I was in Chicago last weekend and able to fit in 2 restaurant outings: lunch at Cafe Spiaggia and brunch at The Publican. Cafe Spiaggia's chef/owner is Tony Mantuano who was recently on this past season of Top Chef Masters. Finding myself drooling at everything he made on the show, I had to go to his restaurant to get my fill of freshly made pasta. I went with a large group of friends, hence the different dishes that follow in the photos so we got to try a lot of dishes. I, myself, ordered the octopus and sardines appetizer that I shared with my friend and I got the wild boar gnocchi as well. The octopus was my favorite thing I ate there, and the gnocchi was very rich. I couldn't finish my plate (sad). The Publican is a recent favorite of mine, as I had dinner there a couple months ago and I am still drooling over the meal I had there that night. Paul Kahan is the executive chef there and he is amazing. I love the casual atmosphere and every dish is unique and delicious. I spared no expense while ordering what I wanted for brunch that day. I got the red wine poached eggs, waffle and a "beer-mosa." I know these dishes are meant to be shared but I surprised myself by eating most of it myself, while also sneaking bites from my friend's food. The only disappointment for me was the pork rinds - they are huge, messy and hard to eat.
Enjoy the following photos of delicious food! Can't wait until the next time I'm in Chicago.
POLPO Wood roasted baby octopus with artichokes, San Marzano tomatoes, taggiasca olives and herbs
SARDE House cured sardines on crostini with salsa verdi and shaved fennel
SPINACI - Spinach, orange segments, shallots, pine nuts, Parmigiano Reggiano and orange pancetta vinaigrette
GNOCCHI - Hand crafted potato gnocchi with wild boar ragu and Parmigiano Reggiano
TAGLIATELLE ﾠ Hand crafted pasta strands with artichoke, shrimp. lemon zest and ricotta salata
SPECIAL Fusilli with leg of lamb, tomatoes and fresh fennelhead ferns
SPAGHETTIﾠ Whole grain spaghetti with Manila clams, white wine, garlic and chili flakes
MARGHERITA ﾠﾠ San Marzano tomato, basil and fresh mozzarella
PERCIATELLE ﾠ Thin hollow pasta with guanciale, onions, garlic, basil and Calabrian peppers
GELATI DEL GIORNO Red Raspberry, Pistachio, Espresso
red wine poached egg - la quercia prosciutto, sourdough & bearnaise
[forgot exact name of this] delicious sandwich that had confit of pork with fried egg on top and those delicious addicting garlicky fries!
weiswurst - Hannah’s organic bretzel & bavarian mustard