Chicago – 10/3/15 – Nico Osteria, Green River & Alinea

Nico Osteria
I’m pretty sure I swore I’d stop blogging about my trips to Nico because there have been way too many.  But I just can’t help it.  Still my favorite brunch in Chicago with consistently fantastic crudo, pasta and cocktails.  And it is always lovely to see familiar faces.

Rock fish crudo
 Rigatoni with a northern ragu
 Gem lettuce, caper berries, fig-balsamic vinaigrette, parmesan
 Salumi & Cheese – La Quercia ham, mortadella, milano salami, goat cheese

Green River
This was only a brief stop for pre-dinner cocktails which of course were fabulous.  More comments on our lunch two days later in a future post.  

I’m fairly certain that I’ve been to Alinea more times than any other restaurant.  First world problems my brother would say.  I suppose I am fortunate but also need to stay home long enough to become a regular anywhere in NYC.   Still my favorite restaurant in the US and I can’t imagine that anything will knock off black truffle explosion as the best bite of all time.  On every visit I’m completely blown away by something and wonder how they will top it the next time, but they always do.  This meal Chef Davies’ trout dish was my favorite hands down.  I can’t wait to see what Alinea 2.0 has in store.

Peach – basil, murray river salt
 Bocadillo – bread, jamon iberico, manchego
Gilda – guindilla de ibarra, anchovy, olive
Jamon iberico – cantaloupe, salt, espelette
Tortilla – potato, onion, egg
Patatas Bravas – paprika, chile, garlic
 Strawberry – tomato, pumpernickel, burratta
 Char Roe – english pea, olive oil, chamomile
 Brook Trout – uchiki kuri squash, thai banana, blis
 Graffiti – matsutake, maitake, parsley

Unagi – pickled plum, white sesame

Corn – uni, nori, togarashi

Totoro Kombu – hamachi, ice fish cracker

Percebes – smoke, seawater, ash

Chicken – shishito, lily, kombu
 Hot Potato – cold potato, black truffle, butter
 Wagyu – matsutake, ginger, black garlic

Black Truffle – explosion, romaine, parmesan

Olive Cake – extra virgin olive oil, black pepper
Lamb – caper leaf, grapes, olives

Bacon – butterscotch, thyme, black pepper
 Parsnip – honey truffle, vanilla, orange
Balloon – helium, green apple (missing a photo)
Tropical Fruit – rum, vanilla, kaffir lime

7/4/15 – Per Se, Elephant Bar at the Nomad Hotel, Dead Rabbit, and Batard

Per Se

The 4th of July is perhaps my favorite day of the year to be in New York. It is so quiet and basically empty. No battling hordes of people to get anywhere and you can drive through the city with amazing speed. What better place to end up for a maximum feeling of peacefulness but the salon at Per Se for lunch? Even with rain outside this is still one of my favorite views in NY and each time I’m at Per Se I feel like I am somewhere other than NYC. Consistently perfect. Beautiful plates and I still think the best service in the city.  I love the extras in the salon such as the salmon cornets (which will always be one of my absolute favorite bites) and mignardises.

“Terrine” of Hudson Valley Moulard Duck Foie Gras
Squire Hill Farm’s Currants, Market Fennel, Spiced Walnuts and Orange Creme Fraiche
Served with Toasted Brioche

California Candycot Salad
Chanterelle Mushrooms, French Breakfast Radishes, Petite Basil and Riesling Emulsion

Elysian Fields Farm’s “Cote D’Agneau”
Squash “en Persillade,” Jingle Bell Peppers, Garlic “Confit” and REd Wine Vinegar Sauce

Grilled Fillet of Gulf Coast Amberjack
Celery Root “Pastrami,” Poached Bing Cherries, Mustard Cress and Miso-Mustard Butter

Wolfe Ranch Bobwhite Quail Breast
Caramelized Shallots, French Leeks, Flowering Watercress and Stewed Black Mission Figs 
I wish I could remember what this one was!
 Coffee & Donuts

 Elephant Bar at the Nomad

Unfortunately the Nomad Bar decided to close this year on July 4th which nearly derailed our entire day as we were counting on an afternoon hot dog.  At least the cocktails are the same at the Elephant Bar.

Dead Rabbit

Congrats to the Dead Rabbit on your Tales wins this year!  Always one of my favorite places in NY and if it wasn’t so far out of the way I would be here far too often.  I seem to have missed quite a few drink pictures, or they went down way too quickly.  Cannot wait for Greenriver to open in Chicago!


I have been meaning to get to Batard since it opened but sometimes it takes out-of-town guests to give you a push.  We arrived early for cocktails after reading about their collection of vintage glasses which were absolutely beautiful.  Such a lovely summer menu and the perfect amount of food.
Hamachi – fennel, passion fruit vinaigrette
English Pea Tortellini – burrata, caraway, pesto
Grilled Swordfish – melon, castelvetrano olives, warm ginger-citrus vinaigrette
Selection of cheeses