *might* be better improvisers in town. But probably not.