Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Chicago | A Week in the Windy City

I spent last week on a business trip to Illinois, where the gallery I work for had a booth at ExpoChicago. I had never been to the famed midwestern town previously, and I have to say, I'm totally infatuated. After more than four years living in New York, I'm well adjusted to big city life (read: take-out, laundry service, culture on every corner), but Chicago has all of that, plus a few things NYC is missing...Like cleanliness, and space! It's filled with skyscrapers and taxis, but it feels so roomy. Apartments, grocery stores, and restaurants are spacious, which was a welcome change from the tightness of Manhattan...

Speaking of restaurants, there was a long list that I had always wanted to try in Chicago, and I was lucky enough to have meals at Pump Room, RPM, Topolobampo, Table Fifty-Two, Boka, Blackbird, and Green Zebra. For me, Table Fifty-Two by Art Smith was the biggest disappointment, and RPM and Green Zebra were the biggest surprises (yum). And Topolobampo...Oh, Topolobampo. This was hands down one of the best meals I've ever had. I had been dying to try Rick Bayless's food for years, and was so happy to eat there. For my main course, I had the Marisqueria en Mojo Blanco y Negro, which is Arctic char with roasted Maine lobster, mojo of black and white garlic, savory white camote flan, sesame-glazed cipollini onions, and smoky green beans. It was supreme! The complexity of flavors was outstanding, and the seafood was cooked perfectly. Also, everyone must try Bayless's twenty-nine ingredient mole sauce, his trademark. That night at Topolo was made even better by the fact that Bayless sat in the booth right next to me, talking strategy with his chef, throughout my meal. I can't wait to go back to Chicago soon, and take Mr. V there to try it (he's never been either, so we're hoping to go for a weekend late this year). What a great trip!

Image via Landscape, Lifescape.

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