Best wine in Chicago and what Comrade H had for dinner

Comrade T recently wrote me asking for advice on where party members find good wine in Chicago. I reached out to Comrades N and L for their advice and here’s what they said (paired with Comrade H’s excellent dinner, including Comrade B’s Dolcetto).

Start with the first good cherry tomatoes of the summer.


Comrade J, we’re always happy to aid the cause.

Webster’s and Rootstock are the most simpatico establishments in my view. Avec is also a good choice.

Good garlic.

If you really want top Italian wines (including properly aged), head to Spiaggia but be prepared to pay dearly for the privilege.

Comrade T, if you need recs for restaurants, shops or anything else in town, feel free to drop me a line.

Wild arugula.


The two Comrade N mentioned are really it in terms of well thought out, conscientious lists. Again, Comrade N is right in that Spiaggia, while quite expensive, has a very well thought out list. And Alinea, too. This is just more of a beer town (and BYO which helps). That said some places do have nice lists. I just went to the Purple Pig the other week and was able to find a few things (they have some López de Heredia there).

Life is good.

Anyway, below is a list that I put together for someone a couple months ago. The only thing I’d add is the new Girl and the Goat that just opened by Stephanie who won Top Chef a couple seasons ago.



And of course, good oil (sourced from Rare Wine Company), good wine (Comrade B’s Dolcetto), good vinegar…



(and buon weekend, ya’ll!)

Cajun boudin balls and Dolcetto (how’s that for fusion?)

Pam and Melvin Croaker’s fried corn-meal-dusted boudin balls paired superbly with an 2007 Dolcetto d’Alba Monte Aribaldo by Marchesi di Gresy at yesterday’s Christmas day supper. The weather’s been cold and windy here: Dolcetto is such a great wintry grape, with its rich, meaty mouthfeel and nervy acidity pillared by a fulcrum of gentle tannin and meaty flavor. At less than $20 a bottle, the single-vineyard Dolcetto Monte Aribaldo has been my 2009 holiday season standby wine.

Sadly, a bottle of 2004 Rosso di Montepulciano by Sanguineto was corked. It wasn’t corked in the tainted with a corky or wet dog smell, the way “viciously” corked wine can smell (as BrooklynGuy likes to say when he’s disappointed with a much-anticipated bottle like this one). It was just that the fruit had died: as BrooklynGuy might say, it wasn’t “terrible, just dull.”

Boudin balls are made from the filling of boudin sausage — pork, pork liver, rice and Cajun seasoning (spicy). They can be rolled in breadcrumbs or flour but Pam and Melvin used a cornmeal coating (also traditional) for these tasty delights. Soooooo good…

In other news…

Yet another dream came true this Christmas yesterday when Tracie B and I got the 3-quart All-Clad sauté pan we’d been hoping for.

Thanks Mrs. and Rev. B!