As promised, I will share with you the result of my strawberry ice cream from our u-pick strawberry trip. I have very little experience with ice cream making and couldn’t wait to try a recipe from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home. Did you know that it was nominated for the James Beard Award? Crazy! Then again, it’s not a surprise. With many unique recipes and a different approach to making creamy ice cream, Jeni makes her process accessible for non ice cream connoisseur like me.
Anyway, back to the strawberry ice cream! The only recipe that came close to what I was looking for was the roasted strawberry and buttermilk ice cream. I am not a huge fan of buttermilk and decided to substitute heavy cream for the buttermilk. It turned out great, but a bit too fatty for our liking. I know what you’re going say! Ice cream is supposed to taste fatty. So I made a second batch and skipped the cream cheese altogether. Both Vu and I like version number two much more. I love how fresh and creamy it tasted. And of course, full of strawberry flavor. What a treat! We cannot wait to try her other recipes.
With a group of seven, we ordered practically everything on the menu. My 4 favorites of the night were Razor Clams with Oregano and Lemon & Olive Oil, Mussels with Pancetta and Crème Fraiche & Marjoram, Pork Blade Steak with ‘Nduja & Honey, and Steak and Mushrooms.
Salt-Roasted Beets with Whipped Goat Cheese & Pistachio Vinaigrette
Asparagus & Hazelnuts with Arugula & Treviso
Octopus with Favette, Celery & Radishes
Purple Pig Platter for the charcuterie lover
Charred Cauliflower, Toasted Breadcrumbs, Cornichons & Parsley
Eggplant Caponata with Goat Cheese
The razor clams were grilled to perfection and left me wanting more even though my stomach was ready to explode. The mussels were tender, moist, and flavorful. Who would have thought a restaurant specializing in pork would have such amazing mussels!
Pork Liver Pate
Roasted Bone Marrow with Herbs
The pork blade was Vu’s favorite. To this day, he has not found a piece of pork as perfect. The thickness was just right, and you can taste a hint of sweetness from the honey mixed in with the char.
And the steak. What can I say? It was seasoned perfectly. Besides a great selection of small dishes and entrees, they also have an extensive wine and beer collection. Our pant buttons were just about to pop off so we skipped desserts. To this day we have not found any restaurants like The Purple Pig.
Deep dish pizza for lunch at Giordano’s
The next night, we dined at David Burke’s Primehouse, known for its dry aged steak in a Himalayan rock salt room. Our dinner started off with the Yorkshire pudding popovers. Cheesy, warm, and delicious. A perfect start. We also ordered the Wagyu beef sashimi. It was soooooo good! I wish I had it all to myself.
For dinner, everyone ordered the 55 day dry-aged ribeye. As expected, it was juicy, cooked to perfection, and concentrated with flavor, but not as intense as I had expected. However, for a whopping price of $63, I was not impressed. Between you and me, I would rather have the steak from the Purple Pig. For one third of the price, it tastes just as good minus the whole dry-aged deal.
We ended the night with red velvet cake in a can and vanilla ice cream. Our server even brought out the velvet cake batter for us to taste. That was a fun part of dessert that was completely unexpected. It was a very enjoyable dinner, but at a steep price.
Our last dinner in Chicago was at L2O. The night started off with amuse-bouches of salmon mousse and mini lobster roll. The lobster roll was such a teaser. About the size of my thumb, I was wishing it was a full-sized lobster roll.
Our servers presented a selection of freshly baked bread and homemade butter but we skipped most of it. The highlights of the night were the foie gras with pickled rhubarb, poached lobster, and shabu shabu.
The foie gras was the best I have ever tasted. It was creamy, rich, and seared perfectly.
Avocado Hut with Crab and Apple Jelly
The Maine lobster was juicy and delicious. The peas and other vegetables were unnecessary. Just lobster would have been fine!
Uni and caviar
As for the shabu shabu, the scallops, shrimps, fish, and lobster were so fresh and sweet that I ate most of it raw. That defeated the purpose of shabu shabu but I didn’t want to waste such fine seafood.
And finally, for dessert, Vu and I were blown away by the manjari chocolate egg filled with salted caramel, a hint of coffee, and malt snow. We have never had such a unique dessert. It was fun to eat!
You crack the egg and dig out the salted caramel, mix it with some malt snow, and get ready to be blown away by the combination of flavor.
As if we were not stuffed enough, our servers sent us off with chocolate cake and bonbon. By far, this was one of the best dinners we have ever had. Despite the weather being unkind and many of our activities cancelled, we had a great time in Chicago. The dining experiences made our trip worthwhile. We cannot wait to visit Chicago again!
A simple soup yet satisfying. Even Vu liked it and he’s not a soup fan. Between you and me, it’s probably the prosciutto that he really likes.
This soup has a wonderful mellow, nutty flavor which lends a nice contrast to the salty prosciutto.
- 1 pound (2 heads) romanesco, cut into florets, washed and rinsed
- 1 small small brown onion, chopped
- 3 tbsps olive oil
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 cup organic heavy cream
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 4 pieces of prosciutto
- Salt and pepper to taste
- small romanesco florets for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Place the romanesco florets in a roasting tray, drizzle with 2 tbsps of olive oil, and roast for 30 minutes.
Place the prosciutto in a separate roasting pan and roast for 10-15 minutes, or until crispy.
Heat the remaining olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the chopped onions and saute at medium heat until soft and golden, about 10 minutes.
Add the romanesco and chicken stock and cook until tender about 15-20 minutes.
Place the romanesco mixture in a food processor and process until smooth.
Return the romanesco puree to the saucepan, stir in the cream, and simmer for another 5 minutes. If the soup is too thick, add one tablespoon of water to thin it to your liking.
Add sugar and season with salt and pepper to taste.
When ready to serve, ladle the soup into bowls, add prosciutto and pepper. Garnish with a few romanesco florets.