As I mentioned in my last post (read about it here), November was so busy that I had to split up my post into two parts. Here’s Part 2:
Chocolate at The Pen– I love that The Peninsula always has something exciting planned up their sleeve. From the awesome soiree this summer, to the Mid-Autumn Festival in September and more recently, the ‘Celebrate Chicago’ menu that highlighted some of the best dishes of Chicago at all Peninsula properties around the world, there is never a dull moment at this fabulous place. And, now with the holidays The Peninsula is definitely worth a visit to see all the beautiful decorations, indulge in the special holiday afternoon tea and to show off your skills at the outdoor ice skating rink on the terrace. I recently spent one of the most fabulous evenings ever at The Peninsula here in Chicago. The evening started off with a drink at The Bar (that’s what it’s called!), to an absolutely wonderful dinner in the open area called The Lobby, finished off by the famous ‘Chocolate at The Pen‘ for dessert. If you haven’t heard about this, it’s a MUST try (this extravagant chocolate dessert bar is available every Friday and Saturday evening). Think of the most beautifully presented mini desserts, a hot chocolate bar, an endless selection of specialty chocolates and truffles, ice cream, macarons, fondue and the list goes on. Pretty much anything you can imagine that can be created with chocolate is there. I actually spent more than 15 minutes just scoping out all the options because I was so blown away by all the options and couldn’t decide. It’s a chocolate lover’s paradise and is something that should be on everyone’s bucket list. Oh, and the string duo of musicians that played pop music all evening, including artists like Lady Gaga, Tove Lo and Madonna to a name a few, were literally the cherry on top. Great live music and an exquisite chocolate dessert buffet? Best. Night. Ever!
Atout France– Thanks to my dear friend Ashley Gilday, I was able to take her spot (since she was unable to attend) at a press event on tourism to France. The event was held at the highly reputed Everest Restaurant, so discussions about travel were ensued over an elegant meal. Hello, could this be more up my alley? (As a side note, this event was scheduled well in advance of the recent terror attacks on Paris, and while the group actually considered canceling the press event out of respect to those that lost their lives, they decided to proceed with the event with a reminder that “we can not let the terrorists win”). After a moment of silence to honor those affected, we proceeded with an amazing three-course meal as we learned about events planned for 2016 in France. In addition, we watched stunning videos that captured and highlighted different areas and attractions around the beautiful country (and made me realize I have a lot left to explore in France). Rail Europe was also present to help showcase train travel within France as well as connections to other countries around Europe. By the end of this event, I was ready to head straight to O’hare airport and buy the first airline ticket available to France. Never put it past me.
Radish Healthy Meal Delivery– I don’t know about you, but I think one of the coolest things I’m seeing in our world today is the intersection between food and technology. It truly amazes me on a daily basis how we have access to pretty much anything we could want, all right at our fingertips through our smartphones. One of the newest innovations to hit the Chicago market is an awesome, healthy meal delivery service called Radish. Each day there are freshly prepared dishes, all ranging between $3-$4 each (you choose 3 dishes per meal delivered), with beautiful photos, ingredients and nutritional information listed right in the app. All of those things are appealing, but here is the best part; if you live within the delivery zone, your meal will arrive to you in less than 20 minutes! That’s amazing. I tried out the service and my food came in less than 10 minutes, which I was truly blown away by. Not only that, I absolutely love that every evening there are always at least three or four vegetarian and/or vegan options to choose from. On the evening I tried out Radish, I got a delicious and hot vegetarian burrito bowl, a beet salad with avocado sauce and a Greek quinoa salad. Fresh, healthy, delicious and delivered right to my door. If you would like to try Radish, download the app on your smartphone and use the code vegtourist to get $10 off your first meal! That’s actually one free meal in which you can try 3 different dishes. What’s there to think about? Try it out!
Squashfest– You all know I love the show Top Chef, so it should come as no surprise that when I was invited to a Top Chef style event, it was an immediate “yes” for me! Hosted by the Chicago Reader, Squashfest took place at the restaurant State and Lake at The Wit Hotel and the theme of the night was squash (duh). Each restaurant had to prepare one savory and one sweet item from squash and then we the attendees had the opportunity to vote on our favorite from each category. Now, usually at these types of events I don’t get to sample many of the options because they can not be prepared vegetarian. But, this event was awesome because many of the dishes were either already vegetarian, or very easily could have the meat omitted. My kind of event!! Besides, it truly felt like the show Top Chef because each chef was there preparing and plating for the guests while they were trying to vie for our vote. So much fun and I always love bringing out my inner Padma Lakshmi as I critique and rate dishes.
Please Note: While I was invited to these events, all opinions are my own.