Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Windy City, Baby!

 Well we arrived in the Windy City, aka Chicago, on Friday, November 11th and it's been quite a visit thusfar. The flight was pretty quiet, I thought, despite my boss's comments about his flight into Chicago being the worst turbulance he'd ever experienced.
Room @ Marriot

Checked into our room at the downtown Marriot on the Magnificent Mile and joined our fellow Ultimate Fan Trippers in the lobby for a meet & greet cocktail hour, which turned into a bit of a gongshow, finishing up at a jazz bar.

Shanna & Jeff - another couple on the trip
 Saturday, we walked around, making our way to Twin Anchors for lunch, which was used in the Dark Knight as a bar location. The two mile walk allowed us to discover some of the beautiful downtown architecture and landscaping. It's such a pretty city.

Along our walk

Walking nerd
 At Lincoln Park, we discovered these squirrels, who were the most giant squirrels we'd ever seen. They were the size of small cats!

Attack of the killer squirrels

This beautiful building is actually an old public works site!
 We walked late into the afternoon, eventually dropping off our purchases from the north of our hotel and making our way south of the hotel to the river.
MrP at the river

Evening cityscape

Home of the Chicago Tribune
 We made our way over to graham elliot for supper. With a very cool, casual atmosphere (the servers all wear jeans, welcoming patrons to do the same), we really enjoyed our evening, despite a few pairing misses, which included a wine that smelled like a tawny port, but tasted like.....yuck!
Cheddar Rosemary Gourges

Happy with his Whisky Sour
(My tasty, beautiful cocktail was a "Pillow Talk")

Amuse bouche
dill, roe, custard, pickle

crab with celery, nasturtium, pomegranate, verjus
paired with 2009 andre et michel quenard jaquere, chignin, savoie
It's tough to upscale a caesar salad, which is such a traditional, obvious choice for a salad option, but Graham Elliot has managed to do it! The crispy, warm crouton was filled with mascarpone and was an absolute joy to eat! (...the anchovy...not my fave, but tolerable) Kudos to the chef for such a brave (and tasty) choice!

caesar with romaine, brioche, parmesan, anchovy
same wine pairing as above
 The pumpkin tasting was intended to be like eating pumpkin the form of a soup! There was crushed up pie crust, spices, toasted pumpkin seeds, a dehydrated cranberry and a marshmallow.
Pumpkin (before)

Pumpkin after
paired with smuttynose brewing company "old brown dog" ale, new hampshire

lobster with rissotto, mushroom, urchin, samphire
paired with 2009 albert bichot "1st cru les vaillons" chardonnay, chablis

eggplant, caponata, porcini, guanciale

swordfish wiht chorizo, paella, saffron, fennel
paired with 2006 domaine de monbourgeau "l'etoile" savagnin chardonnay, jura
This was my 'unhappy' pairing. The earlier wines were not ones I would likely go out and buy on their own, but they paired well with the food. This wine was much the same, but it's an unfiltered French wine that smelled like port, but did NOT live up to the tasty fragrance. It did, however, cut through the richness of the swordfish, which was what the pairing was intended to do, so we powered through ;)
scallop with popover, clam, parsley, salsify
paired with 2003 marcel deiss "burg" field blend, alsace
The riesling that was paired with the scallop was the first wine that I thought I'd actually buy - the sweetness paired beautifully with the saltiness of the yummy! Of course, we can't actually get it in Alberta. HAHA

MrP's fave (NOT!)
A tea/mushroom broth blend meant to prepare you for the featured mushrooms in the hen dish

hen with maple, matsutake, kale, pine
paired with 2009 george descombes gamay, morgon

wagyu with marrow, egg, potato, watercress
paired with 2006 benegas lynch "libertad vineyards"
cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, petit verdot, pomerol
 We then had an intermezzo of apple cider hot toddy (DELISH!) It looked much the same as the broth, in a super cute cup...but was much more MrP friendly. MrP also asked a couple of times about the giant plates and the chef's aversion to the middle of the plate. The wait staff said he wasn't the first to question the antics of the kitchen ;)

bitters with citrus, spice, gentian, anise
paired with manhazerac

chocolate with caraibe, ivoire, nib, coconut
paired with gonzalez byass "noe" 30 year pedro ximenez jerez
We truly enjoyed our visit to graham elliot and would definitely recommend it. We sat next to a couple from Minneapolis, who were a little chatty, and when I used the washrooms near the end of our visit, one of the staff inquired if we'd enjoyed our evening, as they were concerned about the chattiness of our neighbors disrupting our evening. Not to be concerned, though...we much preferred them to the table next to us at Meadowood! LOL

Today, we've booked a walking food tour (a last minute addition to the trip, as we decided to look into it as we walked yesterday) and will later enjoy the Blackhawks/Oilers game. In the meantime, happy Sunday - GO PATRIOTS GO!


  1. How fun :) Some delicious food by the sounds of it. Enjoy the game!!

  2. You two have been eating like kings! Looks like another fantastic trip, even with the couple of misses in the food/wine pairing :)

  3. YUM again! Another fantastic trip I'm sure! I can't wait to go back to Chi-town - LOVED it there, the small amount of time I got to spend there. Hope you enjoyed the game!


Thanks for taking the time to comment =) Be sure to include your blog info so I can check out what you arere up to, as well!