Where is your favorite spot for a quick, healthy lunch? ASHLEY PETTIT: I grab food from Protein Bar at Fitness Formula Club (10 S. Clinton St., 312-902-2040) in the West Loop when I am totally strapped for time. I order the Southwest Salad without cheese—it’s a fantastic source of whole grains (quinoa), protein (black beans and chicken), and healthy fat (avocado). I also love being able to run into Mariano’s (40 S. Halsted St., 312-243-7657) at the drop of a hat to snag something easy to make. Having a fantastic store like that so close [to my West Loop home] makes being healthy more convenient.
How about for an indulgent dinner? AP: I am hesitant to admit that I have had the burger at Au Cheval (800 W. Randolph St., 312-929-4580) served on a hash brown bun with a fried egg on top. I have no words for this decadent meal! That is an extreme and a rarity for me, but it is a treat to share with someone else once a year. My other indulgence is Maude’s Liquor Bar (840 W. Randolph St., 312-243-9712). I absolutely adore heading in there and splitting the cassoulet and roasted chicken with my husband with a side of their amazing fries and a glass of house red wine. It is such a treat! We are big fans of Paris, [so] dining [at Maude’s], and their sister restaurant, Bavette’s (218 W. Kinzie St., 312-624-8154), always makes us feel like we are right back in France.
A nightcap drink? AP: I am a bubbly kind of lady, so this hands down goes to RM Champagne Salon (116 N. Green St., 312-243-1199) for a glass of Champagne before hitting a Bull’s game or after a local dinner. If I feel adventurous and want a truly unique cocktail experience, I will pop into The Aviary (955 W. Fulton Market, 312-226-0868) and sip on something truly unique.
What do you like to do to stay active in the city, besides hitting the gym? AP: I love being active with my bichon, Arthur. Chicago is incredible when it comes to building and preserving neighborhood parks—much like the one on Sangamon here in the West Loop that has an amazing dog park. I take my dog there and tire him out by running him around. Anytime I can, I love to walk. We travel to New York City a lot and there, everyone walks—in heels, tall boots, 20-plus blocks—without complaints. In Chicago, I find people resistant to walking, so I force myself to do so. [And] I love the Divvy [bike sharing] program for our city.
You’re in the West Loop now, but if you had to choose another neighborhood to live in, which would it be? AP: Actually, my husband and I are moving back to the Gold Coast/River North area this spring. We love to be able to walk places and be in the thick of things, so being back where we started as a couple will be nostalgic for us. We will be closer to work, and, truthfully, we are obsessed with being close to both Flywheel (710 N. State St., 312-624-8485) and Whole Foods (30 W. Huron St., 312-932-9600).