This weekend has been a pretty good birthday weekend for me, not that it’s over and I’m not still trying to use it as an excuse to get Dallas to do things for me.
Special Birthday Menu at Spring, Wicker Park, Chicago
On Friday my parents sent me flowers and then on Friday night Dallas and I went out to eat at Spring, a restaurant in my old neighborhood that I’ve always wanted to try. Spring on North at Damen so I used to walk past it when I lived by Wicker Park. When I first moved here, though, Spring was a hot spot and you had to plan your reservations well in advance. Now that they’ve been around for 5 years I was able to make a same-day reservation. The chef at Spring is Shawn McClain and last year he won the James Beard award for Best Chef in the Midwest. Last year I also heard this Hungry Magazine interview with him and really was interested in going to one of his restaurants. Chef McClain has 3 restaurants in Chicago – Spring, Green Zebra (vegetarian), & Custom House (steak). Since I was most familiar with Spring, I chose that one for my birthday.
Monkfish Special at Spring, Wicker Park, Chicago
Dallas and I split two appetizers at Spring. The Japanese Hamachi & Yellowfin Tuna Poke, which was made with aged soy sauce, toasted sesame oil and sweet chili, and the Scallop & Potato Raviolis with mushroom-black truffle reduction. We also split a Hawaiian Hearts of Palm salad with shaved fennel, shrimp, pickled oranges, & sansho peppercorn dressing. For an entree Dallas had the Pacific Black Cod with Chinese black bean-sake glaze, grilled hearts of palm and yuzu citrus sauce. I had an entree special that was made with monkfish over a reduction and a mixture of chopped potatoes and corn and a piece of pork belly. I commented that the pork belly tasted like bacon, which made Dallas laugh. I guess I never knew that bacon is made from pork belly. For dessert, Dallas had a tasting of 4 different uniquely flavored ice creams. I had the Valrhona Chocolate Baked Mousse Cake with olive oil ice milk and candied kalamata olives. I also had a white wine I really enjoyed. It was a 2006 wine from Wilamette Valley, Oregon called Junehog and made by the Ransom Wine Co.
Chocolate Mousse Cake at Spring, Wicker Park, Chicago
Our meal at Spring was pricey, but I would recommend it to anyone celebrating a special occasion. We had a great time there. The food was delicious and all of the staff was very friendly. I think everyone working in the restaurant knew it was my birthday and made sure to say “Happy Birthday” when serving us or coming by the table.
Richard & Amanda, Roscoe Village, Chicago
On Saturday we had all of our friends over for a barbecue. I didn’t realize until the day before that they were shutting Roscoe Street down for a festival on the same day. It caused some confusion with people coming to our house, but turned out ok. One person commented that coming towards our neighborhood they could hear a really loud band playing and thought, “that can’t be Rachelle’s party… ” Dallas and I got lunch at the fest with Jen, Chad and Quinn and then went home to pick up the house and get ready for everyone.
Michaela, Colleen, Christina & Dallas, Roscoe Village, Chicago
A lot of people cram things into these last summer weekends but I was happy that so many people could come over, even if just for a little bit before heading off somewhere else. I think we had a good combination of work friends, family, friends we see a lot, and friends we haven’t seen for quite some time. Thanks to everyone who came by to spend the evening with me and make my birthday happy! For some reason I only took a few photos of the night. I guess it’s a good thing, since that means I was enjoying myself and not really thinking about taking photos. Also thanks to everyone who couldn’t be here but still sent mail, text messages, voicemails & emails! See you guys soon!
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