My round-up of dishes in 2010 that were a favourite either aesthetically or gastronomically. Or both. Time to reminisce!
Escaping the brouhaha that was the G20 in Toronto, I ran off with Endy to Chicago for an extended weekend. Though our hotel was located just off the shopping Mecca that is the Magnificent Mile, we, of course, hadn’t chosen Chicago for its shopping, but rather for its food. After some extensive research, the itinerary was set up and like all my trips, sight-seeing was optional and merely a good way to kill time between meals. I had short-listed 7 restaurants, 3 markets, and a pig butchering demo during our stay, with several optional places (mostly of the drinking variety) to hit if we had time.
Despite the many recommendations to hit The Violet Hour when I was researching places to go in Chicago, it was only due to serendipity that a visit occurred. However, this elegant space with an old-world flair charmed me the moment I stepped through its heavy velvet curtains.
Unable to make the Maxwell Street Market that morning, I sub-in a quick bite at Big Star instead. I had heard that there were long lines, to be aware that there was an alternate take-out line, that the patio was always packed, etc. Well apparently, noon on a Sunday is a good time to go – the minute it took to be carded was the most trouble we had getting into the place.
On a whim, we changed our plans and decided to have dinner at Mado on our last night in Chicago. Having enjoyed the talk and time spent during a pig butchering demo (more in a later post!) earlier in the afternoon at the restaurant, we thought it would be nice to check the actual dinner service out.
In a nutshell, molecular gastronomy is the application of science principles to food preparation and presentation. We see this in full-effect at moto in Chicago, where food and science meet in a playful frolic across your plate. We went all-out and opted for the GTM (Grand Tour Moto), a 20-course, 5-hour extravaganza. At times, it was a phenomenal mix of fantastic food and showmanship, sometimes less-so. But it definitely resulted in an interesting meal at the end of the night.