Thursday, August 14, 2014

you have to hit the ground running

around here.... LOL-

as I said in my last post- I would be away for a DART (Disappearing America Road Trip) with my buddy TB - and I was.  We spent the last eight days doing the Lake Superior Circle Tour- around the Lake from Duluth north and then back into Duluth seven days later from Superior, Wisconsin.

Many posts will be coming up on the trip and all we saw and did.  This post is about my return to Chicago yesterday...

I arrived home around 2:30 PM and threw my clothes into the laundry- and then at a little after 6 PM we headed to Chinatown for dinner with the International Wine & Food Society of Chicago as Mon's guests. Each year this group does one "ethnic" dinner where members can invite guests and at this event the group also cleans out their wine cellar (which I learned in the course of the evening from a dining companion has approximately 10,000 bottles in storage for the group.)

The restaurant chosen for this year's dinner was Cai - and they offered a fabulous feast for all the members and their guests.  But before I go into the meal let me give a bit of background (as far as I understand it) on the group.  I think they meet once a month for dinner - black tie - men only and have a gourmet meal and drink wines from their cellar.  Then once a year they have this casual (no tuxedos) meal and spouses and invited guests can attend (that would be us- LOL)

I could only describe last night's meal as a banquet in the very best sense of the word- not what it has devolved into these days as the "rubber chicken circuit" but in the old fashioned sense of a fabulous spread of food in massive quantities and variety! So without further delay I present the menu:

and these were the wines served- as anyone who cellars wine knows- wine ages bottle by bottle and there is no predicting which bottles will be awe inspiring and which will be not up to expectations (we will drink wines from our own cellar and even two bottles - from the same case, cellared exactly the same, can show vast differences upon opening) sometimes it is too early and they are young and would benefit from more aging and sometimes you have missed it - by a little bit and sometimes by a lot and things are waaaaay over the hill... wine is a living thing and therefore not always predictable...

so back to the wine list- lots of choice selections- as you can see...I would say my favorite was the Corton Charlemange (when isn't it? LOL) which I thought was reduced upon first tasting it - so Phil loved it immediately but I liked it better as it opened up... I also liked the Mondavi Cab from way back when... it had a leathery smoky nose and having that kind of age - was very supple on the palate. The Chambolle also was showing fairly well- not brilliantly - and given that we are currently drinking 1989s (except for the Neil case of 1983s) I would guess it would be past the "dumb" stage but - as I said - wines are not predictable.

So I know you are waiting for food pictures! first the delicious dim sum!

then an amazing giant clam-

the fish maw and crab soup-

the duck presented - followed by the two duck courses-

the suckling pig!

excellent egg tofu and stir fried greens-

the giant lobster course-

seafood fried rice-

the desserts-

and of course it wouldn't be Chinese (or our version of Chinese in America - LOL) without fortune cookies!

and the wines-

and the restaurant itself-

all the seafood is in tanks fresh and waiting!

a wonderful meal!

and tonight we are headed to Brian & Tina's for dinner there, then Friday to the Julia Child celebration at Restaurant Michael in Winnetka and then next week El Ideas for the visit from the Milwaukee chef from Ardent, and then Senza with Ron & Mary on Tuesday and Cascobel on Thursday - all before we leave for two weeks in the Maritime provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick! So this is why there can be no slacking off...LOL- now- on to DART blogging about the trip around Superior... not to be missed - tall fire hydrants, a giant Canadian goose, locked in the Soo, and Winnie the Pooh; along with Coney Islands and Finnish pancakes! See it all here in future posts!

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