avec plaisir

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Chicago foodies know that avec doesn’t really need yet another praising blog post, but since it is probably my last visit for a long time, indulge me.

Avec was my first gourmet food experience in Chicago and maybe ever. It was momentous for me and got me interested in reading and experiencing Chicago’s “food scene”.

My first visit was for my boyfriend (now husband) and my 2 year dating anniversary.

It was recommended to us by a barista friend of ours. I tell you, a quality barista is the best person to turn to for restaurant recommendations, besides me of course.

The second visit was when I took my mother, (an official Foodie) to show off a good, buzzed about, Chicago place. She loved it of course.

And now here is the tale of my third and final time (for now at least) eating at avec.

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avec sour and a barrel aged cocktail

Avec is basically a wine bar with really delicious small and large plates. But they have 2 cocktails on their beverage menu so we tried them out. Mine was their take on a whiskey sour and was quite good, though it got watered down quickly. The barrel aged cocktail was really nice, boozy and bright.

There was a chef change or 2 since my last visit so the menu was revamped. However there are 2 staple items that they cannot remove from the menu, as customers literally refuse to let them.

I’m a vegetarian, but this dish at avec is my personal exception. Their meat is from local farms and I feel safe eating one meat item from such a prestigious place. Please eat these next two items together for the full effect.

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chorizo-stuffed medjool dates with smoked bacon and piquillo pepper-tomato sauce

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“deluxe” focaccia with taleggio cheese, ricotta, truffle oil and fresh herbs

Mhmm, the truffle taste and smell just invades the table and the spicy, sweet chorizo stuffed dates with a tomato sauce is just a miraculous salty/sweet combination.

Their dishes are “family style” and meant to be shared with the entire table. Sort of a mediteranean-ish tapas if you will.

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Sweet corn panzanella with nectarines, arugula and mint

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burrata cheese with green strawberries, marcona almonds, peas and strawberry vinaigrette

The panzanella was bright and light. I loved the mixture of nectarines and mint.  Is there anything more heavenly than burrata? It really stood out here with the fresh crunchy greens and a light garlic bread. I don’t remember the green strawberries much though…

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Before I go further I just want to point out that  there were 4 of us at this dinner sharing all these plates. Just so you don’t think we are gluttons or anything.

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whipped brandade with garlic bread and chives

This was a delicious dish, but I think we got it a tad late into our meal, so it was too rich to eat much of. But the thick wheat bread toast worked perfectly with the creamy whipped fish. Like a fancy, mini fish sandwich.

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Capricola pizza with red onions, figs, pistachio pesto and arugula

I only tried a bite of this pizza and a few figs since I hit my meat limit with the chorizo dates. But I loved the vinegary red onions and figs. I think figs on pizza is entirely too rare.

Finally, we all made room in our stomachs to share a few scoops of the special gelato of the day : Coffee Toffee.

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Coffee toffee gelato

Sugary wafers on top added a jolt to the creamy, coffee goodness. A perfect treat to end the meal.

Thank you avec for providing me with my first grown up, gourmet meal in Chicago and for being consistently delicious and never pretentious.

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