part two-and-final of my trip to chicago – and I think, really, that shot of the sandwich says it all. it’s amazing eating and great shopping in a beautiful city – and can I please lament how insignificant a single person’s appetite is?
I tried my best to eat, and walk off the food, just so I could stuff more things in – and only barely scratched the surface of this gastronomic paradise. but, all the more there is to return to!
america is the land of breakfast for me, and even though my tastes tend to run to modern eating cooking like you’d get in avec – there’s nothing quite like a traditional american breakfast .
high on my priority was to grab a belly-busting fast-breaking meal – and yolk was very fortuitously just a couple blocks away. it’s the menu of morning dreams – pancakes and omelettes and eggs and skillet fry-ups and oatmeal and french toast in infinite iterations – and it took me an embarrassing, drool-dripping amount of time to decide on a 5-egg-white Californian omelet (I love this american quirk of offering healthy options in GIANT PORTIONS).
stuffed with avocado, mushrooms, tomatoes and topped with three cheeses, it was longer than my hand and accompanied with two slices of brown toast and a side of fruit. utterly delicious, mind-sating and trouser-busting. but a girl’s got to eat!
lunch was a more sedate, clearing mexican affair – I eschewed all the heavy burrito carb-on-carb-on-cheese-on-carb action, and got the green seafood soup at xoco, opened by celeb chef rick bayless.
this is the only place I’ve eaten at in chicago that I feel rather lukewarm towards – the soup was salty and sour, though the couple of large, crunchy shrimp made up for the lack of depth in soup flavor. I’m willing to admit to an innate bias – I’ve been brought up on soul-warming, long-boiled cantonese soups – and possibly ordering the wrong thing.
those churros weren’t mine, unfortunately.
I took myself out to dinner one night – I’m not a loner weirdo, you guys, I was just there alone on work! – and part one was at gt fish & oyster, where I sat at the counter and ordered two plates just to try out the cooking.
it’s a beautiful restaurant, very modern but cosy, and the wait staff are friendly in their cute t-shirts emblazoned with seafoody, punny things. and the cooking? modern, dainty, and pretty delicious. it’s not inexpensive, especially given the small portions (which I didn’t expect), but the cooking is to point and on form.
my daily-special starter of fried zucchini blossom was a savory, crunchy ball of I-can’t-remember-but-it-was-delicious, and the hot plate of octopus with purple potato was a flowery, beautiful artpiece of food. great tastes, but very unsatisfying.
so it was just as well, that I was consciously saving space for a monster of a prime rib sandwich from eataly’s rosticceria.
it’s a behemoth full with thick layers of moist, pink prime rib, salted just so with crunchy grains. the bread seems thick, but it’s necessary – the juices are abundant and impeccable – and you’ll want it all soaked up.
I don’t think I need to tell you it was delicious.
I had a last go at fine dining at boka, a darkly-furnished (no thanks for difficult photography), elegant restaurant full of dressed-up people.
it’s a small, simple menu, and the dishes that come out are elegantly plated, and rather european-looking. it’s more than decent cooking – our roasted cauliflower was a multi-textured dish, the ricotta dumplings tender, and the grilled octopus served in a savory broth.
our mains of grilled beef rib and seared fish fillet were also pretty well done –
as were our desserts of chocolate and deconstructed cheesecake. but I admit to slight fatigue to this style of cooking – very molecular in nature – and while it was perfectly fine, I didn’t have that same wow as I felt with avec. I’m really just quibbling though – this is good fine-dining, and makes for a nice day out.
this just about wraps up my chicago – SOB – but I’ll be back, I promise. there’s so much I wanted to eat but had no space for, and the city itself makes more than a compelling reason to return.
just in case:
- my first post on chicago
- yolk (multiple branches): 355 E Ohio St, Chicago, IL 60611, United States; tel +1 312-822-9655
- xoco: 449 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654, United States; tel +1 312-661-1434
- eataly: 43 East Ohio Street, Chicago, United States; tel +1 312-521-8700
- gt fish & oyster: 531 N Wells St, Chicago, IL 60654, United States; tel +1 312-929-3501
- boka: 1729 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614, United States; tel +1 312-337-6070