Here's The Jist:

As a Drink Editor I receive a lot of requests for restaurant, bar and nightlife recommendations. So I started a blog to chronicle Chicago's social scene which eventually morphed into New York's drinking and dining scene. After years in Chicago, I'm now a full time resident of NYC, the East Village to be exact. Look forward to sharing the latest and greatest from the wine & spirits world, straight from the Big Apple.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Sixteen Celebrates it's One Year Anniversary

To celebrate the one-year anniversary of Sixteen, the renowned restaurant on the sixteenth floor of the Trump International Hotel & Tower, I had the pleasure of attending a dinner party with some of my favorite media friends. For those of you yet to make the pilgrimage to Sixteen, I suggest that you at least commit to a drink at the oh-so-chic bar. Make a date with your boyfriend, best friend or co-worker (scandy!), order a gin martini (Bombay Sapphire please) and munch on the yummy nuts, salty olives and whole cloves of garlic, yes, garlic, that are served as the snacks de jour.

Sure times are tough, but everyone deserves a treat once in a while.

And this cookie is well worth the calories.

To me, Donald Trump embodies opulence and excess. I was half expecting to see gold plated faucets in the bathrooms and crystal glass for the tap water. Yet Sixteen, and the entire Trump Tower for that matter, was more Ivanka than the Donald: modern and refined. It was new-school not old-school and it was evident that the award-winning Chicago architecture firm Valerio Dewalt Train were the brains behind the project.

As I sipped champagne and meandered past the floor-to-ceiling glass enclosed wine rooms, I literally kicked myself (no, really, I tripped on the French limestone floor as my 6-inch Stuart Weitzman gladiator heels crumbed underneath me) for forgetting to bring my camera. Whether you’re a wine aficionado or are happy with at bottle of Yellowtail, it’s impossible not to appreciate the 465 red and 375 white wine bottles artfully displayed.

Connected to the Bar is a cozy room called the Bridges Room, aptly named for its picturesque view of the famous Michigan, Columbus and Lake Shore Bridges across the Chicago River. As a Chicagoan, I was convinced that I had experienced every memorable view the city has to offer- the Signature Room, Everest, the Planetarium and even the panoramic view from my balcony in the West Loop- but no. As we stepped out onto the terrace of Sixteen (we were only the 2nd group allowed to do this-the first being the Donald himself for a private opening party), the vantage point was unlike anything I’ve seen.

It was in the Bridges room that we drank, dined, laughed, cried, argued over the Oscar winners and lamented over the interminable Chicago winter. It was one of the longest dinners that I’ve ever been to.

Four hours.
But every minute was worth it. From my first sip of champagne at 7pm to the second dessert course (a study of chocolate: molten mousse and pavlova served with Dow’s Vintage Port) served at 11pm, it was one of my most memorable dining experiences.

Executive Chef Frank Brunacci, who during the course of his 20-year career has garnered experience in some of the world’s most distinguished restaurants (um, AAA- Five Diamond Victor’s at The Ritz Carlton, New Orleans), served up modern American fare which included two of my favorites:
Lobster royale; butter poached Maine lobster, corn and truffle soup

Diver Scallop; foie gras, sweet potato and spiced pecan

With his Australian accent and Italian last name, I was eager to see what cultural twists Brunacci would place on the 10-course dinner that he prepared for us.
Chef Brunacci’s nightly dinner menu—which changes daily—is designed for a three-course selection. Cheeky got a sneak peak at a couple of items that will be making their way into the dinner rotation the Spring:

Mediterranean Rouget, stuffed morels, english pea puree, maple ravioli
Morel mushroom tart, witlof salad, arugula mayo, spiced pecans
Spring lamb, roasted salsify and morel lasagna, thyme jus
Stuffed quail, Israeli couscous and morel ragout, wilted leeks

Bon Apetit!

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