Subject: Chicago restaurants
I am a 4th generation Berghoff customer. My daughter, who is now 6, loves the bratwurst and we eat there regularly, as I did with my father. I have met members of the Berghoff family, but I have never heard nor read anywhere before about the actor Gary from MASH being a relation. With all due respect, I believe this to be untrue. Even tho I love it there, I have to say, not everyone appreciates it. It is a large restaurant, somewhat bustling, and if one is a person who must have perfectly pretty yuppie food, its not for you.

I too, would recommend Gene & Georgetti's for steak. Perhaps you would enjoy Le Colonial, which is a fine-dining Vietnamese restaurant a very short cab ride from the Loop. I've never been there, because I just love Pasteur, another elegant Vietnamese place on the farther North Side. It's nice to have lunch at he Walnut Room at Marshall Field's, the food and service has much improved lately, and it's quiet. Another option is to check the website for Lettuce Entertain You. Not really a chain, but a group of restaurants. Their webite lets you look at menus. My faves are Mon Ami Gabi, Corner Bakery, Big Bowl (on Ohio). I used to love and frequent Frontera Grill owned by the Bayless family, but had a very disappointing experience a few years ago and haven't returned.

For wine, I am not such a fan of Sam's but everyone seems to love it and the selection is great. For me buying wine has to be a pleasant experience. I buy from a small but wonderful shop in my neighborhood, Fine Wine Brokers.

I would suggest two places I haven't yet been, but have heard good things about.

Bin 36, on N. Dearborn, has retail wine AND a wine tavern.

Randolph Wine Sellers, over west of the Loop, near the Wishbone, one of my favorite restaurants, also many other fun and chic restaurants in this area, where I lived in the mid-90s.

Please report back when you return. We will all wish to know how it went.