7th Annual Feast of the Senses: Part 1

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

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On June 22nd I met Nick, Harold, and my father in river north to attend the seventh annual Feast of the Senses.  John and I attended this event last year and had a lovely time.  The proceeds from this event were used to benefit three not-for-profit organizations: New Orleans Gumbo, Farm Aid Hurricane Relief, and Purple Asparagus.

After checking in we went directly to the Belloc Lowndes Fine Art Gallery in pursuit of Alinea.  Chef Grant Achatz was serving Chewy Balsamic Tomato, Mozzarella, Basil. I have yet to dine at Alinea due to the prohibitively high cost for my currently empty pockets.  The opportunity to sample this small offering was highly appreciated.  As you can see in these two photographs the item was served on long movable skewers resting on the bar.  The patron was then invited to taste the sample hands-free.

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The texture was superb while the flavor was a bit heavy on the balsamic.  You can see the cube of chewy balsamic in the first picture on the bottom of the stack.  Overall this dish was quite delicious, but perhaps the novelty of the presentation won out over taste.

Also in this gallery we sampled Eli's Cheesecake shooters which were good but uninspired. The Abita brewery had samples of several of their beers.  We sampled the Restoration Ale and Purple Haze.  The first was nice and balanced while the second was too fruity and thin, definitely a novelty beer.

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We then made our way to the Stephen Kelly Gallery to find ristorante we which was serving one of my favorite dishes from the last Feast of the Senses: Chilled Roasted Garlic Soup with Olive Oil Croutons and Spicy Greens.

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The unfailingly nice Mark DiDomenico presided over the table and subsequently invited me to a fantastic Champagne tasting at his hotel a few weeks later. The velvety-smooth texture of the soup is punctuated with the resoundingly clear flavor of the garlic and the cool temperature is both suprising and pleasant.  I highly recommend dining at ristorante we to sample this incredible soup.

Also in this gallery we sampled ciders from the Fox Valley Winery. An unpasteurized and unfiltered Christian Drouin Poiré Pear Cider from Normandy, France at 4.0% ABV and an unpasteurized and unfiltered Lauriston Cidre Bouché Brut de Normandie, an apple cider also from Normandy. Both of these were excellent though Harold and I preferred the pear due to the lower final sugar content.

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At the Judy Saslow Gallery Collins Caviar served Bloody Mary Gazpacho Shooters with Caviar, Pepper, Lime Sour Cream Float & Fresh Celery. These were good, but it was difficult to taste the caviar.

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Heaven on Seven served jambalaya which was delicious though the rice it was served on was quite overcooked.

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PRP Wine International served a variety of wines.  Harold was not thrilled with any of them, though I enjoyed their Oligitum Reserva, Cab Blend 2000 from Navarra, Spain.

To read about the second half of our evening head to this post.

7th Annual Feast of the Senses: Part 2

Chicago Tribune: Food Porn