Written By By Janet Rausa Fuller For Sun-Times Media Posted: 07/10/2014, 05:34pm

‘Is there anything better than a lunch meeting?” It’s a rhetorical question coming from Jennifer Pope, owner of the kids’ boutique the Red Balloon. The mother of two knows her midday meals and family-friendly restaurants as well as she does the coolest toys and fashions for tots through tweens.

Food and cooking have always mattered to Pope, 44, who lives near her Andersonville store (she also has a Bucktown location and is opening two more). Her mom owned a catering company for 30 years. Her Hindu mother-in-law is a fabulous cook. And her daughter “can make the Ruth Reichl pancake recipe from scratch off the top of her head.”

C’est bon: “Le Bouchon [1958 N. Damen] does a fabulous lunch. They have a lovely rosé by the glass that’s $6. There have been winters where having the store down the street is a problem. I can have that lobster salad and rosé every day. Their French onion soup is to die for.”

In the ’hood: “I can go to Anteprima [5316 N. Clark], which is sadly not open for lunch, every day of the week. They do half-portions, the freshest of everything. The service is amazing.”

She knows: “My daughter is obsessed with the Peking duck dinner at Sun Wah [5039 N. Broadway].”

Taco haven: “Big Star [1531 N. Damen] is amazing. It’s delicious, the service is great and it’s cheap. As much as you think you might get some attitude there, I’ve never had a bad experience. My daughter loves the tacos al pastor. My son loves the fish tacos. I love them all.”

Reliable Korean: “I’m so fond of Jin Ju [5203 N. Clark], even though they haven’t changed the menu in 100 years. And they love kids. I get the bi bim bap, the dak bulgogi and the scallion pancakes.”

For mid-morning: “Tweet [5020 N. Sheridan] is the most delicious brunch in Chicago. They have chilaquiles to die for and a killer Bloody Mary. The corn arepas are delicious. [The owner] has incredible outsider art, so visually it’s great.”

Sweet stuff: “Frankly, I think the Jewel bakery is one of the most underrated bakeries in Chicago. Their baguettes are good and they do a really nice cake… The other problem I have is my son’s orthodontist is down the street from Bennison’s [1000 Davis, Evanston]. They do a delicious coffee cake.”

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