December 12, 2010

I was the giddy recipient of an invitation to enjoy a chef’s tasting at Avenues, the renowned Peninsula Hotel restaurant extraordinaire featuring the culinary stylings of Chef Curtis Duffy.

Now, I am not a “foodie” per se.

My taste is utilitarian with a pinch of adventure and a healthy handful of curiosity, informed by immigrant sensibilities.  That is not to say that my palate is anything short of acute.  I will soon host a soiree that features a blind taste test of varied ingredients and spices made popular by myriad cooking shows.

I will ask my guests to bring five ingredients for the competition and I will confidently compete.  Perhaps against you.

But I digress.

The thing is, I would rather cook than eat.  Gasp!

I love the experimental nature of combining flavors to create anew.  And I derive intense pleasure from feeding people as my bio adequately conveys.  This, coupled with limited resources and a disdain for style-over-substance hot spots has prevented me from truly exploring the rich Chicago culinary landscape.

Thankfully, and inexplicably, the real deal came to me.

Twitter has once again brought me much more than I deserve.  I can only assume that Avenues wanted an average joe to balance out the “Twitterati” I joined for dinner one recent snowy evening.

Tatiana, who I am fortunate to count as a dear friend in real life, is known across Chicago for her impeccable taste and restaurant savvy and who I take this opportunity to challenge in the aforementioned palate test.  I won’t mind losing to her.

Kara, Candyce, Mike, and Chao are Twitter idols whose acquaintance I had not made until this night.  Each hosts delectable food blogs boasting mouth-watering content and dedicated followings.

And then there was me.

But enough about me.

Let’s get to the food.

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I cannot begin to author a sufficient description of each dish so I will let the pictures speak for themselves.  Ask Tati for the particulars since she took copious notes, as a good foodie should.  I just ate and savored, for a change, a feast of such robust yet delicate alchemy made sweeter by perfect pairing.

Thanks to Susan Ellefson and Katie for the photos and for making this evening happen, and to Chef Duffy for choosing Chicago.

I won’t be able to replicate these dishes.  But I will have fun trying.

4 Responses to “Avenues”

  1. Tatiana Says:

    Challenge accepted! You are so on! What a spectacular dinner made even better by sharing with you, dear friend!

  2. chanthana Says:

    I just drooled on my keyboard while viewing the pics. What an awesome opportunity!! Sounded like so much fun.

  3. Genie Says:

    Unbelievably jealous! What a fabulous evening to experience.

  4. Leela Says:

    Duffy’s the best! Glad to hear you had a good time. 🙂

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