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Chicago combines the best of gourmet markets with restaurant dining

Chicago is one of the most dynamic cities in the United States. In addition to world class higher educational institutions, it is home to a vibrant culinary scene. And perhaps the variety of top-notch eateries is what makes this city so appealing. But, surprisingly, it's not traditional, formal dining establishments that are becoming more famous.

Combining the best of gourmet specialty markets with restaurants, enjoying a meal at these two businesses should be included in every itinerary when visiting the Windy City:

     ♦ Publican Quality Meats – 825 West Fulton Market Street
Carnivores can browse an impressive selection of organic and grass-fed meat that includes lamb, sausage, beef and deli meat before sitting down at the designated 32-seat restaurant for lunch.

Whether you're in the mood for a pork belly sandwich, charcuterie plate that comes with braised beef, blood sausage and smoked chorizo, or simply a bowl of homemade corn chowder with chilies and lime crema, you're sure to walk away feeling satisfied. Don't leave without browsing the wide array of artisanal cheeses or the Publican-branded spices that are for sale.

     ♦ Southport Grocery & Cafe – 3552 North Southport Avenue
This eatery and market concept exemplifies exactly what comfort food is. Munch on grilled coffee cake, brisket and gravy or sweet and savory french toast for breakfast or grilled brie or pork confit salad. Vegetarians should take advantage of the lolla rosa beet salad or cheese box.

''When I first started in 2003, I'd been doing a lot of traveling to New York, which has a tradition of really great specialty food stores, and Chicago didn’t have those,'' said chef and owner Lisa, according to The New York Times. ''Now, what's available has changed, and there are a lot more businesses in the city making things locally."

And don't walk away without buying some homemade chocolate toffee scone mix, cayenne cashews or biscotti.

While in Chicago, make sure that your trip is enjoyable as possible. Don't stress out trying to navigate the public transportation system. Instead, use a convenient executive transportation system which can take you wherever you want to go in a luxury SUV limousine.