Fab Finds: Chicago Adventures (Part 2)
|| Sunday ||
Sunday…the first day of the big show! Usually on the first day, the show starts a little later (12pm), so we decided to grab a quick breakfast out before running over to the convention center. Now, before I divulge into probably my favorite part about the trip AND one of my favorite places in Chicago, let me back up to last year.
Last year after dinner one night, one of our vendors took us over to this place called “Eataly” and at the time I had no idea where we were going and what I was getting myself into. Eataly is most known by having the famous face of Chef Mario Batali behind it, but what most people don’t know is that the founder and creator is Oscar Marinetti. In 2007, Oscar opened a 30,000-square-foot store in Torino, Italy “that joins elements of the lively European open market and a learning center.”
So what is Eataly? It's a place where you feel like every day is a casual Saturday or Sunday morning, strolling through the market. A place to buy all your authentic luxury needs imported straight from Italy! Heaven.
Broken into two floors, you can literally buy anything and everything from gourmet meats and cheeses hand sliced in front of you, to fresh handmade pastas and pizzas. And let’s not forget about the enormous selection of wine, olive oils, balsamic vinegars, spices, dry pastas, jarred sauces, YOU NAME IT all located on the top floor. Restaurants up there include Trattortia Siciliana, La Pizza & La Pasta, Il Pesce & Le Verdue, La Piazza, Osteria Di Eataly & La Birreria. I literally almost can’t handle myself when I go there.
The bottom floor includes Caffè Lavazza, a gelato stand (with a never-ending line), a place to browse kitchen gadgets (my sanctuary) and housewares. Also, this is where all the sweets are kept, an entire section of imported chocolates and all kinds of fun exotic candies, coffees and spreads! So fun to explore!
I almost don’t believe this place exists. You could easily spend hours upon hours in there, either eating or shopping, or taking any one of the classes they offer or just enjoying the beautiful ambience with a cup of coffee. I truly believe Oscar’s vision of a lively European open market was painted perfectly.
Back to Sunday…
When exploring the coffee menu, I really wanted to try something different and unique, so I ordered the Espresso Torinese, which I THOUGHT was going to be a full-sized drink…turns out, it was not. It was a shot of espresso with a layer of hot chocolate topped with double cream. Sounded fancy, like a drink and fancy it was! It was VERY tasty and probably exactly what I needed to get started on our first day of working the show!
(The heart-shaped drink was Robert's haha)
To eat, I ordered the mini Caprese sandwich and the Cornetto Al Prosciutto. Both of these were SO good!! The bread they use on that Caprese sandwich was unreal.
I have to say, this cafe experience was very authentic and super delicious! Makes me want to go back to Italy IMMEDIATELY!
Eataly is literally a place I dream about. It has everything I love in one place. Food, Kitchen Gadgets and Wine. What more can you ask for!?
Time for day one of the show!
There were so many yummy foods to try that I literally had to cut myself off and remember we had a big dinner coming up in a few hours!
Later that night, we had dinner with some of our vendors at Chicago Chop House. I had never been here before, so once again, I was very excited to dig in (literally) to a new place!
On the Menu:
- Freshly Shucked Blue Point Oysters
- Sampler Platter: Cocktail Shrimp, Crab Cakes, Diver Scallops, Fried Calamari
- Bone-In Mishima Filet (Kobe Beef)
- Sautéed Mushrooms
- Creamed Spinach
- Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce
- Chop House Truffle Mac 'n' Cheese w/ Applewood Smoked Bacon
So essentially, we had a light dinner.
Everything we ate was SOOO good!! Omg, that filet had so much flavor accompanied by probably the best sautéed mushrooms I've ever had! That truffle mac 'n' cheese though...get it away from me. I could literally eat that entire dish! The bacon was perfectly crisp with hints of truffle in and around the entire dish. Such a decadent treat!
Not only was the food outstanding, but I cant even begin to tell you want tremendous service we received!! Our servers went over and beyond to make us feel extra comfortable as if we were family. It really made the experience all that more special.
Day 2 and Day 1 of the show officially complete! Tomorrow, after the show, we're going to a Cub's game folks, so stay tuned!