Sweet home, Chicago.
As you may recall, I was never a huge fan of that city when I spent 20-something years living just next door to it. So what’s with the change of heart?
The answer came to me this past weekend: Beauty lies in the hands of the visitors.
Tooootally different attitude when arriving via cab on a beautiful spring day for a short business trip. Quite different from fighting the motorist stampede upstream in a snowstorm attempting to get to a friend’s house before both Cubs and Hawks games.
Some Windy City ambiance that I didn’t realized I missed until my trip was lakeside breezes, Chicago sports jerseys, honking, spectacular food, Michigan Avenue hubbub and seas of yellow cabs.
On my first day, I moseyed down the street to Mario Batali’s Eataly.
Half Italian supermarket filled with cooking ingredients, culinary books and tools of the trade and half Italian fare, it was quite a party for the senses.
Cases full of stuffy, but stunning desserts glistened.
Crusty breads and focaccia were opposite a case of cheeses presented behind glass much like a case of fine Italian jewelry.
The restaurants were located on the upper floor and although I appreciated the wall-less, casual nature of the setup, it was quite confusing where to go to get seated for each small dining booth and which ones permitted to-go ordering like I was seeking.
I ended up with a buffalo mozzarella baguette sandwich and a flourless hazelnut chocolate cake from the downstairs counters.
I can’t say either was spectacular. The mozzarella was definitely the highlight overall. I think for being a $6 mini dessert, I was bracing myself to be blown away. And it was just ok.
Although my picks didn’t turn out to be outrageously good, Eataly is an absolute must-see for any food lover.
It will not disappoint piquing your appetite, entertaining your eyes or yanking some green from your wallet because this is food fashion at its finest.