Daily Archives: November 21, 2011

[Chicago] Avec

615 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60606
Neighborhood: Near West Side
(312) 377-2002
 
http://www.yelp.com/biz/avec-chicago

http://avecrestaurant.com/

Our CFO, upon learning that I was in Chicago, suggested that I go try Avec.  Since it’s within a few blocks of where I was staying, and the restaurant does not take reservations (which was perfect because I wasn’t sure when I was going to go), off I went!

Since the restaurant does not take reservations, there was already a big crowd waiting for tables.  Luckily for me, there were some open seatings at the bar, so I was seated right away.  For parties of 2 or more, expect at least a 30 minute wait.  Avec is pretty small, with the bar/kitchen on one side, and communal tables lined up on the other.  Good thing there’s coat check, otherwise it’d be difficult trying to hang a coat on your chair while avoiding bumping into other people!

There are large plates and small plate selections.  To me, it seems like a tapas restaurant.  The restaurant also does half-portions on some of the items, so it’s a good way to try many different dishes.  My fellow neighbors at the bar were really friendly, so we chatted while sharing our food.  Come to find out, one of them is a chef owner at a Toronto restaurant (Campagnolo).  So for those of you who are planning to visit Toronto, go give the restaurant a try!  Campagnolo has really good reviews on Yelp too!

 

Even the napkin is printed

 

The bar seating, right next to the kitchen

 

Started off with the chorizo stuffed dates, which is a misnomer.  It’s more like a chorizo meatball wrapped in bacon.  The date is hidden within the meatball to cut out the bite of the spicy tomato sauce.  This dish was so good and so different!  Comes with bread.  This is the half-portion.  $5  Normal portion comes with 4 meatballs.

 

Followed by half order of the fermin serrano (Spanish ham) with marinated peaches and cocoa beans.  This was also an unusual combination – the ham went well with the peaches, while the cocoa beans gave an unexpected earthy aroma and flavor.  Mmmm… $10.50

 

My neighbors graciously insisted that I pair my food with their wine.  The Toronto chef says that this wine is hard to find since it’s from a small vineyard in Sicily.  It’s a really nice red that pairs well with meat.

 

Third plate:  roasted squid with san marzano tomatoes, guanciale, fideo and fennel aioli.  It’s sort of a squid pasta, quite spicy, but the squid still retained excellent flavor.  Perfect with beer!  $12

 

Last but not least, dessert!  White chocolate panna cotta with maple figs and walnut shortbread.  The panna cotta is more gelatiny than usual panna cottas, but the walnut shortbread and the maple figs were both good!  $7

 

All in all, Avec is a great place for a meal!

 

[Chicago] Dose Market

Inside River East Art Center
435 E Illinois St
Chicago, IL 60611
Two blocks west of  Navy Pier
 
www.dosemarket.com

At the Celebrity Chefs Ball, I met a food writer for one of the local Chicago magazines.  She suggested that I check out Dose Market during my stay – it’s a once a month farmer’s market of some sort (no produce though!), with different types of food and fashion under one roof.  Since it’s on my way to Navy Pier, I swung by to take a look.

Dose Market happens once a month, bringing food and fashion/accessories vendors from around Chicago and the neighboring states.  Admission is $10, and only covers your entrance.  I recommend not eating before hand, so that you can sample the food there.  I ate breakfast before I went and then regretted it, as there were lots of pastry and coffee vendors.  The space inside the Arts Center for the market is pretty small, with 15-20 vendors, so it’s crowded.  Worth checking out if you’re already in the area.

 

Lots of people inside!

 

Map of the vendors

 

Gourmet marshmallows from Indiana.  So yum!

 

The pastries looked so good but I didn’t get to try…

 

Exotic spices

 

Fashion!