Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Chicago's showcase of simple flavors equals GOOD food!

Sorry for the hiatus in my posting; I was on summer vacation in Chicago enjoying a GREAT city and of course good food.  In merely one week it’s impossible to even come close to sampling the variety of delicious foods available in Chicago.  Although we don’t make dining out a habit, my husband and I made it a point to try a different eatery every day we were there. 

Some of my favorites this trip:

Crab & Shrimp Tower at Rock Bottom Brewery: delicious crab and poached shrimp stacked with avocado and tomatoes, served with flatbread.  Perfect for summer and great inspiration for home.

Spinach stuffed pizza from Giordano’s: you just can’t go without Chicago’s famous pizza.

Shrimp cocktail at the Signature Lounge atop the John Hancock Observatory: the dish was not out of the ordinary, but the view was unbeatable!

Hearts of romaine salad from Quartino: this “small plates” (I call it Italian tapas) restaurant features so many creative dishes to try, but I was impressed by the unique, simple flavor of this dish.  The lettuce was drizzled with honey, lemon juice and olive oil, then topped with shaved grana (similar to parmesan). That’s it!  The salad, along with the majority of the menu, really showcased the simple ingredients in food and my motto: good food tastes good.  The salad will definitely be repeated in my home!  I was also taken by the atmosphere: I could picture myself dining casually in Italy!  Wooden tables, water served in a bottle on the table, dishcloth-resembling napkins, a stack of appetizer-sized plates right on the table and pour-yourself wine from the decanter.  One of my new favorite restaurants.

I saw a girl on the beach eating the most delicious-looking sandwich that I had to ask her where she got it...Fox and Obel (a local city market). I was dying to try it but never got to—next time for sure.

Lastly, a place I will always go when I visit Chicago: Anne Sather.  The cinnamon rolls at this Swedish diner are completely indulgent--and yes I’m aware that they are not healthy--but they are amazing.  Totally worth the extra walking around the city to burn them off! 

Traveling is an adventure and enjoying the local cuisine is part of the total experience.  Expand your horizons and experiment with different foods that may not be available (or you don’t normally gravitate toward) in your hometown.  You’ll likely be pleasantly surprised.  There’s all kinds of good food out there—and it can be good for you too!