Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Recap of the Windy City

Wow, I have to say, I am really impressed with the city of Chicago and wish that I had more time to explore and sight see. I will just have to go back I guess!

On Wednesday night I met my friend Lindy for dinner and drinks for my birthday. There was one place on my mind, literally for months that I just had to go to: Frontera Grill.  I became interested after watching Rick Bayless on Top Chef Masters and how positively he reacted to folks with food allergies and special diets. Any chef that's willing to adapt and from a place of understanding is top-notch in my book.

I started with the Gold Margarita and had this one plus another ~1/3 over the course of our dinner.

A huge storm had just rolled in on my way to the restaurant so the wait was less than it might have been otherwise. However, we decided to eat at the bar since we had a table and an attentive server.

Lindy insisted that we order the guacamole to start and oh my, this was hands down the best guacamole I've ever eaten. It was smooth, creamy, had just the right amount of saltiness, a rich flavor, and overall amazing. I got really excited once this arrived because I could only imagine what the rest of our meal would be like!

I ordered 2 appetizers for my dinner that had caught my eye repeatedly when I checked the menu online. Our waiter made sure that the dishes would be gluten free as well as avoiding contact with a few other random allergies of mine.

First up, the Ensalada Frontera: romaine, arugula, radish, grilled knob onion with garlic-lime dressing. Mexican aged queso anejo cheese, crispy tortilla angel hair, cilantro. Mine did not have the tortilla angel hair but was fantastic and fresh!

Next was the Tamal Primaveral: vegetarian tamal filled with Swiss chard and mushrooms (shiitake, oyster), steamed in banana leaves. Tangy hoja santa-flavored tomatillo sauce, arugula salad, queso anejo. Oh. My. Gosh. It was tangy, light, had a depth of flavors that all complimented each other well. I finished this and was more than ready to order another it was so good!!

Thank you Frontera Grill for a fabulous meal. I can't wait to go back!! This was far better than any Mexican food I've had in Texas!

My conference kicked off that night after dinner and ran through late Sunday morning. I didn't really photograph meals because there weren't any exciting ones... where the camera was handy at least. There was a lot of berries, plain Greek yogurt, and cereal and AB that I had brought with me for breakfasts. Plain salads with grilled chicken for lunch. And then a couple of exciting dinners but not that I'd write home about. Let's just say I was thankful I had practiced my own travel tips!

My parents arrived on Friday evening because my mom was being initiated as an honorary member of the sorority. She was really excited to receive this honor and it was special for me to be able to initiate her :)  It also was great getting to see my parents for a weekend.

We ate at this restaurant, Bandera, on Friday night. I had a beautiful vegetable platter that was beyond amazing. They had a gluten free menu and the server was very knowledgeable which earned extra points in my book!

On Sunday before flying out we went to lunch at Hub 51, another restaurant that was recommended to me. They had a gluten free menu and I really enjoyed what I ordered. I split the brussel sprouts salad with my dad and our friend and then had the vegetable tacos for my main course. SO. GOOD. I will be replicating the brussel sprouts salad later this week. It was phenomenal.

I'm sorry I don't have pictures of meals to share but here are some of my favorite snapshots of the weekend. I am so proud of my leadership team for doing an outstanding job and of course, had a blast with our collegians and other friends who are also on the board.

Now I'm back in the real world and trying to catch up on sleep, life, and fun celebrations with friends!

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