Two recent, and very different, dining experiences worth sharing.

“TRU Restaurant” Chicago, IL

Tru Restaurant in Chicago is not new on the scene by any means, but I had never eaten here until this past February. This was a winter dinner with friends and colleagues while we were in the market for a wine-club dinner. The service at Tru is friendly and professional and the atmosphere, although older, is classic with high ceilings, dim lighting and long drapes covering the windows from floor to ceiling. There is an art collection that is dispersed throughout the restaurant and lobby as well. Tru has one of the great wine lists of Chicago to pair with their wonderful meals and excellent service. We enjoyed our experience immensely.

The Meal:

  • Comte Cheese Gruyeres.
  • Truffle Cauliflower Puree, Beef Consomme Gelee
  • White Sturgeon “Caviar”, Avocado, Hazelnut
  • Celeriac Soup, Winter Truffle, Quail Egg in its nest
  • Flavors of the Season
  • Whole-roasted lobe of la-belle farms foie gras.
  • Day boat cod, bouchot mussel veloute, chanterelle
  • Cervena Venison, Brussel Sprouts, Crispy Bacon, Red Currant
  • Selection of cow and sheep’s milk cheeses
  • Pear Foam and Citrus Spiced Port
  • Honeycrisp Apple Beignet, Vanilla ice cream.

The Wines:

  • 2004, Domaine Leflaive “Bienvenue Batard Montrachet”(Burgundy)
  • 2002, Domaine Weinbach “Cuvee Laurence” Gewurztraminer (Alsace)
  • 1989, Chateau Rieussec Sauternes (Bordeaux)
  • 1985, Huet “Clos de Bourg” (Loire)
  • 1990, Domaine Hubert Lignier “Charmes Chambertin” (Burgundy)

“1500 Ocean” at the Hotel del Coronado, San Diego, CA

“1500 Ocean” was opened in 2006 at the luxurious Hotel Del Coronado on San Diego’s Coronado Island. Under the very skilled watch of Chef Brian Sinnott, paired with a very talented Sommelier and his well-thought out wine list, the Del’s “1500 Ocean” was one of the best restaurant experienced that I have had in a while. Here, the wait-staff is extremely professional (some of these gentlemen have worked at the Del for 37 years!) and courteous, and the sunset views cannot be beat. Blame it on an Oregon seeking sunshine in April, but the palm-tree lined beaches of sunny San Diego made these three meals very memorable. Context is everything!

The Meals (three consecutive nights):

Appetizers:

  • Hiramassa Crudo with preserved citrus, radish and coriander.
  • Lobster Salad with arugula, fennel, avocado, citrus and heart of palm.
  • Veal Short Ribs with Crème Fraiche, potato puree trumpet and sage and pancetta.
  • Burrata Cheese with spicy broccoli, blood orange syrup and olive breadcrumbs.
  • Oysters Rockefeller paired with raw oyster topped with dollop of Crème Fraiche and caviar.

House Made Pastas:

  • Red Wine Pappardelle with lamb sugo, chard, olive, ricotta salata.
  • Black Spaghetti with Dungeness Crab, jalapeno, sea urchin, gremolata crumbs.
  • Sweet Pea Agnolotti with marscapone, round carrot, orange zest and pecorino
  • Risotto with Tahitian squash, braised greens, roasted quail and kumquat.

Entrees:

  • Diver Scallops with peas, beech mushroom, carrot, caper-raisin emulsion.
  • Alaskan Halibut with asparagus, cipolinni mushrooms, meyer lemon and olivada.
  • California Natural Angus Beef Filet with a beef-cheek ragout, rapini and potato mousseline.

The Wines:

  • 1995 Salon, Bland de Blancs “Le Mesnil” (Champagne)
  • 1999 Moet et Chandon, “Dom Perignon” Brut. (Champagne)
  • 2004 Louis Latour, “Batard Montrachet” Grand Cru. (Burgundy)
  • 2002 Domaine Jean Grivot, “Clos Vougeot” Grand Cru (Burgundy)
  • 1985 Cos d’Estournel “Saint-Estephe 2nd Growth” (Bordeaux)
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