The First Chicago Reader Key Ingredients in 2013 was nothing short of amazing food, deserts, drinks and dancing until the doors closed. We arrived this year looking to repeat the same amazing experience we had before. As we arrived anxiously we where one of the first in line waiting outside of state street near kinzie talking to other attendees on last years amazingly good time. The doors opened promptly, we check in and on our way up the elevator. Let get this party started!
Durte felt really sick the night of the key ingredient cook off so I had to taste ALL the food (what a bummer :)) and share my thoughts on the food. In no way do I pretend to be a food critic, but I do love to eat. Durte is always telling me I should write about food because I love it so much but I don’t really think I know how to describe food properly like he does. I mean I’m sure foodies have technical terms for flavors, foods, manners of cooking, etc. but I am literally clueless. I just shovel it in.
The key ingredients this year were Honeycomb Tripe, Tamarind, Sheep’s Milk, Chestnut Flour and Miso.
The location for Chicago Reader Key Ingredients was great, just a few blocks from the grand red line, so we were happy that we could try a few cocktails and not have to worry about driving. Last year we attended the event in Bridgeport, and except for the hassle of driving, that venue definitely outshined this years’ by far. This Year’s space, at the Museum of Broadcast Communications at 360 N. State Street, was smaller, sleeker, had nice natural light due to a wall of windows on the South wall and had a nice outdoor balcony area, although it would have been nice to have more tables available to nibblers. The lack of standing table space had attendees struggling to eat, photograph for instagram and enjoy a drink. What a show it was to watch ha! After tasting my first bite, I decided it was time for a drink and I opted for a craft cocktail because I figured I can just buy beer or wine anytime, why not try something different?
The mint colored specialty cocktail choice for the night was a recipe containing Vodka, green pepper juice, st germaine, & lemon juice. YUM! Before stepping out to occupy a table on the patio we couldn’t help but notice Whole Foods serving miso smoked lamb shanks, tamarind, bbq sauce, roasted poblano bean, salad, grilled greens with mint gemolata. Another great use of Miso.
We locked down a table outside in the center as more and more people started to occupy the patio looking for a place to take pictures of their dish or set their food down. This was our camp spot for half of the night as I kept going back to grab a few dishes at a time. Durte waited all week for this event and then could barely taste anything due to an upset stomach.
I picked up another the vodka drink which was not too sweet and had an interesting flavor that I later discovered was green pepper, I think. I continued meandering around the room in a counterclockwise fashion waiting in moderate lines tasting away.
My favorites were the delicious Miso Munchkins selection from Abraham Conlon of Fat Rice that consisted of ((miso butter cream, candied salmon, and nori ) ) and Andrew Deuel of Tesori’s soup with chestnut and apple wood smoked bacon soup with fennel pollen and wild mushrooms. Abraham Conlon’s miso munchkin made my mouth dance with an array of flavors before ending slightly spicy with a bonus residual sesame seed that I crunched in my mouth after I thought the food was long gone. Tesori’s soup made me want to lick the bowl afterward, but I had to refrain since I was in public.
The DJ Tess from Slo Mo kept the party in motion with 90s gems all night long. We wished it was more dance space so the place could of had more of a let lose atmosphere. Last year the dance floor was great at the end of the night because it wa a lot of room for people to dance and just have a great time. Next year its always next year 🙂
I think I tasted everything there and overall was pretty impressed with everything I tasted, however for me there were too many sweet things to taste, as this was my “dinner” after all.
I won’t name names, but there was only one dish that I threw away not because I was full, but because I didn’t like what I tasted. We would like to thank Chicago Reader for inviting us back out for the second year in a row. Enjoy the gallery and we’ll see you all next year!