Near West Side, Chicago, IL
For our fancy dinner in Chicago, Rod took us to the newer, trendy Avec. Chicago's food scene is diverse and inventive like SF, but I'd been shocked by how big the restaurant spaces were. Avec was more SF-sized, being one long, rectangular room with beautiful wood and communal seating. The dishes were slightly more flavor than presentation focused, but I'd give it 10's across the board. The plates are meant for sharing too, making it the perfect stop before hitting the Chi-town clubs! To further that point, Avec's mood music throughout dinner was 2 CHAINZ. :)
Chorizo stuffed Medjool dates wrapped in smoked bacon with piquillo pepper tomato sauce - Just WOW WOW WOW. If there's one thing I remember eating in Chicago, it's this. (Featured in picture above.)
Wood-fired pizza with salumi toscano, marinated broccolini, parmesan and gorgonzola creme fraiche - How could you not like this pizza?
Baby octopus with squid ink linguine, pepper sofrito, butternut squash and chorizo breadcrumbs - Killed it with the chorizo once again.
Pork shoulder in a pot of cous cous, carrots, almonds and raisins - I pray everyday to be able to fulfill Dan's fantasies and cook pork as perfectly as this one day.