I must say, we did a lot of eating this weekend. I don't know if the colder weather has just gotten into us or what, but between Josh and I were were... starving! (Or, maybe just gluttonous...)
Friday night, after what proved to be a long and tedious week, Josh picked me up from work and we headed over the store to get some fixings for a dinner at home. After a night out last Friday at Quartino - a popular (i.e., crowded!) Italian small plates restaurant here in Chicago - J. suggested we try to replicate some of the antipasto treats at home. Our menu included: pepper-crusted salumi, Romano cheese, various olives, fresh baked bread dipped in olive oil with fresh herbs, and the two main attractions, a roasted beet and walnut salad and an artichoke-tomato-endive salad in a red wine vineagrette. Dessert was decidedly un-Italian: rice pudding, with cinnamon and raisins. While it didn't really fit the theme, it fit the weather and we were happy with our choice!
Saturday was much more lively. After spending our lunch at a favorite sushi place of ours, Kanok, in Lakeview (we noshed on their one and only Mexican maki, yet to be beat, miso soup, spicy tuna maki and salmon sashimi), we got ready and headed over to our friend Amy's for some pre-dinner snacking before a friend's birthday dinner. Amy, hostess extraordinaire, rose to the occasion as usual. Her goat-cheese slathered crostini were topped with caramalized onions and dried figs - a sweet-savory combo to die for, and her cheese platter (complete with a hard, creamy goats milk cheese, a Roquefort and a semi-soft... something else) was hard to resist.
After almost spoiling our dinner, we crammed in a cab and headed to Bistrot Margot in Old Town (on Wells St.) for our friend Sarah's birthday dinner. Our bellies primed with French cheese, we weren't feeling ravenous... but that didn't stop us from indulging. Josh was anxious for his Soupe a l'onignon, which came out with, yes, even more melty delicious cheese (this time, gruyere) topping the hot soup. I went for the Salade de Poires (needed to get some greens in, even if mine did come with but more cheese! Of the bleu variety...), followed by a shared order of the moules marineres. We stuffed ourselves beyond belief, leaving no room for dessert sadly... creme brulee will have to wait. I thought Bistrot Margot was good enough... but it wasn't my favorite French establishment (Kiki's Bistrot, Cafe Matou and Cafe Bernard still beat it).
Sunday was a day of atonement. After Saturday's cheese-laden extravaganza (topped off with some hefty wine consumption), I was not feeling my best. Sunday night therefore was dedicated to healing our potentially clogged arteries by fixing up some salmon fillets - baked in pouches with herbs and lemon - roasted butternut squash (which J. actually consumed some of for once! Victory!) and some sauteed bok choy in lemon and garlic.
Back to normal now, I can only anticipate what kinds of indulgences we will enjoy THIS weekend at Friday's Wine Spectator Chill event at the Merchandise Mart!