The kitchen has always been the hearth, the heart, the center of the home.
Truly emptiomizing my sentiment towards food, encrusted in gold on a leather padded menu, I knew I had chosen the right city to add to my list of indulgences.
Gradually, Chicago has become one of my favorite architectural and culinary cities. With distinct neighborhoods, each cleaner than their counterparts in other mainstream metropolitans (ahem, New York) and easily accessible (err, Los Angeles) and brimming with fashionable crowd (listening San Francisco?), it truly epitomizes what I seek out in a city.
Notwithstanding the sheer luxe clientele that I know of, from the owners of J Toor to a damsel who taught me all about plant biotechnology. Plus drove me away in a saucy topless car worthy of Batwoman.
On one such night in the literally glittering city, fashionistas and artists spoiled me by taking me to the epicurean Nomi in the Park Hyatt, located in the glittering Gold Coast full of shops encrusted in gold, restaurants sprinkled with Michelin stars and architectural odysseys spiraling into the skies. And knowing my penchant for rooftops, we got a table perched at the edge of the colossal golden restaurant with views of the Water Tower Place and in the distance, the shimmering Lake Michigan.
Plus, in addition to the gold on black welcoming letter, the drinks menu had another witfully honest quote: in water one sees one’s own face but in wine, one beholds the heart of another.
The food was laid out for our carnivorous party, I must admit, but the plating was as architecturally luscious as a previous such experience, and clearly a nod to the spectacle outside. The fritters came with slivers of meat in a cobweb sauce of parsley mint and saffron, topped with diced granny smith apple slices that I imagine probably made for a textural bliss.
The sushi was definitely more refined in its cut, quite distinct from supermarket varieties and sized up to cupcake proportions with clear distinctions of well cooked rice on quality paper and fresh stuffing for the roll.
I personally stayed with superfoods, a staple on any modern menu. Marinated beets arrived scandalously deep pink, scented and glazed with olive oil and tarragon. So far so tangy and expected, but my favorite part of this plate was the goat cheese gnocchi, a phrase I would never have thought to utter in one sentence. My relationship with gnocchi is a faithful, committed one, and pasta-less shapes of potato and goat cheese were a dense, rich and expectedly salty morsel of flavor that lasted beyond its life in my mouth.
And then came time for an elaborate dessert. Or two. Or three. A recap of triple desserts from a past life, and a premonition of triple to come later!
The floral champagne elderflower raspberry parfait was visually stunning: glistening with florets and fruits gleaming like jewels. However, with an aforementioned resentment towards the fluffy and jiggly texture of a parfait, I instead inhaled the fruity pebbly essences instead, with a hint of the Costa Rican milk chocolate mousse and black raspberry plum sorbet. Neither saccharine nor sour, these were the palette cleansers that refreshed every taste bud prior to the decadent indulgence to follow.
The dome of chocolate made of Valrhona chocolate was a tease for the eyes. Called Whipped Choco Macchiato, it was a dramatic brownie and toffee speckled chicory caramel swirl met with a dark chocolate globe, dabbed with a splendid skeletal leaf. The presentation was one that literally melted in awe, and in the wait for reconstruction. The globe was filled with coffee lemon panna cotta and baked chocolate mousse, making it an exploration into the mouth of chocolate, literally. Quite like a former eight textures of chocolate memory. Thankfully the bitterness of dark chocolate was offset by the strong coffee and cut by the tart lemon flavor, which didn’t dilute the solid punch of this grand dessert.
And finally, the vanilla angel descended onto our pure vanilla bean ice cream with its sugar wings, and took everyone’s breadth away in theatrical gasps. For the chefs had promised that this would be their finest dessert, titled Triple Vanilla Bean, and by the sheer look and scent of it, it was. Epitomizing the fact that simplicity can be sumptuous, the creamy texture and strong vanilla flavor were not mind boggling, but just drop down sexy.
Chicago is truly a city that deserves its own Michelin guide after San Francisco and New York, and even its local foodie haunts and nightlife cannot be matched. Feeling thankful to my comrade of accomplices in this midnight perch indulgence, I stepped into the glittering city, companion-shipped.
So take my word for it,
and plunge in the glittering city’s offerings.
I sure always will.