6th Annual Feast of the Senses: Part 1

The Chicago Art Dealers Association: Feast of the Senses.  Food, art & wine.

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Thursday, July 14th John and I met in river north to attend the sixth annual Feast of the Senses.  This was our first.  The proceeds from this event were used to benefit three not-for-profit organizations: Purple Asparagus, Common Threads, and Slow Food.

We checked in, received our wine glasses and neck holders, and proceeded to our first stop.  The Maya Polsky gallery (215 W. Superior St.) hosted Andersson's Chocolates and Patisserie. We missed the gazpacho and salad that was set up later in the night, though their chocolates were quite nice. They had an exceptionally smooth texture, though left something to be desired with flavor that might set it apart from other gourmet chocolates. Sadly, there was no attendant while we were there so we were unable to learn more.

The gallery also hosted the Illinois River Winery.  Using grapes grow at the Starved Rock Vineyards, these wines were nice, especially their dryer whites. They offered about six wines to sample and Gregg Kane, the vintner, was quite helpful in offering us the best wines for our individual tastes and a pleasure to speak with due to his enthusiasm.

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Crossing the street we entered the Ann Nathan Gallery (212 W. Superior St.) which hosted Vie of Western Springs, IL.  Chef Paul Virant served crostini of grilled and marinated eggplant, and eggplant caviar with domestic asiago.
This dish was excellent.  The soft, cool eggplant went well with the crisp crostini and the sharp, salty cut of the asiago.  Chef Paul Virant and another attendant were exceptionally nice and warmly encouraged John and I to make it out to their restaurant soon.  We both hope to.
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Also hosted in this gallery was the M. Chapoutier Winery of the Rhone Valley.  Touted as 'Eco-Friendly,' these vineyards rely on flora and insects rather than chemical fertilizers and pesticides. In addition they employ horse-drawn plows, hand tools, naturally occuring yeasts, and lunar cycle timing for composting. The wine can be found through Paterno Wines International.

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Next we entered the Habatat Gallery (222 W. Superior St.) to find Thyme which served a nice and refreshing cold ratatouille salad. Goose Island Brewery had their 312 Urban Wheat, India Pale Ale, and Demolition Ale available for sampling.  John and I are frequent Goose Island customers and were familiar with all three beers.  We shared a bit of their IPA and some of their Demolition ale.  They make a solid IPA with a nice amount of hoppiness.  It isn't overpowering like a west coast IPA, which is actually something I miss.  The Demolition is a serious beer that I highly recommend if you can find in your area.

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Next door in Perimeter Gallery (210 W. Superior St.) we found 610 Magnolia of St. Louis, Missouri.  Chef Edward Lee was serving a chilled asparagus and Col. Newsome's Kentucky ham in tomato water gelee, sumac (ground spice berry) and dill.  The soup was quite light, yet offered an impressive array of flavors.  I would venture to say that this was the most complex dish of the evening and it worked nicely.  Chef Edward Lee was sweet and helpful. The space also hosted the Sokol Blosser Winery from Dundee Hills, Oregon, also associated with Paterno Wines International.  They too rely on natural methods rather than chemical to care for their vineyards.  John and I are quite familiar with their white, but were far more impressed with their red which we had never tasted before.

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We next entered the Andrew Bae Gallery (300 W. Superior St.) to find the circus that was the Whole Foods Market smorgasbord.  Taking up two giant tables, Whole Foods offered Thai chicken satay, teriyaki shrimp satay and spicy tofu satay, Southwest eggrolls, and vegetable potstickers.  The spicy tofu satay was excellent, with a fabulous texture and well matched sauces. In the same gallery Merchant du Vin offered a selection of their beers including the delicious Lindemans Framboise Lambic and assorted Samuel Smiths. Lastly, the Glunz Family of Winery & Cellars offered some tasty sangria with plenty of fruit.  On the way out we were given a Whole Foods shopping bag containing a box of 365 brand organic truffles.

Read about the second half of our night here.

6th Annual Feast of the Senses: Part 2

SHF#10: Honey, Pistachio and Rum Palmiers