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"The only time to eat diet food is while you're waiting for the steak to cook”
~Julia Child

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Gourmet Chicago Festival

So I was so very lucky to win 4, count them, 4 tickets to the sold-out Gourmet Chicago Festival that happened this past weekend at Millennium Park.  The tickets to this event were $150 dollars per ticket per day and I can honestly say they would have been worth the cost. Although of everything is better when it's free.  My boyfriend Joe, our friend Scott Greenman (in town from Hotlanta), and Danielle all arrived promptly at the start (around Noon), and moseyed on in, where we were given a shoulder bag containing programs of the events and areas where we could find each of the different vendors, and one wine glass (see picture above) each for tastings.  The minute we walked into the event there were three different wine distributors with an array of tastings to be had, along with Labriola Cafe
serving up (as you know one of my fav go to appetizers) caprese with an aged balsamic vinegar and some of the tastiest pasta bolognese with the perfect accompaniment of crusty baguette.  Okay so this was just within the fifteen minutes of us arriving on the scene, so you can only guess that the food and drink situation only got exponentially better. 

The Gourmet Festival was ALSO where the top three winners of the Santa Margherita Great Taste Challenge were going to contend for the top prize.  Which if you remember correctly I was eked out of this event, by a mere 200 votes.  I of course went and watched, and I promise was only mildly bitter.  There is always next year, AND most importantly I won two of my tickets through Santa Margherita's facebook page (and the other two were won through Patron Social Club)! The Terlato wine tent (who distributes Santa Margherita) most definitely had one of the best, if not THE BEST wine tents at the event.  We sat on couches sipping our wine, as platters of tasty morsels were passed around. I could easily have gotten used to such treatment.

There were wine's there for all.  I of course am the quintessential lover of Reds (the bolder the better) but my friend Danielle loves her wine fruity and bubbly and was afraid that her palate would be left wanting.  Au contraire, mon frère!  There was no short supply of either.  Not to mention the enormous amount of liquor vendors that were represented.  Which was also what may have gotten me a little too tipsy towards the end of the event (when in doubt of whether you have had enough to eat, say no to the martini shots, rule of life).  If you enjoy vodka, and especially flavored than look no further.  Vangogh Vodka is now my absolute fav, hands down.  The flavored vodkas were like a martini in a bottle, no need to add anything that would water them down.  Try the Caramel Vodka with the Espresso, and BOOM, caramel macchiato is tickling your tastebuds.

Of course there was both food and booze at this event, but to be perfectly honest the vino and the liquor easily took the cake.  UNLESS you were one of the select few to watch Uncle Bub's smoke an whole pig (which of course I was, I smelled that bad boy from half way across Millennium), and then see the delicious process unfold of the juicy tender meat, just falling off the bone.  One of the women volunteering to help serve at this station, saw how many detailed questions I was asking about said process, and therefore decided I needed a whole bottle of their special BBQ sauce (I felt so honored, especially since I was the ONLY ONE receiving this delish gift, which the jealousy among my group and the folks behind me was evident), Im pretty sure joe was excited too, considering he knew he would get to eat something made with this saucy goodness.  Nothing says love like BBQ.

Overall it was an absolutely amazing day.  The only complaint that I, and others from the event, had was pertaining to the lines for food.  The lines for the liquor were small if non-existent, while the food lines were about 40 minutes deep.  Then when you got to the front you were given such a minimal tasting that it just didn't add up to enough in the end.  Needless to say, we were all a little too full of vino, and not full enough on the filler.  This is not me complaining, because honestly I came, I drank, I made friends with the vendors....life couldn't have been any better on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.  OH WAIT, it could and did, Michigan State killed Northern Colorado, oh what a day....what a day!