A true international weekend!
Friday: Agnes (one of my best friends from college) and her mother picked me up at O'Hare Friday morning. We headed into Chinatown for some lunch. Among the three of us, we had fried dough (who doesn't like anything fried), braised beef & broccoli, steamed fish & veggies, and stir fried noodle dishes. Typically Chinese, a little bit greasy and a little bit bland, but appetizing nonetheless. We had dinner that evening at a Brazilian barbecue joint in Evanston. Meat on a stick; who could resist. Dinner was then followed by chocolate fondue at Ethel's. I added a cup of Chamomile tea hoping for some sort of nutritious balance. It probably didn't do much but the tea bag was really cute. We headed over to Nevin's for a pint before turning in for the night.
Saturday: I met up with another college buddy, Justin, at Potbelly's for lunch. I ordered their PB&J sandwich and a banana/strawberry smoothie. It was the best lunch I've ever had. We chatted away to a local coffee shop called the Unicorn Cafe. A quaint little place that served coffee in beer jugs and smelled of Clorox. By the way, I'm not too keen on eateries smelling like a swimming pool.
I was in charge of dinner that evening and made a Korean noodle dish called japchae (recipe to follow on a later episode). And yes, we couldn't forget dessert. I had the Oreo Overload from Coldstone Creamery in the Love It size. For cookies 'n' cream fans, pass on the chocolate chips and double up on the oreos. DEE-LISH!
New Year's Eve: We made reservations at Chicago's "best" Italian restaurant, Orso's. A friend suggested I make a visit when I told him I was going to Chicago for the holidays. (Thanks Paul!) Located in the heart of Old Town, Orso's charm and ambiance warms you right up as soon as you walk in the door. The hostess lead us to our table next to the grand piano. We pondered over the wine list and picked a bottle of Sparkling Prosecco as the pianist started to serenade the patrons. Dinner followed with the accompaniment of a bottle of Chianti Classico, Aziano Ruffino. A well balanced, cherry flavored wine with a velvety smooth finish. Perfectly complementing the spicy tomato sauce that coated the seafood linguine I devoured for dinner. Perfectly steamed mussels, clams, and lobster sitting on a perfect al dente bed of pasta. Dinner was perfect! And of course, we couldn't forget dessert. We oo-ed and ahh-ed as we sampled exquisite homemade tiramisu, a little ball of heaven called tartufo, and a dessert that should be offered on every menu, Italian or not, mangia beve. This definitely will be a meal remembered. (Did I mention everything was perfect?)
Wishing everyone a year full of great food. Happy New Year!