This new restaurant deserves a lot of attention.
One of the best decisions I recently made was joining Chicago Food Bloggers. What a great resource! I went to one of their events for the first time, which was a dinner at Coppervine, where I was able to enjoy different areas of their menu with fellow bloggers Katie, Valerie, Peter and Ashley.
The concept behind Coppervine is to introduce their guests to great food and drink pairings. Whether it’s non-alcoholic, or beer, wine or cocktails, Coppervine is constantly looking for thoughtful ways to pair food and drink together.
This is the first restaurant for owner Don Sritong, who also owns a wine shop here in Chicago, down in River North, called Just Grapes. He talked with us throughout our meal about his passion for pairings. What started as an insistence to have cold milk with chocolate chip cookies when he was younger has eventually led him to open Coppervine and create intriguing food and drink pairings with Executive Chef David Chang.
All the items on the menu seemed perfect for sharing and a lot of the pairings were pretty diverse. I have to admit, I was a bit apprehensive with the intended flavors from a lot of the pairings I tried. But after the first taste, they made perfect sense and tasted delicious. Whether they enhanced or actually contrasted with each other, combined together, the pairings served to create a more elevated flavor altogether. If that makes sense. Here are some of the highlights:
Blue Lump Crab Fritters with Smoked Corn and Guindilla Pepper Aioli, paired with Brooklyn Blast IPA
These fritters alone are worth coming to Coppervine – they were cooked perfectly and pretty much amazing.
Arugula Pesto Flatbread Toast, topped with matchstick Granny Smith apples, Marcona Almonds, Truffle and Parmesan, paired with a hard apple cider.
The apples on the toast married perfectly with the crisp apple cider. And, actually – cider drinks are not something I usually order and I have a feeling I’m missing out. Was great to try these flavors together.
English Pea Agnolotti Pasta Dish with Lobster Mushrooms, Haricot Vert and Burrata Cheese, paired with a ‘Jolly Roger’ cocktail, that was like candy in a glass. Also, whenever I see French terms like haricot vert, it makes me excited for my trip to France this fall. Oui oui!
Tempura Fried Squash Blossoms, stuffed with Gournay Cheese, with a salad that featured smoked peaches. This was my favorite in this particular course, and was paired with a ‘Four Grapes’ cocktail that featured passionfruit, cranberry-infused ice and habanero. Probably my favorite drink of the night – the habanero definitely brought out the smoked peaches in the salad.
Diver Scallops with English Peas and Morel Mushrooms, paired with a gin cocktail called ‘The Standard’.
Lobster BLT, overflowing with plenty of lobster meat, paired with a smooth Californian white wine
Fried Chicken, paired with a sparkling french wine. I imagine this is one of the more popular items on the menu – and you KNOW it was my favorite.
The breading was light, not soggy and the chicken was cooked perfectly. I could eat on this all day!
This was paired with a port wine – while it might seem a bit sickly sweet to have these 2 together, they were a slam dunk. Classic flavors here, folks.
This ice cream doesn’t look like much, but the creme fraiche and mint flavors knocked my freaking socks off.
I have to admit I felt super-awkward when the evening first started – but after awhile, the 5 of us went from being strangers to chatting each other up about our blogs and all things food. It ended up being a fun night which helped inspire me to start blogging again.
I also have to give credit to my friend Esi with Dishing Up Delights. Not only did she clue me in to this dinner, but she’s helped inspire me as well. So here I am, back again and ready to graze, y’all!