Best Things We Consumed in 2012

2012 brought some of our best food experiences yet — thanks to awesome newfound foodie friends and restaurants that arrived in our lives.  Underground dining proved to be a great way to meet new people and try ground breaking food. Looking forward to what 2013 has to offer!  Next restaurant is on the books as well as Sous Rising Underground and Thurk Underground and a preview of TMIP (Brandon Baltzley’s new restaurant). I’ll be sure to share.

Below is a compendium of the tastiest dishes and beverages we were fortunate to consume in 2012:

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One Sister Underground (Now Elizabeth Restaurant):
Spring Menu (see my full blog post on this menu here):
Beet: Marshmallow and biscuit with whipped bacon fat
Carrots and Cashews: Blanched, dehydrated & shaved carrots, cashew milk, roasted cashews, carrot top pesto
*1 Pill Makes You Larger: Cocoa nib and chamomile in a dissolving capsule
Rice Crispy and Bear: Puffed wild rice, cured black bear, Wisconsin cheddar, pink peppercorn
Chicken liver mousse: Chicken liver mousse encapsulated in dark cocoa, fennel pollen, madiera gel

Elizabeth Restaurant:
Owl menu:
*Carrot tea with ginger
Hen & Egg
Pear & Chestnut dessert
Deer menu:
*Tartare and Sumac
Salmon Cannoli
Forest Float
Porcini mushroom dessert
Diamond menu (see my full blog post on this menu here):
Foraged matsutake mushrooms and juniper powder on top of cinnamon custard
Loup de mer with apple cider gelee and sunchoke puree.
Oyster and Nasturtium (kumamoto oyster)
**Hamachi with fermented leek and fish sauce caramel (WINNER)

EL Ideas:
February Menu:
*Anise Hyssop:  Brussels/pecans/root beer
Ideas in Food collaboration dinner:
Sunflower seed risotto, porcini, and kombu
December Menu:
Octopus: eggplant / cardoon / garam masala
*Secreto: parsnip / horseradish / old bay
Wagyu: royal trumpet / sunchoke / leek

Thurk Underground:
Mushroom, dandelion, ricotta, and chicken skin
Cauliflower, cress, and egg yolk

iNG:
Christmas Menu:
Mille-fuille: Puff pastry, lemon ricotta, apples, goat cheese. honey nut cereal infused rum, honey, lemon, frangelico
Sweet Potato: Chain vanilla parsnip, balsamic, truffle, hazelnut
Easter menu:
April Showers capon, cauliflower, Tokyo turnip
Heavy Metal menu:
*Deep Purple Poutine: purple potatoes, aged cheddar, short rib
Back in Black: donut sauce, salted whipped cream, and espresso

City Provisions:
*Sasparilla stout
Jicama potato salad
Quiche

S&M Underground:
July Menu:
Poke
Sai Gog (Laos) – pork sausages, papaya salad
August Menu:
Matzo-Pot-Au-Pho: matzo, broth, carrot, daikon, leek, asian herbs

Girl and the Goat:
*Arctic Char with capers, ruby grapefruit
*Kohlrabi: fennel, almonds, shiitakes, pears, and ginger dressing

Acadia:
Mezcal old-fashioned with notes of tomatillo and grapefruit and a coconut-dill ice cube — created by Michael Simon

Carriage House:
*Venison tartare
Collard Greens
*Crispy Pork shoulder with grits and smoked plums

Ruxbin:
*Octopus dish with grilled with Chickpeas, Pickled Green Onions, Radish, Black Soybean, Grapes, Ginger-Scallion Vinaigrette

Next:
El bulli menu (see my full blog post on this menu here):
Chicken Liquid Croquettes
Cauliflower cous-cous with solid aromatic herb sauce
Potato tortilla, trumpet carpaccio
Foie gras caramel custard
Mint pond
Kyoto menu:
*Corn Husk (broth)
Matsutake Chawanmushi, pine

Graham Elliot (with Andrew Brochu):
Egg
Doughnut

Owen & Engine:
*Burger

Yusho:
Chicken liver takoyaki
Pig foot ramen

Lula Cafe:
Buccatini with brown butter and garlic
Chestnut, brie, and rosemary Strada

Chizakaya (RIP):
*Octopus beignets
Po Bao

Nellcote:
Robuchon mashed potatoes

Publican Quality Meats:
(PB & L) Pork Belly and Lamb Sausage sandwich

Namo:
Lobster pad thai

Balena:
Tagliolini Nero, crab, sea urchin, chili
Amaro cocktails

Barrelhouse Flat:
Remember the Main
Mamie Taylor

Schwa:
*Deconstructed Baked Potato Soup
Truffle Ravioli
Salmon/Grapefruit

La Sze Chuan:
*Dry chili chicken
Lamb with dry cumin

Machu Picchu:
Cancha (Peruvian fried corn kernels)

Bouchon Bakery:
Vanilla and Pistachio flavored macarons

Do-Rite Donuts:
Old Fashioned donut

Pecking Order:
Banana ketchup
P.O. sauce

Premise (RIP):
*Lapsang Souchong cocktail
Foie Gras pretzel

Fumare Meats & Deli:
Montreal Smoked sandwich

Pastoral:
Millenium Park Bean sandwich
BLTA sandwich

The Peasantry:
Chocolate chili fried chicken on a corn pancake

Pleasant House Bakery:
*Mushroom and Kale pie

Birchwood Kitchen:
Chickpea salad

Scofflaw:
*Fries
Guapichosa (“Secret” pork sandwich)
*”Dealer’s Choice” drinks

Nightwood:
Crispy pig ears with Habanero, maple, and cilantro

Alinea:
*Corn: Huitlacoche, sour cherry, silk
Chanterelle: ramps, asparagus, smoked date
Black Truffle explosion, romaine, parmesan

Browntrout:
Corn risotto

Revolution Brewing:
Mad Cow Milk Stout

Katsu:
*Matsutake tea
*Eel Chawanmushi
*Chef’s Choice Omakase

The Publican (Faviken Dinner):
*Arctic Char with matsutake mushrooms, apples, and fermented cucumbers

Scooter’s:
Peanut Butter and Jelly custard

Urban Belly:
Lamb and brandy ravioli

Trencherman:
*Celery gin and tonic cocktail
Pickle tots

The Savoy:
Truffle cocktail

Oiistar:
Pork Ramen

Longman & Eagle:
Chicago style Pig Face

Au Cheval:
Foie gras terrine with cherry sauce

In Montreal, Canada:
Jean Talon Market:
Ground cherries
Pintxo:
Morcilla (Spanish blood sausage)
Le LAB:
*Jerky Jack Lab cocktail (Cane sugar, bitter BBQ craft, Curacao Pierre Ferrand, Tennessee Whiskey Jack Daniels and sweet and spicy beef jerky)
Flaming S’More shot
Le Couteau (The Knife):
Coffee
Joe Beef:
Oeufs en Pot: Chanterelle mushrooms, bacon, chicken skin jus, soft egg
Bone Marrow with pickled vegetables and mustard
*Filet de Cheval a Cheval (Horse entrée)
*Au Pied de Cochon: Foie Gras Apple Tart

*Best of the best

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Best Things We Consumed in 2011

Oysters and Pearls at The French Laundry

2011 proved to be a great year for eating and drinking around the city of Chicago. Below are some of our top picks for the best food and drink we consumed (with a few thrown in from our San Francisco and Vegas trips). These are in no particular order and I’m sure I forgot a few!

Revolution Brewing— House-Cured Jowl Bacon Ragout, Barrel Aged Black Power Beer

iNG — Tuna poke; Short rib

Leopold — Smoked rabbit spaetzle

Kith & Kin (R.I.P.) — Fried chicken thighs, Smoked oysters
Chizakaya — Hamachi with bone marrow and garlic
Pastoral — Millenium Park bean sandwich
Sable Kitchen & Bar — Corn brulee
Saigon Sisters — Classic Bahn Mi
Spacca Napoli — Funghi wood oven pizza
Baconfest — Bacon rillette lollipop with maple bacon cotton candy lollipop (From Longman & Eagle); Bacon and foie gras moon pie topped with cayenne peanuts (From Big Jones); Cherrywood smoked bacon and black currant fruit roll up with bacon “cannoli” filled with maple bacon mascarpone (From Atwood Cafe)
Nightwood Restaurant — Wood oven smoked duck, Fried meyer lemon slices with caper aioli
Brown Trout — Wagyu with ramps and morels
City Provisions Deli — Ham sandwich on pretzel bread; Red pepper and humboldt fog quiche
Avenues (R.I.P.) — Alaskan king crab, Wagyu beef ribeye with ramps
Bouchon Bakery (Vegas) — Vanilla macaron; Pistachio macaron
Amy’s Candy Bar — Concord grape gummy bears
Next — Fillet de Sole Daumont, Supremes de Poussin (Escoffier Menu)
The Aviary — Blueberry
North Pond — Rabbit 3-ways (Spring menu)
Black Sheep (R.I.P.) — Mushroom Explosion
Sprout — Lamb medallions with pea puree (brunch menu)
El Ideas — Agnolotti: chicken/cornichon/brioche; Eggs: uni/char/scrambled/shrimp; Spanner crab: gnocchi/eggplant; Broccoli: Cauliflower/curry/cheese curd; Bourbon: pecan/coffee/tobacco — inspired by aunts drinking coffee and bourbon while smoking
Meaty Balls Mobile (R.I.P.) — Original Meatball sandwich
Wisconsin State Fair — Cream Puffs
Comstock Saloon (San Francisco) — Cheddar crackers with pepper jelly and cream cheese
Atelier Crenn (San Francisco) — Butter poached oysters with St. Germaine
Humphry Slocombe — Bourbon Coke Float: Bourbon caramel sauce/Secret Breakfast ice cream/coke
Slanted Door — Corn with chanterelle mushrooms
French Laundry — Oysters and Pearls; Poulard
The Butcher & Larder — Italian Sausage
GT Fish and Oyster — Shrimp and foie gras terrine
Koval Distillery — Spelt whiskey
Moto — Summer Breeze; Kentucky fried pasta/red wine puree; Cigars (Cuban, Philly Blunt, Monte Cristo)
Franks ‘N’ Dawgs — Seared swine pork sausage topped with white wine pickled pumpkin, grape & smoked onion relish, candied ginger & sage aioli & dijon mustard (Creation by Nathan Sears of Vie)
Fumare Meats — Montreal smoked pastrami sandwich
Festival of Wood and Barrel aged beer fest — Goose Island Manhattan Bourbon County Stout
Pleasant House Bakery — Mushroom and kale pie
One Sister Underground Dinner — Bubble Tea: Apple Pie/Bourbon; Pierogi: White Truffle/Cheese, Grilled Cheese Soup; 1 Pill makes you Larger and 1 pill makes you smaller (Chamomile and Mushroom); Ice Cream Cone: Bacon/Koval whiskey
Barrelhouse Flat — Old Fashioned
The Bristol
— Crispy pig tail with peanuts and coconut broth
2 Sparrows
 — Mushroom, leek, and kale quiche