What a fun weekend!  I’ve never been to Chicago Gourmet before and I am kicking myself that I didn’t go sooner.   It was even better that on my first time, I got to attend with a media pass – how cool is that?!

It was basically an all you can eat and drink event.  Luckily the food lines were pretty long, but the alcohol lines were short, so I guess you could say I had more wine than food!
Federales had the best flank steak tacos.  The meat was so flavorful and cooked to perfection.


I’ve met Chef Todd Stein before, and he is such a nice man.  He is the chef/partner at The Bristol which I have yet to go, but it’s on my bucket list.  He makes the best meatballs!  I told him how much I loved having his balls in my mouth – I am so klassy!

I went to the Bon Appetit booth to watch Jimmy Bannos and his son Jimmy Bannos, Jr. make some amazing food.  Jimmy Jr. was making a grilled octopus dish that looked amazing – he peeled the celery before slicing it – never thought to do that before?!  And Jimmy Sr. made an amazing steak with baby potatoes – and about a stick of butter for basting.

Jimmy Sr. owns Heaven on Seven.  Back in the day when I was a single Mom, I rarely could afford to eat out.  But my once a week treat was walking 10 blocks to Heaven on Seven from my office and buy a $2 slice of jalapeno corn bread, which I would eat on the way back to work – such a treat.  If you love New Orleans food – think jambalaya, po’boys, crab cakes – so good!  It’s on the 7th floor in the heart of the loop. 

Jimmy Jr. owns The Purple Pig and Piggie Smalls in the Wells Street Market.  I’ve eaten there several times – gyros with the best feta fries I’ve ever had.  

I got to hang out with friends – this is Sam – she’s a goofball and the person behind Chicago Food Authority – that boasts a following of 228,000 followers! 

More food!  These jalapeno and cheese empanadas were so spicy delicious!

I also got to meet Lin Brehmer – local iconic radio dj at WXRT.  I’ve listened to him for years.  He was the emcee for the Bannos’ cooking demonstration – I never knew what he looked like, but after a few sentences I was like “that’s Lin Brehmer!”

And there is my friend Brett – she’s so pretty!  And also 32 weeks pregnant with her second baby – she looks amazing!

That shot was for my friend Morgan – an aperol spritz!

On Sunday I got the chance to go behind the scenes at Bourdeaux Wines – so cool!

I for some reason though all Bordeaux wine was red – but I was completely wrong.  11% of the Bordeaux wine is in fact white wine!  This rose was amazing – not overly sweet.

Just double fisting wine for two days at an amazing event.  I never would have guessed in a million years I’d be at Chicago Gourmet, let alone with a media pass! 

This is a great people watching event too!

And Sunday my friend Erica was the Emcee for Jernard Wells – he was on the food network stars show, and has 9 restaurants and NINE children.  He and his wife have been married 20 years and he had amazing stories.  He started cooking in his Mom’s kitchen making lunches for workers in his community to take to work.  Pretty soon he realized – “maybe I could cook them breakfast too!”  and started offering breakfast and lunch.  Not long after that he though “I may as well feed them dinner too!”  He was making $3000 a week and realized cooking for people was the life for him.

He made these candy apple smoked BBQ wings that I can’t wait to make a skinny version of. 

And before I knew it, the weekend was over!  My friend Erica and her family are moving to Florida today.  It’s so sad – but I told her I would Facetime her every day.  So happy to have her friendship.

I had another amazing stay at The Kimpton Hotel Monaco too – if you ever come to the city, check them out – they are in the perfect location to everything!

Alright, time to leave my luxury hotel and get to work.  Make it a great day!