Can I just say how much I love winning things? Well, I do! This girl scored tickets to First Bites Bash, the kick-off event for Chicago Restaurant Week. United Airlines was tweeting clues leading to the location of the United team, where they were ready to hand out 4 pairs of tickets. My architectural history knowledge did not fail me (thanks, art school), and I managed to arrive at the correct location 20 minutes before the United team revealed themselves.

The event itself was superb. It was held in the Great Hall of Union Station, with awe-inspiringly high ceilings and monumental pillars. Over 50 of Chicago’s most notable restaurants had stands preparing beautiful amuse-bouches for all our hungry little selves! Because it was the opening event for our Restaurant Week, Rahm Emanuel was in attendance… spotted at the Zapatista table! Stephanie Izard was also there, as was Tony Mantuano, Dale Levitski and David Burke. The food certainly lived up to the hype, and I almost wish I hadn’t chosen to go without my DSLR, because Instagram hardly does these edible works of art any justice!

Smoked Alaskan king salmon by Public House.

Foie gras mousse with cocoa nibs by Sprout.

Hiramasa crudo by Quay.

Country pâté by Bistronomic.

Foie gras mousse II by LM.

Dark chocolate terrine by The Berghoff.

Meringue kisses from Magnolia Bakery.

There was no way we could have tried everything on the savoury menu AND eaten all the desserts they had in the dessert lounge, sponsored by Groupon, but I think we made a good effort! My favourite item from the menu of the entire night? The foie gras mousse with cocoa nibs by Sprout. Incredible. I’m a bit sad I missed the whiskey bacon gelato bars from Black Dog, but all in all, a wonderful night!