Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Chicago Gourmet 2008

Chicago had it's first ever Chicago Gourmet, September 26 - September 28,  and it was delicious. Chicago Gourmet took place in Millennium Park, in the heart of the city; so of course the view was amazing. I was given free tickets and invited a few of my friends to enjoy the Saturday of the weekend event.  We all arrived around 11 am-ish and were happy that we did. On our way into the event we were given free tickets (again!) to one of the Wine Tasting Seminars being held at the Chicago Cultural Center (check out the restored Tiffany's dome above) right across the street. Of course the Wine Tasting Seminar we were given free tickets to was Takashi Yagahashi's  seminar, "Sake for Everyday."  I say of course because my friend Tyllie photographed Takashi's new cookbook at her studio this past summer.  Look for it from Ten Speed Press soon!  Anyway, most of us knew next to nothing about sake so we thought why not!

So after being able to walk into the event with our lovely lanyards/tickets.  We were given an environmentally friendly bag with some great goodies in it and we were then given a wine glass (yes, glass) for our tastings. Since we arrived at 11 am-ish we were able to be first in line at many of the tents (Fox & Obel, NoMI, The Bristol, the list goes on and on...) and wine tasting tables.  Terlato Family Vineyards had a larger tent on the Pritzker Pavilion lawn and we were able to do many laps in that tent and enjoy the lounge-like spot at the end of their tent (see above).  Mary Beth and I talked to the handsome Australian guy from Jacob's Creek.  We sampled the Reserve selection and it was delicious.  I've stayed away from the Reserve because I love the $5 varieties you can find here.  But for only $12 I might be trying the Jacob's Creek Reserve the next time I'm at Sam's or Binny's.  

We also were able to take advantage of the cooking demonstrations.  We were able to see Chef Dirk Flanigan from The Gage and Chef Rahman "Rock" Harper formerly of Terra Verde Green Valley Ranch Resort.  And most of the chefs that did demonstrations later in the day and had tastings available on the lawn.  I apologize that there are really no food shots above. We ate everything so fast there were no time for pictures! 

If you're a fan of Bravo's Top Chef series, Stephanie Izard had her Chef's Tasting that afternoon of Duck Confit salad...YUM!  It's been reported that she's still scouting space to open a new restaurant in Chicago.  And if you're a Chicago fan, Mayor Daley stopped and spoke with every exhibitor and thanked them for coming.  My friend Mary Beth, pictured above was able to sneak in a quick hello to Mayor Daley in front of one of the wine tasting spots.  Can't wait to do the whole thing again next year!

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