Culinary Chicago

Josh and I were in Chicago this past weekend. It was part of our annual trip to see all my family and to celebrate all the April birthdays including my Grandma Ruth's 91st birthday. More to come in another post about all the fun we had, but first to more important things: food. 

Usually when we go to Chicago, we eat at the same places. My parents grew up in Chicago, so we generally go to all their old favorites. This is what I call nostalgia food. These places include: Gale Street Inn (ribs), Hackney's (burgers), Lou Malnati's (pizza), Portillo's (Italian beef).

However, this means we don't get to taste all the other awesome restaurants I know Chicago has to offer. Seriously, Chicago is right next to New York in places to eat. And if you watch Top Chef like me, you see that a lot of the chefs are from Chicago. For instance, Steph, she's in Chicago. Anyway, there's good stuff.

This time, Josh and I broke away from the pack (aka the family), and tried something new. Friday night we headed to Blackbird. This is hard core good food, like 9 James Beard nominations hard core (including this year). Josh heard about it on the Food Network, and then we saw Anthony Bourdain visit there or something. Either way, this is the place we chose.

Here's what we had:

[Heather] Blood Orange Martini [Josh] Gin and Tonic

[Shared] confit of suckling pig with smoked date, stewed hazelnits, pickled shallot and dandilion

[Heather] roasted alaskan halibut with turnips, almond, pickled turmeric and smoked butter

[Josh] chickory glazed lamb belly with escarole, crunchy turnip, pine nut hollandaise and preserved meyer lemon

[Shared] frozen pear parfait with vanilla pudding, red wine and chocolate + housemade citrus-cello

Blackbird Orange Cocktail Roasted Alaskan Halibut Braised Lamb Belly Frozen Pear Parfait After Dinner Citrus Cello

Verdict: Happiness. It was delicious, every bite. Our favorite was actually dessert, the pear parfait...soooo goood.

Here's us, happy diners:

Josh is Ready for Dinner Heather Enjoys the Meal

Drooling yet?

Well, there is more. Saturday, for lunch, we decided to head over to Rick Bayless's restaurant, Xoco. (side note: how the heck do you pronounce that?). The best part about this, besides the sparkle in Josh's eye while eating his torta, was that we saw Rick at the restaurant. How freakin' cool is that? I didn't think celebrity chef actually worked, so that was cool. See, there's Rick:

Rick's at Xoco

And we really enjoyed our lunch. I enjoyed it down to the delicious iced tea. 

[Heather] Wood-Roasted Chicken Pozole

[Josh] Goat Barbacoa (yes, goat)

Heather's Pozole Josh's Goat Barbacoa

Oh, friends, the culinary adventures don't stop there. We ate out at Wildfire with the family, which was also very tasty. And Argo Tea (remember me talking about that from my work visit?). 

Food is good. The end.