Ralph and Lori,
You've heard from a chunk of The Contingent now, and they are ready to meet you. I'm sure as more check in on this thread, there will be more showing interest. Now it's up to you to keep us updated on your travel progress so we can plan accordingly. Also, giving us some ideas of what you'd like to eat will be helpful in picking the right place.
Looking forward to seeing you soon!
We've got some updates to our plans to share:
Apparently the Wilder Festival in Walnut Grove soaks up all the available lodging for many miles around, and therefore we will be staying for two nights at a B&B in New Ulm. Because of this, we will probably be attending the Bavarian Blast in New Ulm on Sunday, July 22. It appears that we will miss the wiener dog racing and the sauerkraut eating contest - and even I cannot tell whether I'm saying that with deadpan humor or genuine regret.
Folks have suggested enough nice things in Milwaukee that we are happy to return there. So we will plan to dine with folks in Chicago on the evening of Monday, July 16, and we'll plan to dine with folks in Milwaukee on the evening of Tuesday, July 24.
As to what we'd like to eat: we are largely happy to eat where the local Roadfooders recommend. Lori needs there to be options on the menu that are not capsaicin-spicy at all; our usual rule of thumb is that if I detect any heat at all, it's too spicy for Lori.
But I think you're requesting more specific guidance, so I'll try to provide:
In Chicago, I felt we missed out on Chicago-style pizza when we were there last year; the only local style of pizza we sampled was the pizza pot pie at Chicago Pizza and Grinder. I know that there are several styles of Chicago pizza, so this doesn't wholly narrow it down. (And if it's better to go somewhere else, we can get pizza on our own.)
In Milwaukee, I'm curious about the options for Serbian food, because I don't know much about Serbian cuisine. (Though we did eat at Serb Hall on the tour.) But again, my tastes are wide-ranging, and this is a suggestion, not a restriction.
After dinner in Milwaukee, I would like to get a drink at the Safe House. I know it's a gimmick bar, but it's a cool gimmick that is not available in Pittsburgh, and I have fond memories of the Safe House from 1997.