It’s Wedding Season!

A wedding in wine country? Where do I sign up? A wedding in Manhattan? Iconic! What if you could have a blend of the two? Sometimes when we say the name “City Winery,” it sounds more like an oxymoron than a reality. Fortunately, for City Winery’s brides, this “major city meets wine country” wedding IS a reality. The synergy of the two settings creates an elegant, yet rustic wedding experience.

From the sleek, and modern Winery space for cocktail hour, to the warmth and intimacy of the Main Space for dinner and dancing, our events team has had a wonderful time this Fall, working with wedding clients to create the perfect blend of urban and rustic décor!

Here are a few pics of our favorites…

Manhattan’s Only Crush

This time of year is always a busy one at City Winery. Summer is over, and the crowds return to the city, the holidays are just around the corner and with thema flurry of events, and, most importantly, it’s harvest time. This past Sunday we received our third shipment of grapes, about 6 ½ tons of Syrah and Viognier grapes from Alder Springs Vineyards in Mendocino, California. The grapes were picked in the middle of the night when the grapes are at their coldest, driven in refrigerated trucks by two drivers (so the truck never stops) and arrived at our back doorstep here in Manhattan. The grapes we’re greeted by a crew of winery staff, loaded onto a grape elevator, called a “giraffe,” and dropped by the cluster into a destemmer. From there they traveled onto a sorting table to be examined by at least six pairs of hands and cleared of any “MOG” – Material Other than Grapes – stems, leaves, or the errant bad grape. Once the winemakers were sure the grapes were ready, they were dropped onto another giraffe and into the fermenting tanks, where they began the maceration process. With this batch of grapes the winemakers are using a classic technique that most likely originated in the Northern Rhone region of France. They combined 90% Syrah with 10% Viognier– the former being red grapes and the latter being white. It may seem strange to combine red and white grapes, unless you’re making a “blush” wine, but the winemakers had a very particular goal in mind. Syrah grapes themselves are very thick skinned and dark red, creating a big, masculine and tannic wine. By adding Viognier the winemakers are able to create a more mellow wine with lower tannin, and some floral, feminine notes. In the end, we will arrive at a deep red wine full of complexity, but without the possible jarring aspects of a Syrah macerated and fermented on it’s own. These grapes will spend about four days soaking and becoming juice before fermenting for two to four weeks, followed by aging, which can take anywhere from seven to eighteen months. In the meantime, as we wait for this year’s grapes to become wine, we are reveling in current triumphs. City Winery was most recently recognized for its 2012 Reserve Chardonnay from Scopus Vineyards in Sonoma, California. The Beverage Testing Institute awarded a Gold Medal and 93 points to our Chardonnay, which they described as “a fantastically flavorful chardonnay with great structure for the table.” As harvest comes and goes and new grapes begin their journey, it is always a proud moment to know that once they reach the glass our City Winery wines will prove that all this hard work does not go unrewarded!

Introducing Our New Pastry Chef – Angelica Rangel!

City Winery Chicago pastry chef Angelica Rangel hard at work.

The sweet ending to your meal at City Winery Chicago just got a little sweeter! Our fabulous pastries and desserts are now brought to you by our new pastry chef, Angelica Rangel.

Angelica recently joined our team in the kitchen after earning her degree in baking and pastry from the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park., N.Y., and working in a number of high-end restaurants in Chicago.

Originally from Chicago, Angelica decided to bring her talents and skills back home, and we’re thrilled to have her. Her philosophy is desserts should be simple, but have complex flavors, with a good balance of sweet and savory. She also brings her talents for making gluten-free desserts to our kitchen.

She revamped our dessert menu, with the top seller being the “Hot” Chocolate Mousse with spicy cayenne whipped crème. Not only is it both spicy and sweet, but it’s also gluten-free.

Her Berry Basil Pavlova is a light and airy meringue disc that celebrates delicious summer berries with a balsamic reduction and micro basil garnish. And the Peach and Cream Cheesecake is rich and creamy with an additional crunch from the caramelized hazelnut popcorn. Talk about salty and sweet. Yum!

Her dessert menu will change seasonally, and she’s currently experimenting with chocolate pecan pie and caramel apple creations for fall. Stayed tuned for more on our fall desserts!

We urge you to stop in and welcome Angelica to our team and try some of her tasty desserts soon. A dessert along with an after dinner drink or coffee on the patio is truly a late summer delight right now!
– Executive Chef Andres Barrera

Purveyor Closeup: “Odd” Produce Translates to Delicious Menu Items

Wild mushrooms foraged by Odd Produce that are used on our mushroom flatbread and for our “faux marrow.”

As a chef, you sometimes find inspiration in “odd” places. For us in the City Winery Chicago kitchen, a new world of ingredients, ideas and possibilities opened up when Dave Odd, president of Odd Produce, walked in.

Dave, whose long list of accomplishments and career interests includes comedian/reptile wrangler/paranormal researcher/wildlife photographer/forager, runs a business specializing in foraging and growing unique and unusual ingredients, including herbs, mint, mushrooms and fruit, such as local berries.

One thing I really like about working with Dave is the freshness of all the items. The company has a greenhouse and a farm in Harvard, Ill., for items it grows, and they also sources items from all over the country. For items they have flown in, they only order what they need, pick them up from the airport and deliver them immediately. For produce grown on their farm, they pick it the day of and deliver it fresh from their hands to our restaurant within a couple hours. They do not store any items, which ensures freshness and quality.

Specialty mushrooms are items we regularly purchase from Odd Produce. We use their wild mushrooms on our amazing mushroom flatbread. Dave also helped us concept and create an item on our latest menu called faux marrow, which is our vegetarian take on bone marrow. To create the dish, we stuff royal trumpet mushrooms with mushroom pate.

Right now for summer, we are sourcing a lot of berries from Odd Produce, including mulberries and Juneberries, all picked locally. Mulberries, which grow wild all over, look like a blackberry but are smaller. There are black and white mulberries, and they have a relatively tart taste. Juneberries are similar to a blueberry and taste like a blueberry with an apple flavor profile. We use these fresh berries on our dessert menu in the “Mixed Berry Pavlova” and on our brunch menu with the “French Toast Bread Pudding.”

Dave also sources speciality items for our bartender, such as elderflowers, which grow wild. He also has collected angelica for our bar program, which was used to make bitters and candy twizzle sticks and also used as a garnish on drinks.

We look forward to serving you some of our “odd” menu items in the dining room and on our outdoor patio soon!

- Chef Andres Barrera

 

Purveyor Closeup: Lovin’ Labriola Breads!

Labriola’s Natale Vaniglia delivers our breads each day and always arrives with a smile, a hello and a thank you.

Next time you are in to “break bread” with friends in the City Winery Chicago dining room or on our outdoor patio, take note of our delicious fresh-baked breads, all of which are supplied exclusively by Labriola Baking Company, located in Alsip, just outside of Chicago.

We selected Labriola because of the company’s exceptional reputation, as well as the quality and freshness of the products, as they deliver several times a day to the city. I also admire how baker/owner Rich Labriola’s passion for bread and his quest to offer the latest artisan products truly shows through in Labriola’s line of breads.

The products work really well with our menu items, such as the brioche “Silver Dollar” slider buns we use for our City Winery Sliders. We brush the “Sea Salt & Olive Oil” ciabatta bread with olive oil and grill it to serve alongside our albondigas. We also toast the ciabatta bread to serve with our burrata cheese plate and use it for the Caprese sandwich on our new brunch menu.

The French baguettes are perfectly sliced fresh to pair with our cheese and charcuterie plates. We serve Labriola bagels at brunch, and we also use their braided challah for our delicious French toast bread pudding.

Above and beyond the quality and freshness of the bread, they will deliver up to three times a day, every day. This is simply exceptional and allows us to provide the best tasting items possible to our guests. And, as a chef, I can rest assured that all of our bread products will have a consistent taste and will be delivered reliably. A load off my shoulders, for sure!

So, come on in and “break bread” with us soon!  Hope everyone is having a fantastic summer!

- Chef Andres Barrera

 

PRINCE PERFORMS INTIMATE AFTER HOURS SHOW AT CITY WINERY CHICAGO

prince at city winery chicago

Prince wowed at an afterhours concert for a capacity, standing-room-only crowd at City Winery Chicago early Sunday morning June 30, 2013.   In town to perform at the wedding reception of film director-producer George Lucas and Ariel Investments President Mellody Hobson, the superstar took the stage just after 2am, joined by his trio 3rdEyeGirl, the 22-piece New Power Generation band and the model Damaris.  The nearly two hour set included such classic hits as “1999” and “Little Red Corvette.” City Winery Chicago, a fully operational winery, restaurant with outdoor patio, concert hall and private event space, is located in the heart of the city’s West Loop neighborhood and is the sister property of the original City Winery in New York.

Summer in the City-Join Us at City Winery Chicago’s Outdoor Patio!

 

If you are looking for an exceptional al fresco dining experience, City Winery Chicago’s outdoor patio is the place for you! Great wines paired with delicious food are served in this gorgeous outdoor space complete with an outdoor fireplace and beautiful landscaping and greenery.

As a bonus for patio diners, on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout the summer, we offer live music on the patio from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.!

And, patio diners do not have to miss out on the great food served in the dining room, as the full spring/summer menu is offered on the patio. New items for warmer months that are perfect for noshing outdoors include our cheese and charcuterie plates, green gazpacho, chilled asparagus salad, flatbreads and braised duck tacos. These are great for sharing with friends while enjoying a summer afternoon or evening in the city.

Tables are first-come, first-served, so the earlier you can get here to grab a table on the patio, the better. And, if you are looking for a great spot for a private outdoor event, ask us about reserving the patio.

Patio hours are Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday Noon to 10 p.m.

For more views of our patio, check out the Restaurant/Bar page on City Winery Chicago’s website.

 

CITY WINERY CHICAGO FACILITY HONORED WITH 2013 VISION AWARD BY URBAN LAND INSTITUTE CHICAGO

CITY WINERY CHICAGO FACILITY HONORED WITH 2013 VISION AWARD
BY URBAN LAND INSTITUTE CHICAGO

(Chicago, IL -June 6, 2013) City Winery Chicago, a new fully operational winery, restaurant with outdoor patio, concert hall and private event space located in the historic urban Fulton Market district here, last night received a 2013 Chicago Vision Award granted by the Urban Land Institute Chicago (ULI). Michael Dorf, proprietor of the 10-month-old City Winery Chicago (and its sister property in New York), was on hand to receive the award from ULI Vision Award Co-Chairs Alicia M. Berg, Columbia College Chicago; Theresa O. Frankiewicz, Crown Community Development; and Kirsten Ekdahl Hull, Joseph Freed & Associates LLC.
Among the attributes cited on City Winery Chicago’s winning nomination included the unique design and reuse of a 100-year old building, creation of more than 150 new jobs, adaptive re-use of the building materials in the design and furniture, and engagement of local professionals and laborers.

Built in 1911, the former refrigerated food distribution warehouse has been transformed into a 33,000-square-foot contemporary winery and hospitality facility, featuring reclaimed original wood beams, masonry, brick and arched openings. The décor evokes the romance of being in wine country, from the exposed stainless steel fermenting tanks and French oak barrels, to the aroma of fermenting grapes. To complete the project, Dorf led a design team comprising architect Christopher Warnick and designer Phillip Katz, joined by Summit Construction.

“Knowing the architectural history of Chicago and having the operational experience of our first facility in New York allowed us to really create a special building that could capture all the Old World charm and warmth, but utilize modern infrastructure to be efficient with our layout,” said Dorf. “We keep referring to this location as our 2.0 version—better in so many ways and stunning in its aesthetics. We are thrilled to be recognized with this honor.”

urban land institute vision awards

The 2nd Annual ULI Chicago Vision Awards define the standard for real estate development in the Chicagoland area. The Vision Awards recognize the full development process – construction, economic viability, marketing, and management—as well as design – and promote best practices in development, identifying projects and programs that exemplify the policy and practice areas that underpin ULI. ULI Chicago, a District Council of the Urban Land Institute, has more than 1,000 members in the Chicago land area. Organized in 1986, ULI Chicago provides expertise and guidance on land use and development issues to local communities through comprehensive technical assistance services and infrastructure initiatives.

The district council hosts monthly meetings, trends conferences, policy forums, and networking opportunities for its members and others in the real estate industry. To learn more about the 2013 Vision Awards contact ULI Chicago at 773-549-4972 or visit chicago.uli.org.

City Winery Chicago Serves Up New Spring Menu!

We are thrilled to announce we’ve introduced our new spring menu at City Winery Chicago, after months and months of testing new recipes and experimenting with new flavors for spring and summer. The menu also lists new wine pairing suggestions for each new dish.

As warm weather approaches (it will be here eventually, right?), we replaced some of our heartier, heavier dishes with lighter, more refreshing items that are perfect for sharing and enjoying with a crisp summer wine.

New charcuterie plate on the City Winery Chicago spring menu.

Here’s the scoop on a few of my favorite new items:

• Green Gazpacho (green tomato, honeydew, cucumber, cubanelle peppers, Marcona almonds). This soup is perfect for those hot summer days and warm summer nights on our outdoor patio. The flavor profile includes cool and refreshing mint, fresh crisp cucumber, a touch of sweetness from grapes and honeydew melon, toasted notes from the Marcona almonds and a little heat from cubanelle peppers.

• Baccalao Fritters (served with orange-fennel aioli). These flavor-packed fritters are a light and fluffy combination of whipped salt cod and potatoes, lightly fried and teamed up with a creamy aioli made with fennel pollen and orange zest.

• Grilled Merguez (Aleppo pepper yogurt, apricot-almond couscous, grilled red onion). My hope is this dish inspires images of Morocco. Merguez is a spicy lamb sausage found throughout The Middle East and Northern Africa. We make ours in-house from lamb that is hormone and antibiotic free. The complex flavors come from a range of spices and herbs, most notably paprika, garlic, roasted red peppers and our own wine made in-house. Accompaniments add to the experience: lemon mint couscous to temper the heat, grilled red onions to bring out more of that “grilled on a street cart in Marakesh” vibe and a smoky Aleppo pepper yogurt sauce to add a complex zing.

• Cheese Plate – Three perfect cheeses make up our new cheese plate, Petit Billy (pasteurized goat, aged three weeks, France); Sartori MontAmore (pasteurized cow, aged 20 months, Wisc.); and Roelli Red Rock (blue-veined cheddar, pasteurized cow, aged two months, Wisc.). Each has its own voice but they come together in perfect unison. The “Petit Billy” has a chill lactic tangy flavor that brightens up the palate with hints of lemon with the texture of cheesecake. The MontAmore has a soft, creamy texture with the added bonus of a crystalline crunch. The “Red Rock” takes everything we all love in aged cheddar and introduces blue veining into the mix, giving the cheese a slightly musty and earthy finish.

• Charcuterie Plate – Our new charcuterie selection features three hand-crafted cured meats all made from humanely raised animals without antibiotics or hormones. Fermin Chorizo Iberico is an all-natural Spanish-cured pork with garlic, pimento and paprika. Smoking Goose “Gin & Juice” is lamb with juniper and orange zest. And no, this selection wasn’t made just because Snoop Dogg is one of the kitchen’s favorite artists but because of it’s a funky combination of flavors that mesh with the natural gaminess of the lamb. Creminelli Mocetta is beef with cracked black pepper that is a smaller version of bresaola and has no casing. It’s one of the few beef products in Italy’s salame arsenal. This recipe has been in the Creminelli family since the 1600s (according to family legend) and is made by drying the salted meat.

We’re really looking forward to having you join us and taste these and all the other great new items on our spring menu. Please share your thoughts and feedback!

- Executive Chef Andres Barrera

New cheese plate at City Winery Chicago.