Place: Water Tower Food Court, Chicago
Date: April 23 & 25, 2012
What? I'm reviewing a FOOD COURT??!! What the heck?
Yes, I am really going to tell you about the best food court in the world. I love this shopping mall in downtown Chicago so much that as soon as I land at O'Hare, I head to the Miracle Mile and the Water Tower Mall Food Court. Yes, me. The big foodie snob heads to the Food Court. My only question is "Why can't every food court in the country be run by whoever runs this place?"
Here's how it works: You go to the entrance on the 2nd floor and a hostess asks you how many in your party. Then a very nice assistant takes you to a table and flips over a sign that says "reserved." She hands you a blank plastic card and you are off and running. You can now put down your coat (it's Chicago after all) and visit all the food stations, booths, wine bar and ice cream shop. Order whatever you want and the attendant will put it on your plastic card. No need to worry about cash or debit cards. No money handling to slow things down or spread germs. You can order a little bit here and a little bit there and not worry about grabbing your wallet at every cash register. Save the wallet until you're finished with your meal (and dessert?) and then head out to the cashier with your plastic card. She'll ring up your order and you can pay by cash, debit or credit. That's it - you just pay one time for everything. There's also a sit down restaurant and a take-away food market with another wine and full-service bar. It's really amazing and the take-away is gorgeous appetizers, sandwiches and mac & cheese. I can't understand why everybody in Chicago isn't obese. Oh. Wait a minute.
My personal favorite meal is a giant baked potato from the "Comfort Food" guys topped with some veggie chili from the soup place. Then I go overboard with the sour cream and cheese. This festival of carb and fiber pairs nicely with a glass of California Viognier. The wine bar has a great selection of wines by the glass. Can you get great wines by the glass at your Food Court? I think not. Over the past few years, I've sampled the pizza, pasta, ice cream and Thai spring rolls at Water Tower Food Court. I always look for Oprah because I heard she lived in the condo building over the Mall. I've never seen her, but I'm not going to stop looking for Oprah or eating at the Water Tower Food Court.