Tag Archives: tasting menu

Events in the City: Chicago French Market Brunch

In February, I went to a brunch event at the Chicago French Market. If you haven’t been to the market, you really must go because it’s set up like a European market and they have some really phenomenal vendors (including those that sell macarons…but we’ll talk about that another time). The event, “Meet Alpana Under the Eiffel Tower”, was sponsored by Wine D.O.C. & Wine Cru and was an 8-course tasting menu of foods prepared by the vendors of the market. Alpana Singh of Lettuce Entertain You Restaurants and WTTW’s Check, Please! was the special guest of the event and provided us with some reflections on the wines that were paired with the food that we tried.

It was lovely getting to meet Alpana, as she was gracious meeting everyone and even taking the time to answer our questions. This was the first time that this specific event was hosted, and while they have some kinks to work out if they decide to host the event in the future, it was all-in-all a fun and well thought out program.

Each attendant received a signed copy of Alpana’s new book Alpana Pours, which I have really been enjoying, as well as a goodie bag filled with snacks and other tidbits from the vendors. It was truly a lovely Saturday morning.

MENU

Beverages
Veuve de Vernay Brut Rose (France)
Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
Lavazza Tierra Blend (Rainforest Alliance Certified)
Espirito Lagoalva (Portugal)
Monastery Tvrdos Cabernet Sauvignon (Bosnia & Herzegovina) <–I loved this
Domaine Saint-Vincent Brut (New Mexico)

Course 1

Grape Leaves Stuffed with Rice by Chicago Organics <– delicious
Cavapi Beef and Lamb Kabobs by City Fresh Market
Fresh Feta Salad by City Fresh Market
Course 2
Raw Vegan Lasagna by Raw <– couldn’t even tell it was raw (except that it was cold)
Crushed Red Pepper Popcorn by Pop This! Gourmet Popcorn & Candy Shop <– unreal
Course 3
Op la Frittata by Saigon Sisters
Hot Chili & Teriyaki Chicken over Fried Rice by Bowl Square
Course 4
Pastrami on Rye Bread by Fumare
Belgium Fries with Curry Mayo by Frietkoten <–i can’t even begin to explain how much i love curry dipping sauce
Course 5
Sole Fish Taco by City Fresh
Homemade Guacamole and Chips by Buen Apetito
Course 6
Croque Monsieur by LM Cafe
Rigatoni and Marinara Sauce Fasta Pasta
Course 7
Ambre Dessert by Vanille Patisserie
Red Velvet Cupcake by Sweet Miss Giving’s
Strawberry and Cheese Kolacky by Provo’s Bakery
Sorbetto Cremespresso by Lavazza Espression
Marzipan and Raspberry Macarons by Delightful Pastries
Course 8
Delice de Bourgogne
Aged Marieke Gouda
Aderkase Reserve
Fig and Black Tea Spread
Cinnamon Roasted Almonds
Assorted Berries
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Girls Night: Sprout

I was lucky enough to visit Sprout in Lincoln Park last week with several of my girlfriends. Sprout’s executive chef is Dale Levitski from Top Chef Season 3 and he put together a phenomenal menu that is a prix fix built around flavor profiles.

Each of us ordered something different and we sample everyone’s. Verdict: Delicious!

For the first course I had the duck, which had farro, cherry, celery root, and smoke notes. Second course was onaga (a type of fish) with miso, butternut squash, and orange notes. Dessert was banana with chocolate, cashew, and coconut.

I cannot wait to return to restaurant and try more!

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Date Night: Custom House

Who doesn’t love a good date night? Ben and I both LOVE food and especially love good food. I have a tendency to purchase all of the delicious Groupons to fabulous Chicago restaurants. Last weekend: Custom House Tavern.

Unfortunately, the ambiance was so wonderful (and low-light…in a good way) that I do not have any pictures. I do, however, have the tasting menu and our wine pairing! YUM!

We started with a Roasted Squash Salad with Frisee, Bacon and Maple Yogurt paired with a 2009 Big Fire Pinot Gris from the Willamette Valley in Oregon. I don’t think that there could have been a more perfect start to the meal. I love squash, especially in the winter. The bacon maple yogurt was a lovely salty/sweet addition. The Pinot Gris had wonderful minerality.

Course 2 was a Seared Sea Scallop on top of a Braised Pork Belly with Grits and a Tart Cherry Mustard. I love everything about this dish: scallops, pork belly, and a good grainy mustard! Each bite of this dish had all of the sweet savory and delicious elements. It was even better with the wine pairing: 2009 Cotes du Rhone by Les Vin de Vienne from the Rhone Valley.

Our final savory course was Beef Short Ribs with a Potato Puree, Cipollinis, Chard, and Tomato Jam. Again delicious. (I really had nothing bad to say about this meal.) Paired with a 2008 Hudson Shah Malbec from the Wahluke Slope in Washington State.

Finished the meal off with the best part of the whole meal: DESSERT!! A Dark Chocolate Ganche (to die for) with Verjus, Violet, and Cassia Bud Sherbet. So phenomenal there aren’t even words to describe. There was a really great cinnamon chocolate combination and the sherbet and violet added just enough sweetness. Paired with 2009 Moscato d’Asti Cascinetti Vieti from Veneto Italy. I’m normally not a huge dessert wine person, but this was lovely.

All in all, definitely heading back to Custom House Tavern again. Deets: 500 S Dearborn Chicago IL 60605 – (312) 523-0200

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