looking for, say, a low-fat Caesar salad. Diners here can also choose south-of-the-bor der
dishes, an assor tment of Asian far e, and v eggie-oriented, lo w-fat far e. S pecial tr eats
include the Miracle Juice Bar's fresh orange juice and raspberry fruit smoothie, as well as
a host of healthy or gooey desser ts, and, at a booth called S acred G rounds, v arious
espresso-based beverages. A lunch or a snack at foodlife is basically inexpensiv e, but the
payment method (each diner receives an electronic card that records each purchase for a
total payment upon exit) makes it easy to build up a big tab while holding a personal
taste-testing session at each kiosk.
In Water Tower Place, 835 N. M ichigan Ave. & 312/335-3663. Highchairs, boosters. Reservations not
accepted. Most items $5-$10. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Mon-Thurs 11am-8pm; Fri-Sat 11am-9pm. Subway/
El: Red Line to Chicago/State.
Oak Tree AMERICAN/BREAKFAST Tucked away on the sixth floor of the 900
N. Michigan indoor mall (home of B loomingdale's), Oak Tree isn't exactly high-profile.
But it's one of my fav orite places for a meal during a day of M agnificent Mile touring.
The cafe decor is bright and cheer y (with natur e-inspired murals to help y ou momen-
tarily forget that you're inside a mall). If you can, get a table along the windows that look
down on Michigan Avenue. Oak Tree's draw is the enormous, v aried menu. You'll find
something for everyone in the family: a large salad selection, Asian noodles, sandwiches
that range fr om meatball to duck br east, Mexican quesadillas, and ev en blue-plate spe-
cials such as tur key hash or a patty melt. The breakfast menu is just as extensiv e. Oak
Tree can get quite cr owded at prime time, with hefty waits, so tr
y to time y our visit
900 N. Michigan Ave., 6th floor. & 312/751-1988. Highchairs, boosters. Reservations not accepted. Main
courses $9-$15. AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Mon-Fri 7:30am-6:30pm; Sat-Sun 7:30am-5:30pm. Subway/El: Red
Line to Chicago/State.
5 RIVER NORTH
Most families visiting Chicago will find themselves heading for dinner in River North at
least once during their stay. The city's hot spot for family dining, Riv er North offers an
ever-growing, something-for-everyone array of restaurants—from fast food to theme and
chain r estaurants (plus some of the most fashionable dining destinations, so par ents
might want to hir e a sitter one night and r eturn for “date night”). Whether you seek a
quick dog or burger, a casual French meal, or contemporary American fine dining, River
North has it all.
Brasserie Jo ALSATIAN/FRENCH Brasserie Jo, the casual dining destination
from Jean Joho (whose upscale E verest restaurant is one of the city 's longtime gourmet
destinations), is a popular spot for convivial meals of r obust fare in a Parisian, retro-chic
setting. It's big and bustling enough to welcome kids, and once you explain that a croque-
monsieur is really a toasted ham and cheese, your kids will find something wonderful on
the menu. F or the adults, follo wing in the tradition of the classic Alsatian brasserie
(meaning “brewery”), Brasserie Jo makes a malty house brew, and diners are welcome for
a quick stop-in snack with a glass of wine or a full fiv e-course meal.
You can order a hearty Alsatian choucroute, but the menu focuses more on casual French
classics: Entrees are divided into seafood, steak, and a variety of bistro-style specialties (coq