EGullet Chicago Heartland Gathering.....
Last weekend was the Egullet Heartland Gathering. I love attending these events because I live in a Culinary Wasteland. I love being around like minded people, especially when all of us converge in the kitchen on Saturday to cook the group meal.
The weekend actually started last Thursday when Kerry and I spent the night in Port Huron, MI. Our train left at the ungodly hour of 5am on Friday so spending the night( even though I was up at 3:30am) seemed like a reasonable option. We spent 8 LONG hours on the train( the train was 1hr late), but I made sure we were well nourished. I'd brought along my favorite granola and I'd picked up some organic yogurt the night before. I went to Jimmy John's the night before and ordered 2 sandwiches with all the veggies/sauce on the side. When it came time to eat our lunch, we assembled our sandwiches on our lap( they wouldn't let us eat in the dining car unless we were buying food). Since we were in the very first seat, we heard comments of envy from other passengers as they oggled our subs.
Friday night was a group meal at Lao Sze Chuan. I'm not a fan of spicy food( I'm a supertaster ya know) so this meal didnt thrill me. Too many weird items and way too spicy. I ended up ordered a really bland shrimp/broccoli dish off the regular menu.
Saturday was our group meal at a church in Evanston. I chose to make 2 dishes, Cook's Illustrated Peach Blueberry Crisp and a Nicoise Salad( see pic). I'm not a fan of tuna or tomatoes so I made some creative substitutions. I used swordfish and french breakfast radishes. I also brought some homeade tarragon vinegar from home. The salad was amazing, very fresh, very light and I was very pleased( how many times can I say VERY?). We spent the morning at a wonderful( if not pricey) Farmer's Market in Evanston. I bought some beautiful heirloom fingerling potatoes as well.
On Sunday, we went to the Maxwell Street Market where I had a fantastic tamale, a corn smut taco( weird), Mexican corn and a watermelon juice drink. Sunday night's dinner was at A-Mano where I had a great NY style individual pizza. We also made a trip to Frontera Grill. I missed Anna by 1 freaking day!! The food was good, but Kerry and I both thought the Mexican dinner we had at Neuvo Leon on Monday was better.
We had a breakfast and a lunch at Fox and Obel, we did an architecture river tour and we made a few shopping trips up Michigan Ave. I scored 10lbs of Guittard chocolate at Williams-Sonoma for 24.60 and I made 2 trips to The Spice House.
When we showed up for our train on Tuesday, we were told that no trains were running and we'd be put on Greyhound buses back to Port Huron. No Freaking WAY!! I was pretty upset. Turns out, we were on new chartered buses( not greyhound) and we arrived in PH a half hour early( we would have been even earlier if the busdriver didnt have to go back to BattleCreek to pick up a woman he left at the train station).
Look for more trip reports soon.