I'm taking my sweetheart to Chicago for our anniversary. Can you suggest a hot new restaurant? I'm adventurous, but my husband is a meat-and-potatoes guy.
TRAVEL CONCIERGE: Marriage is about compromise: how high to set the thermostat, how low to let the gas gauge dip, how much to tip the waitress. But in Chicago neither of you has to budge an inch. (Score one for married couples everywhere!)
In this culinary capital on the shores of Lake Michigan - with more AAA-five diamond restaurants than any city in the United States - meat and potatoes have become adventurous, says Jeff Ruby, the chief dining critic for Chicago magazine.
Case in point: Girl and the Goat, the hottest restaurant in town, helmed by celebrity chef Stephanie Izard. "The food, while a carnivore's dream, is also fairly nuanced," Ruby says. "Dishes are full of pork and beef in interesting guises, and have names like Crispy Pig Face."
Other options? The Publican, run by award-winning chef Paul Kahan, serves up "glorious house-aged ham, suckling pig [and]homemade pork rinds," Ruby says. And The Purple Pig, rated one of the 10 best new U.S. restaurants by Bon Appétit magazine, puts a Mediterranean spin on the theme, offering charcuterie, cheeses and panini.
So make reservations pronto, or you may have to find romance at a Windy City classic: the hot dog stand.
I'm getting hitched in December. Where's a cool place for one last hurrah with my buddies?
TRAVEL CONCIERGE: Sure, there's that glittering town in the desert, but why not choose our homegrown hot spot, Montreal, where a Euro-chic vibe meets the late-night party scene? Plus, it's the perfect place to pump your arteries with poutine before your dear wife starts fretting about your cholesterol.
"It's Montreal, so it's sort of a party city anyway," says Brendan Murphy, a music writer for Hour weekly and blogger for The Montréal Buzz. "And the excess of strip clubs I assume has something to do with it."
You can DIY the trip, Murphy says. Start with a centrally located hotel, such as the InterContinental, throw in shrimp cocktail and steak at Montreal institution Moishes, and then head out bar-hopping along Boulevard Saint-Laurent. (Or for something different eat like a real man at Au Pied de Cochon, where stuffed pig's feet and foie gras hamburgers may leave you more satisfied than any den of iniquity.)
If you don't trust your best man to do the planning, however, leave it to Montreal Nitelife Travel. It offers bachelor - and bachelorette - packages that offer the full Monty, catering to your interests, tastes and budget.
"If you're here on a bachelor party," says Nitelife owner Angelo D'Ambra, "do you want your waiters to be 60-year-old men in aprons or six-foot blondes in short skirts?"
Send your questions to Travel Concierge.
Special to The Globe and Mail
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