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Jennifer Hudson’s Favorite Spots to Shop, Dine, and Relax

Treat yourself to a day in the American Idol star’s shoes.

Jennifer Hudson at Aahh! Fest.   Photo: Travas Machel

Jennifer Hudson dropped her new album JHUD this week, and the single “Walk It Out”—which reminds Hudson of growing up in Englewood—isn’t the album’s only Chicago connection. To promote the release, Hudson teamed up with Gilt City to showcase her favorite local hotspots, and they’re just as glamorous as you’d expect from a woman with a brand-new album and a pixie cut to match.

Unfortunately for Chicagoans, the list doesn’t provide much insight into Hudson’s under-the-radar haunts, like her favorite dive bar or the 100-year-old Italian restaurant where she always requests fresh tomatoes and extra garlic on her pizza. Still, if you want to shop and dine like an American Idol finalist for a day, here are Hudson’s high-end favorites.

Brunch like J-Hud at Tanta, where chef Gastón Acurio explores the diverse influences behind Peruvian cuisine, from China to Spain to the ancient Incas. After throwing back a Pisco Sour at 10 a.m., you’ll be ready to make slightly questionable budgetary decisions at space519, the only brick- and-mortar shopping destination on Hudson’s list of favorites. The place is billed as a “refined general store,” and you’ll be seduced by rare perfumes, silks from around the globe, high-end oils, and plenty of other glamorous knick-knacks.

If you’re hungry, head to The Goddess and Grocer for prepared foods and artisanal groceries to make your regular-person kitchen feel like a celebrity-person kitchen. If you’re famished, Eleven City Diner has a new-ish second location in Lincoln Park where you can gorge on elevated Jewish delicatessen favorites and drink as much house-made barrel-aged root beer as possible.

When it comes to relaxation, Hudson likes both the Waldorf Astoria Chicago Spa & Health Club and Spa Dabin for the usual massages, facials, manicures, and other services designed to rid you of the extraordinary stress brought on by brunching and shopping. To top off the day, bring a date to either bellyQ for innovative Asian barbecue or Chuck’s: A Kerry Simon Kitchen for fancy Americana fare. If you’re feeling inspired, hop over to Gilt and snag certificates to each of these places, and keep your fingers crossed that JHUD is craving a Pisco Sour, too.

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