I’ve got a lot of notes to assemble on some of the great wines I will be bringing in, as well as the wonderful winemakers I was able to meet and speak with at the event, but I have to first do a couple of shout-outs to some incredible restaurants I visited while there.
First was Niu Japanese Fusion Lounge on E. Illinois St., just down the street from the River Arts Center. Needing to fuel up before a big wine tasting, my companions opted for the sushi, we stumbled onto Niu and darted in for a quick bite.
Sitting out on their streetside patio, we were served up some wonderful maki rolls (like their Mellow Yellow, which is Norwegian Salmon, Tempura Crunch, spicy mayo and topped with a mango and orange sauce, or the more traditional Rainbow, with eel, Tempura Crunch, and wrapped in salmon, tuna and avocado.) It was pretty quick for a sushi bar, and lunch was pretty reasonable. For more info, check out http://www.niusushi.com/.
Executive Chef and owner Randy Zweiban is the purveyor of “Nuevo Latino” cuisine, marrying elements of Spanish, South American, Mexican and American styles of cooking in a unique and impressively delicious menu. To be honest, I had no idea what we’d be in for that evening, but after a long day of tasting wines from Austria, Argentina, France, Italy and all over the world, I was ready to eat. And eat we did.
A meal that assembled a group of wine lovers from distributors, retailers, and Palm Bay folks, we sat down to a nearly 4-hour trip into gourmet nirvana, led eagerly by the amazing staff (thank yous to our server, Bryce, and all the staff).
For more info on Province, check out http://www.provincerestaurant.com/.
There are so many restaurants in Chicago, so it’s truly a gourmand’s paradise. If you have a free weekend, it’s not that far a drive. Many thanks to Candy and Jeff for the invite and all the fabulous hospitality; I really needed it.