Retirement in our house means constant activity – diving head first into all the fun things that cross our path.
Last week, I told you about our adventures with Buddy and Bruce.
This time it’s all about food.
First Bites Bash kicked off Restaurant Week in Chicago.
The Union Station Grand Concourse was transformed into a beautiful party setting with over 60 food tasting stations and a couple of dozen more spots serving beer, wine and spirits.
The food was the star of the show at this event.
This will come as a shock to many of you, but I’m not even going to talk about the wine.
The 60+ stations featured restaurants from across Chicagoland, each serving a bite representing their culinary genre.
Most of what we tasted was amazing but a few bites really stood out.
In no particular order, here are the restaurants whose food we liked the best.
These are places you should put on your list when visiting the greatest food city in the country, Chicago.
May Street Steakhouse
Cinnamon, chipotle and coconut Allen Brothers beef tenderloin fajitas
An unexpectedly delicious combination of flavors, each complementing the other without any one taking center stage.
May Street Steakhouse, 1146 West Cermak Road, Chicago.
Quinoa chickpea Venezuelan arepa, mango slaw and a duo of mango-chipotle mole & chimichurri mint chutney
A brilliant depiction of this great restaurant’s Indian-Latin flair.
Vermillion, 10 West Hubbard Street, Chicago.
Sweet corn ravioli, chiodini mushrooms, truffle butter
I’m a sucker for any dish that features sweet corn. This dish was both light and hearty. How is that possible?!
My darling goddaughter commented on my Instagram post that she had enjoyed this dish at the restaurant and gave it her double thumbs up endorsement.
Bar Siena, 832 West Randolph Street, Chicago.
Lobster Deviled Egg
Lobster. Deviled. Egg.
Remington’s, 20 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago.
Gibson’s Bar & Steakhouse
USDA Gibson’s Prime Angus Beef Tartare
This one is for you, Katie Clooney.
I’m not generally drawn to tartare but this bite just looked so inviting. Bright, flavorful and served at the perfect temperature, Gibson’s beef tartare was a definite hit.
Gibson’s prides itself on being the only restaurant group with its own USDA certification.
“Our beef is breed specific, Black Angus, and raised on sustainable farms in the Upper Midwest. Our beef is corn fed for 120 days and aged for 40 days, providing maximum flavor and tenderness.” – via Gibson’s website
Gibson’s Bar & Steakhouse, 1028 North Rush Street, Chicago (plus several suburban locations).
PB&J – smoked pork belly, date jam, crumbled goat cheese, candied walnuts and micro celery
This dish was probably the winner for me. So whimsical and so very delicious. Truly tasted like PB&J – the best PB&J you’ve ever had.
South Branch, 100 South Wacker Drive, Chicago.
Bar Pastoral is a fabulous little restaurant that happens to be in my sister-in-law, Kate’s neighborhood. In fact, just a few days before the First Bites Bash, Peter, Kate and I had dinner at Bar Pastoral.
Peter enjoyed the lamb meatballs with butternut squash tomato sauce and Zingerman’s cream cheese. That very same dish was served at Bar Pastoral’s station at First Bites Bash.
Sadly, I didn’t get a photo of this beautiful and yummy dish.
Bar Pastoral has a great wine list and offers an amazing selection of cheeses (there’s a cheese shop attached to the restaurant!).
We enjoyed this cheese plate at the restaurant. Each cheese was brilliantly paired with a jam or spread.
When you order the cheese plate at Bar Pastoral, my advice is to rely on the staff’s recommendations. The selection is vast. These folks know how to put together the perfect combination of flavors and textures.
The menu at Bar Pastoral offers a variety of dishes from mac and cheese to hanger steak and from charcuterie to salmon.
The perfect neighborhood bistro.
Bar Pastoral, 2947 North Broadway Street, Chicago.
These are just a few of the remarkable restaurants in our great city. For a complete list of the First Bites Bash participants check out Choose Chicago.
Thanks for stopping by,
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