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Taste Talks Recap

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I missed Taste Talks while I was in Europe – but lucky for you Julia Beebe is going to tell you all about it!

Taste Talks came to Chicago earlier this month to show off the amazing food of some local Chicago chefs. I was blessed with the opportunity to attend some of the events and experience some truly incredible dishes.

Mother of Pearl at Local Foods

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As a sort of kick off event for Taste Talks, Local Foods hosted the Mother of Pearl Dinner Party Friday, October 2nd. Local Foods is Chicago’s first wholesale distributor and retailer of local foods from Midwest Farmers. Located at 1427 W. Willow St., this was the perfect venue to start off the weekend.

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The first hour of the evening was an Oyster & Wine Happy Hour. Island Creek Oysters were served with Jackson Family Wines, setting the mood for the evening ahead. Island Creek Oysters had actual shuckers to open the fresh oysters in front of you. It was perfectly paired with Jackson Family Wines, based in Santa Rosa, CA.

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MightyVine cherry tomatoes topped with Cypress Grove PsycheDilic Sabayon and Smoked Trout was served as the appetizer. The MightyVine tomatoes were incredible. I’ve never eaten such fresh and juicy tomatoes before.

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Everyone was served a “Family Style” dinner, starting with Pumpkin Soup. Chef Eric Mansavage from Farmhouse, prepared a delicious Young Pumpkin Soup with Brown Dog Farm Apples. It was the perfect first dish.

Next was Stock Kitchen’s Abra Berens’ dish. She created a Lake Trout Escabeche with shaved vegetables and smoked trout roe.

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Choucroute with Pork Belly, Garlic Sausage and Duck Confit, served by chef Jared Wentworth of Longman & Eagle was the third dish. The pork belly, sausage, and duck were topped with apple, potato, and grain mustard, making it one of my favorite dishes of the night.

The last dish, created by Mike Sheerin of Embeya & Packed, was a Seasonal Main. It was a perfect end to a grand dinner.

Dessert was a Pie Bar by BangBang! Pie with cookies by Mindy Segal. BangBang! Pie’s lemon pie was to die for. Coffee and cocktails by Metric Coffee Roasters and KOVAL Spirits were served along with the dessert.

This evening was filled with unforgettable food and beverages. It was an amazing way to start off the Taste Talks weekend.

April Bloomfield’s Pop-Up Gastropub

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The following night, Virgin Hotel at 203 N Wabash hosted April Bloomfiel’s Pop-Up Gastropub. In celebration of April Bloomfield’s new cookbook, “A Girl and Her Greens” multiple hors d’oeuvres were presented, inspired by April Bloomfield and prepared by Executive Chef Rick Gresh.

The hors d’oeurvres included deviled eggs, chicken liver on toast, peanuts with garlic and rosemary, lamb meatballs with yogurt and mint, salad sandwiches on a mini brioche bun, potato soup with garlic and parsley, and baby piedmontese peppers with tomato, basil, and anchovy.

Servers made their rounds in the crowd wit each hors d’oeurvres on a beautifully assembled platters. Paired perfectly with a Goose Island beer or a Sauvignon Blanc from Jackson Family Wines, the evening was perfect.

By: Julia Beebe
Julia Beebe is a Colorado-born, Chicago-based writer and content creator. Passionate about the arts, food, and equality for all humanity, Julia hopes to inspire and shift perspective through her words.

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