Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Things I learned at the Chicago Gourmet fest

Two wild n' crazy boxes o'wine.

This Saturday, I was lucky enough to be able to volunteer at the Chicago Gourmet festival (representing the wonderful Green City Market). This was a rather high-end (read "pricey") event with lots of top-notch Chicago restaurants dishing out fabulous bites. And of course, every alcohol distributor under the sun was represented, so attendees could sample wine, liquor, cocktails, sake, Champagne and beer in one lap around Millenium Park. There were also culinary demos and seminars with some well-known chefs, so there was a lot of action to take in.

In the middle of Chicago Gourmet this weekend at Millenium Park.

Here's what I learned:

1) Millenium Park gets more beautiful every time I go.

2) Roast suckling pig is not overrated (and neither is the restaurant that served it, Mercat a la Planxa, one of my faves!).

3) Trekking to Urban Belly for their fresh, flavorful wonton soup would be totally worth it.

4) Chicago should really get on the sake train.

5) To make a mint-infused martini, put a few sprigs in the shaker along with ice and other ingredients (try gin, simple syrup and lemon juice); shake with a gentle, rolling motion; strain and serve.

5) Eden Valley, Australia is the place for bone-dry Riesling.

6) Duck confit grilled cheese on baguette—try it, you’ll like it.

7) There is always waaaaay more alcohol than food at these types of events, so pace yourself!

Sake: A whole new world of booze to explore.

Any Chicagoans reading this who attended the event? What did you think? Do you have anything to add to my pearls of wisdom above? More importantly, would you go again next year?

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