Picture this: you’re at the Merchandise Mart with showroom after showroom of the highest of the high-end kitchens and bathrooms. The toilet (remote controlled, of course) is a mortgage payment; the kitchen costs as much as your house. Everywhere you look, there are lust-worthy fixtures, tiles, countertops, ranges, etc….
Now imagine that each of these showrooms also contains chefs from Chicago’s finest restaurants serving up their most delectable dishes, and sommeliers from around the world pouring you generous portions of wine. Now add in piano players and live music from the Chicago Youth Symphony. Sounds amazing, right? It was.
Last Thursday was the sixth annual Chill Event at the Merchandise Mart, and I think this year's sold out event was the best one yet. There were over 40 restaurants (more than ever before), hundreds of wines, and proceeds will benefit three distinguished local charities: the Respiratory Health Association, the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, and the Lynn Sage Foundation.
As always, the food was outstanding. And while I did not get to try as much as I had hoped (I was running to the event from the airport), these were my highlights:
Best Dish: the salmon tartare with radish sauce from first time Chill attendee Nellcôte (way to make an entrance!). I could have eaten this all night (there were definitely those among us who went back for seconds…and thirds…). I’m not sure this is even on their regular menu, but it should be. It’s to die for.
Best Dish Runner Up: the spicy mono sushi roll from Japonais. With spicy octopus topped with spicy tuna tartare and unagi sauce, this roll was one of the best I’ve had in a really long time. Note to self: it’s time to make a trip back to Japonais.
Best Dessert: the praline chocolate from Café des Architectes. The baked chocolate mousse, praline cream, and candied hazelnuts was like a taste of heaven.
Best Dessert Runner Up: Terzo Piano’s chestnut trifle crisp gingerbread, tipsy pears, and cinnamon whipped cream. This should be the holiday dessert of the year. See the picture, above.
Best Comfort Food: Kinzie Chophouse’s wild mushroom risotto topped with chipotle BBQ pulled pork.
Best Comfort Food Runner Up: Hubbard Inn’s lobster rolls. I should note that my friends at the Chill thought this was the best dish of the night.
Special thanks to LuxeHome for providing me with a ticket again this year. This is a massive event to put on, and it’s always brilliant. Can’t wait until next year!