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Event Mon Aug 26 2013
Let me just preface by saying I'm an avid seafood fan. I've probably eaten everything taught during a marine biology class, and my favorite cocktail is the one with shrimp. I'm admittedly unfamiliar with good seafood places in Chicago, but when I was invited to the Seven Seas Charity Feast at Frontier, I knew my stomach was in for a real treat.
The charity event benefited the Chicago chapter of a national organization called Meals on Wheels (MoW). MoW Chicago in particular "funds meal deliveries for homebound seniors and Chicagoans with disabilities as well as home modifications for individuals with disabilities" through two unique programs: Home Delivered Meals (HDM) and Home Modification (HomeMod). Before the Seven Seas event, I didn't even realize that senior hunger was an issue, but according to MoW, 1 in 7 seniors are threatened by hunger. That's a lot of old, hungry people.
Luckily, MoW Chicago does a fantastic job raising money through fun events catered mostly toward young YPers. And this event was no different--I'm talking about fedoras, neon maxi dresses, and rugby shirts as far as the eye could see. By and by, I've come to realize that charity events are usually attended by individuals diametrically opposite of those they benefit, but that's not to disparage their purpose or fun because like religion and Breaking Bad, charity is incredibly important.
Philosophies aside, here is my breakdown of the culinary and liquor-tastic wonders:
Mercat ala Planxa (Corey Morris): Baby octopus with potato espuma and chorizo escabeche
I'm not the biggest fan of chorizo, but the smoky taste paired quite well with the espuma and perfectly-grilled octopus. And I learned what an espuma is: a type of food-foam that's pushed through using a N2O canister.
Lillie's Q (Charlie McKenna): Shrimp & Grits
You can't wrong with shrimp, nor can you go wrong with grits.
Belly Q (Bill Kim): Head on Prawn Sesame leaf Ssam with Kohlrabi, avocado and horseradish salad
Although the prawn tasted delicious with Belly Q's assortment of hot sauces, the kohlrabi salad blew my mind away like a motherfucking shotgun. It tasted just like those papaya salads you get from super authentic Thai restaurants--sweet, savory, salt, sour, it was pure delight on a plate.
Gibsons / Hugos Frog Bar (Dan Huebshmann): Togarashi Searded Scallop, Granny Smith Apple Syrup, Pepper Cress
Simple and elegant, this seared scallop dish was the Victoria Beckham of all the tastings--classy, clean, and seductive.
Red Door (Troy Graves): Curried Maine Lobster Salad, Sungold Tomatos & Shishito Pepper
Yes, I had three servings. So what, so what? You wouldn't be judging if you tasted this fantastic combination of sweet lobster, smoky and salty pepper, and sweet tomatoes. The complex, flavor combination aroused my curious taste buds, as I earnestly attempted to figure out why the fuck it tasted so good.
Kabocha (Shin Thompson): Scallop and Crab Motoyaki with torched ponzu aioli
I would officially like to rename this dish: Orgasm on a Shell. A generous dollop of decadent aioli sat on top a small heap of melt-your-mouth scallop n' crab--and boy, did it make me wanna weep in gentle, foodie delight. It was pretty awesome watching Shin test the shells with a thermometer, but to be honest, the awesomest part was stuffing it all in your mouth.
Frontier (Brian Jupitor): Crawfish Cakes with Avacado & Mango
For some reason, these crawfish cakes reminded me of falafels. In the best way possible.
Frontier Raw Bar: Oysters, Salmon Tartare and Scallop, Chips, Shrimp Cocktail
I generally underestimate most raw bars, with their unseasoned shellfish, soggy crab cakes, and overly-sweet cocktail sauces splattered all over the fucking place. But oh no--Frontier's raw bar served seafood worthy of the mighty gods. The soy-marinated salmon tartare and scallop ceviche with tangy cream sauce meshed perfectly with the house-crafted chips, and the oysters and shrimp were perfectly seasoned with salt and acid. No wonder I could barely take a good picture--everyone (including me) was trying to get in on the action.
-Lagos Punch (Ketel One Oranje, Republic of Tea Nigerian Hibiscus, Fresh Citrus juices, Lemon Lime Soda)
-Raspberry Gin Buck (Nolet's Gin, Raspberry Basil Syrup, Fresh Lime Juice, Ginger Beer)
-Gunslinger's Revenge (Bulleit Rye, Averna Luxardo Maraschino, Jerry Thomas Bitters)
-Ginger Bandit (Bulleit Burbon, fresh lemon juice, ginger beer, angostura float)
The raspberry cocktail was absolutely refreshing on a hot afternoon, with the basil syrup adding that perfect summery note. The bartenders were sweating gallons as they attempted to satiate the thirsty crowds.
Just in case you're feeling charitable, buy tickets for MOWC's Celebrity Chef Ball on October 26th! Don't you want "an unforgettable night of culinary delights, endless libations, and fabulous entertainment??"