Monday, May 14, 2007

Mother's Day in Chicago

This weekend was a girl's weekend in Chicago. I went to Manchester on Friday night and my mom and I packed the minivan and headed to my sister's in Chicago. We arrived with some time for some bonding with the niece in nephew. We headed to the newly remodeled park at the end of the street. It was really cool, it had this sweet squishy surface under the equipment, apparently the concrete and wood chips they had for us as kids isn't considered safe anymore.

Then we got ready for a dinner at Charlie Trotter's. The restaurant is ranked 30th in the world. Who ranks these restaurants I am not sure, but it sounds impressive. We arrived by taxi, however, our taxi driver was somewhat crazy. I think taxi mad man might be more appropriate, he nearly took out a couple crossing the street, he also started driving the wrong way when we got in the car, thankfully we were with Krista who knew Chicago, because my mom and I would have ended up God knows where and never made our reservation. When we arrived at Charlie Trotters it was very elegant, we were greeted on the street and immediately inside the restaurant. We sat down, in a small cozy dinning room. It had low lighting and was smaller than I expected. Also it was very quiet, it almost felt like a library. The service staff almost whispered when they spoke with you. I was a little uncomfortable because well frankly I am somewhat loud, just ask Bruce and my family.

We did have a chance to use the services of a sommelier when deciding our wine choice, we didn't know what to get my mom likes sweet white wines, my sister likes dry red wines and I can do either. So the wine connoisseur picked out a nice subtly, oaky, slightly, fruity, dry, white wine. When it came time to pick our menu, you had a choice vegetarian or grand, I went with the grand. My mom and sister were scared off by the salmon ice cream, yes salmon ice cream, so they stuck to the vegetarian menu, but I figured why not try a little salmon ice cream and as it turns out it is delicious.

Here’s a look at the menu:

Scottish Langoustine with Mussels & Horseradish

Tasmanian Ocean Salmon with Orange Rind, Fennel Pollen & Cured Salmon Ice Cream

Casco Bay Cod with Picholine Olives, Artichokes & Stinging Nettles

Arkansas Rabbit Loin & Leg with Turnips, Fingerling Potatoes & Mustard Greens

Summer Farm Lamb Shoulder with Garlic, Aged Manchego & Parsley

Sweet Tofu with Meyer Lemon & Shiso

Organic Buttermilk with White Pepper, Toasted Mile Ice Cream & Nutmeg

Chocolate, Tea, Caramel

I am not certain that I had the dessert listed above, I thought they called my dessert ginger something, which was a ginger foam that surrounded my ice cream, it was actually my least favorite course, the ginger was too intense for me. Everything else I ate up, yes even the salmon ice cream it was delicious.

After dinner we went were invited into the kitchen for a tour, it was really cool, much smaller than I expected and everyone despite the fact they were working hard was very nice to us. It was definitely an experience I don’t think I will soon forget. So THANKS MOM!

After dinner we headed to the bar that my sister and brother-in-law own. The Handle Bar in Chicago’s Wicker Park. It was packed, we had fun chatting with the staff. I got a free t-shirt which is cool. It was fun hanging out with my sister, we sent a tired mom home in the cab a little earlier.

The next day we went a conservatory in at the Garfield Park Conservatory which is hosting a climbable sculpture display called Niki in the Garden. It was really cool and great for taking pictures of my niece and nephew.

Then we headed to the Handle Bar for lunch, which was delicious. Then we headed back to Michigan. Despite hitting bad traffic and road construction on the way back, it was a great trip.

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