I had a wonderful time live blogging and tweeting the Time Out Chicago Eat Out Awards last night. I got to meet many of Chicago’s finest chefs and restauranteurs. I asked them what they love about Chicago’s culinary scene, what I should order when I go to their restaurant, and which restaurants they dine at – other than their own.
It was hard to keep up with all of the action last night – I juggled carrying around a camera and a phone, while trying to sample the food and drinks. I was exhausted when it was over, and I had lots of notes that I didn’t get a chance to type up. Here is the rest of my recap.
I would like to send out a huge Thank You to Time Out Chicago and the Chicago Blogger Network. And thank you to everyone who took the time to speak with me.
R.J. and Jerrod Melman, of Lettuce Entertain You, were nominated for restauranteurs of the year, and their restaurant Bub City was nominated for Best New Cocktail Program and Best New Barbeque (which it won). They told me that the concept behind Bub City was American Country Western with the best barbeque possible. I explained that my attempts to dine at Bub City have failed since the wait was so long, but it has been on my list of restaurants to try. They said that their favorite items on the menu are the fried chicken and the chopped brisket sandwich. I might have to try both.
The Melmans are opening two new restaurants in River North this year – which is perfect since I live in River North. Giuliana and Bill Rancic are partnering with the Melmans again for RPM Steak, which will be just a few blocks away from RPM Italian. Paul McGee, who is their partner in Bub City, is partnering with the Melmans again for a tiki bar called Three Dots and a Dash. The unusual name comes from an old tiki drink. McGee is one of Chicago’s best mixologists, so we can expect Three Dots and a Dash to have a stand out cocktail program. The Melmans have been a huge boost to Chicago’s culinary scene, and they have added to much variety to River North. Their restaurants are very different: Bub City is BBQ, RPM Italian is modern Italian, HUB 51 is modern American, Paris Club is French and R.J. Grunts is casual American. I am glad to hear that the Melmans are bringing more fresh ideas to Chicago.
Peter Vestinos from bellyQ talked to me briefly between award announcements. He was nominated for Best New Cocktail Program. He told me that the must try cocktail at bellyQ is the Red Lotus because it is eye catching and has a fresh taste. The must try item on the menu is the Korean Short Rib, which sounds incredible.
My conversation with Danae Maglaris from Covo Gyro Market began with a lesson in how to properly say “gyro”. Apparently most Chicagoans pronounce it incorrectly, it is yeer-ho no gi-rho. Once that important topic was covered, Danae told me all about her fast casual Greek eatery in Wicker Park. She grew up summering in Greece and wanted to bring authentic Greek food to Chicago. Covo Gyro Market differs from other gyro places because they hand pack the meat cones themselves. The most popular gyro is beef and lamb – the two meats are layered on the cones. They also have gluten free pitas and vegetarian options – so there is something for everyone. The most popular item on the menu is the Greek Fries, which are tossed in feta and oregano.
My last interview of the night was with Aimee Quinkert, Revolution Brewing’s Marketing Manager. I was excited to meet someone from Revolution since I love their beers, and my friends and I attended a great party at their brewery a few weeks ago. I told Aimee about this photo:
and she told me that she was instructed to get the biggest American flag she could find (I think she succeeded). I asked what Chicagoan can expect from Revolution in the spring and summer and she said that Revolution Brewing partnered with C2E2 (Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo) and created the events official beer: Galaxy Hero. It is an IPA made with galaxy hops. Aimee also told me that the brewing facility hosts food trucks on Saturdays. Doesn’t a brewery tour and food truck snacks sound like the perfect way to spend a Saturday? Revolution Brewing won Best Microbrewery – Aimee was excited to pose with the plate award.
In addition to some incredibly nice chefs and restauranteurs, I also got to mingle with fellow Chicago food bloggers! Here is a photo of me and Angelica Merritt, who writes OrganicGelly. Her site focuses on organic and gluten-free eating. Caroline from Whipped, and Drew from Corner of the Cafe were also live tweeting the event. I also met Amber and Elaine from Bloody Best, Nika from Wear and Why, and Greg from The Watcher.
Time Out Chicago put together a wonderful event. Not only was it attended by a great group of food loving Chicagoans, we got to try some dishes from the nominated restaurants. I had the most flavorful pork belly taco and a smore’s tart that was heavenly. I wish I had tried everything – but I was overwhelmed with interviews, tweeting, and blogging.
(I will add more photos to this post later – I was using 2 iPhones and a camera and haven’t had the chance to download all the photos just yet).
Tuesday 16th of April 2013
What a great opportunity! I'd kill for a gyro right now (: Thanks for sharing!
Tuesday 16th of April 2013
Absolutely loved meeting you last night!! Let's meet up soon!