Welcome back from our Summer hiatus.
We are back and we eased into our newest season with one final summer fling with BBQ at Smoke Daddy. We thought a nice casual end to summer would be a great way to kick off the Supper Club/MetroCeliacs meeting season. We are in the process of planning for this upcoming Fall and Winter, so we were really looking forward to catching up with everyone. We have some things coming up, but please feel free to email any meeting topics, speakers, product/companies, supper club locations, positive dining or shopping experiences, general commentary, suggestions, etc...to us at MetroCeliacs@yahoo.com Also, please watch for our calendar updates ( http://calendar.yahoo.com/metroceliacs ). If you hear of any events you would like to share with other MetroCeliacs and friends, please email them to our yahoo account. Also, if you attend and wish to submit details in a fun little write-up with or without pictures, we will add them to this blog any time!!!
We are restarting our blog, obviously, after having technical difficulties on and off last year and scrapping it until I learned how to work a computer, a camera and a word processing system effectively. So far, so good...I hope. Anyway, we hope to backdate some of our events from last year because they were all really fun and successful. Granted, things may be posted out of order but there is an index to the side that should help when this starts to happen.
We are so excited to try new restaurants and since we have completely adopted Victoria Gainsburg as our resident nutritionist and cooking teacher, it promises to be a delicious year! In addition to the cooking classes and the supper club, we are planning a tour of Enjoy Life Foods plant because they were recently featured on the Food Channel (Unwrapped) and it was fascinating to see how a real allergen-free operation works. There will be other events and meetings and speakers throughout the year and we look forward to seeing everyone soon.
On to the Recap!
Smoke Daddy is a must-see in one of Chicago's hottest and most eclectic neighborhoods. The best and most flavorful BBQ in the Windy City also brings you more character than most neighborhood rib joints have to offer. They smoke all of their meats in-house each day in the "Lil Red Smoker." They also take great pride in offering Live Music 7 nights a week. It is said to be amazing, world-renowned BBQ and funky rhythms, a perfect end to a really great summer! The catering manager, Ty, was really excited about planning our event and making sure we got a real BBQ that is not only safe, but very flavorful as well.
We had a huge turnout, one of our biggest, and the staff could not have been nicer or more efficient. They brought out the salads first. A cool and refreshing salad was a wonderful precursor to a tangy bbq! The apples and nuts were the perfect touch. The different textures and tastes definitely foreshadowed the good things to come! We had time to mingle before the event and it was really nice to meet the new attendees and see the regulars and kick off the season with a nice big group. The staff came out and introduced themselves and told us the plan for the evening. They were on top of every course and they always made sure there were no empty plates. Ty took such good care of us, as did everyone else, so it was nice to sit back and relax and just enjoy some pleasant conversation and a great meal.
Ok, so the next course consisted of pulled beef and pulled pork. Ok, I admit I am not normally a huge fan of bbq. I feel it can be a bit sweet for my taste. When I tried this pulled meat dish, it had the perfect combination of tangy yet just smoked enough to have some kick to it. It was really enjoyable and it went fast. As a matter of fact, it went so fast I was rushing around to try to get the pictures before anyone dug in and it was not easy. After tasting everything, it was easy to see why. The salad sure did seem like the perfect setup to really bring out the flavors of the meat course.
It was all very good and, just when you think you may have had enough, nope. They brought out ribs. Lots and lots of ribs. Now, this meal was really interesting, the salad had a lot of crunch and texture, the pulled meat was smooth and easy to eat and the ribs were tender but had just enough toughness to them to really complement the meal overall. The flavor was smoky and rich, even moreso than the pulled meats. It was like a flavor crescendo. Delicious. Everyone seemed to enjoy them a lot. I know I did and, as I said, I am not usually too bbq-y.
The staff at Smoke Daddy really went above and beyond. We were having lovely conversations and enjoying our food and the next thing we see was the best part of my day. Surprise brownies. Who does not love surprise brownies. Unfortunately, they brought out plates piled with brownies to all the tables, but I was too slow to get a good shot of them. They went fast and some got pocketed for later. They were so rich and fudgy and chewy and moist that it was hard to believe they tried them for the first time on our group! As a matter of fact, Ty said that if anyone plans to come back, to call her or ask the restaurant for her cellphone number and she will make sure you have a good and comfortable, as well as tasty, dining experience. Because they did not have any desserts we could have originally and I would never book a place without dessert (egads no!), they offered to make one special for our group. Should all of our supper clubs be so enthusiastic!
Actually, that is our goal. We look forward to working with Chefs, Managers and Event Planners who are open to learning about celiac, not just the disease and what to avoid, but how to make the dining experience safe, of course, and also to try to expand that into flavorful, comfortable and easy. We can cook naked chicken at home, we would like to dine out and experience meals that excite our palette but won’t make us sick. As we work with the restaurants, over time we hope to encounter more and more people like Ty in positions that will make our experiences enjoyable ones.
We would like to thank everyone at Smoke Daddy, as well as all who attended, and we look forward to seeing everyone again and to meeting all the new people who inquired about our group. We are in Fall planning mode, so jump in with any kind of contribution to our databank of ideas! One last sidenote, as I was attempting to post this, I realized after it booted me a million times and sucked my pictures into a black hole of internettedness, I am still challenged. If you do not see yourself represented, it is not editing, it is a complete and utter lack of skills. We always try to represent everyone, it just sometimes has a less than desirable conclusion. I will work on that as we go forward. Sorry!
Thank you again,
Jenny and Tanya
MetroCeliacs - Chicago
.........the very delicious end!