A.G. Newsletter #18: Frocoa, Graham Elliot, Tweet, Intelligentsia, Tiparos, Mom at Daniel

Hey Readers,

You must've been devastated last week when I didn't write a newsletter. Believe me, I felt terrible about it, but at the time I was experiencing my first full day in that big fat city smack dab in the middle of our country; a city known as Chicago.

My trip to Chicago was a real blast and first and foremost I have to give credit to our incredible hosts, Benson and Andy, friends that I knew from Atlanta who not only housed us and clothed us (well, they gave us towels) but they toured us around their city in a way that went way above and beyond the call of duty. [This is them in action, showing Lizzie, my fearless companion/photographer, the Chicago river.]

Before we get there, though, I want to talk to you about a chocolate drink Craig and I drank on the Christopher Street pier the day before I left. The following pictures were taking with the hipstamatic application for the iPhone; it gives them their vintage feel.

So just in case you can't tell by that picture, the Christopher Street Pier is a rather gay, rather shirtless destination. Believe it or not, I wasn't going there to flaunt my abs (I have at least 3) but to drink a drink I read about in an Edible Manhattan.

The drink is called the Frocoa and it's as refreshing a beverage as I can imagine drinking on a hot, humid day. Here it is in all its hisptamatic glory:

This drink has a lot in common with the Frosty I used to get at Wendy's as a kid, only this is more blended and drinkable through a straw. And the chocolate is of a better quality. So if you're hot, sweaty, gay and shirtless in the West Village, this is a drink to drink.

Now back to Chicago.

The first bite I ate on this trip was a Chicago dog--the real deal--and the experience was so good and profound, I'm saving it for a blog post this week. So check for that.

But here are some of the other experiences that will be exclusive to you, the readers of the A.G. Newsletter:

* Through a weird fluke of professional circumstance (not mine but Ben's) we scored a reservation at Graham Elliot on Wednesday night. You may recognize Chef Elliot as the guy with white glasses who appeared on Top Chef Masters, who's currently on Master Chef and who cooked for Oprah and Obama on Obama's recent birthday.

My pictures came out terrible that night, so I won't go through the dinner course-by-course but suffice it to say the food was very impressive, the service exemplary, and the entertainment....

X-rated? You see two tables away this couple was making out so vigorously, the people next to them and us actually transferred to the bar. With my nifty new iPhone in my pocket, I thought this was a great opportunity to use the HD video camera. So here's the video I made on YouTube; Graham Elliot actually responded on Twitter:

[His glasses quip was related to something I'd Tweeted earlier.]

* Speaking of Tweeting (this is the best segue ever....get ready for it....) we ate brunch at a restaurant called...(here it comes)... Tweet!

Ben and Andy, who are both from the South, love this place for some of their Southern brunch dishes. Here's Ben with biscuits and gravy, his favorite:

I ordered the Arepas which were corn pancakes with eggs on top (I ordered mine poached) with chorizo and beans on the side:

Again, very good. And the place has cool art.

* Now for a shout out to a great coffee shop, where I did a lot of my writing while I was there (Oh did I mention I was there to cook with four great chefs for my cookbook? Well I was; so after cooking with each of them, I had to sit and transcribe what I learned into instructive essays that you'll be reading and highlighting and quoting some day in 2012.) I did all of this work at Intelligentsia which made a pretty killer cappuccino with great cappuccino art:

Isn't that impressive? And it tasted great and it was a great place to work (I was at the one in Lakeview on N. Broadway.)

* Finally, one of the chefs I cooked with said his favorite comfort food was the Tom Kha Gai at Tiparos. So, later that night, Lizzie, Andy and I went there:

If you haven't had Tom Kha Gai, it's a comforting Thai soup with lemongrass, ginger, coconut milk, and pieces of chicken. And indeed at Tiparos it was very comforting and good and had lots of flavor:

I also had the basil chicken which was spicy but not too spicy; a satisfying entree after a long day.

And that's it for Chicago in this newsletter. But there's one last thing to mention....

Saturday was my mom's birthday and so we celebrated with her at Daniel in New York. Here she is blowing out the candle on a papaya dessert:

Happy Birthday Mom!

And everyone else, I'll see you next week.

Your friend,
Adam (The Amateur Gourmet)

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