Hi, I'm Lu!

A PhD Student at University of Chicago who loves discovering the world and trying new eats! Hope you enjoy!

Goodies at First Look for Charity Gala

Goodies at First Look for Charity Gala

Passionfruit tart by Roy's Restaurant

Passionfruit tart by Roy's Restaurant

Each year since the early 90's, the Chicago Auto Show has been hosting a philanthropic gala to start off the show in order to benefit charities in the Chicagoland area, including the 100 Club of Chicago, Boys and Girls Club Chicago, Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital and the Jesse White Tumbling Team.  This year, the First Look for Charity gala is aiming to raise at least $2.2 million to aid 18 different charities!  And the organizers are planning some delicious bites for this black-tie event on February 7th!

Roy's Restaurant will be offering a selection of their beautifully done tarts that will either bring the refreshing feel of a tropical island in the form of a passionfruit tart or the coziness of a guilty pleasure in a smooth chocolate mousse!  Take advantage because they do not serve these in the restaurant!

Chocolate mousse tart

Chocolate mousse tart

You may know of ZED451 as meat heaven, but at the gala, they will be showing off their skills at making vegetarian hors d'oeuvres in the form of chocolate dipped homemade marshmallows and skewered peppadew peppers stuffed with Boursin cheese.  You can tell that the marshmallows are freshly made from the fluffiness inside, and apparently, the tangy South African peppers are supposed to be the next chipotle peppers.

Chocolate dipped homemade marshmallows

Chocolate dipped homemade marshmallows

Peppadew peppers stuffed with Boursin cheese

Peppadew peppers stuffed with Boursin cheese

Now, you may be wondering what you can wash these foods down with.  Well, Trinchero Family Estates will be providing a selection of wines, including Avissi prosecco as a greeting, while a majority of your hard liquor will be provided by the Brown-Forman Corporation, which will serve a number of their brands such as Jack Daniels and American Harvest.  There will also be mixologists on site to satisfy the margarita and mojito drinkers!

Trinchero Family Estates

Trinchero Family Estates

Two BBQ joints will be serving up some well-marinated pulled pork to satisfy the needs of meat lovers.  I swooned over the bite of pulled pork and coleslaw offered by Bub City.  Plus, they will also have peanut butter chocolate cups which will make you fall in love with peanut butter desserts even if you don't enjoy this particular ingredient!

Pulled pork over coleslaw

Pulled pork over coleslaw

Peanut butter chocolate cups by Bub City

Peanut butter chocolate cups by Bub City

Real Urban BBQ will be enticing your eyes and then taste buds with a traditional pulled pork sandwich.  It's a bit messy, but that's what napkins are for!

Pulled pork sandwich by Real Urban BBQ

Pulled pork sandwich by Real Urban BBQ

Seafood is not to be missed at this gala.  Devon Seafood will be serving up a shrimp ceviche with a nice kick in the form of a black bean salsa.  Savor, the exclusive catering company for McCormick Place will also be going in the crustacean route by serving Ancho seared prawns that are presented like they would be on The Taste.

Shrimp ceviche with black bean salsa

Shrimp ceviche with black bean salsa

Ancho seared prawns with baby greens and mustard aioli

Ancho seared prawns with baby greens and mustard aioli

Savor will also have other selections, including flavorful potato galettes with smoked salmon and Asian inspired spring rolls.  The latter falls a bit short for Asian palates, though...

Handmade potato galette with leeks, smoked salmon, chives and popped capers by Savor

Handmade potato galette with leeks, smoked salmon, chives and popped capers by Savor

Chilled Asian spring roll with rice crepe, mung bean noodle, shiitake mushroom and cilantro

Chilled Asian spring roll with rice crepe, mung bean noodle, shiitake mushroom and cilantro

Another catering company, Catered by Design, says that although they cater, the pieces they present their food on is normally the standout at parties.  Well, it's a good thing people are wowed by their presentation because I wasn't too fond of the desserts they were serving at the gala media preview.  The cheesecake lollipops were like biting into hardened sugar - there was nothing delicate about them - while their brownies were pretty dense and heavy (the description itself is very decadent).  I would want to stay away from those while wearing a gown (or fitted suit) at the gala!

Left: Cheesecake lollipops Right: Tuscan Brownie served on cannoli filling with whipped cream, drizzled with chocolate fudge and pistachios

Left: Cheesecake lollipops Right: Tuscan Brownie served on cannoli filling with whipped cream, drizzled with chocolate fudge and pistachios

However, Catered by Design did serve some delicious savory items that I would love to just sit on my couch and munch on.  The artichoke hearts combined a variety of textures and flavors that worked very nicely together.  Plus, they are serving the timeless grilled cheese and tomato soup!

Artichoke hearts au gratin filld with savoury mascarpone cheese and topped with parmesan

Artichoke hearts au gratin filld with savoury mascarpone cheese and topped with parmesan

Grilled cheddar stick and tomato basil soup with basil chiffonade

Grilled cheddar stick and tomato basil soup with basil chiffonade

And finally, dessert!  Mitchell's homemade ice cream will be providing a selection of ice creams for you to try, all of which are creamy and naturally flavored!  In case you decide that you love Mitchell's ice cream, they are selling in 70 independent grocers, including Sunsets, Valli Produce and Treasure Island.  If you want something a bit more hands-on, Andy's Frozen Custard will allow you to choose from a variety of toppings for a unique custard!  You really can't go wrong with either so fill up on both!

Left: Mitchell's homemade ice cream Right: Andy's Frozen Custard

Left: Mitchell's homemade ice cream Right: Andy's Frozen Custard

Tips:

  1. Purchase your tickets soon to help out a number of great causes!
  2. At the gala, you will be entered to win a 2014 Toyota Highlander or Corolla - great deal, right?!
  3. In case you are gluten free, there will also be a gluten free station at the gala just for you!
  4. Make sure you dress up - this is a black-tie event!  But also make sure you are comfortable - you will be walking around the auto show grounds, and if you have never been, McCormick place is NOT for 4 inch heels.
Schmackin' mouthwatering cookies

Schmackin' mouthwatering cookies

MonKey Bread at Tin City

MonKey Bread at Tin City