This year after all of the food was cleared from the table and all of the holiday décor 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!