A variety of events have kept me busy over the last few weeks. I thought I would give you a quick rundown as I plot my next post.
ZAP Zinfandel Tasting: I was recently invited to the Zinfandel Advocates & Producers annual tasting. My fellow Gaper’s Block staffer, Andie, was also in attendance and posted a thorough write-up of the event. My favorite wine of the evening was definitely the anomaly in the group; Meeker Winery’s FroZin, a Zinfandel ice wine so delicious, I almost want to take it upon myself to find them a Midwestern distributor so that I can taste it again.*
Brunch at Roy’s: The folks over at Roy’s Chicago recently added a brunch menu. Nick and I were invited to sample the decadent three-course meal. I have to admit that I wasn’t expecting much out of a "Hawaiian fusion" menu, but I was proven wrong. The standout dishes for us were the appetizers. Nick ordered the "House Cured Salmon with cucumber ribbons, granny smith apple, watercress and caraway lemon dressing" and I ordered the "Wild Mushroom, Brie & Ricotta Ravioli with crispy leeks and asiago tomato cream" (pictured above). Additionally, the Lilikoi cream on the fruit they served was superb. The brunch is pricey ($26.95 for the regular prix fixe menu and $38.95 for the same menu plus "bottomless" mimosas), but I think Roy’s would be a nice choice for a special event.*
World Pastry Cup 2009 Reception: The 11th Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie will take place in Lyon, France
on January 25-26, 2009. I was invited to a cocktail reception for the chefs that will be competing on the U.S. team this year. The chefs had been working diligently on impressive pieces for each of the competition categories: ice sculpting, chocolate and sugar. We had our fill of hor d’oeuvres and sweets, but the highlight of the evening was the chocolate cake. A take on a black forest cake, this dessert boasts layers of hazelnut flour and passion fruit cake, dark chocolate cream, and gold leaf (photo: bottom left). The cake won the U.S. team first prize in the chocolate category during the 2007 competition. The event was sponsored by Valrhona Chocolate and we were happy to be sent home with ten delicious chocolate bars. (Terry of Blue Kitchen was also in attendance, see his write-up here.)*
Urban Golf: My friends and I hosted the 3rd annual Memorial Day weekend urban golf event (CUDGEL). We had a huge turnout and a few minor catastrophes, but all in all it was the event we have all grown to love. You can find more photos here.
Running: Most of you have probably noticed my marathon link on this page. I will be up to six miles this Saturday. The running is going well, save for some shin splints that I am nursing, but the fundraising is not. I have a few more weeks to decide if I can run with the AIDS Marathon group, or if I should just sign up for general entry.
*Please note that these invitations were complimentary, but that I chose to write about them on my own volition.