Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Another Chicago Food, Wine and Spirits Getaway

It was time for another trip to Chicago and I had no problem finding new things to check out. This time I brought my friend Cortney along for the adventure, which started at the InterContinental Hotel on Michigan Avenue.

We had quite a welcome as the hotel manager left us a beautiful spread of fruit, cheese and wine. We nibbled a little as we dressed, but saved our appetites for our first stop of the night – Eno Wine Bar.

The Eno Wine Bar is located downstairs at the InterContinental Chicago. It’s not very large, which makes it a cozy spot for a quiet date, or catch up with girlfriends. There is a good size wine selection and wines are available by the glass, in flights or by the bottle. The waiter was quite knowledgeable and helped us make decisions on what to get.

Courtney and I enjoyed a start with the Jean-Louis Denois Brut Blanc de Blanc before switching to a wonderful house branded sauvignon blanc-riesling blend from Washington. Wine isn’t the only thing Eno has with their own label on it, there’s also a delectable set of chocolates, of which the Black Truffle Sea Salt was my favorite.

The chocolate, as well as cheeses, are paired with wines. You can also order a la carte and include some of their tasty flatbreads, which change seasonally.

After our aperitif at Eno, we hopped into a cab and headed to Zocalo Restaurant & Tequila Bar for dinner. Zocalo features flights of a different kind, either tequilas or cocktails. The tequila selection is like none I’ve ever seen and while I was tempted to start comparing, we both decided to stick with the cocktails.

I absolutely loved the Chile Mango Margarita, made with Agave Loco Pepper-cured Reposado Tequila, triple sec, mango passion juice and lime, then rimmed with chili. It was fruity and spicy, a combination that suits me.

The food at Zocalo also has a Yucatan influence, using more fruit and varied spices than most of the Mexican restaurants do. The Trio de Guacamole showed this off, especially in the Fruita, an excellent mix of avocado, mango, guava and habanero.

For a main course, I was more than satisfied with my Chile Relleno, fire roasted and stuffed with a blend of three cheeses and then baked in a puff pastry covered with ranchero sauce. Courtney went for the Carne Asada and said the tequila skirt steak was the best she’s ever had.

We had a tough time deciding on dessert, especially with a selection of dessert martinis and after dinner drinks available. We finally decided that we preferred to eat the sweets and shared samplings of the Pay de Queso, Crepas de Cajeta and Churros y Champurado. I’d have to say the crepes, filled with apple, topped with caramel sauce and served with dulce de leche ice cream, were my favorite.

After dinner we decided to walk off some food on our way back to the Intercontinental. We needed time to rest and digest before our big lunch the next day at Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse.

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