Food Pairings: Altuzarra & Takashi

Over the weekend I went to Takashi with my best friend Jennifer (who by the way is on my favorite fashion app–Pose). As always in life, I’m thinking about two things–fashion and food. There was something about the creativity, approachability and restraint of the dishes at Takashi, which is the feeling I get when I look at Altuzarra’s Spring 2012 collection. It’s exciting, yet doesn’t go over the top…and it’s overall just so damn cool. Everything about the restaurant and the designer is flat out awesome.

Don’t believe me? Take a look…

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Course 1: The Winter Roll. Crisp and refreshing…with a little kick from the chili vinaigrette (kind of reminds me of the long sleeveless sweater and leather dress pairing later in the post)

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Course 2: Grilled Calamari. If it’s grilled and in the squid family, I am so down.

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Course 3: Scallops & Gnocchi. Most people consider Takashi to be an Asian restaurant, and although some dishes have an asian flare, this one couldn’t be far from! So decadent it was almost sinful to eat it (like I care…that thing was gone in like 30 seconds).

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Course 4: Seared Maine Skate Wing. Who would have thought to put skate wing over braised red cabbage, with a side of butternut squash agnolotti…with a cider-caper reduction? Chef Takashi. That’s who. Genius!

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Desserts (yes, we got 2!): Sheep’s Milk Yogurt Panna Cotta with Yuzu Gelée, Peach Compote, and Green Tea Shortbread (this tasted like an adult dreamsicle). Valrhona Milk Chocolate Sticky Cake with Caramelized Bananas, Drunken Raisin Puree, and Graham Cracker Ice Cream (yes, this actually happened). The perfect balance of sweets for the end of an amazing meal.

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So how does this relate to Joseph Altuzarra? He’s a French designer in the American fashion industry plus a restaurant doing contemporary French-American cuisine (with a Japanese twist…but you get the picture). The atmosphere at Takashi is not too fussy, just quaint and cool…and located in one of the raddest neighborhoods in Chicago. And when I think of Altuzarra “cool” and “rad” are the first two words that come to mind.

And having nothing to do with the post (except it was taken at Takashi with my bestie), I had to share this sweet instagram.

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#PointedToeShoesAndStars…yes!

As  closing note…I can’t emphasize how incredible of a designer Joseph Altuzarra is (and I’m not just saying that because he used to work at Proenza…it’s true!)

But to make him even cooler than he already is…this is what he was recently quoted in the Washington Post: “It’s a very French thing: I never exercise and I love pastries.” I’m not French, but I couldn’t agree more!

Chicago Gourmet 2011

For the first time ever, I attended Chicago Gourmet yesterday at Millennium Park. How I’ve never been to this before, I’m not sure…but basically it’s a “eat and drink as much as you can in 5 hours” festival. With tastings from various chefs and restaurants all around the city to an insane amount of liquor sponsors, let’s just say it was a really fun event :)

The only downside is that it rained all weekend which made getting dressed for an outdoor eating event a little more difficult. But thankfully my Loeffler Randall rainboots saved me (cute, functional and affordable…I highly recommend them).

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By the end of it though, I could barely move because I ate an insane amount of food. The highlights of my day included the pumpkin and chocolate mousse with spicy almond crumble from Henri/The Gage (pictured above) and the red velvet cupcakes from C-House. I’ve had my fair share of cupcakes (especially red velvet) but THESE were on another level.

To sum it up, my Chicago Gourmet experience is what really made me cross the line from foodie to fatty…and I don’t hate it.

Food Pairings: The Bedford Meets Rag & Bone

THE PLACE

Once a bank and now one of Chicago’s hottest restaurants, The Bedford is the place to be in Wicker Park. With a gastro-pub feel, this neighborhood dining destination is far from ordinary.  Have you had a cocktail inside a vault while staring at safety deposit boxes? Probably not…unless you’ve been to The Bedford of course.

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THE FOOD

With casual bar snacks like deviled eggs and chicken wings, seafood staples like mussels and oysters, and even dining delicacies like duck confit and rabbit, there is something for everyone at The Bedford.

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My meal went like so…

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Fried green tomatoes with baby arugula & creamy giardinera

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Mussels steamed with chilies, garlic, spring onions, Schlitz & a touch of cream

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Grilled cheese on toasty dark rye with onion jam, roth kase gruyere and aged cheddar

THE COMPANY

It’s not just just about the food…having great company makes the dining experience that much better. Plus, the dishes are meant for sharing, so why not bring a friend or two? :)

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My best friends Jennifer & Emily

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Jennifer & I

THE PAIRING

A trendy hotspot (that I predict will last longer than most trends) with delicious food incorporating familiar aspects with a slightly sophisticated twist…what does that remind me of? Rag & Bone of course. Designers Marcus wainwright David Neville are the epitome of casual cool. Their collections always include classic silhouettes and versatile garments with their own downtown chic elements added to each. They make wardrobe staples that are actually exciting.

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PhotobucketRag & Bone Resort 2012: Style.com

Laid back, cool and familiar but still unique enough to buy into…nothing goes better with The Bedford than some Rag & Bone.

Food Pairings: Maude’s Liquor Bar & Marc Jacobs

As per request of many readers, I have officially decided to incorporate food posts as part of my blog. To put the fashion in ChiCityFashion I created a new category called Food Pairings where I pair each restaurant and meal with a designer. So instead of a complimentary Cabernet or a perfect Pinot Grigio, I choose Prada, Proenza or in this case, Marc Jacobs. So with that said…

After making a reservation over a month ago, I finally had the chance to eat at Maude’s Liquor Bar this week. The ambiance is dark, romantic and sophisticated but with a welcoming laid-back feel. The food is French inspired with a focus on seafood, but with a playful American twist. The menu is perfect for foodies looking for exotic offerings like foie gras, bone marrow, and escargot. Of course there are some simpler items like pomme frites, steak, and mussels.

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So what did I eat you may be wondering? Well let me elaborate…

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Let's start off with some bone marrow, shall we?

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Mussels and fries...you can't beat this combo

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Roast Farm Chicken...one of the best chicken dishes I've ever had

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Only offering one dessert, it had to be good...Creme Brulee. Dig in!

So, where does Marc Jacobs come into play? He’s the first designer I thought of when I really took in the atmosphere, the restaurant’s aesthetic and the food overall. Marc Jacobs is a well known American designer who is also the creative director for one of the most famous French design houses, Louis Vuitton. His designs are sophisticated and tasteful but always have a subtle playfulness…just like Maude’s.

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Marc Jacobs Spring 2011

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Louis Vuitton Spring 2011

So wear your favorite Marc Jacobs dress and bring your Louis Vuitton Speedy for a delicious night out at Maude’s.

Runway photos: Style.com