I visited Chicago last week and had some wonderful meals.
Snack of a S'mores Sundae at Ghiradelli - Very good chocolate sauce, although I could have used more of the marshmallow/graham cracker/s'mores aspect.
Dinner - Lou Malnati's. I got a pizza with cheese and tomato slices and extra sauce. I loved the crust. Despite all the sauce, it still had a good crunch to it, but not to the point where it was too hard. The sauce was much less sweet than typical pizzas (i.e. Papa John's). I liked the tomato chunks in the sauce.
Breakfast - Fox & Obel. I had a great chocolate croissant. It was a nice moist, flaky croissant with four pieces of chocolate in it. I also had their hot chocolate. I'd heard it was supposed to be good. I liked it, but I've had better.
Lunch - Snail Cuisine on 53rd in Hyde Park. I had Ginger Noodles. It was a decent noodle dish. It could have used a little more spice or salt to it. I did like the spiciness of the ginger though. My friend's pad thai was very good.
Dinner - Trattoria No. 10. This was excellent. I ordered their squash ravioli, one of my favorite pasta dishes. I loved the sweetness of the squash and the nice butter sauce. The sauce was substantial but not overly rich. I liked that it wasn't a heavy cream sauce. Then I had their profiteroles with chocolate gelato and Valrhona chocolate sauce. Wow! The profiteroles and gelato were decent, but the sauce was out of this world! It was so thick and rich. I think I would have preferred just a bowl of the gelato and the sauce.
Breakfast - Orange on Harrison. This was another excellent meal. I ordered the french toast kabobs. These were coconut-infused french toast pieces (I assume they were soaked in coconut milk) on skewers with grilled strawberries and pineapple. It was also served with a mango fruit slaw. I loved the atmosphere of the restaurant - very bright and casual.
Lunch - Bagel & Jam at Cosi - not too bad.
Snack - Hot chocolate and truffle at moonstruck. I'd heard great things about the hot chocolate. It was very good, but still didn't measure up to my favorite hot chocolate at Maud Borop's in St. Paul, MN. The truffle was an ice cream sundae truffle - a chocolate shell with a dark chocolate and white chocolate ganache. Very good, especially considering that I don't like white chocolate.
Dinner - Frontera Grill. This was unbelievably wonderful. We split chips & salsa. There was a green, tomatillo salsa that was quite spicy and flavorful. The red salsa was also spicy and had a nice sweetness to it. I ordered the red mole chicken enchiladas. This was absolutely wonderful. It was comprised of four homemade corn tortillas (great texture) with shredded chicken in it. This was covered with lots of red mole sauce. I could taste the chocolate and multitude of spices. I loved the authenticity of it. There was no cheese on the enchiladas other than a smattering of queso fresco with the accompanying black beans. We then split a dessert of chocolate-mamey cake with mamey ice cream and chocolate sauce. The sauce was great. I'm not sure what mamey is - I think it's a tropical fruit. The ice cream was very nice. The flavor of the fruit was very subtle and allowed the flavor of the chocolate to come through.
Breakfast - Fox & Obel. I had a currant scone that was excellent. Not muffin-like as many scones I've had are. Dry, but not too dry.
Lunch - A cranberry-wild rice salad and roll at Marshall Fields. I was disappointed that the Marketplace only had one type of soup. In Minneapolis, they have tons. Granted, we were eating at 4 and their selection was limited, but it seemed like they should have had more food.
Dinner - Hot Chocolate. This is Mindy Segal's new restaurant in Bucktown. It was absolutely great. My one complaint is that they didn't serve any bread before we got our entrees. I actually ordered two appetizers. I got the roast beet salad. I loved the tangy dressing. The roast beets had a nice texture. I absolutely loved the soup I had. I had a puree of asparagus. It had the same texture of a thick split pea soup with a somewhat pea-ish flavor, yet I could taste the distinctive flavor of asparagus. It was garnished with a few tasty asparagus spears and served with two small pieces of buttery, garlicky sourdough bread.
As one would expect, the highlight of Hot Chocolate is its desserts. I was really torn between hot chocolate and a milkshake. The waitress was lovely and gave me a complimentary shot of the hot chocolate. This was perfect! It was exactly the thick, rich, drinking chocolate I'd been looking for. Then I got the chocolate malt milkshake. This was served in a thin flute with two cookies. It was a wonderful texture and chocolate, malty taste.
Breakfast - Bongo Room. I had some great pancakes here. I ordered the buckwheat dried cherry pancakes. The cherries were thick and juice and added a good flavor. I don't think the sauce was real maple syrup but it was good nonetheless.
Snack - Vosges Haut Chocolate. I ordered a shot of their dark vanilla hot chocolate. This was a great thick drinking chocolate. It wasn't as good as the Hot Chocolate restaurant, but better than Moonstruck. I also tried the coconut curry truffle. This had a great chocolate taste with only a subtle coconut and curry flavor that added to the chocolate, rather than overpowering it.
All in all, it was a wonderful trip.
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