The past month has been a bit of a whirlwind.
An absolutely amazing whirlwind of carbohydrates and beer which explains my five pound weight gain, but completely worth it. With all the early mornings, time changes, and lack of vegetables I’m just now getting around to something of a normal schedule.
My photos are all a mess, so it’s going to take some time to get everything sorted, but I have so much fun to share of my tales over stateside.
I wanted to start off with one of my favorite moments – Chicago Gourmet.
The event took place exactly four weeks ago, on the weekend of September 24th and 25th. We just so happened to be in town for the event and it could not have been a better coincidence. Essentially it’s a big ‘foodie weekend’ with a few special events, celebrity/local chef demos but the main part of the festival is just roaming around Millennium Park picking up endless fancy snacks and samples of various types of alcohol.
How adorable are these blue velvet donuts?
This is the 9th year for the event, which is presented by Bon Appétit magazine and had a good mix of local Chicago restaurants/chefs and nationally recognised brands – mainly in terms of alcohol.
You buy one pricey ticket (about $200 bucks) and then once the gate opens you get a little goodie bag that contains flyers, a ceramic Chicago Bears coaster, an energy bar and a little plastic tray. Then you pick up your Chicago Gourmet branded wine glass and that’s you free to let loose for five or six hours.
Genuinely you can grab as much food or drink as you want – no need for tokens/coupons or purchasing anything additional inside. It’s great.
There was so much to eat and drink and this being our first time here, not really knowing much about the event we just aimlessly walked around stuffing our faces.
Pretty much everything we sampled was excellent, but if I had to pick a favourite it would probably be these beef dumplings. So tender and packed full of rich, meaty flavour. If memory serves me right there was a slice of ribeye in there.
And then more meat.
For the sweet tooth in me I was overjoyed that there was a gelato section.
The caramelised coconut fudge gelato was definitely a close favourite in all the eating throughout the day. It basically tasted like dipping a Samoas cookie in gold top milk. Such heavenly thing.
Mr Snacks had a pink peppercorn gelato with little, bursting bubbles of balsamic vinegar mixed in. I wasn’t keen on it but he was delighted with it. He’s delighted with everything.
There was a great atmosphere – everyone was really excited to be there. Lots of happy faces. The lines were well executed and each stand was pretty on top of their food prep and keeping up with the demand. I think it’s pretty impressive that each stall usually changes the menu three hours into the festival as well.
For the longer lines i.e. the lobster line (gutted we missed out), staff members dished out water or little antipasti nibbles, just in case there’s chance you’d go hungry.
I had such a wonderful time that I really wish it was something that I could attend every year. The ticket, though pricey was well worth it to me. A lot of care goes into the food prep and the ingredients were top notch.
I would say there was an awful lot of beef going around this year, so it might have been a bit of a struggle for veggies. More tables and chairs would have been welcome… but the little tray/wine glass combo was easier to manage than I thought. I didn’t even spill anything on me… and I was wearing white.
I deserve a gold star for that one or this mini honey caramel cheesecake.
So, all in all a great success and probably one of my favourite holiday experiences to date. We left stuffed, tipsy and a little sunburnt.
Until next time!