Bon Appetit’s Chicago Gourmet is one of my favorite foodie events of the entire year! It’s a chance to mingle with friends, celebrity chefs, and taste food from not only the hottest restaurants in Chicago but from several visiting global restaurants as well. I’ve been attending now for the past few years (see my post from 2014) and every year the weather turns out to be absolutely beautiful for this September affair. Amidst all the foodie fun I realized I had forgotten to take photos of most of what I ate during Chicago gourmet! I did manage to take photos of what really counted, my top 5 favorite bites of the day! Initially my day at Chicago gourmet began slowly as I was running solo without my number one taste tester in tow. I’m still adjusting to not having a partner by my side day in and day out! Luckily about an hour in, Seth of ChiCityFoodie arrived and I found another foodie friend, Allana of AllanaBytes and some of her coworkers. Writing this blog and attending these events is all about having fun and meeting new people and I’m lucky that the food blogger/Instagram community are a really nice and welcoming group.
It finally feels like summer in Chicago has arrived! Okay so it’s been a pretty rainy start to the season, but I’ll take humidity and big hair over puffy coats and snow any day. One of my favorite things that comes along with summer is eating al fresco. I don’t care if it’s on a patio, porch, or plopped down in the grass, if I’m eating outdoors I’m a happy camper.
As soon as the city got sunny, my favorite cheese shop in Chicago, Pastoral Artisan Cheese Bread and Wine reached out to me about their fabulous picnic basket offerings. Pastoral’s picnic professionals have come up with six different basket options that make hitting up movies in the park or an outdoor concert at Ravinia as easy as pie!
As many of you know the James Beard Awards were held in Chicago this year and along with the ceremony there were dozens of food-related events leading up to the big event. On May 2, I attended the Rioja Wine and Tapas Festival at the Great Hall in Union Station.
Over 40 Wineries attended the first Rioja Wine and Tapas Festival in Chicago. Joining them were more than 30 chefs from around the country showcasing Spanish culture, wine and food. I was lucky enough to have the chance to meet with some of the best winemakers and importers representing Spain’s most prominent wine region.
This morning I received a very exciting announcement that Lincoln Park and Grant Park will be jointly hosting the inaugural Chicago Food+Wine Festival and it will be happening August 28-30 this year!
World-class chefs, sommeliers, cocktail experts, culinary personalities, rising stars, musical acts and more will showcase their talent, innovation and unique flavors of Chicago. Offering various events over three days in beautiful downtown Chicago, the Festival will include Grand Taste tents offering food, wine and cocktail samples from local and regional artisans; over 30 interactive cooking demonstrations and intimate; Toast & Taste, the festival’s signature Saturday night tasting event featuring 16 of the country’s best chefs and live music; Last Call, late-night dessert and nightcap party; book signings; and more.
1. Make a Game Plan: Chicago Gourmet has their full schedule of food pavilions, seminars, food demos, event map, list of exhibitors and chefs, and more online. With 12 different pavilions dedicated to eating and a limited time period in which each chef appears, make a list of your “must-haves” in order to make sure you hit up what you want the most.
The concept of pairing food and wine or food and beer together during meals has been around for a long time, but Coppervine, a unique restaurant in the heart of Lincoln Park is taking it to a whole new level. Managing partner and sommelier Don Sritong, along with Chef David Wang have created a unique seven-part menu that includes a wine, beer, or cocktail pairing suggestion for each and every dish.
Their menu reads, “We are in constant pursuit of the perfect pairing. In its most basic sense, a great pairing occurs when the food and drink taste better together, than apart – when the flavors of one enhance, complement or uniquely contrast the other.” After trying five delicious dishes along with pairings I had to say that they are pretty close to perfect. Being much more of a food lover than a wine or beer connoisseur, I often have trouble picking the right beverage to go with my meal and I love that Coppervine made it so easy. I also love that you have three types of alcohol choices depending on your mood or the occasion.
Last Thursday I had the chance to attend LuxeHome’s Sixth Annual CHILL International Wine and Culinary festival! 40 different restaurants and their chefs, as well as winemakers worldwide shared their best eats and drinks amongst the world’s largest collection of premier boutiques for home building and renovation (aka amazing luxury home items I will NEVER be able to afford) at the Merchandise Mart. Proceeds from the event went to benefit three great charities: Respiratory Health Association, Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, and the Lynn Sage Foundation.
I went to CHILL last year as well, and this year there were even more great restaurants and Chefs, take a look below for my favorite CHILL bites!