M. Chapoutier Delivery Truck

During our recent travels through the Côte de Rhône Nord appellations we stopped for a tasting at the M. Chapoutier winery. These wines are some of the best in the appellation but outside in the delivery parking lot was this classic delivery truck.

How I would love to have some wine delivered to our home by this truck!

M. Chapoutier Delivery Truck

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Riccardo Enoteca

This was our first visit to Riccardo Enoteca and I can tell you it will not be our last. Clearly finding a good Italian restaurant in Chicago is not a very difficult exercise, but finding one that absolutely makes you want to return for dinner the next day, is something to share.

The restaurant is the more casual restaurant of the dual restaurants Riccardo Enoteca and Riccardo Trattoria, both located on North Clark in Lincoln Park. We entered the restaurant and were immediately welcomed by the staff in this small but comforting restaurant.

We started out with two glasses of a crisp Prosseco while we took our time examining the menu. There were many wonderful looking items but we kept our focus on what looked like it would be coming out of the wood burning oven.

The meal was excellent and the wine list very extensive and complete.

We strongly recommend Riccardo Enoteca and you can find more information about the restaurant at OpenTable or TripAdvisor.

Riccardo Enoteca

The Wood Burning Fireplace at Riccardo Enoteca.

Riccardo Enoteca

Burrata Genovese, a plate of wonderfully fresh cherry tomatoes with a great pesto sauce. All topped by a tasty slice of Burrata.

Riccardo Enoteca

Vegetali Alla Griglia, a tasty plate of various vegetables including asparagus, egg plant and of course cheese.

Riccardo Enoteca

Scallops Appetizer, which was two large and tasty scallops in a lobster bisque.

Riccardo Enoteca

Pizza Modella, a great pizza of Stracchino, wild mushrooms, arugula, prosciutto, truffle oil. Yummy!

Riccardo Enoteca

Tiramisu, traditional and very good.

Riccardo Enoteca

The staff hard at work but willing to stop and chat with us about how they use the wood burning oven.

Slow Cooker Cassoulet

Cassoulet is one of the ultimate French comfort foods and has always been one of my favorite meals. However to prepare it the traditional French way, the recipe can take several days and many hours of preparation and cooking. We found a recipe on NY Times Cooking from Mark Bittman called “Slow Cooker Cassoulet” which got us thinking why we could not adopt our cassoulet recipe to a less labor intensive and time consuming method.

Although I am sure Cordon Bleu would not approve of this recipe, I can tell you that it was one of the most flavorful and tasty meals we have prepared. The total involved cooking time was only around 1 ¼ hours although it did cook in the slow cooker for five hours.

We paired this dinner with a new (to us) wine appellation from Crozes-Hermitage, which provided an excellent pairing to the cassoulet, even though Crozes-Hermitage is not really that close to Gascony, where cassoulet was first made.

This is a strong recommendation on our yum scale so you should give it a try, especially with how easy it is to make. You can find our recipe at searching4zen.com.

Slow Cooker Cassoulet

Slow Cooker Cassoulet

Arranging all of the vegetables before commencing with the slicing and dicing

Slow Cooker Cassoulet

Carrots, onions and garlic all diced and in the slow cooker ready to cook

Slow Cooker Cassoulet

Sautéing the duck confit until it is golden brown

Slow Cooker Cassoulet

Browning the sausages in the duck fat until golden brown

Slow Cooker Cassoulet

The cassoulet in a deep casserole pan, all that is needed is the bread crumbs and the parsley.

Slow Cooker Cassoulet

All of the meats ready to be put into the slow cooker

Alain Graillot Crozes-Hermitage

The wine which we paired with the slow cooker caussolet. Excellent melding of favors between the wine and the food.

Slow Cooker Cassoulet

Slow Cooker Caussoulet plated and ready to serve

l’Escargot d’Or

We were heading back home from a week in Italy and stayed in Saint-Etienne. We found this restaurant on Trip Advisor and decided to spend our Saturday evening here. Well that was one of the best decisions we made on this trip.

The food was wonderful, very tasty and presented beautifully. The service was outstanding especially with the owner seeming to take care of everyone in the full restaurant. The entire staff was outstanding.

Next time we are passing through Saint-Etienne we will definitely stop in again.

l' Escargot d'Or

A beautiful amuse-bouche to start our dinner at l’Escargot d’Or.

l' Escargot d'Or

Tarte St. Moret dou de sumon et magret fumé

l' Escargot d'Or

Flan de coquille St-Jacques chair de homard au piment d’Espelette

l' Escargot d'Or

Filet de veau terre et mer sauce safram – Wonderful!

l' Escargot d'Or

Dos de lieu noir sauce Provençale poutargue râpée

l' Escargot d'Or

Les fromages affinés

l' Escargot d'Or

Les fromages affinés

l' Escargot d'Or

I can’t recall what they called this, but to me it was death by chocolate! It was heavenly.

l' Escargot d'Or

A wonderful Mercurey from Bouchard Père & Fils. The owner recommended this wine and it was great with our meals.

l' Escargot d'Or

One of the two menu du jour at l’Escargot d’Or

l' Escargot d'Or

The second of the two menu du jour at l’Escargot d’Or

Ristorante Consorzio

After a day of driving we were looking forward to a creative and unique dinner and that is what we received at Ristorante Consorzio. The food was very good and the service nice.

Ristorante Consorzio

The amuse bouche which came with some excellent bread.

Ristorante Consorzio

Soma d’aj, a very attractive antipasti.

Ristorante Consorzio

La Cruda, a local rendition of steak tartar. It was excellent.

Ristorante Consorzio

Risotto Bergese, an outstanding risotto.

Ristorante Consorzio

Faraona tonchese croccante, a excellent cooked chicken recipe.

Ristorante Consorzio

Caramelized bricoche bread, zabaione and raisins ice cream. Very yummy.

Ristorante Consorzio

Menù Desgustazione

Ristorante Consorzio

Ala cart menu

Ristorante Consorzio

The dessert menu for the day.

Ristorante Consorzio

La msòíra e’l rastel “Green Palma” 2014 a very nice Barbera d’Alba.

la quercia di rosa ristorante

For the evening we stayed in Modena we ate at an absolutely wonderful ristorante. It is a small restaurant outside of Centro called La Quercia di Rosa. We happened to be dining on a day that they were specializing in the local white truffle and many of the typical meals were on the truffle menu of the day. It was great that we selected two main plates from this menu.

The owner of the restaurant, Rose, we extremely helpful and suggested a local wine for dinner but also a local producer of parmesan cheese as we were planning to visit some cheese producers the next day. I highly recommend La Quercia di Rosa for dinner.

La Quercia di Rosa

White Truffle Special Menu of the Day

La Quercia di Rosa

Smoked Salmon starter

La Quercia di Rosa

Fried Bread, Which I was told I need to use to eat my antipasto.

La Quercia di Rosa

My starter of an antipasto

La Quercia di Rosa

My starter of an antipasto

La Quercia di Rosa

Tortellini alla Panna with White Truffles

La Quercia di Rosa

Tagliolini al tartufo, awesome.

La Quercia di Rosa

Pio Cesare, a Great Local Wine Selected by Rosa

Il Molo

We had lunch on a Saturday afternoon at Il Molo and it is one of my favorite restaurants not just in Vicenza but in Italy. The service was outstanding (everyone spoke some English although no French) and the food was outstanding.

You start out learning that there is no fixed menu, everything changes day to day depending on what is fresh and looks good. Also this restaurant only service fish so do not go here looking for a three course meat meal.

I started with this absolutely wonderful grilled Savoy cabbage starter stuffed with Burrata, truffle powder, a poached egg, shrimp and shallots. It just blew me away. Jo Ann had as her starter the local grilled sardines which were also excellent.

We were told that the pasta dishes were on the large size so we split a dish of mussels and shrimp on fresh pasta. Absolutely outstanding and every time I smelled this dish come out of the kitchen (the garlic was so aromatic) I wanted more.

We finished up with this wonderful flour-less chocolate cake which was light and delicate but so tasteful.

As we were leaving we talked with the manager and found out that the restaurant has been around in different locations since 2002, I can clearly understand why. We will come back whenever we are in Vicenza.

Il Molo

The modern set table awaited us at Il Molo.

Il Molo

My starter which was warmed savoy cabbage layered in a raminkin. It was further layered with burrata, truffle powder, a poached egg, shrimp and shallots. Outstanding.

Il Molo

Grilled sardines. A traditional local dish.

Il Molo

This is a view of my starter with the savoy cabbage pulled back so you can see the burrata, truffle and egg.

Il Molo

Mussels with shrimp with some great fresh pasta.

Il Molo

Where have all the mussels gone?

Il Molo

A very light and fluffy flour-less chocolate cake.

Il Molo

Garda Merlot 2015 from Lombardia Italy

Il Molo

Petti Rosso Nero d’Avola 2014

If you are interested in more information on Il Molo, check out TripAdvisor.com.

This restaurant is only open for lunches on the weekends and for dinners every night except Mondays.