The Best of Chicago
Our annual roundup of the outstanding people, places, and things in the city and suburbs-plus top media picks, a tour of the city’s hippest shopping strip (hint: it’s in Bucktown), and the favorite dining hangouts of four local culinary stars.

Bruise Brothers
by Robert Kurson
Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher grew up battling with his younger brother, Casey, in every activity. For a long time, they did not even like each other very much. But now, with Casey fighting for an NFL career, his All-Pro big brother has his back.

Plane Simple
by Robert Kurson
They might look like mere dune buggies on land, but powered parachutes can send just about anyone gliding over gorgeous landscapes. A rural Indiana flight school makes going aloft easier, safer, and more fun than you’d imagine.

Splendor in the Grass
by Christine Newman
Two gentleman farmers find their place in the sun on ten acres in Harbor Country, where they’ve got it all: a farmhouse, a pond, a meadow, a stable and barn, two tractors, a 1957 Corvette, two dogs and two cats. Plus a big toy train.




New twang from Neko Case; Tony Fitzpatrick takes on Nelson Algren; Nicole Kidman drops by; more

Style Sheet
by Stacy Wallace-Albert
Museum shops are super sources for the unusual and the unexpected.

Arts Beat
Two guys from Glencoe head for Broadway; Zolla/Lieberman Gallery confronts sex in art; Patricia Barber emulates Cole Porter; Stones ticket prices drop.

by Marcia Froelke Coburn
The music stopped when Richard Dunn discovered that his classic 1957 Fender bass was missing.

Adult Ed
by Carrie Sager
In these unsettling days, eight classes in the liberal arts-history, literature, science, and religion-provide a reassuring link to some time-tested truths.

by Kevin McKeough
Some of the city’s rock luminaries have slowed down a bit, even started families. They’re still producing great material, but the new stuff broadens the definition of an “all-ages show.”

Dining Out
by Dennis Ray Wheaton
Two exciting restaurants pay their respects to the regions of Italy-one focuses on the pastas of Emilia-Romagna; the other balances Umbrian and Tuscan rusticity.

Deal Estate
by Dennis Rodkin
A Victorian from the Medinah Temple architects, a marked-down David Adler mansion, a record flurry of refinancings-and a new condo page with three downtown high-rises for city-bound empty nesters.

by Sarah Preston
We preview Don Antic’s Superlounge, and unearth two gems: Lake View’s Bungalow Loungebar and Wiker Park’s Innjoy.

The Closer
by Jeff Ruby
One of the city’s finest art collections hangs in the Chicago public schools. The critics-and the kids-weigh in.

Chicago Guides

Prime Time
In August: You’ll want to buy up everything in sight at this year’s American Craft Exposition. The terrific show is at Evanston’s Henry Crown Sports Pavilion. Take your checkbook.

Opening: The lobster salad at Café des Architectes is as sculptural as Sofitel, the new hotel that houses it.
On Wine: Marc Dornan takes a detour into the sweet world of Belgian-style ale.