Friday, February 26, 2010

Working out during Restaurant Week is like mitigating damages, right?

In addition to this week being a week of gluttony for myself and my boyfriend, thankyouverymuch, Restaurant Week, I have resumed a more regular workout plan.  Brutal.  But necessary.  As I have learned in my work as an attorney, mitigation of damages tends to be a good thing.  So to the gym I send myself.

Day two of our reservations: Lockwood Restaurant & Bar, a lovely spot in the Palmer House Hilton.  We made this reservation because it was one of the spots recommended by the Chicago Tribune's food critic.  Phil Vettel says, "Any excuse to eat Phillip Foss' food is a good one."  He's a pretty smart guy and I love reading his restaurant reviews, so we booked it.

My knowledge of the Palmer House Hilton was limited to knowing that my former boss used to stay there until he had a fit about the express lane one day.  Walking into the ornate lobby, I can see why he loved it.  It's a gorgeous hotel, apparently the presidential choice since Ulysses S. Grant, according to their website.  The restaurant, located on the opposite end of the building from the lobby is no exception.  The lighting is lovely, decor romantic with a pretty careful balance between modern and classical.    

As we sipped the lovely unoaked chardonnay recommended by our server, Sam, my favorite dining companion and I got into a conversation about how we would like to be able to just talk about chef's like Phil Vettel does.  I agreed.  I mean, how marvelous would it be to just casually say, "Yeah, we're a fan of Phillip Foss' food" and really know what that meant.  At this stage, we have one friend who is a chef, a sous chef, nonetheless, and a newly thriving French restaurant in Evanston, who has amazed us with his creations and we know is French-inspired.  But other than that, we rely on our own research.  Namely, we eat their food.

So, my experience with Phillip Foss' food?  Simple.  Prepared well.  Rather than sauces, the food is accentuated and enhanced by complementing flavors.  A roast chicken, skin on, atop a bed of compressed jerusalem artichoke and wild mushrooms that melted in my mouth is a good example.  Rather than covered in a rich and creamy sauce (which I do love, don't get me wrong), you taste the lovely flavors of the chicken and the herbs in which it was prepared.

And the butter.  Oh, the butter served at Lockwood with the warm, fresh-baked rolls.  Organic.  Salty.  Creamy.  Just marvelous.  I even requested another roll to help me put more of that delectable butter into my body.  I should be ashamed, right.  Honestly, with the love affair I am starting with the butter on my tables, I don't know how the treadmill can save me and keep me in my skinny jeans.  My strategy?  Keep on truckin'.  Both in the gym and with the eating.  Cuz a girl's gotta eat, right?  She just should make sure that those damages (aka fat cells) are put in check.

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