Sable Kitchen and Bar
Woke up bright and early at 730am and headed back to Sable Kitchen for some breakfast. They had chicken and waffles, eggs benedict and some other simple favorites but the marscapone stuffed french toast came with high praises, so that’s what I opted for. Coming with a side of strawberries, they cut into the richness / thickness of the stuffed cream cheese and worked well together, however there was simply too much of it, I couldn’t finish the sizable portion knowing more food was on the horizon.
My last trip to Chicago brought me to the doors of Topolobampo with their fresh ceviche and great mescal cocktais. This time around Tu and I headed over to Xoco after going to the John Hancock tower to check out the snow covered city. The Hot Chocolate was probably the best I’ve ever had, it was more of a chocolate soup versus any hot chocolate I’ve had previously. The Cochinita Pibil (wood roasted sucking pig with achiote, black beans, pickled onion and habanero) was damn tasty and hit the spot after our short walk from the JHT. Nearing 30 degree temperatures I figured a hearty soup would be in order. Xoco dubbed “Meal in a Bowl”, I ordered the Wood Roasted Chicken Pozole (Gunthorp Chicken, Pozole Corn, Rich Broth, Crunchy Garnishes, Ground Red Chile, Lime) was pretty tasty, but presentation and taste wasn’t anywhere near our own version supplied by JJ at XucoXicana.
Waiting in line for tables and food was quite a drag at Xoco which pushed our arrival time at Arami, but alas, it was nearing 1pm and the place was nearly empty. We both passed by the unassuming signless storefront until we started paying attention to the store numbers of the surrounding shops. We had the Grilled Baby Tako (Grilled Octopus, Napa, Edmame, Nira, Radish, and Meyer Lemon) along with the Togarashi Seared Tuna (Seaweed Salad, Kelp Noodle, Daikon, Meyer Lemon Dressing). Since we were pretty damn full from Xoco, we only supplemented those two dishes with some hot tea, couple pieces of salmon and yellowtail as well as their soft shell crab and spicy ebi special maki.
The entire reason why I was even in Chicago so soon after my previous trip was because of this glorious restaurant from the mind of Grant Achatz. The concept of the ticketing system has everyone on their toes begging for a spot at arguably one of the most exclusive restaurants in the US. The ticketing system is built around the idea that you have enough free time to watch for these tickets to go on sale. When the tickets went for sale in early october it was just past 12 midnight and I hopped on to see what tables were left. A quick facebook message to Tu and a quick matrix search of available flights yielded a 3rd weekend of December rate of a paltry $160 plus taxes. Tickets to Next would inevitably cost us $235. We proceeded to check the hotel, which after Hotwire bid for 3 nights would cost us $235 as well post taxes. At the end of our short thought process, it was pretty damn “reasonable” to fly to Chicago to eat at one of the most sought after tables in the US. Everything was purchased in a matter of the 15 minutes you have until the Next computer system kicks you off for inactivity.
01: PB&J : Apple, Cinnamon
02: Chicken Soup : Meyer Lemon, Thyme, Lemon Verbena
03: Fish N Chips
04: Mac and Cheese : Darjeeling, Minus 8, Hojicha
05: Winter Wonderland
06: Hamburger : Fennel, Vanilla Bean, Sarsaparilla
07: Lunch Box : Mixed Berry Drink
08: Foiesting and Donuts : Chai, Caramel, Rooibos
09: Sweet Potato Pie
10: Hot Cocoa
At some point during the meal you realize you’re eating the most ridiculous preparation of a “hamburger” you’ve ever had and you understand that the concept behind an ever revolving restaurant is quirky and a joke sometimes. At the end of the course or meal or however you evaluate your food, you realize its fun and entertaining, which was the reason why the childhood menu was even created in the first place.
Thanks to the wonderful Aviary General Manager, we were able to be escorted through the kitchen to check it out then downstairs into The Office for a few drinks before moving on to the next place.
3am closing time, we arrived at 2am only to be turned away because they needed an hour to catch up on making drinks. #fail
The Drawing Room
Luckily The Drawing Room was only a few blocks away from our hotel, so stumbling “home” wouldn’t be a huge problem. By 230a we were feeling the full force of the meal at Next as well as the post Fernet and Mezcal from The Office. What better way to fight the full feeling than to consume more Fernet? For Medicinal Use Only (Pierre Ferrand Ambre, Benedictine, Fernet Branca, Maple Syrup, Angostura Bitters and Laphroaig Rinse) was the perfect start to winding down. We finished it off with a shot of Branca Menta and stumbled our way home. A nearly empty Magnificent Mile was quite surreal at 4am.