Saturday, January 28, 2017

fun with friends

On Sunday we returned from Chicago and Monday Neil came for lunch in the area. Then Tuesday night we went with Barb & John to a house concert in nearby Sarasota to hear the group Brother Sun - a terrific concert really a wonderful evening despite feeling like we hadn't had any down time.

Wednesday night we had friends from Denmark arrive in town and also my cousin from Ohio came down for a night on a business trip that would end in South Florida.  So off we went to Blue Marlin for a super good dinner with Dan and Max... then on Thursday Cathy left for her business appointments and Poul and Lene and Phil and I had lunch at Star Fish and then went for a boat ride on Palma Sola Bay and the inter coastal waterway into the north part of Sarasota Bay... the day started overcast and we got a short shower but by "sailing" time it was clear and dry and moved into sunny skies... that evening we were surprised by an electrical outage at the place we had reserved for dinner so we ended up at Michael's on East.

Friday they headed up to the Dali Museum and we handled errands - we met up for dinner at Pomona Bistro

the time went by quickly and too soon we parted - they went south to Naples and we are headed north for a concert and friend Mike will join us for a few nights after he plays at the concert... next thing you know it will be February... wow... winter time is half over!!!

this coming week we have the ballet, a group dinner at Bern's (famous for wines!) an Asolo play and the Symphony along with class and the usual appointments around town and around the house that burn time (and usually money as well LOL) My class is more than half over - this week we are in week four of the six weeks - if you ever want time to go by quickly simple retire LOL... so stay tuned for more...

Monday, January 23, 2017


mfk- our favorite lunch place in Chicago... we made a reservation well before we got back to town and we called ahead to reserve a Chicken Ballotine as well... there were some new dishes on the menu and we were thrilled with a couple of the new things as well as happy to have some of the old faves too!

our new course favorite - the shrimp "salad" outstanding!

we did the ceviche, boquerones and the aguachile-

then went on the tortilla and the escargot (another new winner!)

an old favorite Albondigas! and the Ballotine - pre-ordered so we were sure to have it!

thanks Chef Jeremy! fabulous way to round out our weekend in Chicago (despite not wanting to be in the cold and rain) the day we had lunch at mfk was lovely and over 50* (we win all around!)

more to follow as we move into a week of company from Denmark - classes- boat rides - a trip to TPA for a Bern's wine dinner and more... stay tuned.... as always....

worthy in the hood....

So we were heading home to Chicago for a weekend in the middle of the winter for errands and stuff (dentist etc..) and Shari and Kevin asked if we could do dinner while we were in town.  They reserved at a place just under a mile from where we live during the summer months in the North Center neighborhood... and close to where they live as well in Lincoln Square.  It is a new place to all of us and relatively new on the dining scene in Chicago.

We were disappointed that they did not have a BYO policy and remarked to Shari & Kevin that we were bummed because despite the close location it would never make our go-to list if we couldn't bring from our cellar which we have been working on depleting from overstuffed to a more manageable number for the last few years (we aren't getting any younger and neither are the wines LOL)

So in a way we didn't want to love the food there- even though the pedigree of the former Schwa alum chef (actually the nicest one there when I went with Mon & Beth the first time - in a place known for jerks - this guy was so nice he kind of seemed out of place and maybe he has found his home...) was excellent and the reviews good - we just don't have the time to add another place to our repertoire of restaurants unless we can also bring our own.  We already have goosefoot and 42 grams and mfk in the hood - noted Michelin restaurants with one and two stars and a Bib Gourmand rating for mfk... and even though we eat out a lot we also go out of the hood too... (see last post about the evening before at Oriole) so one way to narrow it down is to pretty much stick to places where you can pay a corkage and BYO special bottles (like last post - 96 Le Corton and 2004 Chassagne-Montrachet La Romanee for example)... it isn't about cheaping out for us - it's about bringing connoisseur level wines to go with high end food... but enough about that because I am sure you are hanging on by a thread to hear about the food and see it!

so here is the bottom line- it was EXCELLENT!

The menu isn't overly large but we ordered a substantial number of dishes to try and here is how things went.  The food is better than the menu reads and everything was perfectly prepared.  After discussion a few things were dropped because they contained coconut (allergic) and then we jettison a couple of other things to keep the number of courses manageable...

So we chose the pretzel- the wedge - the liver and the Carolina gold on the  left side of the menu

Then we went on to Chicken- Octopus - Duck and Fettucine... from the right side...

we decided to skip dessert (one had coconut) and go back to our place to have the 1977 Port from Graham's and Shari & Kevin (being the best guests in the world brought macarons from Vanille and Delight to do a side by side tasting- Vanille won according to Phil LOL)

so we will go back and if we are able to work something out (we are happy to pay a corkage to facilitate the process) we will be there regularly... by the way we had a super nice server named Amy!

so if the BYO thing isn't an issue for you give it a try... the food is seriously worthy! and for us the location could not be any better!

so off we went to mfk for lunch on Saturday (yes you can go and pay a corkage fee to BYO there so they attract a goodly number of "winos" as the collectors are known) so tune in to the next post for the blow by blow of the new courses there... as well as old favorites --- keep you posted!

in the rain and cold

We arrived in Chicago last Wednesday night and on Thursday it was rainy and cold most of the day. So going out in the rain and cold would only be worth it for something spectacular and so it was... we went to Oriole for dinner and oh my! again another amazing meal and so much fun to see everyone again especially after they had gotten the two Michelin stars and several other well deserved awards...

so here are photos and a run down of the meal- a number of new preparations for courses that were even better than the prior four meals we had there... we started with Krug from the Oriole- a lovely opening-

for the above courses we had the 2004 Chassagne Montrachet La Romanee from Girardin (an old favorite that we are nearing the end of the supply)

for the above courses we had a 96 Le Corton from Delarche-

and our take home dessert! 

A fabulous meal - and so fun to see Noah, Genie, Cara, Aaron, Tory and Eden and all the rest of the crew! and if you don't recognize those little flower like things at the end of the menu then you need to go back and read this post-

We are thrilled to see this team of wonderful people achieve this level of success! Congrats to all of them! And yes we have reserved for pretty much the minute we get back to town for the summer! And Steve & Suzanne will be able to join us! Yea! so stay tuned because our weekend in Chicago continues with a new place in the neighborhood with excellent food! It's called entente!