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Monday, November 28, 2011

So What Did I Have For Thanksgiving?

As always, I had a fabulous time in Chicago.  Kevin, Mom, MIL and I enjoyed some great meals, some great sightseeing, and of course, lots of quality time with family.   

Our food explorations started before we even left the airport.  The new Jet Blue terminal at JFK has a pretty aspirational food court.  In one area of the terminal you will find a grouping of international restaurants: Italian, Spanish Tapas, Steakhouse, Asian Fusion, and Mexican.  Kevin suggested we give one of them a try.  I said we should try Piquillo, the tapas place.  Some of us had eaten large, late breakfasts, and some of us had eaten small, early breakfasts.  It was 2pm and half of us was starving and half was not really up to eating much.  Tapas fit the bill since everyone could order as many small plates as needed.  I didn't have my camera handy to dig out of my bags, but I had a pretty good deal on a 3-item meal.  For $17 I had a dish of chorizo and potatoes, a dish of asparagus with sherry vinaigrette, and two croquetas.  I was expecting smaller portions with the tasting menu, but they were full-sized plates (which were tapas plates, so they were smallish to begin with).  Considering if I had ordered a la carte, two dishes would have cost me that much, I thought it was a good deal.  The food wasn't brilliant, but it hit the spot. 

We arrived in Chicago in the early evening.  After settling into our hotel, Kevin's brother and SIL took us out to Abruzzo.  It was a nice, casual Italian restaurant.  Once again I forgot my camera.  Although it had been almost 5 hours since my last meal, I had been well fed by the tapas and wasn't looking for anything heavy.  I chose a chicken breast in tomato-basil sauce.  It was a simple grilled breast, so it was perfect for my small appetite.  I was trying to be a good girl and not eat the pasta that came with it, but the sauce was so tasty, I had to eat the pasta to make sure I got every bit of it. 

The next day was Thanksgiving.  Once again we went to Lovell's of Lake Forest.  Once again I had the option of ordering turkey or not ordering turkey.  So I ordered...

*cue drum roll*

...a salad with a tasty mustard vinaigrette.

(What you want more details?)

and...

Roast duck!  No, it's not turkey, but it's still poultry and it tastes better.  My only complaint about this duck is the skin could have been crispier.  I really liked the rice mix on the side.  Behind the duck is a poached pear filled with nuts and granola.

Dessert I was as predictable as always.

They call it the "Muca Muca Cake."  Off to the side is a coffee liberally mixed with Baileys.

The next day we spent walking around Chicago, hiking up Michigan Avenue, fighting the Black Friday crowds, and showing Mom the Art Institute for the first time.  To fortify ourselves for the sightseeing, we started out with an early lunch at the Signature Room.

We had a great table, decorated for Christmas, with a spectacular view.


Once again, I neglected to take photos of the actual food.  I was told the Signature Room is better known for its views than for its food.  I didn't want to eat too heavily after the big Thanksgiving dinner, so I had a Thai chicken salad that was perfectly acceptable.  I really liked the dressing.  The table split some appetizers, most of which were unremarkable except for a flatbread topped with gruyere, caramelized onions, and bacon.  The "flatbread" was actually a thin piece of puff pastry.  I think if I had just ordered that and eaten it all, I would have been just as happy.

Our final meal was at Mortons.  This Mortons has some rather special meaning for our family.  Three years ago it was where Kevin's nephew celebrated his bar mitzvah.  It was the last time Kevin's entire family was gathered together before some of them passed away.  I'll always think fondly of Mortons for that.

The food isn't too shabby either!  I joked I wasn't taking photos of this lovely ribeye for my blog.  I was taking it to hang on my wall.

Still more chocolate cake for dessert.  How did this compare to the Muca Muca?  Hard to say.  This one came with ice cream.  The other one came with creme anglaise and strawberry puree`.  How can one really judge?  We had some chocolate souffle with this as well. 

We went home the next day with full bellies and said hearts knowing we had to leave our loved ones again for a while.  We are all so grateful for the generosity of Kevin's family with both their money and their time.  We hope it won't be too long before we're all together again.

1 comment:

Sue said...

What a great trip. I love that you ate good stuff in the airport before you even left. That's not usually my experience.

I would order duck 364 days of the year, but I have to admit NOT on Thanksgiving. You're such a rebel! Your other meals (and sights) sound wonderful. Your mom was lucky to have you guys show her around.