The Best of Chicago
Our writers explore the rich possibilities of our peerless city and uncover the most romantic restaurant, the tallest climbing wall, the liveliest jukebox, the prettiest public garden, and a host of other people, places, and things that make Chicago special. Plus, our dining critics name their favorite spots for eight restaurant staples.

The Seven Golden Rules of the Favor Economy
by Marc Spiegler
In this busy underground market, open every day, the currency of choice is favors – social, political, monetary. Here’s a guide to how Chicago’s elite and up-and-comers do unto one another.

Rhapsody in Cool
by Mark Ruffin
He’s a tree-time Grammy nominee – probably the biggest young jazz artist in the city – with a slick Beat style and a huge crush on his wife. But can Kurt Elling seduce the world? Stay tuned, cats.

At Home: Tree House
by Christine Newman
The building boom is changing the pace of Michigan’s Harbor Country, but there are still ways to beat the crowds and get peacefully lost in the place.




Five happy hour venues where the free eats still make for a meal; James Finn Garner warns of a new wave of destructive bugs; stroke for stroke with golf analyst Ken Venturi; more

Style Sheet
by Stacy Wallace-Albert
In the bag; the clean machine; quirky furniture at Ultimo

Stage & Screen
by Penelope Mesic
Donna Blue Lachman gets in character to play the eccentric arts patron Peggy Guggenheim.

Real Lives
by Marcia Froelke Coburn
Thanks to the dangers of leaving home, talk jocks Roe Conn and Garry Meier are a hit.

Sullivan’s Travels
by Terry Sullivan
Everything I need to know I learned on the B train.

Dining Out
by Dennis Ray Wheaton
Two celeb restaurateurs choose Chicago for their flashy food. Vongerichten embraces East and West; Lauren’s latest line is pasta.

Adult Education
by Libby Morse
If the most creative part of your week is making out your grocery list, enroll in one of these classes and let your muse run loose.

by James Pethokoukis
A U. of C. prof’s theories about the irrationality of investors has undermined mainstream economic thought.

Expert Witness
by Tara Croft
Mary Zimmerman – wedding jitters soother, ticket cost cutter, risk-taking theatergoer, and – oh, yeah – director

Chicago Guides

Prime Time

August Sizzles
he National Poetry Slam Championship, the Air and Water Show, and local heroes Wilco, opening for R.E.M. in Tinley Park.

New Listings

Sushi Wabi and Toque keep the Randolph Street dining scene sizzling. Budget Beat discovers a three-course grilled salmon dinner for $9.