Carrie Nahabedian has been turning out graceful plates at Naha since 2000 and earned the 2008 James Beard Foundation Award for "Best Chef Great Lakes." When she's not serving up Mediterranean-influenced American dishes, you'll find her in Streeterville and the Gold Coast, where she's made her home for the past 12 years. She recently shared her favorite spots in the neighborhood.
Breakfast: If I eat breakfast out, I go to Deca at the Ritz Carlton. They have the famous ricotta lemon pancakes, which are great. And you can have breakfast there whenever the restaurant is open and that's a big draw. I like their oatmeal with fruit, and they do beautiful eggs.
Bar: RL. They'll make you anything you want and it's just really comfortable to sit there. They always remember all the regulars, and it's great to get a drink in a big, heavy Ralph Lauren glass.
Sandwich: Allium does a Wagyu beef slider with cheddar and horseradish aioli. Everything at Allium is very comforting, Midwestern, and rather large.
Dinner Spot: My dinner spot is Shanghai Terrace at the Peninsula. They do an amazing duck salad, have great service, and present food beautifully. Their big wok-fried shrimp with red chili flakes is one of my favorite dishes.
Pizza: Giordano's on Rush. Get the deep dish with sausage, pepperoni, and light on the tomato.
Burger: The Cheesecake Factory. I like the bacon cheddar burger with BBQ sauce and fried onions, but I don't eat it anymore since I've been on a health kick. I just greatly admire this chain because it's always consistent and there's variety, and everything is always great.
Falafel: Good luck with that. The closest you'll find is Sayat Nova, which is Armenian food.
Date Night: I love the Coq D'Or at the Drake. It's dark and comfortable.
Bread: RL does the lavash cracker bread that I go insane for.
Pastry/Dessert: Sprinkles for cupcakes. I like the coconut, black and white, and red velvet, but the coconut is my favorite.
Coffee: I don't drink coffee at all; I do tea. The Park Hyatt has a similar tea program to what we have here at Naha.