Top Chef Tour De Chicago

9 Feb


I’m happy to report that yesterday was the first day in a week that my foot didn’t hurt at all.  Phew!  I had a run on my schedule this morning, but I opted to skip it since I want to let my foot fully heal before my long run this weekend.

I wasn’t really feeling the gym this morning, and was quite indecisive about what to do.  Eventually, I turned to pinterest and ended up doing a modified version of this workout.







(Click picture to go to the original blog post)

I ended up replacing the stability ball move with a regular plank, since I don’t have a ball at home.  I also replaced the squat and lunge jumps with regular squats and lunges.  The jumps were kind of tweaking my foot, and I wanted to make sure that my “rest my foot” workout didn’t do more damage than good!

Top Chef Tour De Chicago

As I’ve mentioned many times before, I am a big fan of Top Chef.  Not least of all because there are so many Chicago-based chefs in pretty much every season!  In the past year, Nick and I have had the pleasure of dining at Table 52, Topolobampo, Frontera and Xoco, Girl and the Goat, iNG, Graham Elliot, Sprout, and Cafe Spiaggia.







I pretty much love Bravo for  introducing me to every one of these wonderful chefs.  Each meal is better than the next, but my personal favorite restaurant continues to be Girl and the Goat.  Stephanie Izard knows what’s up with flavors, and really never disappoints.  However, a few weeks ago she was seriously challenged by Beverly Kim, one of the current Texas Cheftestants.  Let me explain…

While watching this season of Top Chef, Nick and I really found ourselves favoring Chicago-based chef Bev.  Seemingly always being picked on by the other girls (my current opinion is that they are threatened by her), she was kind of an underdog.  I was really disappointed when she was kicked off a few weeks ago, and was even more shocked once I tasted her food.

Nick and I had made reservations at Aria within the first few weeks of the show airing.  I had pretty much forgotten about the reservations until a few days before when Nick reminded me.  I honestly considered asking him if we could cancel, because I wasn’t too excited about going.  I figured the food would be good, but not great, and just wasn’t in the mood for a “fancy” night out.  Luckily, I decided not to be lame and said we could still go.

When we arrived at the restaurant, it was almost empty.  This did not help build my expectations, especially since so many of the other “Top Chef” restaurants are always busting at the seams.

Upon being seated, we were given a basket of naan with some dipping sauces that were pretty tasty.  I had run 13 miles that morning, so I tried my best not to devour the entire basket of bread.  I can’t say I was successful 😉

After ordering drinks and checking out the menu, we settled on our food choices.  We ordered spicy tuna tartare, striped sea bass, braised short ribs, and a side of brussels sprouts.  The spicy tuna was fantastic, and a great start to our meal.  But, when I dug in to my sea bass, I was in love.  Served in a coconut broth with dumplings and veggies, the fish was perfectly flaky and tender.  And I pretty much slurped up the broth like it was my last meal.  If it was acceptable to lift your bowl and drink from it at a high-end restaurant, I would have.  Nick’s short ribs were equally as tasty, and the brussels sprouts were one of the best veggie side dishes I’ve ever had.

To make our evening even better, Beverly herself was walking around the dining room greeting her patrons and chatting with each table for a few minutes.  She was so humble, gracious and friendly.  I absolutely love it when the chef is present, and meeting her while tasting her food skyrocketed Aria to the top of my Chicago restaurant list.  If you live in Chicago, you must must must go here!

(spoiler alert)

Needless to say, I was thrilled last night when I found out that Bev won Last Chance Kitchen!  I was even more thrilled when her dish was one of the winners of the evening, and she moved on to the final round!












I’m really pulling for her to win.  Even though it would make it much more difficult to get a reservation at Aria…




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: