Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self. - Cyril Connolly
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Serendipity (n): is the effect by which one accidentally discovers something fortunate, especially while looking for something else entirely.

That pretty much sums up my whole trip to Chicago. From the Polish Festival on Saturday, the Dali Lama festivities on Sunday, to....well, just wait, it gets way, way better.

We started our conference early on Monday, and a few of us had made reservations to have dinner at Tru, arguably one of the best restaurants in the city. In order to get these reservations, we tipped the concierge handsomely, and even then, we could only get a 5:30 reservation. The conference was to end at 5:00. Well, it ran over, and the women I was hanging out with all wanted to go shopping on the Magnificent Mile because the shops were open till nine. There was no changing the reservation - so we lost it (sorry geisha!). Disappointing, but future events more than made up for it.

After making a significant "investment" at my favorite de$igner's flag$hip store, I was beat (not to mention broke!), but spent my per diem very well at Republic, a new hot spot where I put myself in the hands of the chef and ordered the Omikase (aka oh my god). Very, very good. Had one of the most fabulous cocktails. A martini with cucumber gin, sake, and slices of cucumber infused with Thai basil. So cool, and so refreshing.

P1010036-1 Tulips in Lurie Garden in Millennium Park.

Tuesday was another busy day, but the concierge at my hotel took pity on me knowing I wanted a real foodie experience. We started the conference very early again, and there was a dinner that night, so they gave us a 2 hour break at lunch to check email, see the exhibits in the hall, etc. Well, the exhibit hall "lunch" was Chicago Hot Dogs with all the fixins. No thank you very much. Plus - it was a stunningly beautiful day. The concierge sent us to around the corner to Delacosta. Tru - eat your heat out. Owned by celebrity chef, Doug Rodriguez, a James Beard award winner, it is magnificent. Chef Rodriguez has been called by Zagat "one of the most important Latin chefs in the restaurant world". And so he is. We had three different ceviches, one more imaginative than the next. Instead of a sushi bar, they have a ceviche bar. The interiors of the restaurant will also blow you away. I had an adobo crusted ahi tuna as an entree, and it was one of the best things I have EVER eaten. Served seared, and dusted with an anchovy chimichuri over a creamy faille corn with asparagus, I was in heaven. The space was designed by London born Suhail, and there are 18,000 square feet of seating in a variety of areas, all designed to feel private and secluded, and the designs are amazing. Mission accomplished.

That night, we were scheduled to have a networking dinner for about 800 people. When I walked back to my hotel to change clothes, I entered a lobby crammed with people having cocktails or checking in, most of whom were elegantly dressed, and not speaking English. As I made my way to the elevator, I heard my name. I turned, and for a second, had no recognition of the really dreamy, dark eyed guy in front of me, and then he asked me again in a lovely Portuguese accent, and I realized it was my buddy Raphael, the wine maker from Portugal!

"What are you doing here?" We both said. "Oh, I'm here for another big wine tasting event." he says. "You MUST come Broadsheet!".

"What is it? I'm supposed to go to this boring dinner."

"Oh, it is the Wine Spectator's Grand Tour - it's this evening from 7:00 - 10:00. I'll leave for you a ticket." For those of you who don't know, this is one of the wine world's hottest events in the US. Anyone who is anyone in wine is there.

Also, when a really good looking man with a sexy accent invites you to drink wine with him? Note to self - you blow off the dinner for 800 strangers you just spent the last two days with.

So I ran upstairs, changed into the nicest thing I brought, and went to the Will Call window at the exhibit hall to get the ticket that Raphael left for me. It was only then that I realized everyone was REALLY well heeled and well dressed, and when I looked at the ticket - it was $250. Not even I can drink $250 worth of wine in three hours. No way. Nuh uh. But it was fun to try, and I actually made it on time with no real harm done to the conference the next morning.

Luckily, the conference wrapped up by about 11:00 on Wednesday, which gave me 3 hours to see the rest of Chicago. It was also a grey, foggy day, so I headed back to Millennium Park to take pics of the Geahry concert pavilion . The weather and the aluminum coating called for black and white.


On to the Art Institute of Chicago. Here, I found one of the most iconic museum lions in the world. Although he is a beautiful patina green in real life, I thought he looked more regal in black and white.


I went there ostensibly to catch the main exhibit on Impressionism, but when I walked in the door there were all these banners for The Silk Road Exhibit. Since yours truly is going on a 9 day tour of China's Silk Road in late September, I decided to bag Cezanne and check out Marco Polo's stuff instead.

So...two hours of museum and I reluctantly grabbed my airport shuttle and came home.

For not planning anything ahead of time, serendipity really came through.
posted by Broadsheet @ 8:40 PM  
2 Editorial Opinions:
  • At May 11, 2007, Blogger a.g. said…

    oh maaaaaaaaaan, you missed out on tru. sounds like you had a great time regardless but missed out on tru!!! that's against my religion, girlfriend.

  • At May 14, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Glad you enjoyed the Grand Tour!

    Thomas Matthews
    Executive editor
    Wine Spectator

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