Combining his French culinary education with his Japanese heritage, chef Takashi crafts Michelin-starred French dishes with an East Asian twist. Finish off the weekend with Sunday’s multi-course kaiseki dinner, or pair a glass of sake with a plate from the chef’s tasting menu.
Artalé edifies eager palates with a Herculean selection of classy beverages and elegant edibles. The epic selection of bottled marvels includes a variety of imports, specialty imbibitions, and wines, such as the Avignonesi Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano 2007, whose black-cherry fruitiness and spice earned it a rank of 83 from Wine Spectator ($29.99/bottle). A bevy of bruschettas, nuts, chocolates, and cheeses serve as a solid foundation for other intoxicating distillations, from the Elk Cove pinot gris 2009, which follows notes of pear, apple, and lime with a almond-petal finish ($16.99/bottle), to the Castello d'Albola chianti classico 2007, a miracle of dark cherry with a floral kiss ($14.99/bottle). An army of 400 craft and microbrew beers flank this cork-crowned armada, and a selection of top-shelf liquors brings up the rear. Artalé's bottle-lined stronghold frequently hosts tastings to exhibit cheese-and-wine-pairing techniques, seasonal drink selections, and the latest oenological lingo, with terms including "woody" and "purple-ish."
Since his teenage years, Anton Steinhart's altruistic spirit has always pushed him to find new ways of giving back. Anton drew upon previous experience in the wine industry and founded Wines for Humanity in 2007, which has raised more than $1.5 million for families on the brink of homelessness and other charities. As attendees sample six wines culled from award-winning international vineyards, expert advisors discuss how to taste each pour, suggest food and wine pairings, and gently kiss their favorite corks.
The Cellar at The Stained Glass divides its menu of small plates into three sections determined by the region of culinary inspiration: Europe, America, and everywhere else. Dishes such as garlic and cauliflower custard with sautéed escargot proudly represent the Continent, and the States get their due with a bucket of buttermilk-battered chicken served with sweet garlic gravy. Tempura vegetables and Korean–style fish tacos with kim chi represent the tastes of the rest of the globe. Culinary journeys continue at the bar, where mixologists blend creative cocktails, dispense handcrafted beer via bottle and tap, and pour glasses of domestic and imported wine. The latter forms the bulk of The Cellar’s beverage stock; the restaurant even models its décor on a traditional wine bar, as is evidenced by the exposed-brick walls, wine storage wall, and squishy floor of grapes.
Step into the old country of Italy through Café Bionda (“blond woman” in Italian). Look for two mahogany bars, warm earthy hues and an open kitchen with a tin ceiling. Bionda focuses on reasonably priced old-school Italian dishes in manageable portions. Every dish is cooked and seasoned to perfection.
When itinerant malört traders first set foot on the handsome shoreline kissing the western edge of Lake Michigan, their wanderings were rewarded by the magnificence of a lone hotel shining in the sun. Today’s Groupon invites you to the Michigan Avenue hotel that an entire city was built to surround, with $249 rooms at the InterContinental Chicago for $99. Follow @Groupon_Says on Twitter.