Tuesday, January 8, 2008

If money was no object?!

Hmmmmmm, if that question was posed to you, where would you dine in Chicago?

A Chowhound.com poster recently asked that question to fellow posters:

"Okay. I have a friend coming into town from Columbus, Ohio. We are going to dinner on March 14th and 16th. He told me last night - 'let's go somewhere very nice and money is not an object.' I told him to let me know what he liked and I would find a place knowing I would get good advice from the Chowhounds. He said he loves Italian and American foods. Something where it is relaxing, the atmosphere is great, as well as the food. He not been to Chicago in 10 years. He is staying at the W Hotel on Lakeshore for his conference. And is Spiaggia THE place for Italian?"

And here is just a taste of the interesting responses that came immediately flooding in:

"If someone told me, 'let's go somewhere very nice and money is not an object,' meaning that he is looking for something totally above and beyond anything else, the first three places I would try to get a reservation at are Alinea, Everest, and Avenues."

"Spiaggia would absolutely be the top high-end Italian. If money were no object I would do the Tour at Alinea with upgraded wine pairings. That will set you back about $400 per person without tax or tip. You're a bit too late for this, but the Foie Gras tasting menu at Avenues (pre-ban) was really outstanding. It was about $250 pp, not including wine, tax or tip. Tru would be another option, but the atmosphere might not be exactly what you're looking for (I love Tru, but it's a little like eating at an art gallery)."

"There is no question Spiaggia is the best Italian restaurant in the city. Other top restaurants are Everest and Les Nomades. I don't like Trotter's; Alinea is a diffrent game - small plates, unusual food; high quality."

"I had dinner tonight at Les Nomades . . . . It was a very, very good meal, and I would heartily reccommend it to anyone. The cost, with two bottles of wine and cocktails for a party of four was reasonable: $600 or so before tip. The food and the service were both outstanding."

"Of course it is all subjective, but I think Alinea is absolutely worth every penny. While Everest is good, Alinea provides a truly unique experience. I just don't think Everest stands out...it is very solid fine dining though."

And here's the one that had me cracking up to no end:

"Having read through this whole thread, I am wondering whether your friend realizes that Chicago isn't Columbus, Ohio. When your Country Mouse says 'money is no object,' does he know what he's getting into? Could you google and find out what 'somewhere very nice' means in Columbus? Because there is a whole world out there where a $600 dinner isn't in the picture—not anybody's picture."

The next big thing?

Artist Preach (center) with fans
(Photo: Nightlife Mag)

Who knows.

But if you're looking to get into the mix tonight, why not go over to Mix (2843 N. Halsted St., 773-528-7569), when new local artist Preach drops some hip-hop with a live band during his album release party, hosted by Konstant Groove Entertainment. Gotta warn you that the lyrics are a bit explicit, but hey, we're all adults here, right?!

Preach performs right after work from 6-9pm at this Lakeview video lounge. Tonight at Mix is also Flip It Tuesdays, when you flip a coin, call the cocktail, and they buy it. Huh?! OK, then!

Deejays Bliss, Abel and Vinny V spin hip-hop and house immediately after the show. Free parking.

Deal of the day . . .


Here are two great wine tasting events happening tonight that you don't want to miss:

Make your way to the seventh floor of NoMI (800 N. Michigan Ave., 312-239-4030) as Cellar Notes returns. Advanced Sommelier Fernando Beteta is on hand to educate guests on ports and madeira. Offering the unique option to blind taste the selections for the evening, Cellar Notes gives guests the opportunity to learn how to taste and evaluate wines or spirits, based on the subtle nuances in flavor, acidity, clarity and color of each selection without any knowledge of their identities. Other Cellar Notes events happening for the rest of the month: Jan. 15, Cotes du Rhone; Jan. 22, Spain; and Jan. 29, Whiskey. 5:30-7:30pm. $30.

Also, happening tonight is 2nd Tuesday Tastings, occuring at Cru Cafe and Wine Bar (25 E Delaware St., 312-337-4001). Guests will be treated to A Taste of Spain as they explore the regions of Rioja, Yecla, Ribera Del Duero and Jumilla as well as sample some of the delicious tapas of the Mediterranean. 6-8pm. $40.