The Art of Food and Wine Pairing

Here at City Winery Chicago, it’s imperative that we perfectly pair food and wine. I work hand-in-hand with our sommelier, Rachel Speckan, to taste our wines and look for flavors and notes that I can pair with food. This spring, I’ve been working closely with Rachel to pair new menu items with her selection of new seasonal wines. As you may have noticed, our menu is laid out as a guide for food and wine pairing—starting with sparkling and whites working on down to reds—to make it easier for guests to make selections.

One new wine we are offering is a sparking wine called Jane Ventura, which is a Cava from Spain. After tasting the Cava, I knew what dish on our new spring menu to pair with it—fried smoked chicken served with a pickled watermelon salad. The effervescence of the sparkling wine stands up to the smokiness of the chicken while the sweetness of the wine goes nicely with watermelon.

We also tasted another new wine, Mercouri, which is a Chardonnay from Greece. It is briny like the sea, so I wanted to pair it with our new scallop dish, which is a pan-seared scallop with celery root and apple puree. The wine complements the natural sweetness of the scallops.

One new red we’re offering is The Loop, which is a Cabernet Sauvignon from California. We have a new lamb offering for spring that we’re really excited about, and I knew I had to match it with the wine’s deep red berry flavors. The homemade lamb merguez is a slightly spicy sausage served with cous cous, toasted Marcona almonds and a roasted red pepper yogurt sauce.

If you want a “sneak peak” of these dishes, we’re currently running them as specials to try them out, so come on in and let us know what you think!

– Chef Andres Barrera

April Brings the Heat to City Winery Chicago

The days are slowly getting warmer (we hope), but things inside our venue are staying at a heated pace. We’ve got music coming from classic knights, rock ‘n roll kings, and celebrated queens, that you shouldn’t miss.

This Monday, April 15th, we have two big names in Chicago music coming together to play the music of the biggest name in rock. Phil Angotti (The Idea) and Steve Dawson (Dolly Varden) are coming together to play the music of Sir Paul McCartney. As part of our Think Pink month at CWC, Angotti and Dawson will be playing McCartney’s post-Beatle hits including the 1971 release, Ram. With a full backing band made up of Chicago music friends, the duo will be pumping out your favorites from Sir Paul, while we pair the tracks with some great wines in our cozy venue. Great wines and great music are the order of the (k)night, and how could you go wrong? Live a little! Be a gypsy, and get around. Get your feet up off the ground and get your tickets!

The Verve Pipe

The Verve Pipe plays City Winery Chicago Thursday, April 18.

Thursday, April 18th, we’ve got a chart-topping, award winning rock band that you’re sure to remember: The Verve Pipe. Since their 1996 platinum album, Villians, which spawned the #1 single, “The Freshmen,” The Verve Pipe have been releasing hit albums and selling out stadiums across the U.S. and Europe. Three albums, a couple EPs, and endless touring, have set up The Verve Pipe for the works of a new record for their legion of fans. They also recently released an acclaimed album for kids called The Family Album. They’re bringing their deep back catalogue to our Randolph Street venue for a solid night of music.

The next night, April 19th, we will have the vocal force of Holly Near. Near has been a celebrated musician and activist since she made her name during multiple protests of the Vietnam War along side Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland. She’s worked with Arlo Guthrie, Jackson Browne, and Joan Baez among others on an impressive discography spanning nearly 30 albums. Her music has been honored by multiple outlets, while Near’s activism has been recognized by the ACLU, National Organization for Women, and the National Lawyers Guild. Get your tickets now to hear one of the best voices in music and activism perform on our stage. I for one am quite excited to hear the music and relive the stories of Holly Near Band.

For more information on tickets and other great shows, check out website at citywinery.com/chicago, call us at 312-RED-WINE (312-733-9463), or email us at chicagoconcierge@citywinery.com! We hope to see you at the show!

April Rocks in the West Loop!

April is a new glorious spring month, and with it comes a new set of great shows at the City Winery Chicago! We are kicking off spring with some big shows from some musical heavy weights. Won’t you join us?

First up we have the fantastic double bill of David Bromberg and Allen Toussaint on April 6th and 7th. Two greats in the musical world, Bromberg and Toussaint have played with and written songs for an incredible number of musicians. From George Harrison and Paul McCartney to Levon Helm and Bob Dylan, to more modern artists like Widespread Panic, Bromberg and Toussaint have been all over the map. Bromberg has focused mainly on folk, bluegrass, rock, and country, while playing pretty much any stringed instrument you put in his hands. His progressive recording of “Mr. Bojangles”, which featured spoken word stories of his travels with Jerry Jeff Walker, made a big radio splash upon its release in 1972. Toussaint’s brand of New Orleans R&B has been respected for years by musicians, and he has written some of the great songs of his generation, including “Working in a Coal Mine”, “Fortune Teller”, and “Southern Nights”. Toussaint is still a fixture in the New Orleans music scene, and he has done a lot in the rebuilding process since Hurricane Katrina.

After that fantastic double bill, we have another major double bill with two major Icons, with a big capital “I”, in the bluegrass and mandolin world: David Grisman and Andy Statman playing on April 9th and 10th. Grisman is the founder of what became known as “Dawg” music (an affectionate nickname given to Grisman by Jerry Garcia) which is a combination of jazz, folk, and bluegrass. His solo mandolin work, as well as his work with the David Grisman Quintet, has been celebrated fans and musicians for years. Andy Statman is also an influential mandolin player, who is actually a protegé of David Grisman. Grisman taught Statman mandolin at an early age, and while Grisman went more toward jazz, Statman focused on bluegrass and klezmer music. With the teacher and the student playing together in our intimate venue at City Winery Chicago, you’re sure to see instrument mastery like you won’t see anywhere else. Make sure to get your tickets now if you are a bluegrass fan, mandolin fan, or just a fan of virtuosity. It’s sure to be a great night.

Rounding out our great first couple weeks, will be Ron Sexsmith, a singer/songwriter who has been recording and releasing music since his late teens. Sexsmith’s brand of poppy folk rock has been championed by Elvis Costello, Coldplay, Sir Elton John, and Rick Davies of the Kinks, and he’s been nominated for numerous award in his native Canada. He even had a documentary made about him and his life called, Love Shines, which followed him as he recorded his 2011 album, Long Player Late Bloomer. The film itself was nominated for awards as well. Sexsmith has a smooth laid back deliver, and his songs are infectiously catchy and amazingly written. He’ll be playing tunes from his newest album, Forever Endeavour, which I was able to review recently here.

For more information on tickets and other great shows, check out website at citywinery.com/chicago, call us at 312-RED-WINE (312-733-9463), or email us at chicagoconcierge@citywinery.com! We hope to see you at the show!

Nick – City Winery Chicago