We spent the weekend in Chicago with my daughter and her boyfriend- who turned into the fiance over the course of the weekend!
They are both chefs, so of course, and to my perpetual delight, weekends spent with them are always a fantastic food fest.
The first night was spent at their apartment. James cooked. I love when he cooks. And not just because someone else is cooking but because he does it so well. He turns the simplest food into a wonder. He will be burning up the line at The Lobby at the Peninsula Hotel.
We knew he had the ring in his pocket and we just waited for him to pop the question. And waited…
We spent the next day touring the town.
Yeah – looked like he had a surprise in mind.
Of course we had to have a Chicago hotdog and Bopngrill burgers.
We were fortunate enough to have James’ mom in town as well.
Sunday night we had dinner at Balena. This is where my daughter is the pastry sous chef. We had a memorable tasting. I truly couldn’t say what my favorite dish was. It was fun sharing everything and made it really feel like a family dinner. When you are all digging into the same foods and oohing and ahhing it forges a bond. Dessert, needless to say, was incredible. We thoroughly enjoyed it all. It felt so decadent to have ten different treats to savor and share. No pictures- sorry – it was a family meal after all. I know I do share those but somehow this felt like a private moment and although I was itching to take pictures and describe all the dishes it just didn’t feel right. You will have to use your imagination or even better – go there and sample it yourself. Okay – here is one picture- professionally taken by the New York Times, of the grapefruit sundae.
We waited all day and night for the ring…
His mom was flying out to Phoenix the next morning. It seemed like the time might be right. But no…
After we dropped them off for the night he finally did it. We got the text of my daughter’s hand and the ring on it. We are overjoyed to welcome this guy into the family. We were disappointed that his mother would miss the celebration dinner the next night. But sometimes things happen for a reason and magically her flight was cancelled and she got to spend another day in the Windy City and join us for the next gustatory feast at The Bristol.
This was another incredible sampling; although I think I preferred Balena.
At the end of the meal my daughter ordered me a glass of what she said was the best dessert wine she had ever had.
And OMG it was the best dessert wine I have ever tasted. 100% Tannat. This is heaven in a bottle. Priced at around $27.00
Complex and creamy and smooth. Cherry and fig and chocolate and vanilla bean. The flavors never stop. You must try it. Even if you think you are not a lover of dessert wine this is like no other.
I went home and ordered 3 bottles online.
Congratulations to Rachel and James. We love you both and are so happy for you.