Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Quick Chicago Weekend

Back in August 2013, we flew out to Chicago for a quick weekend trip to celebrate our nephew's first birthday. For most trips, we recap each food stop on our journey, trying to commit our memories to words before they completely fade (and we're not always successful in that, sadly), but this time, we're going to wrap up the whole thing in this one post. Why? Primarily because most of the memories of this trip have completely faded despite having pretty good photographic documentation. Sad but true. We probably have enough memories left to fill up the content of one post, but not 5.

We left on a Friday morning from LaGuardia (and not the comfy Marine Air Terminal) headed for O'Hare. We had packed a couple of sandwiches from Trader Joe's to eat at the airport and on the plane, but those no longer need a post because we already talked about them from a later trip to Vegas. After we landed, we made our way over to A's brother's place, and then went out to grab a quick lunch. We found ourselves at the local Mariano's, a grocery chain in Chicago we became completely enamored with the year before when they first opened in the West Loop.

Mariano's reminds me a little bit of Wegmans when it comes to their premade selections in that they are extensive. We decided to split one of the $6 meals (main and 2 sides), getting the hand-rolled Sicilian meatballs (2 giant meatballs) with sides of potato salad and mojito Cuban quinoa salad. The meatballs were delicious. We really don't remember anything about the potato salad over 2 years later. The quinoa salad had quinoa, black beans, green peppers, olive oil, lime juice, coconut, red peppers, green onion, jalapeƱo, cilantro, garlic, mint, salt, pepper, and oregano. I only know this because we had kept the ingredient label after the trip, and it was one of the only food notes I had from the entire weekend. That also tells me that we must have liked it if we wanted to try to figure out how to make something similar at home.

Besides lunch, we also picked up some pluots to eat later since they had so many varieties of pluots that we had never seen before, and they looked so juicy since it was late summer. (They were really, really good.)

Many of the meals we ate that weekend were homecooked by A's mom (very tasty, as always), but we did go out for one nice meal to celebrate our nephew's birthday and just generally to have one really nice dinner as a family for A's family (similar reasoning as our Japonais dinner from last summer). Dinner was at the bustling Paris Club in the River North area of Chicago, and we got a bunch of appetizers to split as well as individual entrees. If you had asked us to name from memory what we got at this meal, without looking at any of the photos, I think the only part we might remember is the charcuterie board. I don't think that's a reflection on the food at Paris Club, because I think we concluded that the quality was pretty good after we ate there, but more a confirmation of how much memories can fade in just over 2 years (same reason I recently went on a draft-deleting spree). 

Anyway, from what we can tell/remember after looking at the pictures, we (or someone at the table) got:

- charcuterie board (homemade pates, terrines, and saucissons)
- shrimp cocktail
- baked brie with mushrooms and walnuts
- butter lettuce salad with dijon vinaigrette and shaved radishes
- side of roasted mushrooms
- side of braised lentils
- skate wing with lemon, capers, and brioche croutons (A is guessing this was his, but not really sure)
- duck confit with braised lentils and mustard greens
- wild Alaskan halibut with creamed corn and chorizo (I think this was mine)

We didn't get any desserts because there was still a massive amount of birthday cake left to eat back at the house.

After the very short weekend, we left O'Hare for Newark on Sunday afternoon. Before leaving we stopped by our favorite place to eat at O'Hare, Tortas Frontera, Rick Bayless's fast casual spot. Since we've gone there on so many trips, you would think we would have written about it before, but it's usually the last stop on a Chicago trip so we've never gotten up to it.

Unfortunately we didn't really have any recollection of which torta we got this time (seriously, why is this trip so faded in our memories?), so any post about Tortas Frontera based on this visit would not do it justice. We'll save that for another trip. My photo album captions tell me that we got the roasted garlic mushrooms torta, but considering we didn't know that just by looking at the photo, we clearly don't remember what it tasted like enough to describe it. We do remember that we got a raspberry prickly pear agua fresca which was refreshing.

Before leaving for the airport, we had picked up a couple of sandwiches from Mariano's to eat on the plane. Since we got the torta at the airport, we were only really hungry enough to split one of them on the plane - a turkey and swiss sandwich on pretzel bread. We ate the other one (warmed up) after we got home, an Italian meat sandwich on focaccia. We remember that we liked both sandwiches, but the specifics are just too faded.

Anyway, there's a quick recap of the weekend we spent in Chicago back in 2013. We did eat a lot of tasty food, even if for some reason we can barely remember some of it. At least we've managed to get this much down in a post before the rest of our memories of this trip completely fade!

No comments:

Post a Comment