Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Chicago food trip

We have been gathering a list of restaurants in Chicago that we'd like to eat at and we had gotten together a good sized list. Tony found a flight that would bring us there on July 4th and come home late on July 6th. We were both on vacation before our annual cook-out for the week so we snuck in this trip. The first day we landed at 4:00 pm and thought we would make our way straight to Rick Bayless' restaurant "Frontera Grill". Well we found it and...what a nice guy Rick Bayless is, he sends his staff on a trip to Mexico for culinary inspiration on July 4th weekend. They were closed!! That sucked, because that really was the one restaurant that interested me the most. So we made our way down the road to a bar that was supposed to have interesting and creative cocktails, we would think about our next move while we sipped on a creative cocktail...they were closed too!! Now I am getting worried, do all restaurants close this weekend??? Would anything be open??? We stopped into Harry Caray's for a beer and to plan our next move.  The Sam Summer Ale's and house made potato chips held us while we decided.  On the list was "The Purple Pig" restaurant. Tony called to see if they were opened, they said YES!

We walked to "The Purple Pig" and got a seat at the bar and it was a good seat, right in front of the cooks, cooking up a storm. The idea here was to share small plates, which was perfect for our culinary adventure. We got Salt Roasted Beets with Whipped Goat Cheese and Pistachio Vinaigrette; Chorizo Stuffed Olives (breaded and deep fried); Deviled Eggs with Arugula and Caper Berries, the eggs were cut in half and made just as you would a deviled egg then breaded and deep fried, served with arugula, sliced caper berries in a lemon vinaigrette; Pork Neck Bone Rillette and Mostarda, which was listed under "smears", all "smears" are served with toast, it was like a pate'; Prosciutto Bread Balls (complementary for being first time customers); Sfeadelli with pastry cream filling; Ricotta and Chocolate Chip filled Brioche Dough deep fried and powdered sugar on top; 2 cappuccinos, which were perfectly made. This sounds like a lot of food but they are really small portions.

On the 5th (Monday) we decided to go to "Sable" restaurant, they were supposed to have a good breakfast menu. I got Mascarpone stuffed Brioche French Toast with Fresh Strawberries and Maple Syrup. Tony got Bagels with Smoked Salmon, Cream Cheese, Capers and Onion Slices. Both were very good.

After that we had planned to go on an Architecture Tour they had that took you on a boat in the river and described all the buildings in the down town area. The Chicago fire in 1871 destroyed the city and they had to rebuild it, and they are somewhat fancy, as far as sky scrapers go.

It was time for lunch and we stopped at "Joe's Stone Crab" for a beer and we thought we would eat there but decided to stick to our list. We just had an appetizer there, I had a green salad with Roquefort dressing and Tony had one of there famous Crab Cakes. We looked at our list and the "Sable" restaurant where we had our breakfast sounded really good for lunch too so we headed there. We sat at the bar and Tony got a Nigroni cocktail and I got a Caphrania cocktail (this restaurant in know for fancy cocktails too). We shared a Farmhouse Steak Burger, it's on a pretzel roll with caramelized onions, bacon, cheese and avocado which came with fries. We also shared Sweet Corn Creme Brulee, which is very close to a creme brulee but made savory with the fresh corn kernels and a pinch of salt on the top, very interesting and different. It was so hot and we were full and tired so we went back to the room and took a nap while watching TV.

After a few hours we were ready to head back out. We walked to "Avec" restaurant, probably about a mile away. We got a seat at the bar and ordered a bottle of beer (looked like a wine bottle but it was beer and it was good) it was called "Estrella Damm Inedit". This restaurant was also small plates meant to be shared so we ordered a few things. Baby Greens with Grapefruit, radish, grilled fennel and ricotta salata; Chorizo stuffed Medjool Dates with Smoked Bacon and Piquillo Pepper-Tomato Sauce; Roasted Chicken Thigh with Turnip, Cauliflower, Creamy House-cured Bacon Gratin and Fresh Currants; Fresh sliced Prosciutto with Smoked Almonds, Fresh Figs and Lemon Vinaigrette.

On the 6th (Tuesday) we saw a place that sounded good in the hotel paperwork called "Yolk" restaurant, so we headed there. Great breakfast place, very busy but big enough to handle the traffic. I got Zamboni Crepes, they were filled with scrambled eggs, ham and spinach and topped with hollandaise sauce. Tony got the Irish Benny which was corned beef hash and sauteed tomato topped with poached eggs and hollandaise and cilantro. Generous portions and very good. We walked around some more and went into the mall just to get out of the heat. For lunch we were right near the "Purple Pig" restaurant and there were a couple things that we thought sounded good when we went on Sunday that we didn't get because we were too full, we were still thinking about them. So we decided to go back there. We had iced tea and we ordered Milk Braised pork Shoulder with Mashed Potatoes (which was one Tony really wanted to try and they were out of it) so we got Charred Summer Vegetables with Farro and Tomato vinaigrette; and two "smears" that come with toast...the Mortadella, Balsamico and Pistachio (like a pate') and Eggplant Caponata with Goat Cheese, the goat cheese was already smeared on the toast and the eggplant was there for you to smear on top of that.

We came back with some good ideas for food. Can't wait until the next food trip!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like fun! Would love to do that with you guys in NYC!!! Oh yea, we are doing it next week!! Can't wait!!! See ya soon!!

    John and Lisa