Monday, November 19, 2012

Interested in gaining 5 lbs. in 72 hours? A How-To Guide Part 1

I mean, come on, who DOESN'T want to gain 5 pounds 4 days before Thanksgiving and exactly one month before the biggest holiday cookie season ever?

Anyone? Anyone?

Dude, it happened to me. Well, at least I think it did. I haven't actually stepped on the scale to verify but trust me, it happened.

And before I commence a two week water and tree bark binge in order to reverse the past 72 hours, I will show you, step by step how you too can barely fit into your clothes!!

For starters, I would recommend inviting an out of town guest to stay with you. One that's preferibly from the West Coast, ya know, the healthy coast. This almost definitely means you'll need to order an italian breaded steak sandwich almost immediately after landing to show your friend what a REAL sandwich tastes like. Watercress and Avocado? Shah-right! Rickobene's baby!

It's definitely a plus if this out-of-town guest likes to cook and also takes weekend classes at Le Courdon Bleu. Which for sure means that you'll need to stop at 4 different grocery stores so that he and your husband can stock up on the essentials.

It's also highly recommended to accept a friend's invitation to dine together for a 10 course meal at one of Chicago's coolest restaurants.

Btw, it's only Friday.

But this 10 course meal? Holy gucamole, it was awesome. Course by course here is our Friday night's extravaganza.

Remember way back when I blogged about that amazing restaurant Moto? Well, this is the sister restaurant called iNG, short for imagining new gastronomy. Chef Homaru Cantu wowed us again--this time with a 10 course meal based off of the movie A Nightmare Before Christmas.

It's been said before that Chef Homaru Cantu is a modern day Willy Wonka. With a meal that stimulates every sense (and even alters some--you'll see) your dining experience is an culinary adventure.  

As we waited for our friends Tatum and Mario to arrive Eugene, myself and Ben, his life long homey from California endulged in a pre dinner drink.

Then the fun began!

First course called JACK'S LAMENT was an octopus and mushroom soup that was awesome!

I'm not sure how they were able to get the octopus perfectly cooked without an ounce of chewiness, but they did! And the rose petals in the soup added such an aromatic level to it all!

Look they even stamped Jack's face into the sweet bun!

Second course called THANKSGIVING TOWN was a trio of yams all with a different cream filling.

This was actually my top savory course. These bite sized yams were so delicious and the three different sauces were out of this world!

Third course called PUMPKIN KING was a parsnip and pumpkin hash served on a silver skeleton hand!

A+ for presentation, this hash also gets an A+ for flavor. What I loved about these dishes is that there was such an "autumn feel" to them. Cinnamons, nutmegs and all-spice was found in almost every dish. Speaking of a fall feel, this particular course was paired with a Spiced Cider that included about 10 different ingredients ranging from chai tea to pureed pumpkin and it was insanely good!

Fourth course called LAB OF DR. FINKLESTEIN was a carrot and horchata smoke soup complete in a hand held science beaker!

This soup was really tasty. One layer was cold and one layer was hot which added such a unique dimension to it all. The dehydrated carrot chip on top was a perfect companion.

Fifth course called FROG'S BREATH was a deep fried frog leg with mint, pearl onions and white truffle shaving. And deep fried delicious it was!!! Poor Kermie....

Sixth course called HOLIDAY TREES was a take off of when Jack went deep into the forest and discovered the different holiday doors.

This, my friends, was duck done in 5 different Holidays. Starting from the left was the Easter Egg , next was duck in a sort of St. Patricks's Day hash, candy corn duck for Halloween, Thanksgiving and then finally Christmas. And P.S. Thanksgiving was the best!

This concluded the savory part of our adventure which meant that four sweet courses were on their way. Are you ready for this? Have you ever heard of miracle berry or synsepalum dulcificum for those of you smarty pants? Essentially this berry, when eaten, causes sour foods to taste sweet. Found only in West Africa, this berry contains miraculin which is a molecule that binds to the tongue's taste buds and completely alters the way we taste certain foods.  With that in mind, wait till you read about this next course.

Seventh course called JACK IN CHRISTMASTOWN was a sour and sweet concoction that KNOCKED OUR SOCKS OFF!

See those two snowmen? They are made out of a gin and tonic foam and the white powder surrounding the luminous shadow is made from limes. Our waitor told us to first take a bite of the snowmen and the powder. I almost hit Tatum who sat beside me when I tasted how SOUR it was. Almost unbearable. Think of those sour patch kids times 20--that's how sour it was.

Enter the miracle berry.

On a spoon (not shown, sorry) were the berries in freeze dried powdered form--looked a lot like dippin' dots and we were told to let the berries sit on our tongue for at least 20 seconds. So we did. And after about 20 seconds we took another bite of our snowmen powder and OH MY GOD IT WAS SO SWEET. IT WAS LIKE A LEMON MIRANGUE PIE. 

Then we all sucked on a lemon wedge and wouldn't ya know it was like the sweetest lemonade.

This concept was SO awesome! Mostly because this dessert was made of almost no refined sugar at all! 

Chef Homaru takes this concept a step further when last year he lived off of miracle berries, leaves, and grass that was found in his backyard. I should mention this was for the show, "Future Food" and not for kicks. But his point is this, miracle berries allow us to redefine what we think of as edible. The NY Times wrote a story about Homaru and his miracle berries and you can read all about it by clicking HERE.

Eighth course was called ROASTING ON AN OPEN FIRE and was a chestnut almond bread pudding with homemade chestnut ice cream and silver berries. Which, I need to get me some SILVER BERRIES. Better than any berry I've ever tried!!! This dessert was in my top 2 dishes of the night!

Ninth course was called JACK'S RETURN and included a dark chocolate coffin over a bed of mulberries, gingerbread and chrysanthemum leaves.

This course was also paired with a make-your-own egg nog and whiskey combination.

The tenth course entitled SANDY CLAWS was wrapped in a cute little Christmas box.

When our waitor lifted the box up we were greeted with three different gelee's yuzu, persimmon and chocolate.

The dinner was a great success and not to mention fun and inventive! Their menu changes every six weeks so it looks like we'll be making another reservation soon.

So that whole gaining 5 lbs in 72 hours isn't over yet. Oh no friends, this was just part 1. Stay tuned for part 2 where Eugene, Ben and my brother cook up a 6 course Thanksgiving Day fusion dinner. Which reminds me, I need to go purge.


  1. Wow, that is like something from the Food Network. I need to go watch that movie now!

  2. I gained from just reading this



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