What are your three favorite dining towns?
Topping my list are…
- Las Vegas
…in order of where I happen to be visiting at the time, and were the next reservation will take us. I recently returned home from Chicago, experiencing nothing short of culinary nirvana.
The highlight of the trip was the opportunity to be Guest-Chef-of-the-Day at MOTO Restaurant. The word “cutting-edge” falls way short in describing Chef Homaro Cantu’s vision for the feeding the future. MOTO is a culinary laboratory that dazzles, excites and inspires. I am on fire to experiment with ideas picked up from one day in the kitchen with Chef Chris Jones and his team of uber-creative chefs and cooks. And later that evening at ING, the sister restaurant next door where live tweetING is encouraged, we enjoyed the most engagING service, sippING Champagne, and flavor trippING on an incredible sweet potato dish…
GLENN’S DINER is a family-friendly neighborhood spot that serves fabulous fresh fish and cereal. Cereal from a cereal bar! My nephews, Stone, 9, and Jett, 7, love this place, as do the adults. Glenn, whoever you are…you are a genius. I recommend the fresh Mahi Mahi with ginger sesame soy glaze. Stone recommends the cheesy Shrimp Cargo followed by a bowl of Reese’s Puffs.
Another winner – brunch @ LONGMAN & EAGLE – they don’t take reservations so we had to wait at the bar…sip our coffee and torture ourselves with a bacon doughnut appetizer. Our brunch included a refreshing twist on the usual, a Bloody Lawrence – made with corn whisky, a deconstructed clam chowder, and prawn & cheese grits with a one hour egg…the shot of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer with our meal was a uniquely Chicago-y touch.
The Waldorf Astoria Chicago is home to two-star Michelin, sophisticated, unpretentious, chic RIA restaurant. With Chef Danny Grant at the helm, our modern seasonally-driven French dining experience could not have been more enchanting. The gorgeous comfortable dining room is bathed in silver and gold and soothing neutral tones. Uncommon and intimate, the tables are spaced far apart, dressed in white accented with a single burgundy calla lily. The rolling Champagne cart carries unique offerings, many not available anywhere else in the US.
A FLAWLESS MEAL
Brut, “Antique,” Chigny-les-Roses, 1er Cru Champagne NV
Brut Rosé, “Cuvée Apanage”
Avize, Cramant & Chouilly, Grand Cru, Champagne NV
2007 Auteur Chardonnay Hyde Vineyard
USA, California, Napa Valley, Carneros
Winemaker’s Note: The near perfect Hyde Chardonnay shows a remarkably crisp, refined, almost aristocratic side of California chardonnay. While reticent on the nose at first, hinting at tropical and citrus fruit, after few minutes in the glass, fruit comes gushing forth with white peach, lychee, pineapple and lemon. As these fade, the haunting aroma of hazelnut becomes apparent and is joined by an earthiness seldom found in California chardonnay. On the palate the cascade of fruit continues, constantly changing but finally coming to rest on exotic starfruit. The finish lingers with baked lemon and spice. While all the ripe fruit gives an impression of roundness, ample acidity keeps this wine fresh and coiled, suggesting not only long aging potential, but also making it a perfect refreshing spring wine in its youth.
2009 Domaine Joseph Voillot Volnay 1er Cru Champans
France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Volnay 1er Cru
Aromas of dark berry fruit, earth and wet stone. Intense and powerful berry flavors, long finish. Joseph Voillot Volnay ‘Les Champans’ is a premier cru Burgundy produced on 25 acres of vines. Harvested and sorted by hand aged in French oak barrels, of which only 30% of the barrels are new to enable the essence of the fruit to shine through.
…until we see each other again.
Your three favorite dining towns? Please share.
Update: please visit our review of RIA’s fabulous, more casual sister restaurant BALSAN here.