Friday, October 1, 2010

Chicago Gourmet

We had the pleasure of attending Chicago Gourmet at Millennium Park this past Sunday.  We got there early and lined up to get in.  There were over 50 food booths, countless wine, beer and alcohol tasting booths, cooking demonstrations, food and wine seminars, and book signings.

They had a separate line for people with Groupons to check in and the line went very fast.

First stop was for some booze at the prosecco booth.  Yum.

Unfortunately I can't remember the details of all the dishes and we didn't get pictures of everything but I'll do my best.  We started at the Mediterranean tent.  Avli Restaurant was serving an octopus dish.

Riva had tuna with watermelon on a piece of crispy bread.  I didn't really care for the watermelon flavor with the tuna.

Prosecco had a delicious risotto crabcake.

Cod salad from C-House.  Flavor was a little too smokey for me.

One sixtyblue had a  spicy lump crab meat with apple, melon, and mint and some foam that was our second favorite dish of the night.

Spring/Green Zebra had shrimp with some sort of fancy lettuce and a piece of what seemed to be vegan cheese to me.  The shrimp had an excellent flavor.  The cheese was disappointing.

The Gage had some sort of fish with foam over a butternut squash.  The fish was pretty good, the squash was not.

Oceanique had a seafood salad with lobster and scallops that was very good.

This dessert was from the Gage and had pumpkin in it with a marshmallow on top and a caramel crisp on the side.

Baklava custard with pecans from Chalkboard.

Squash ravioli from Piccolo Sogno.  I haven't been that impressed with Piccolo Sogno after both dinner there and this tasting.  Others rave about it though.

Buttermilk panacotta from Floriole Bakery.

The French tasting tent.  We had a coq au vin from The Chopping Block that was so tender it fell right off the bone.  Unfortunately we didn't get a picture.

LM's station.

Cinnamon rice pudding from LM.  I found this too sweet and I'm not a huge fan of cinnamon.  Nick loved it.

Heirloom tomato salad with watermelon from Epic.  Although the tomatoes were delicious, this is something I could have made at home in 3 minutes.

Les Nomades - chilled soup, mini macarons (almond), and chocolates with passion fruit and pumpkin fillings.

Cafe des Architectes had a saffron bouillabaise which was one of my favorites of the day.

Firefly was serving a delicious mini-BLT with some of the best bacon I've ever tasted on a brioche.

Tacos from Zapatista.

At this point I needed to rest my belly to get ready for round 2.

So we had some beers that came in cute little cups.

Round 2 started.  This was our favorite dish of the day.  Sunda was serving a miso soup with crab meat.  We can't wait to make a reservation at Sunda now.

A blackberry dessert by Sixteen.  I think Nick voted this his favorite dessert.  I was skipping most of the desserts to leave room for food.

I waited in the longest line ever for L2O and was kind of disappointed.  L2O was serving a tandoori shrimp with mango that was nothing special.

Dirk's Fish and Gourmet Market was serving this very filling shrimp and rice dish.

A little muffin with chocolate filling from Bittersweet.

My favorite dessert as I love macarons.  Chocolate, sesame seed with chocolate, and foie gras macarons.

Next was the Gastropub tent which turned out to be a huge disappointment as 3 out of the 5 restaurants had run out of food by the time we got there.  And we got there only about 45 minutes to an hour after they opened!  First was pheasant balls by the Paramount Room.  We'd never had pheasant before and were pleasantly surprised.

We also had a reuben from Luxbar that we didn't get a picture of.  We're not sauerkraut fans so this wasn't our favorite.  Balsan was serving a pig trotter terrine which we'd had the previous night at dinner that was pretty good.

Sepia was serving a lamb sausage that we really enjoyed.

I convinced Nick to try the veal sweetbreads from Chicago Firehouse.  They weren't our favorite but they weren't gross like he thought they'd be.  We didn't get a picture of those either.

Stetsons was serving beef with pumpkin grits.  The pumpkin grits were delicious.

Park Grill had beef and tomatoes which was a little plain.

One of the dessert tents was sold out as well but we got a mini dessert trio with mousse and a cookie from C-House.

The Asian tent was our last stop and was out of several things as well which was not surprising considering the event was almost over.  We had Asian pulled pork from Red Light that was wonderful and a spicy Indian fusion soup from Vermillion that I loved as well.

I would highly recommend attending Chicago Gourmet 2011.  Both this year and last year had Groupons available for the Sunday event that were a considerable savings over the usual ticket price.