Chicago: Dinner at Avec
My favorite meal in Chicago this year was at Avec. We had one more night to really go all out and a Chicago bartender friend said Avec was his fave spot. I’ve been to a couple other sister restaurants (and bar!) of this restaurant group (The Publican, Blackbird, The Violet Hour) and always had great meals so I took his suggestion quite willingly. Luckily we were able to snag the last two seats at the bar.
Ostensibly they are a wine bar but I had cocktails of course.
Since I was on vacation… a drink named for a tropical vacation was in order. I tried the Jamaican Vacation which features rum, sherry and mint. It’s a relatively simple drink that paired well with food.
Jamaican Vacation – Appleton rum, amontillado sherry, mint
I generally avoid order bruschetta these days since I’ve had so many bad versions since the 90s. However, this oat porridge bread topped one with burrata and peas mojo verde was amazing. It possibly was one of my favorite preps for peas ever. I also really enjoyed the pickled fennel.
The paella came with chicken confit thighs, small boudin (sausage) and shrimp. I’m a big fan of this dish and secretly hope someone will make a version here in LA. Or I might have to learn how to confit some chicken thighs.
Whenever I go out, I try to look for oddball (okay, “new to me”) spirits. I spotted Skinos Mastiha as part of the ingredients of a white Negroni at Avec and knew I had to try it. It’s a Greek tree resin liqueur. Yep and I thought it would make the drink sticky. But it wasn’t. Instead, it gave it a slightly more rounded mouthfeel. I also found it interesting the bar chose to use both Salers apertif, a gentian flavored liqueur and dry vermouth. Overall this was one of the more interesting white Negronis I’ve had.
White Negroni – gin, Skinos Mastiha, Salers aperitif, dry vermouth
The pork shoulder came with Spanish chorizo, mussels and squid stew. It also had fideo in the stew which is what sold me on the dish. I just love noodles.
I’m really glad Avec does half portions because I couldn’t choose between the paella and the pork shoulder. I’m so happy we got to try both. We still had so much food though and we carted off the leftovers to the theater. We were heading to see Aladdin and it turns out the people sitting next to us were also watching the show. I highly recommend Avec for pre-show dining.
I would have been quite fine without dessert but it almost seemed incomplete. So we got a couple scoops of ice cream and dashed to the theater.
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