|Giordano's stuffed cheese deep-dish pie and High Plains Bison |
dog at Wrigley Field.
I've always wanted to visit Chicago, so when my friend Shiho said that her Urban Sketchers symposium was going to take place there this year, I decided to tag along with my bestie for more years than either of us would probably like to admit - who also happens to be an extraordinary artist.
Being an artist - especially the enchantress of watercolor that Shiho is - requires years of skill, a lot of patience and discipline, and the right tools. Being a foodie, at least in Chicago, only requires the willingness to walk for food. I stayed at her symposium lodgings for a couple of days, located near the Harold Washington Library and a "L" stop. We had about a ten-block orbit, with the exception of a trip to Frank Lloyd Wright's home at Oak Park and an excursion to Eataly, the mega-food hall/cooking school/gourmet market at The Shops at North Bridge.
|Cabinet for dry-aging beef at Eataly|
I have the memories, the video, and in the case of the brownie, the recipe.
The iconic treat that we know as the brownie today got its start as a portable but decadent dessert, served in a box lunch for ladies visiting the Woman's Building at the World's Fair of 1893.
Bertha Honore Palmer, who with her husband Potter Palmer owned the Palmer House hotel on State Street, was one of the chief organizers of the fair and was instrumental in establishing exhibits dedicated to women's interests; she even insisted that the architect who would build the Woman's Building be selected through a competition open only to females.
|The Palmer House Brownie a la mode|
Today, the brownie ranges from super-plain (no nuts for anyone under 12) to exotic flavorings like tahini. This chewy, gooey recipe from Milk Street was like a chemistry lab, as I tried to keep the tahini in an evenly blended state. Despite that, the recipe was surprisingly easy and stunningly good.
Shiho made the observation that the Urban Sketchers Symposium - an international event - was the first time many of her fellow artists had been to the United States and that Chicago was a great city in which to experience American culture for the first time.
|Rainbow trout and summer squash from |
Acanto's seasonal menu