A few weeks ago, Diana and I headed down to Lincoln Park for the very first iteration of the Chicago version of the Food + Wine Festival. The brainchild of Charlie Jones (founding partner of C3 Presents), acclaimed chef Tim Love, and Christina Grdovic (publisher of Food & Wine magazine), this popular festival has made its way around the country... and they finally decided to make all of the Midwestern foodies' dreams come true with its Chicago debut. It's about time, right?!
While Diana I definitely chose the wrong day to attend weather-wise (it was pouring rain for a good chunk of our day), we still managed to have a fantastic time! The layout was easy to navigate with plenty of room for some awesome vendor displays, there was an abundance of good food and drinks with over 90 wine, spirit, and food exhibitors, and the chef demos were on point. While I do still love my Chicago Gourmet festival, Food + Wine had a very different vibe - it was far more laid back and offered more opportunity to take your time and enjoy each vendor. I also have to admit that it was nice to not have to wait in the soul-crushing lines CG can attract (the attendee level was approximately half the size of CG).
Here's a bit of what we did/ate/drank during our day of fabulous foodie fun...
While I've always been a vodka girl, gin has become my new drink of choice - the Unusual Negroni from Hendrick's Gin was the perfect way to kick off our day!
Burro Del Chianti with Siagel Farms pork, rosemary, and black pepper from RPM Italian
Prosciutto & Melon on Tigelle (aka the best bread ever!) from Chef Chris Pandel
The lovely and delicious Pistachio and Fig-Filled Profiteroles from Leigh Oliminsky at Nico Osteria
Smoked Beef Carpaccio on a crisp pumpernickel curled cracker from Knife & Tine
Gearing up for the Taittinger Champagne demo/tasting! Diana and I both agreed that our favorite of the five was the Grand Cru Millennium Brut.
Goat Cheese Bars with blueberries and peaches from Floriole
Kale Salad with thinly sliced radishes, jalapeno peppers, and toasted pepitas from La Sirena Clandestina
Meaty goodness from Chef John Hogan at River Roast
Chef Takashi Yagihashi!
Chawanmushi with BBQ unagi eel and bacon from Slurping Turtle
My new favorite coffee blend from High Brew Coffee
Peaches & Burrata with pea shoots and sunflower seeds from Nellcôte
The tender & juicy Filet Slider on a buttery bun from Gibson's Steakhouse
How cool was the Dark Horse Wines display?!
The adorable Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint truck (all the way from Nashville!)
Don Julio cocktail tasting (so much deliciousness!)
Pierogi with Chobani Chive Yogurt and pickled rhubarb chimichurri by Chicago-favorite Chef Stephanie Izard (see more from the Chobani tent here)
Affogato with vanilla gelato from Black Dog Gelato & Bow Truss coffee topped with fresh lemon whipped cream
Build-your-own pie from Hoosier Mama Pie Company
Of course, we couldn't leave without checking out a few cooking demos from our two favorite Chicago chefs! Stephanie Izard gave us a sneak peak of a few dishes from her forthcoming Duck Duck Goat (we can't wait for it to open!)...
While Chef Rick Bayless lead us through a Mexican feast via his farmers' market goodies!
It was an awesome debut of the Food + Wine Festival and we can't wait for it to head back for another round!
Disclosure: I received a complimentary media pass to facilitate this post. Review and all opinions are my own.