A Weekend in Chicago

Chicago: the Windy City. Known for their hot dogs and deep dish pizza. I learned there are plenty more food options than those!

We visited for the first time over Memorial Day weekend and it was filled with wine, food and more wine! With numerous trendy restaurants popping up all over the city, it wasn't hard to find great food and wine pretty much any neighborhood you were in.

We started our long weekend at the Little Goat Diner, owned by the James Beard award winner Stephanie Izard. The eclectic menu was trendy, eye opening and a little bizarre.

I went with the "Asian Style Breakfast Tasty Thing" Ha! Kimchi, bacon, pancake and eggs, it was delish. The decor was stunning as well.

What does a Wino do when it's clear blue skies and celebrating with her sister-in-law? Veuve Clicquot on the roof of course!

On to dinner...Mexican food is one of my favorites, paired with a margarita of course! So, we visited Cantina Laredo, a modern Mexican restaurant in downtown Chicago. I'm a sucker for good enchiladas and they had barbacoa enchiladas! Delish.

A fantastic weekend brunch spot is Wishbone. Self described as "Southern Reconstruction Cooking", this place has the best cheesy grits and southern favorites that reminds me of being in Charleston, SC. I ordered the BBQ benedict which was biscuits, topped with BBQ and topped with eggs served with those cheesy grits of course. My husband and I split the crunchy french toast and I must say, that was the best french toast I've ever eaten! Everything was fantastic, just wish I wasn't hungover from the night before so I could have enjoyed their tasty mimosas.

Being the Wino that I am, I was searching for a great, local wine bar and my sister-in-law knew just the place. Lush Wine & Spirits, a neighborhood joint that's serious about their wine. Only one complaint, it was wayyy too bright in there for being a Saturday night at 10pm. BUT the food  was quite good. We ordered a glass of wine and some light fare, including popcorn popped in duckfat! Yep, you read that right. SO good. We also got the deviled eggs and who drinks wine without cheese?! They had a great wine selection on their retail side and a lot of lounge seating, perfect for a cozy evening with friends.

We also visited other restaurants including Butterfly Sushi and The Breakfast Club.

And it's not a trip to Chicago without visiting the famous art structure, Cloud Gate (aka the Bean)! Until next time Chicago....

Learning in the Vineyard: Bud Break

An advantage to working at a winery is learning more about the grape growing and winemaking process. What better way to spend a sunny, Spring afternoon than traveling around the vineyard with the 2 winemakers at Boxwood Winery?!

We stopped at rows for each of the 5 varieties: Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot. I learned some characteristics about the buds/leaves as well.

Cabernet Sauvignon is the last to bud and the last to be harvested. 

Merlot leaves are said to have a "big tongue", a large, wide leaf  

Petit Verdot has a whitish film on the back of the leaves

Malbec has a very distinct, round leaf shape which helps to recognize this varietal.