The Best of Chicago,
Our annual review of the things that make Chicago great-the city’s best in drinking and dining, playing and primping, stopping and shopping, including restaurants for a romantic dinner or a power lunch; venues to find the date of your dreams; cool spots to get jacked on java or tranquil with tea; and a roundup of placed to train your pooch.

Death in a Happy Place, by Bryan Smith
When the Lincoln Park Zoo agreed to bring three elephants to its new African Journey exhibit, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals raised an alarm. As the elephants died over the course of seven months, along with six other zoo animals, a bitter storm enveloped the beloved institution.

The Real Apprentice, by David Bernstein
Think Donald Trump was actually going to entrust the building of his massive new Chicago skyscraper to someone he found on his reality TV show? In real life it is his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., overseeing the $800-million Chicago tower and other big Trump projects as he prepares for the day when he will run his old man’s empire.

At Home: Breaking Away, by Christine Newman
When this couple in Green Bay, Wisconsin, decided to remodel their house, they let a Chicago architect, Douglas Garofalo, run with his ideas. The design is contemporary, unconventional, and clever in its conception. One test neighbor disagreed; another gave the project an unusual heads up.





Northwestern swimmer Matt Grevers steps up to a national platform; the playwright Joel Drake Johnson puts family dysfunction at the heart of his dramas; a U. of C. hormone expert explores chronic sleep deprivation; a peek inside five of Chicago’s most impressive yachts; a tour of Three Oaks, Michigan; a survey of the city’s top personal shoppers; more. Plus: Style Sheet, The Shopper and Sales Check

How We Spend, by Kate Prouty
The cost of Cubs and White Sox tickets has skyrocketed in recent years, making them some of baseball’s priciest. PLUS: Targeting the back-to-college market

Sports | Fore! Father, by Jim Noyes
The ornery and egotistical Charles Macdonald invented the art of golf course architecture at the Chicago Golf Club, scene of this month’s Walker Cup.

People | Through the Ceiling, by Deborah Wilk
The Chicago architect Jeanne Gang has a number of highly acclaimed projects behind her. She’s also smart enough to ignore personal potshots.

Adult Education | Live and Learn, by Lacey Irby
There are plenty of things to do before we die, but 101? With apologies to the author Richard Horne, these classes prove that eight in enough.

Deal Estate, by Dennis Rodkin
A South Shore house that’s actually on the shore; another record sale for Naperville; going to the chapel at Wilmette’s Mallinckrodt College; affordable housing for Arlington Heights; lots worth millions in Lincoln Park

Nightspotting, by Sarah Preston
Our Nightspotter grabs the mike at Chicago’s hottest Sunday karaoke spot. PLUS: Damn good bar food at half price


The Closer, by Jeff Ruby
Q-Tips, doughnuts, telephone books, and rain tarps are far more dangerous than they look. Just ask these professional baseball players.

On the Town


During August: Every year, members of Chicago’s dance community pool their time and talent in Dance for Life, a concert that raises money to combat AIDS. Five of the city’s top dance troupes are featured at Navy Pier’s Skyline Stage in the event, traditionally closed with a finale by Randy Duncan. Also, it’s probably the only dance concert that’s got a choreographed raffle presentation.
Marquee: A preview of coming attractions

Food & Drink

Dining Out | Speaking Spanish, by Dennis Ray Wheaton
One’s Spanish, one’s Mexican, and one’s Spanish-Mexican. All three are luring neighborhood crowds with zesty, affordable plates-and infectious, easygoing charm.

The city’s definitive guide to Chicago’s top restaurants| This month: 12 new and updated listings, including Les Deux Autres and Vivere
Dish: The ten hottest restaurants right now; Q&A with Michael Taus, a veteran restaurateur opening on Randolph; gossip and more