Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pork fat & cocktails

I recently returned from a girls weekend in Chicago.  One of my dearest girlfriends in Boise & I went to visit her very pregnant sister-in-law & help her get prepped & excited for baby's arrival.  Truth be told, we were just looking for an excuse to do a little shopping, dining, & drinking in the windy city with one of the coolest native Chicago-ites the city is lucky to house.

Of course, one of my favorite things to do in a city is check out the fashion!  Being a little sick of seeing myself photographed on this blog, I was fully prepared with my digital SLR to snap photos of my should-be-a-runway-model friend Laura in the latest Chicago styles.  However, I must admit, that this trip was a little different than I expected.  Not to say that Chicago does not have style worth noting on this blog, and in fact there is great style in Chicago & we did spend the majority of our days scouring local boutiques & department stores, but I found myself much more infatuated with the food & bev in Chicago.

There is always wonderful food to be had in any city, but I have to say that Chicago rivals any culinary mecca with it's creatively decadent (not so healthy) cuisine.  We laughed over bread-pudding pancakes & brie & mushroom paninis one lunch that Chicago's tag line should be: "you can eat a salad when you get home".  Giving up on my New Year's resolution to "eat clean", I went for it!  French fries fried in port fat & drizzled in bacon at the Girl & the Goat (the Hell's Kitchen winner opened this fab spot), green chile burgers at a gastro pub, cheese & pesto stuffed gnocchi in a tomato cream sauce at a BYOvino authentic italian eatery, hickory smoked bacon chocolate truffles at Vosges, I couldn't wait for my next meal!

Now wonderful, crazy fattening food aside, I know what the "chic" in Chicago stands for... the cocktails!  The black raspberry martini was so delicious the first night we insisted on having 2 more the second night.  At one point I turned to Laura & said, this is so delicious I want to just take a bite out of it.  Our best attempt to figure out the recipe for this diva of a cocktail looks like this:
Belvedere black raspberry vodka (LOTS of it)
Muddled fresh raspberries (maybe 2-3 per drink)
Muddled mint (very subtle, but we figured this out on #3)
Lime juice
Simple syrup (again teeny tiny amount, discovered on #3)
Champagne float (much more obvious, as they pour it on top of the martini in front of you)

However, not to be topped by a tres chic champagne cocktail at the bubbly bar "Pop" (good thing I don't work or live near "Pop" or I would be one of those a-little-too-regular-- regulars).  Champagne topped with a white peach puree & ginger liqueur foam & a fresh raspberry garnish.  Double DELISH!  I told my girlfriend that she needs to buy her husband a nitrogen whip cream canister just so we can make this always-in-style cocktail at home!  These cocktails were drop dead gorgeous & I must admit that I felt pretty fabulous with one of them in my hand & my girlfriends at my side.  So... long live the chic Chicago cocktail scene & yes, I came home & ate a salad!

Champagne topped with white peach puree/ginger liqueur foam & a raspberry garnish
Stylishly yours,

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