Zagat Chicago Blog Hop: My Best Night Out
In honor of the 2012 Chicago Restaurants and Nightlife Survey, Zagat reached out to me to write a post about a special night out in Chicago. Of course (and obviously) I said yes! Along with other foodies I get to write about my favorite place - or places, in my case - and we're all linking to each other so YOU get a whole slew of places to check out. They're calling this clever idea the Zagat Chicago Blog Hop. It's like a progressive dinner for blog posts.
Anyway, I couldn't pick just one place, so I'm going to highlight a few of my favorite memories from dinners past.
Cocktail: Dirty Pickle Martini at one sixtyblue
I love dirty vodka martinis, so when I saw that one sixtyblue had a dirty pickle martini I was intrigued. Frankly I was a little afraid of it, but since the restaurant is in an old pickle factory I had to try it. I'm so glad I did! The vodka's infused with cucumber and the garnish is a thick, crunchy pickle and a thin, crisp cured meat. It's one of my new favorite drinks!
Appetizer: Harvest Tables at ZED451*
ZED451's Harvest Tables are like appetizers on steroids. (Chef Patrick Quakenbush actually calls the restaurant tapas on steroids!) They're available as part of The ZED Experience, an all-you-can-eat extravaganza that will have you wanting to go back for more even when you can't eat another bite. Circling a roaring fire, the tables consist of 18 prepared dishes like shrimp and tuna poke and grilled asparagus and a gigantic charcuterie board with housemade mozarella and gravlax. ZED, you had me at duck pastrami.
Salad: Lobster Salad at MK Chicago
When the dish is lobster salad do I really need to say more? No - but I will. MK Chicago's is poached Maine lobster served with red watercress, citrus creme fraiche, candied lemon zest and lobster roe.
Entree & Service: Vivo
This year Vivo celebrated its 20th anniversary, and for good reason. One of the best entrees I've had in my many dining experiences in Chicago was the Filetto di Manzo alla Genovese. This is a pepper crusted filet served with a bleu cheese creme sauce and it is amazing. Vivo is also the location of my new-favorite server, Andrew. His timing was perfect, his interaction was exactly what we wanted, and his wine recommendations were spot on.
Dessert: Shiraz On The Water*
There's no way to choose just one dessert at Bloomingdale's Shiraz On The Water. Pastry Chef Simonette Gallardo is creative and talented when it comes to the last course of the meal. Her passionfruit creme brulee is the house specialty and it's delicious - and I'm not a big creme brulee fan. Add to that her housemade truffles and bananas foster cheesecake and you'll want to take her home with you.
What are your best nights out? Share them by voting for your favorite local spots in the the 2012 Chicago Restaurants and Nightlife Survey (open until 1/16/12). By participating in the survey you could receive either a free copy of the 2012 Chicago Restaurants and Nightlife Guide or an entry into their $500 "Night On The Town" Sweepstakes.
Blog Hop your way through my fellow foodies' best nights out:
*These restaurants hosted Chef's Table events