Last month the coffee business brought me to Chicago for a few days to attend CoffeeFest, the Great Lakes Regional Barista Competition and Executive Council meetings for the Barista Guild of America. I decided that I would make a crazy weekend of it by staying at the W Lakeshore and dining at both Charlie Trotter's and Alinea on consecutive Saturday and Sunday nights. Then, if I had it in me, I might go for a third night at the always enjoyable Chicago Chop House.
In the end, I never made it to the Chop House. I ended up gorging on pedestrian fare like the Chicago Hot Dog and Portillo's Italian Beef - both of which were quite tasty and a wonderful, greasy and cheap counterpoint to the rest of the weekend.
I've compiled the experiences a bit differently than Blogger likes to display posts. I've combined all four articles (including this one) in a time cascade meaning that you read the articles down the page in column format like you would a newspaper article, rather than the up reading, chronological format that is typical of Blogger.
So, in a nutshell, after finishing this, read the Trotter's article, then Alinea and then Compiled at the bottom of the page.
In short, the restaurants were amazing, educational and inspiring. I hope that all of you enjoy the images and the thoughts.