EL Ideas- What a Wacky & Delicious Dinner!

What a great experience EL Ideas was.  Imagine a catering kitchen in a warehouse on some random side street turned into an interactive dinner party… oh yeah… with some of the craziest food you’ve seen.

So the guys, Chefs Phillip Foss and Kevin McMullen, are just doin’ their thing.  Ya know, cookin’.  You can hang out with them while they’re doing it, help them plate, even drop plates to the other 15 diners if you want….

EL Ideas, Chicago

All the food was stunning.  Most beautiful “Gin & Juice” (with an oyster) I’ve ever seen.  Check out the teeniest cucumber on the planet.

EL Ideas, Chicago

I was convinced that they’d screwed up and dropped the plate before they’d marked the table (that is, that the food had arrived before the set of clean utensils with which to eat it).  Not true.  No utensils allowed on this course.  It was required that you pick the plate up and lick it.  Seriously.

EL Ideas, Chicago

Well, ok.  If you insist.  It was also our permission to lick any plate that followed.  I guess that’s one way to make you fell comfortable in a strange environment!

EL Ideas, Chicago

The Etouffee may have been my favorite course, though it certainly wasn’t the prettiest.  The flavors were absolutely delicious!

EL Ideas, Chicago

There are 2 preparations of cauliflower here:  braised with tomato and blanched.  It’s topped with a slice of tuna bottarga (Sardinian pressed roe), EVOO poached yukon gold potatoes and an herb pesto.

EL Ideas, Chicago

Me… enjoying every second of it :).

EL Ideas, Chicago

Nothin wrong with a couple slices of salty meat!  It’s pata negra served with sunchokes a couple different ways, a gooey cana de cabra cheese, and a couple berries… among other things.

EL Ideas, Chicago

My mouth is watering just looking at the perfect sear and remembering the moistness of this salmon.  Brussels spouts, grits and kale?  My kinda dish.

EL Ideas, Chicago

Here’s a wacky one.  Apple sorbet, bacon and peanut butter sauce.  Sweet, salty, smokey, nutty, tart.  A palate cleanser of sorts… but with bacon!

EL Ideas, Chicago

And apparently, when you’re only serving 16 people a night, you can roast an entire lobe of foie gras and slice it into enormous portions for each plate.  Needless to say, this one was fab.  Braised beluga lentils, celeriac 2 ways, mustard, sliced buddha’s hand for some acid…. so interesting!

EL Ideas, Chicago

This smooth kohlrabi soup was amazingly delicious, too!  The accompaniments were fried sweetbreads, poached lobster,  black trumpet mushroom and a crispy green.  The instructions were to push it all in and go from there…

EL Ideas, Chicago

A simple sliced duck with bok choy, oyster sauce and lemon-olive oil sauce.

EL Ideas, Chicago

Here’s the bite of strip steak.  The yellow and white are “components” of béarnaise sauce (aka hollandaise with tarragon).  I didn’t really get much egg or butter or lemon from the dust and beads but it made for a lovely presentation… don’t you think?

EL Ideas, Chicago

Then there were desserts.  Cookies ‘n cream a bunch of ways:  in ice cream, an inside out oreo, chocolate cookie crumble and a foam.  Yummy!

EL Ideas, Chicago

Here’s what the plate-ups looked like for each course.  This one is for the “Movie Snacks” dessert that followed.

EL Ideas, Chicago

I’d say it was the most playful and fun dish of the night.  Twizzler ice cream, popcorn, homemade crushed whoppers, coke foam and dried-on-the-vine chocolate covered raisins (fancy raisinets).  Oh, and crumbled peanuts for a the base of the ice cream.  I’m not exactly sure how all of the flavors came together in one bite, but it sure was fun to eat!

EL Ideas, Chicago

The whole thing was so fun!  I’d totally go back in a second!

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