My sister and I have been waiting for Restaurant Week 2012 FOR.EV.ER.
I had been thinking about a plan of attack since they posted menus and participating restaurants. Tuesday the 21st of February we went to Vie in Western Springs. And unfortunately, my camera phone refuses to work with the candlelight there, so these pictures are as good as it gets. But the taste will live on in memories.
My first course was some crispy gunthrop farm pork belly, braised yukon gold potatoes, smoked spanish sausage, house cured olive vinaigrette. Holy cow house cured olive vinaigrette. And pork belly. I grew up loving some inihaw so if pork belly is on the menu, it will probably be ordered. And, to go off on an even bigger tangent, it’s amazing how different food styles use the same ingredients in different ways and how I love them all. End tangent. My sister loved the sauce, and she doesn’t even like olives. Her first course was pan roasted laughing bird shrimp, roasted carrots, heirloom citrus, smoked paprika vinaigrette, cilantro. Those roasted carrots were so freaking good. I personally love smoked paprika and it’s great to see it used in different applications that I hope inspire me to use it more.
Then was the second course. I ordered the growing power lettuce greens, fresh and marinated hearts of palm, fried biscuits, garlic and herb vinaigrette. She ordered the cream of parsnip soup, tuscan style preserved pork, confit golden beets, marinated kohlrabi. I was done after trying both of these. How is it even right that growing power lettuce and parsnip soup are two of the best things I’ve ever eaten? What the hell is growing power lettuce?!
I think at this point, my sister said this was her favorite place.
Third course for me as a gunthrop farm chicken combo: wood-grilled chicken breast, braised leg and thigh, local spinach, smashed potatoes, pickled ramps, chicken jus. My sister ordered the pan roasted whitefish, creamy anson mills charleston gold rice, fried hazelnuts, braised onions, gremolata. I think if you haven’t had a fried hazelnut, you have to try one ASAP. Both entrees were simple seeming, but really creatively designed.
The final course. Last but not least. Gingerbread donuts, sweet custard, nichols farm warm apple compote. Warm spicy gingerbread donuts, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, creamy, sweet custard. Valrohona caramella chocolate mousse bar, soft chocolate caramel, salted peanuts. Salted peanuts sprinkled over the chocolate caramel. The crust of this mousse bar cannot even be described. Not sure who the exec pastry chef is there, but keep working it!
I feel spent.