Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A Long Time Gone

Yes friends, life has been crazy the past few months. I have a ton of new pictures of various lovely meals on my phone and computer that have yet to be uploaded and shared... fear not, I will be getting back to it. However, it won't be anytime in the next two weeks because... I'M IN EUROPE!

Yep, I hopped to the other side of the pond. The reason? To play in an ultimate frisbee tournament called Paganello in the little beachside town of Rimini, Italy. It's apparenly the "cancun" of Italy, famous for being a spring-break desintation. I have a feeling it's not going to be very warm, but at least it beats Chicago right now. And the disc playing is going to be almost as fun as the parties, I'm sure.

ANYWHO... I'm of course documenting my experience with pictures of food... and some of people... so those will be uploaded at journey's end. My first stop is Scotland (which is where I'm writing from). I studied here at the University of Edinburgh in the fall of 2004, and I've been brought back here to visit my little sister Susie, who is currently studying at the school. We've already sampled some of the local cuisine including a FABULOUS Indian restaurant, too many sweets, cider, and of course "chips" (fries) with salt and vinegar. Yum. Tomorrow, it's off to Florence, Italy, then to Rimini, and then Venice, and finally London before I head home to the US. I'll be keeping track of my adventures so stay tuned for the full update!!

In other news, TOP CHEF CHICAGO primered last Wednesday night! The season opener was fun and exciting to watch. First challenge: of course, Chicago style deep dish pizza! It was amazing how much some of the chefs messed it up. Especially those with the inches-thick crust and the thin layer of cheese. What were they thinking?? I was happy to see at least that the Chicago girls, Stephanie and Valarie, pulled through in that challenge... and it was great to see Stephanie WIN the first elimination challenge! She seems both really talented and really cool, so I hope she does well. I'll be cheering for the hometown girls! Among the other contestants, no one really stands out to me. I'm interested to see what the self-proclaimed molecular gastronomist of this season will do. Basically a lot of them seem kind of cocky, so it will be interesting to see who can actually throw down when the heat is on.

Also noticed with interest that their Top Chef kitchen couldn't be farther away from the Whole Foods they shopped at... (Whole Foods by the way looking to be a big sponsor of this season - they've even got Top Chef displays up in all the Chicago stores)... their kitchen is at a city college hidden way down on the south side, and the Whole Foods is up in boystown on Halsted! That must have been a trek for just about every challenge.

Although I'll be away for the next two shows, I'm DVR-ing them, and really looking forward to the season. I'm expecting it to be a hit-parade of Chicago's most well loved chefs, some of which are known to be Rick Bayless, Ming Tsai, and Art Smith. I would be surprised if Charlie Trotter and Grant Achatz didn't make an appearance as well.

Ah, it'll only keep me sighing, starry-eyed, every time I walk past Alinea on my way to work. Someday, Grant, someday...

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