Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Michelin Guide Chicago

Ok so I'm only a month late on the release of the Michelin 2011 guide on restaurants, but lets take a closer look at Chicago's finest, if not tastiest. A brief tutorial on the Michelin guide: The guide was first published in 1900 in France. It begun as a small guide distributed freely to traveling motorists, pointing out local places to eat.The guide now boosts over 40,000 restaurants who are rated by anonymous visitors. Their website uses the slogan, "The Michelin Guide. Famously anonymous". They don't disclose any info on how they tasted and came up with their list.  All we know is that they revisit places they like and rank them anonymously. Hm. No vain bloggers?

So the guide splits their picks based on "starred restaurants", and "bib gourmand restaurants". What the flip is a Bib Gourmand rating? Well, let me tell you. It means the restaurant is a good value, usually about 40$ or less for 2 courses. Me likey. BTW, Bib is short for Bibendum, a French character created in 1898 by the Michelin brothers. Over the years Bib, the Michelin Man, became the group's mascot. And his head (below) can be seen all over the guide.

The starred restaurants are more upscale and are rated based on 1,2,3 stars. Alinea and L2O are the only 3 star restaurants in Chicago! (I vowed to try Alinea this year, whether or not I have to take out a small loan). If you make the bib list, in essence  you are not allowed to be on the master list in later years.
What do you think of the bib list? I'm not sure I'm buying the Thai Village, or Paramount Room as true icon's of this fab. city full of deal's. Oh mon Dieu!

And finally, the full list of starred winners:

Charlie Trotters
Crofton on Wells
Graham Elliot
Longman & Eagle

- Who knew the Michelin Man wasn't just selling tires!!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Happy Holidays!

A picture from a recent holiday party my sister and I hosted. It was a great success! We (more my sis than I) made tons of food. Like artichoke dip, meatballs, arugula & fennel salad, mushroom bruschetta, dill dip etc. We also had an amazing holiday drink that consisted of vodka, champagne, and sparkling pomegranate juice. Trader joe's has great organic champagnes that taste great and are reasonably priced. They also have pomegranate juice as well as other organic juices if you want some variety. Pop the bubbly just in time for NYE.

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Francesca's Forno

I've been dying to try the Francesca's in Wicker Park, Forno. This is one of the many Francesca chains in the Chicagoland area. Can you believe that I haven't gone to any of them? Well my friend from Buffalo was in town and I was looking for a nice Italian joint for ladies night out to sip on some wine and feast before heading over to my favorite place, The Violet Hour. I made reservations on Open Table, and they were very accommodating when I called to tell them we were running late. The vibe in the restaurant was lively, almost every table filled on a Friday night. I like that the windows face Damen, Milwaukee and North which make for great people watching. And at this corner there are lots of characters to check out!

The menu was great, split up the usual Italian way - by hot/cold apps, pasta, chicken and fish. I found the specials to really catch my eye and the wine list is, of course, ample. So far so good, minus the residue of the end of a bottle left in my friends glass! ick! But otherwise the wine was delish.

We chose the pizza with truffle oil and mushrooms. I forgot the name of the cheese here but it was def. aromatic and delish. My friends both chose the pasta specials and I got the risotto special. I should have written sooner bc i forgot the ingredients. Rats!

Anyways, Italian is Italian and usually amazzzing if the service and ambiance fits. This place hit all the good points and now I'm intriqed to try the other francescas!
Bouna Sera!

Francesca's Forno on Urbanspoon