Time in the Windy City

Sunday, 18 December 2011
I adore Chicago. I love the high energy, bright lights, interesting high rises, amazing restaurants and sophisticated people. I'm in town for a few days to see a friend and we have made the most of it!

Friday we spent the day walking around Old Town. We stopped by a very cool shop called Old Town Oil. Patrons have the opportunity to taste olive oils, balsamic vinaigrette and wine vinegar. The blood orange olive oil was amazing and the blueberry balsamic vinaigrette, to die for. I picked up a bottle of the champagne wine vinegar to drizzle over the salmon mousse appetizers my mom and I are planning for the holidays.

From the Old Town Oil website

Next stop in Old Town was the Spice House. I couldn't help thinking the whole time we were in there that my grandmother would love it! We sampled crystallized ginger, truffle oil salt, different BBQ rubs and amazing spice mixes for roasting beef, chicken and fish. The employees are super friendly and helpful. This shop is worth the five minute cab ride from Michigan Avenue!

From the Spice House website

That evening, we put our name in at Purple Pig, a newer restaurant on the Mag Mile and went across the street to Eno, a most fabulous wine/cheese/chocolate bar. The atmosphere is incredible and intimate with hip decor, great lighting and an interesting way to serve wine flights and cheese. I had the "Pinot Envy" wine flight and it included a great pinot grigio and two pinot noirs. 

The spot also serves inventive truffles and the menu had a great quote: "Exercise is a dirty word. Every time I say it, I wash my mouth out with chocolate."

From Eno's website

The Purple Pig (voted Top Ten best new restaurants by Bon Appetit 2010) was so amazing with their reservation service that they call your cell phone within 10 minutes of your table being ready. Unheard of! The seating is family style so you'll likely be sitting next to some hip Chicago folks and enjoying the round, Northern accent. We tried, of course, different pork dishes including the best prosciutto I've tasted (yes, I've eaten it in Italy and Spain), butternut squash and pork fried balls and scallops with lemon sauce, chickpea aioli  and a touch of bacon. This is certainly a restaurant to try! Don't miss the dessert. I sipped on a dessert wine and my friend ordered the ricotta and chocolate chip filled fried brioche to share. It. Was. Amazing. 

1 comment

Stephen Ross Johnson said...

Hey Denae. Its been close to a year since I checked out your blog, but as I pulled the cobwebs of sleep from my eyes this morning and surfed a bit on my iPad, something told me to do so. Congrats on the PHd work!!! I'm so proud of my fellow Bonner and C-N grad. You are such a hard worker and I know you will succeed. We knew that when you first applied to be a Bonner. If Brooke or I can ever do anything for you, please let us know.

All the best,
Steve Johnson