Restaurant Life / Restaurants

There’s Always Chicago

Now what’s next for me?  Well, there’s always Chicago.  For those of you who didn’t know, I flew out to Chicago last June to compete on a Food Network show and won the opportunity to take a position in the Windy City (http://blog.foodnetwork.com/fn-dish/2013/09/chef-wanted-tavernita-update/). So why am I still in New York?  While I was in negotiations, the owner at my job in New York passed away unexpectedly and everything changed.  After so many years with the company they were like family to me and I felt personally committed to helping them through the transition and seeing them through the New Year.

In the meantime, I made arrangements to fly out to Chicago for a week to trail in a few kitchens and check out the culinary scene, before deciding to take the leap.  It was also the first long vacation D. and I took together, and our industry friends helped us put together a list of must-eat restaurants. We didn’t make it to them all, which gives us a reason to return.  Still, over the course of seven days we checked out sixteen different eateries and each gained twenty pounds. These were some of the highlights:

This isn’t even the complete list

Roasted Cauliflower at Girl and the Goat

Pork Shoulder with Bomba Rice at Avec

Crispy Duck Tongue at Girl and the Goat

The absolute best burger we have EVER had, at Au Cheval

Must have Caldo de Carnitas at Xoco

Beef Cheek and Pastrami Terrine and Chicken Liver Pate at Sepia

The culinary scene in Chicago is of course much smaller than New York’s, but is equally diverse. And it felt like a close knit more supportive community than the cut-throat New York restaurant world.  During my trail at Little Market, I half-jokingly said that I wouldn’t mind having a trail the The Girl and the Goat.  Without batting an eye, the sous chef said, “Let me make a few calls and see what I can do.”  Wow.

Still, I’ve managed to find an amazing community of folks in New York City, and I feel like I have a lot more to do here.  I loved Chicago and could see myself returning there to consult from time to time, but for right now New York is going to be home base.

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