Whenever I get the chance to go to Chi-town, I take out my list of Must-Try food experiences. This trip gave me the opportunity to try a few more and to revisit a favorite spot, which makes me a happy girl.
The Park Hyatt Hotel is one of my favorite hotels in Chicago and their restaurant, Nomi, is just spectacular! Besides having a lovely rooftop terrace, their restaurant offers sweeping views of Water Tower Place. That said, the star at Nomi is not the view….nope…the star is the food!!! Even though they are awaiting a new executive chef (rumor has it that the announcement is coming in mere days), my lunch with the sales manager was exquisite!! I wanted to try every single thing on the menu as it all looked scrumptious!
I had the Hand Cut Tagliatelli with Hen of the Woods Mushrooms, Roasted Fall Squash and Sage Butter—the perfect combination for a chilly January afternoon. The pasta was cooked a perfect al dente and the flavors combined perfectly at each bite!
Dessert was equally spectacular! I had the spectacular NoMi Kitchen Tart–a bittersweet chocolate mousse, flourless chocolate sponge with a hard cookie crust and a honeyed crème fraiche center. My Park Hyatt sales manager friend had the equally spectacular Cranberry Citrus Swirl: Buttermilk panna cotta, lemon nectar and winter citrus.
Blackbird has long been on my list to try. It comes highly recommended from almost all of my foodie friends who frequently travel to Chicago. The ambiance was somewhat minimalist, but quite cozy and the service was spot on. The wine list made me happy as we had a Crozes Hermitage in the $60 range (it was spectacular). The waiter brought a happy little amuse bouche that amused my palate indeed!
We ordered the Seared Scallops with roasted chestnut, pickled persimmons, spiced cocoa nibs, and tarragon as a starter. The scallops were teeny-tiny baby scallops and packed with flavor. The pickled persimmons gave a delightfully sour-fruity element to the deeper flavors of the chestnut and cocoa nibs (who knew that I would grow up to enjoy a good persimmon)….
I had the Roasted and Braised Venison with maitake mushrooms, parsnip, molasses bread pudding, and pear. The deep roasted venison combined perfectly with the molasses bread pudding—quite the yin and yang of the rich, meaty Venison and the deep, sweet flavor of the bread pudding. The bread pudding was almost like having breakfast for dinner—reminiscent of a French toast stick. It was a delight!
My dining companion had the grilled strip loin and braised veal cheeks with smoked potato gnocchi, charred cabbage, sour cream, and black garlic. Although the veal cheeks were slightly salty, the strip loin was perfectly prepared and that charred cabbage was just beautiful!!!
For dessert, we shared the Bourbon Gooey Butter Cake with whipped goat cheese, carmelized strudel, pumpkin pie, pecans and sorghum. The dish was completely deconstructed and an unexpected, but absolutely beautiful presentation. The pumpkin pie was swooshed around the plate with the pecans lightly dusting the dish like snow. We practically licked the plate clean!
The Trump’s panoramic 16th floor restaurant, Sixteen, was a delight! The restaurant has two Michelin stars and is a AAA Five Diamond Restaurant.
We had a leisurely breakfast there our last morning. I swear the orange juice was the orangiest juice I ever had. It seemed a bit salty at first at $6, but then I realized how big the glass was and it seemed to be the never-ending glass as my waiter kept refilling it until I had my fill. I still think about that juice!
But back to the food… I had the basil omelet with onions, mushrooms, tomato and feta and my dining companion had the eggs benedict. My dining companion had the fabulous eggs benedict. She substituted her ham for bacon and said her dish was just divine!
Beyond the food, our window-side table afforded the most amazing view of the Wrigley Clock Tower. Gazing with my cup of earl grey tea with this fabulous view in the morning made me feel as if I was the Lady Mary traveling in style! My clients staying at The Trump receive continental breakfast daily and a $100 hotel credit, which may be used at the restaurant, spa, and the bar.
Our last night, we dined at Little Goat, the diner little sister to Girl and the Goat. What a fun, and delightful experience! The Goat Chili Cheese Fries were a decadent delight!! The onion rings and fried pickles were perhaps the lightest, cleanest flavor I’ve ever had with deep fried food…..just wonderful! My blue plate special of braised short ribs (I do adore short ribs!) had a light almost stewy presentation with the potatoes and carrots. My dining companion and I share the stir fried Brussels Sprouts, and I have to say I think they are better than mine—and I make kick ass Brussels Sprouts!
Looking forward to the next time in Chicago! Are there any favorites I must try?’
If you liked this post, check out my guest post on The Travel Agent, Inc.’s site about my previous Chicago Adventure.