10.25.2014

Common Threads Cook-Off 2014

A few weeks ago, I was invited to attend the 4th annual Common Threads Cook-Off held at Revel Downtown. Common Threads is the brainchild of Chicago's beloved Chef Art Smith (yes, we know he's not originally from here, but we've officially claimed him!) whose organization works to provide various nutrition education programs to underprivileged children. It's really a fantastic group and I was thrilled to join them for another one of their foodie fundraising events.

The Cook-Off pits many of Chicago's top chefs and mixologists against each other in a good old fashioned head-to-head showdown. For this year's event, contestants were given the opportunity to create and serve their best dish in one of five categories: the garden, the seed, the pasture, the barn, or the barrel. Guests had three hours to visit each table, sample the food/drinks, and cast their votes for the their favorite each category. I joined forces with Alison from Rosie Discovers - while we had big plans to employ the "one bite and then move on" tasting method, our plans were totally shot down the minute we started sampling the delicious offerings. Seriously, there was just too much goodness to not indulge! Despite the fact that we were both ready to slip into food comas by the end, we had a wonderful night chowing down on some tasty food/drinks, chatting with some of our favorite local chefs, and meeting a few of our fellow Instagram foodie followers [hey there, Julia! :-)].

 Farmed Cobia Sliders with tomato jalapeño chutney from Dirk's Fish & Gourmet Shop

 Burrata from Sienna Tavern

 Lentil & Duck Procuitto Terrine from River Roast

Cauliflower Bisque with truffled goat cheese fondue & pumpernickel croutons from Park Grill (one of my favorites of the night)

 Cucumber Punch from Underground

 Toasting with fellow Chicago Food Blogger, Alison!

 Grilled Eggplant Sliders from Henry's Swing Club


 Red Pepper Arancini with Parmesan foam from The Lobby at the Peninsula (another one of my favorites and the winner of the from the seed category)


 Limey Cocktail from Atwood Cafe

 Barbacoa Goat Taco from Stout Barrel House & Galley (another favorite of the night)

 Maine Lobster Dim Sum with lobster sauce from Roy's

 Sin Nombre Sangrita from South Water Kitchen

Sorghum Milkshake (buttermilk cornbread milkshake!) with popped sorghum & whiskey cherries from Table Fifty-Two (another one of my top picks and the winner of the from the pasture category)

House Made Charcuterie from TÊTE Charcuterie

Cauliflower and Tomato from Japonais by Morimoto

 White Gazpacho Flan & Shrimp Escabeche from Travelle

Barrica Presidencial from Jimmy at The James Chicago (winner of the from the barrel category)

 Raspberry Tarts from 676 Restaurant & Bar

 Barley Ceviche from Taco Joint

 Crooked Tacos from Crooked Fork Brewery

 Mini Rockit Sliders from Rockit Burger Bar

Roasted Fall Squash Soup with homemade bacon, fall apples, and maple-bourbon syrup from TWO Restaurant & Bar

 Pig Jowl from Howells & Hood (winner of the from the barn category)

 Crispy Pork Belly with sweet potato purée and bourbon cider reduction from Atwood Restaurant

 Quinoa Granola Bars with acacia honey, toasted coconut, and carob chips from Mercat a la Planxa

 Quaker Real Medleys Granola, Müller Yogurt, and Naked Juice Parfaits

Marscapone Napoleon with ginger fig reduction from The Chopping Block

 Pumpkin Patch Mousse from moto Restaurant (my favorite dessert of the night and winner of the from the garden category)


Tanqueray Gin cocktail from Allium

Carmel Poached Pear with pistachio cake, fig jam, and cranberry caviar from Allium



Frozen Kefir Bars bar from Lifeway (I went with a vanilla bar & chocolate-covered pretzel crumbles)

Interested in getting involved with Common Threads? You can find more information here!

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