Wednesday, December 10, 2014

How I Spent My Thanksgiving Vacation

By: The Food Hunter

This year after all of the food was cleared from the table and all of the holiday d├ęcor was safely secured away hubby and I left for a long busy food weekend in Chicago.



We arrived late on Friday and had just enough time to check into our hotel and change clothes before heading out to Bar Toma for dinner. In an area flooded with restaurants Bar Toma brings to the scene a casual Italian meeting place serving pizza, salad, and gelato in a relaxed atmosphere. We started our meal with the charred carrots, served with goat cheese, toasted almonds and a balsamic drizzle and shared a delicious white pizza with pancetta, basil and sliced tomato.



With our bellies full of good food we headed to The Drake Hotel, a Chicago landmark, to sip cocktails and listen to a live jazz performance in the Coq d’Or Lounge. Described as a classic Chicago haunt with a modern twist the Coq d’Or has been opened since the repeal of Prohibition and offers live music on Friday and Saturday nights.



Every trip we make to Chicago brings us new adventures and this time was no exception. On Saturday we walked the city taking photos and enjoying the many holiday exhibits around town. One that I would recommend, though maybe not on a busy holiday weekend, is the Christkindlmarket. Located in the heart of the business district, the Christkindlmarket is inspired by the beloved holiday tradition in Nuremberg Germany which holds the same name. Hundreds of vendors are lined up around Daley Square selling handcrafted gifts from around the world, along with traditional German food and drink.



Later that night we headed to Girl & The Goat for dinner. I had tried, on numerous occasions, to get reservations at The Goat to no avail so you can imagine my excitement when I finally secured some for this weekend. I’m not sure if it was all the hype of everyone saying you MUST go, or maybe the crowded dining room and snooty service, but I was slightly underwhelmed. Everything was delicious, but it’s not a place I would consider a “must” try. In my opinion, there are many other places I would recommend first. That being said if you do go I highly recommend you get the pig face. Don’t let the name deter you, it was delicious.



Sunday was spent working out and shopping; for me another day in an amazing city.



That evening we ate one of the best meals of our trip at Pelago Ristorante, an upscale modern Italian restaurant right off the Magnificent Mile. Chef /Owner Mauro Mafrici does an amazing job presenting authentic Italian food from various regions of Italy. We started our dinner with a creamy imported burrata cheese that was topped with fresh tomatoes micro-greens and a drizzle of olive oil. Though it might seem a bit pricey at 30+ for an appetizer I thought it was well worth it. We were encouraged by the waiter to try some of the homemade pasta which he said is Chef Mafrici’s specialty. We decided on the gnocchi in a venison ragu seasoned with marjoram. It was a hearty dish bursting with flavor and the pasta itself was made to perfection. We followed this with the semi boneless rabbit served with potatoes in a tomato sage sauce. One bite of this dish and I was instantly reminded of our short time in Italy, where we cooked and ate rabbit that was raised on the hillside above where we were staying.



On the last day of our trip I lined up a private tour of Eataly, Chicago’s massive Italian marketplace. It was an amazing tour that I will share with you in the next few days. Until then I hope you enjoyed my quick round-up of how I spent my Thanksgiving. Hope you and your family had a wonderful holiday!

28 comments:

  1. I love it! I lived in the city for a number of years and loved every minute of it. Eataly and Drake Hotel is all you need for a perfect day in Chicago! :)

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  2. Chicago is such a great city and it looks as though you had a fantastic time! I've heard so many good thing about Eataly...it's a must-stop for me when I'm there next.

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  3. What a great trip! Chicago is such a fun place to visit. Looks like you had so much fun, and ate some great food!

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  4. I really want to visit Chicago - your recap makes it look so fun!

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  5. I'm going to be in Chicago tomorrow - perfect timing!

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    1. I have tons of recommendations if you need any! Enjoy and keep warm

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  6. What a wonderful weekend! I've never been to Chicago but I've always wanted to grow since my Grandfather grew up there!

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  7. Welcome to Chicago! You chose a perfect time to be here in our beautiful city!
    Renee - Kudos Kitchen

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    1. I just wish it wasn't so cold. Coming from Phoenix made it hard!

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  8. Chicago is one of my favorite food cites. I am envious you got into the Girl and the Goat.

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  9. Clearly I need to start travelling with you.

    I am heading to Chicago in June. Eataly is on my list of things to do. So excited.

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  10. I've never been to Chicago but heading there in June for a blogger weekend! Can't wait!

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  11. Sounds like a great weekend! I have never been to Chicago, but it's on my list of places to visit.

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  12. I really want to explore Chicago more. It looks great. My husband is from there so it is harder to get him to go. :( Your trip sounds wonderful.

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  13. Now that is an awesome way to spend a vacation! Eataly is one of my favorite places to spend time - I can stay there all day long!

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  14. Sounds like you had a wonderful weekend in Chicago. It brings memories back to when we used to live in Chicago and the Christkindlemarket is one of the most authentic ones in the US. A December visit to Chicago complete with Christkindlemarket is on our list for the future. ~ Bea @ The Not So Cheesy Kitchen

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  15. I used to live near Chicago but I have never been there. This must change!

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  16. Sounds like a great trip! I'm going to for a week in June, so I'll be checking back again for the restaurants you visited.

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  17. It looks like you had a great trip! I love Chicago!

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  18. Thank you for sharing your Chicago adventure! Looks like belt-busting fun!

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  19. I haven't been to Chicago yet, but this adventure sounds awesome. Must get there!

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