The Insider Chicago with Tastemaker Zena Malak, Miss IllinoisChicago with Zena Malak - Her Kind of Town
While many of us have more passport stamps for countries than states we have visited in our home country, there is a lot to be said for staying local this summer. Few if any cities beat Chicago in the U.S., which is a prime weekend getaway. Chicago has all the lux weekend components, but not the corresponding price tag. This is a city you can blow it out in, with the very best in hotels, gastronomic experiences and a beach, right in the heart of the city looking up at the formidable Chicago skyline. We couldn’t think of a better ambassador to share the best of Chi-town than Zena Malak, otherwise known as the stunner who is Miss Illinois.
Galavante: Thank you for touring us around your city. For the first-time visitor to Chicago, what are your top-three must sees in the city?
Zena: My top-three must sees in Chicago would have to start with The Art Institute of Chicago, which is ranked as one of the top museum in the world. Also, Millennium Park, which is home to the iconic cloud gate (some call it the bean), and lastly the Adler Planetarium, which is America’s first planetarium. It has the most beautiful view of the city skyline.
Galavante: We know Chicago has the best food, in the full spectrum of simple to completely gourmet. Where is your favorite simple meal, if you’re heading out on a weeknight?
Zena: My favorite simple meal can be found at Siena Tavern on Kinzie. Although all of their food is delicious, the brick chicken is so tender and flavorful-- it’s to die for.
Galavante: For date night (as we are sure you have many), where would you recommend?
Zena: I would highly recommend RPM Steak, not only is the food decadent, but the atmosphere and music make this place one of the hottest spots to go in the city.
Galavante: So we have to ask the pizza question; where’s your favorite pie in Chicago?
Zena: Lou Malnati’s! You can never go wrong with buttercrust.
Galavante: One more food question, as we are obsessed with the Mexican food in city. Where should we head?
Zena: I don’t blame you, Chicago has the best variety of Mexican restaurants. My favorite, though would have to be Mercadito. The atmosphere, cuisine, and margaritas are all extraordinary. I would definitely recommend trying the shrimp tacos, as they are hands down my favorite!
Galavante: Last question: What is your favorite part about Chicago?
Zena: My favorite part about Chicago is that it is a world class city, with a hometown feel. Chicago is packed with diversity, art, and culture but it’s not a big or spread out as other cities. It’s great to be able to call Chicago my home.