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Event Thu Aug 14 2014

Wine Dinner at Geja's Cafe

rsz_gejacafe.jpgChicago can seem like a craft beer kind of town, but with diligent searching, you can find some excellent wine purveyors throughout the city. Occasionally I'll attend multiple-course wine dinners, where I'll smell and sip the wine and pretend that I can actually discern the subtle hints of oak or raspberry. In any case, I've learned that appreciation for wine takes time and experience, and I cannot reasonably decline attempts to improve my proficiency.

Last week, I attended the Bodega Piedra Negra winemaker dinner at Geja's Café, a popular fondue restaurant near Lincoln Park. Guests tasted four wines procured from the Andes mountains, beginning with a Rosado, then a Pinot Gris and Cabernet Sauvignon, ending with a Malbec. Each was paired with an individual course, beginning with a light salad and bread and ending with a flaming chocolate fondue.

Like most fondue restaurants, the selling point is how romantic the venue and experience can be, although I personally find nothing sexy about dipping a raw chunk of chicken into a pot of blistering oil. Still, with the right company, cooking and flavoring your own food can be an enormously fun experience, especially when fueled by endless wine and fire. Did I overcook this aged beef tenderloin? Did I just eat your potato skewer? Wait, your ex-husband did what? Unexpectedly, I most enjoyed the flaming chocolate fondue, topped with orange liqueur and served with fruits, Rice Krispies treats, pound cake, and marshmallows. The rich, mildly-sweet chocolate--which became creamier as it heated up--paired extremely well with the fragrant Malbec and was perhaps the only pairing that made sense to me.

I also have to remark on the superb service: the staff was attentive without being distracting, the hosts didn't drone on and on about wine origins, and the pacing was so effortless, I barely noticed the transitions. Geja's next event with be a Dosio Vigneti winemaker dinner on Monday, Sept. 8, and at $55 a person, it's a worthwhile bargain.

 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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About Drive-Thru

Drive-Thru is the food and drink section of Gapers Block, covering the city's vibrant dining, drinking and cooking scene. More...
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Editor: Robyn Nisi, rn@gapersblock.com
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