Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Some Things I'm Obsessed With This Week . . .

Ryan Poli, executive chef at Perennial. (Photo: Perennial)

A number of local star chefs showcased signature bites made from sustainable seafood during Supreme Lobster's first-ever Summer Solstice Soiree Monday aboard the Columbia Yacht Club.

And while most dishes were outstanding (I don't even want to talk about how many times I went back for seconds!), it was Ryan Poli's ingenious seafood taco that totally blew me away.

At crowded cocktail parties like this one, you want food you can easily pop in your mouth, and tacos are typically not that dish. The Perennial chef created a perfectly sized portion for his King Crab taco, which was accompanied by avocado puree, tropical fruit salsa and a tortilla infusion, which he says "gave the dish that tortilla flavor" expected of tacos.

His seafood taco went over so well with guests that he decided to put it on the menu today. He plans to keep it as an appetizer all summer, and while the avocado, salsa and tortilla infusion will remain the same, look for the seafood to vary depending on what's on special from Supreme Lobster.

It's $12 on the appetizer menu throughout the summer.

Branch 27's John Manion has added his spin on empanadas to the late-night and lunch menus.

There's so much more to obsess over this week as we're in for a hot one!

Branch 27: Chef John Manion apparently spent several childhood years in Brazil, and many of his American contemporary dishes reflect his upbringing. He's just added his version of the empanada to the late-night and Saturday lunch menus. His take is filled with a seafood mixture of scallops, shrimp and a daily fish selection. Two empanadas are served per plate, with a spicy chipotle aïoli for dipping.

Chefs on the Grill: There's nothing better than grilling in the summer, but when it's some of my favorite chefs in the city hooking it up . . . even better. Bernie Laskowski (Park Grill), Cliff Ostrowski (China Grill), Michael Fiorello (Mercat a la Planxa), Greg Darrah (Rhapsody), Michael Cisternino (Tavern at the Park), Dirk Flanigan (The Gage), Phillip Foss (Lockwood Restaurant) and Cesar Reyes (The Chicago Firehouse) will participate in a grilling competition for this third-annual event. Party includes booze, of course, and tastings. Proceeds benefit Grant Park Conservatory. 6-8:30pm Wednesday at Park Grill. $55 in advance; $60 at door.

Paramount Room: One of the best summer desserts this season is hands down from pastry chef Suzi Beu. Her Black & Tan Float contains house-made Guinness Ice Cream and Abita root beer that's served in a mini-pilsner glass, and garnished with Suzi's Ginger Snap Cookies. $8.

Roof: And early 1980s punk rockers Missing Persons is set to play one of the most fabulous terraces in the city for the debut of the weekly live music series. We're crossing our fingers they'll sing "Flash of Love," "Destination Unknown" and "Windows." 7:30pm doors open; show at 8 Thursday. $25.

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