Chicago Gourmets Experience PROVINCE

My thanks to friend Catherine for taking me along to the latest meeting of ChicaGourmets (read: Chicago Gourmets, NOT Chica gourmets!). This group (CLICK HERE TO READ MORE) grew out of a series of lectures given at a Chicago university on origins of various foods, and now meets monthly to experience new restaurants around this vibrant food-oriented town. The good news is that the Windy City is wine-oriented too, and the food/wine pairing at Province was exquisite.

The promotion from ChicaGourmets was compelling: "Province is an American restaurant with cuisine inspired by Central and South America and Spain. Located in Chicago’s West Loop in a gold-level LEED-certified building, the restaurant incorporates green building materials and equipment, farm-to-table cuisine from Executive Chef Randy Zweiban, and a true blending of old world and new world culinary sensibilities. Zweiban, who first brought Nuevo Latino cooking to Chicago with Nacional 27, has crafted a dynamic menu that is grounded in American cuisine and influenced by Central and South American and Spanish dishes."

The menu prepared specially for this group was a delight, starting with appetizers at the reception of moked Salmon Toasts, Cuban Pork Bocadillos, Rabbit Confit Spoons -- paired with a Avinyo Cava, Penedes , Spain N/V

The first course of Hamachi & Serrano Chilies prepared with piquillo peppers and cucumbers was served with a 2007 Xarmant Txakolina di Arabako, from the Basque region of Spain. 11.5% alcohol made this a nice light wine for this piquant course.

The second course of very Slow Cooked Tasmanian Salmon with leeks and red wine mojo was paired with a 2007 Chardonnay, Pona Paula, "Estate", from Mendoza, Argentina. The calls for second pourings of this wine were frequent from these gourmet diners. A truly wonderful wine, with 13.5% alcohol.

The third course: Ten Hour Braised Lamb prepared with eggplant, chorizo, cornbread. Served with 2007 Tomero Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina. The label of this wine provided interesting reading too, with a story of the water rights in Argentina. 14% alcohol.

The fourth course, dessert, featured a Warm White Chocolate-Brioche Bread Pudding served with a compote of MacIntosh apples, and a molasses-walnut ice cream. Nothing could have been more perfect than the pairing with the Quinta do Noval LB Porto, Finest Reserve, Portugal

Hats off to this restaurant! Located at 161 N. Jefferson, Chicago. Call 312.669.9900 for reservations and learn more about this fine dining establishment on their website (CLICK HERE)

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