Friday, September 29, 2017


off we went to Monteverde for a fundraising dinner as the kick off for the Fulton Market Harvest Fest... three chefs cooking and some pretty darn amazing food.

we started with hors d'oeuvres of extremely tender and tasty pork spiedini, kale "arancini", prosciutto butter toasts and this outstanding spaghetti and caviar shooter, along with rose champagne from Moet and a lovely cocktail extremely reminiscent of Aperol Spritz... what's not to love? LOL

dishes shown in order they appear on the menu-

table mates get a shot with Chef Dady

the big winners in my opinion were three- the tortelloni - the braised beef tongue and the service - which was truly outstanding!

Excellent evening with lovely dining companions Quinn, Lucky, Laura and Jessie - fun to share a table and talk to new foodie folks!  This not only closes out our week (we have tomorrow night off LOL) but gives us a chance to get ready for the big trip coming up.... time to think seriously about packing... we leave in less than four days - but you may find another post before we leave since you never know what life brings.... LOL

Thursday, September 28, 2017

another collaboration

so off we went to Osteria Langhe for the collaboration dinner of the two chefs from Langhe and from Spiaggia... the menu was billed as a sort of north versus south  but really it seemed like an excuse to have fun exploring things that neither place had on their regular menus....

we met Jenny (whom you may recall we met a Claudia pop up collaboration between Jake of 42 grams and Trevor of Claudia) at the restaurant - and the evening passed the way they do in good conversation and good food and good wine.... ending in the garden behind Osteria Langhe for desserts that we missed - we got a taste of the panna cotta but nothing was left of the second dessert - so since we had plenty of food we were not concerned but we can't really comment on that course LOL

here is the menu - with alternating courses being prepared by Chef Cameron (Osteria) and Chef Tony (Spiaggia) - we chose to bring our wine and not do the pairings-

these follow in order as above-

before the brodo - above and after - below

best course of the evening to several of those at our table - the terrific plin with foie gras...YUM

the perfectly prepared fish - hard to accomplish not having fish overcooked in the Midwest but their prep was spot on!

I am a huge fan of the rabbit at Osteria Langhe and this was good with the crusty outer coating, but not as good to my mind, as their regular coniglio prep.  Phil however liked this one better than the regular - to each his own....

our wines - an excellent 2009 Sigrid from Bergstrom and a 1987 Lynch Bages which was smooth but carried little fruit....

we may not get to see Jenny again before we leave so we were happy she had interest in the special dinner tonight and willing to meet us there for nine o'clock dining (condo board meeting tonight that had some "heated" discussion) and our last social engagement before we head off to Georgia is tomorrow night at Monteverde - a fund raising dinner for the Chicago Food Depository... so more to follow.... stay tuned -

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

up next

the October trip we have waited all year to take - LOL- well not exactly but we did plan a trip for this fall that was canceled a year ago due to the political situation and we replaced that destination with this one- some tidbits about the trip:

A Taste of Georgia: Wine, Cuisine & Culture
An Epicurean Adventure Across Georgia's Wine Country

Georgia: A country of superlatives. Arguably the oldest wine producing area in Europe, dating back
some 8,000 years, Georgia is home to the earliest hominid remains yet discovered in Europe. The Svaneti  region, set in the sloping valleys of the towering Caucasus Mountains, is the highest inhabited place in Europe, while on the subtropical Black Sea Coast, citrus and tea plantations flourish. The Georgian method of fermenting home-grown grapes in big earthenware vessels called qvevri is handed down from parent to child, as is their joyous method of polyphonic choral singing. Celebrated by UNESCO as world cultural treasures, wine and song are an inseparable component of traditional Georgian life.

Explore gorgeous Georgia on a culinary and cultural caravan that traverses a modern Garden of Eden
where deeply held traditions are passed down through the generations around the family dinner table.
Travel and taste around the country, discovering Georgia's mosaic of regions, each with its distinctive
flavor and flair. Explore mountain villages crowned with medieval towers, listen to ancient polyphonic songs performed a capella, linger in leafy private vineyards, and sample the fare at up and coming wine bars and restaurants in the cosmopolitan capital, Tbilisi.

A team of three resident experts on all things Georgian are your hosts on various parts of the journey and will ensure your immersion in Georgian culture, cuisine and organic wine making (and wine tasting), with outstanding access and insight. The menus and tastings will be curated by chef and vigneron (winemaker) John Wurdeman, a polyphonic singer, artist, and owner of the now famous Pheasant's Tears Winery and Restaurant.  Ia Tabagari, a well-known ethnologist and travel expert, will join for key events, as will John; and a trained Georgian wine and food specialist will travel with you throughout, to ensure that you are looked after. Together, meet artisans in their workshops, chefs in their kitchens, and natural winemakers in their vineyards and wineries as you discover the history and living traditions of this as-yet-undiscovered little gem.

first stop Tbilisi city- so we will be sure to take plenty of photos and post as we can along the way---

but first the collaboration dinner of Spiaggia and Osteria Langhe tomorrow night and the next night the fund raiser dinner at Monteverde! 

So more food and wine before we go on the food and wine trip LOL- stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Now where was I?

Oh yes, I had finished the PDX trip post and we had friends over for dinner the night after we got home... Sheila & Mary, Laure (with new baby Hugo and six year old Alix) and Lee and Neil - just a nice evening of friends gathered on the occasion of the introduction of Hugo to the Chicago friends.

We had some good wines to go along with crab lasagne, green beans, salad and a cherry almond crostada for dessert....

Then the gang got together at Sheila & Mary's place on Saturday and grew when Arno arrived from NYC and Ross & Dario from St Louis (where they moved two weeks ago) with four year old Andrea in tow... the kids played; the adults drank and ate and talked and talked and talked....

the meal was Sheila's fabulous smoked ribs and chicken with a terrific rice salad and slaw and Mary's famous Tres Leches cake... all yum - along with some spectacular wines transported by us but a gift to the group event from Neil - 1976 and 1978 burgundies!

Then we started our first leg of the farewell tour - with dinner at Orange Garden - old old old place in the hood for Chinese and Bien Me Sabe - the new-ish Venezuelan place in the hood....

Then tonight we joined the Chicago Gourmets dining club for a dinner at the Duck Inn... good duck as always...

the regular menu from the Duck Inn- front and back -

Chef Kevin Hickey (shown below) explained how the name was taken from a diner his family ran in the neighborhood in the early decades of the 20th century and how his dad still lived nearby and his dad's bowling trophy is in the bar here.  He grows produce in his dad's yard.  He also gave some of the history of the tavern where the Duck Inn is now located... fun background info!

the wines poured - we had talked about bringing our own but decided against it- I had the red and it was drinkable - have no idea about the white...LOL

these flowers (at each table) were from Don Newcomb's garden- he always does the most lovely arrangements!

The mural is called Duck Under Water--- 

the kitchen hard at work -

the menu for the evening-

a vinyl collection in the bar provides many choices for background music -

and tomorrow night a collaboration dinner with Spiaggia and Osteria Langhe, after we attend at least part of the condo board meeting.... having some fun now! LOL and then the following night a fund raiser dinner at Monteverde (for the Chicago Food Depository) so more to follow as always.  Then we need to stay home a night or two to pack for our trip to the Republic of Georgia.

zoom zoom zoom.... and not the Mazda one - this is the sound of time flying by and the upcoming arrival of Florida time.... stay tuned!