Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Road Trip! Chicago

Mike and I spent Friday on a road trip to C-H-I-C-A-G-O! Okay, that's not so exciting when we actually live 2.5-3hours south of Chicago, but still, here's our action-packed day.
This our second trip to the Museum of Science and Industry. And guess what? Certain days are "Free Days" so our $19/admission was free. It makes the $16/parking easier to stomach. The museums in Chicago are super cool. I really like the Museum of Science and Industry and the Art Institute of Chicago. I'd rather *gasp* go to these museums than shop for clothes! I even curbed my clothes shopping habit, since after I graduate, I realize I have to pack my stuff up in the two suitcases I came with so I can fit on a plane to go home.

We then picked Kendell up since she was in town and then stopped at a restaurant I've been eyeing out for a while. Rick Bayless's Frontera Grill. Chou gave me a Rick Bayless cookbook last year, but Mike and I haven't made anything in the book yet.

Mike ordered the Puerco en Mole Coloradito (grilled-roasted Maple Creek pork loin in classic Oaxacan mole coloradito of ancho chile, sweet spices and chocolate. bacon-infused Iroquois white corn torta, frilled green beans)

Kendell had the Tacos al Carbon (wood-grilled poultry sliced and served with roasted pepper rajas, two salsas, frijoles charros, guacamole and homemade tortillas)
and I ordered the Pescado Encalabazado (red chile-marinated day-boat, cooked over the coals, in garlicky red chile-butternut sauce. Red chile rice, braise dlacinato kale, crispy butternut. I also ordered the tortilla soup from Frontera Grill's sister restaurant "Tompolobampo."
We shared the homemade ice cream (brownie chunk? and corn ice cream) with chocolate sauce and cajeta (goat's milk caramel). The corn ice cream was really yummy!
The prices were suprisingly reasonable for a celebrity chef's restaurant.

We had reservations for a 12noon lunch, and when we walk in, I my eyes quickly focus on Rick Bayless! The Rick Bayless. I didn't know that chefs actually are present in their own restaurant for a lunch service. In case you do not know who Rick Bayless is, he's a chef in Chicago known for Mexican/Spanish influenced dishes. He lost to Bobby Flay on the American version of "Iron Chef" and is the owner of Tompolobampo, which is frequented by Barack Obama.

I'm still kicking myself for not having the guts to go up to Rick Bayless and ask him if we could take a picture. He was sitting on a stool a few feet away from me (and looked just like he did on tv), and starstruck Lauren could not get over her jitters to go up to him.
*Note to self* Next time I see someone famous, I will not hesistate and I will muster up the courage to talk to him/her.
Dropped Kendell off at the airport and then headed to Trader Joe's. The mochi ice cream there was super cheap ($3.50?) for a box of 6, so Mike and I inhaled the whole box of mochi ice cream in the first 30 minutes of the drive back to Champaign. I mean we had to eat the mochi ice cream, or it would have melted.

And that left us with Saturday to sleep all our adventures off.


K and S said...

mmm what a delicious trip! will make note of this restaurant for places to try in chicago (for when I go).

Lori said...

Sounds like you guys had a really fun road trip! :)

genkitummy said...

kat-yes, it's definitely a restaurant to check out in chicago.

lori-yup, it was a super fun trip!

chou said...

So fun! When we went to Frontera for the first time, Bayless was eating lunch in the dining room. He had the same thing my mom ordered--I told her she'd made a good choice! We didn't talk to him, either. :)

Next time you go to the museum, park on 56th or 58th street. Free. Maybe tricky to find parking, but we generally could find something in front of our house. It's only an 8 or 9 minute walk. Then again, the underground parking is WARM!

What a great weekend!

genkitummy said...

Hi! Thanks for the parking tip! I think Mike and I might check out the Harry Potter exhibit when's he back in Illinois.