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So I can’t give names but let’s just say I was asked by a very important internationally related group to show them as many of the world’s greatest restaurants last Friday night in a matter of 5 hours.  In chicago that’s easy!  I scribbled out my top 50 first- booked a private car- realized I could only map/schedule the top 20 in 15min increments- and headed out 6pm sharp to blow my guests’ minds.  Unfortunately (or fortunately) every venue was so amazing- and owners, chefs, managers,… kept throwing us food, wine, champagne,… that we never made our time slots and only were able to hit the first 10 places!  But wow- what a 10. Check this list out-


1. First, we headed to Joe’s owned by world renowned restaurateur Richard Melman who with his manager Ben Siegel- they sent out the infamous “2ndmortage” which is a big seafood mix appetizer platter and a round of great wine- a perfect start- and a great way to introduce him to Rich’s bajillion other concepts we can try another day-

2.  Second, was Blackbird– never been less than super impressed. every timeI have been there- owner donnie madia was too accommodating- within minutes we were touring space with a glass of champagne- til we were sitting at his place next door..

3. At Avec– donnie intro’ed us to executive chef, koren grieveson,who by the way is such a rockstar.. sat us and fed us- eyes rolling in back of head good.

4. Carnivale was an international pick to sort of mix it up- also the design and size alone is so shocking (especially after the intimacy of avec) that I thought it was a great balance- owner jerry kleiner introduced the space/concept in a little tour… while also introducing his other concepts to the group-  fed us mojitos and guacamole- delicious-

5. The we headed to Lincoln park to Charlie Trotter’s! Charlie was off doing a philanthropic project (which I love) but fully told staff to take great care- and they were absolutely amazing!  They took us into the kitchens (where I was reminded that the chef table is right there and so cool) and all around- only to stop at the bar where he put together these amazing bento box like samples of 10 different amazing trotter like masterpieces paired with different wine, champagne, dessert and after dinner drinks… over the top outstanding… Charlie is a true master and his staff is the best in world.

6 .  Alinea was next… award winning chef grant achatz supposedly was busy in the kitchen… but we walked the space… I was not familiar with it and didn’t get much time there… but hear it’s great and wanted them to at least see it. We also had to run out because by now my driver from diva limousine (who rocked) are rushing around town trying to speed it up as we are hours behind….

7. Next I had to show them chicago- literally- by taking them up to the 95thfloor of the hancock where director of operations angela roman showed us all around spoiling us with the best views in the city- if you haven’t seen the views at night- you are missing out- it is breath taking- and I thought a great little mix to add to the rest to show our city off

8. Then my buddy (and oprah chef) art smith’s place, table 52!  I knew they were aware that president obama brought michelle there for valentines day and would want to see it- they fell in love. Loved the cute comfortable room and the rest of the staff… and damn, they fed us again- omg stuffed.  

9.  Time for dessert!  My secret favorite dessert spot is taking guests to the chocolate buffet with live jazz at the peninsula.  It’s too cool. Almost afraid to talk about it because it’s a deadly secret- anyone who goes is sold- and they were sold on chicago for sure by now.  By buddy susan ellefson set us up with a table when we were just trying to steal a look- cut to three of us at the chocolate buffet, champagne (again) and coffee….

10.  Last but not least, they wanted to see sunda– I tried to take them there earlier in night but all tables were booked from 530p til 10p! (note to self, make your reservations during the week to enjoy missing the weekend craze).  when we got there at 11pm… it was still packed!  Chef Rodelio (the food buddha) came out and spoiled them with all our signature items… as stuffed as they were already… they knocked it all out!  We tried all the signature drinks too… laughing histerically about all that we accomplished… and loving how top notch chicago operators and talent are compared to anywhere else in the world- we were in an absolute food coma specialty cocktail daze….

And then we all rolled ourselves home… I passed out by 11:59p and am still full.
















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