Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Day 1: Chicago Night Life

We arrived in Chicago around noon and headed on the L to Hotel Allegro down in the Theatre District. We walked around dawning our packs until we found a spot for lunch and headed to check in to the Hotel. Hotel Allegro is part of the Kimpton Hotel group and was a fun way to go... they gave us free drink tickets and breakfast tickets for $1, have a complimentary wine hour each night, and are super modern... some of the couches were like foam blocks shaped like a wave and the work out room had a dark black city scene painted on the main wall. 

After a nap... it was off to dinner... it was only about 30 degrees out and on the verge of snow, so I figured my light grey jacket and shiny silver open toed shoes would be the perfect outfit to wear as we walked a mile and a half to Spiaggia. 

We almost made it and it started snowing... so a great place to stop was at the top of the John Hancock building to have a pre-dinner cocktail while overlooking the city. We warmed up just in time to head another 3 blocks to Spiaggia... 

Butter Poached Lobster with black truffles and some kind of really fancy sausage (Course 3)

Antelope with duck liver, mushrooms and of course more black truffles (Course 6)

These delicious treats were a part of our meal at Spiaggia. Thanks to the Lavins, Top Chef has become one of our favorite TV Shows. One of the guest judges, Tony Montuano is the chef/owner of Spiaggia, a fine dining restaurant on the corner of Michigan Ave. in Chicago. We opted for the tasting menu... all 7 courses, and the first 6 topped with shaved black truffles (apparently it is truffle season in Italy. 

I'm not sure what my favorite dish was, but I think it may have been course 1-- celery root moose with truffles and myer lemon. It was only one tiny bite, but it popped in my mouth like a creamy tangy zesty marshmallow. I've never had anything quite like it. 

**Also, I should inform you that I have been gluten and dairy free for the past 6-8 months and decided to take a break for the week... my digestive system did not thank me (and still is working on recovering), but the tastes were so worth it.

I'm not a huge fan of Italian wines, so when I asked for some recommendations for a bottle of wine, and had to pick off a list at $400+ a pop.... I felt a little pressure, so I opted for the wine pairing and Matt just ordered a glass... we were splurging, but I don't like to make big decisions spur of the moment. 

Anyways, the wine pairing was a treat because I have never gotten a true sense of flavors changing when a good wine goes with the meal. Seriously, one of the glasses completely transformed post fettucini. 

I've never spent that much money on a meal before and probably will never again, but it was an experience that I enjoyed with all of my being, great company, great conversation, great service, deliciousness on my tastebuds... truly a once in a life time treat! 

After dinner we headed to Blues Chicago to hear some traditional blues music. I must admit that I was a little over the top after my 7 courses with wine pairings and slipped on the snow a few times, so we only stayed long enough to enjoy  a few great songs and let our food digest before cabbing it back to the Hotel to sleep... 

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