About a month ago, I was invited by Verizon to become one of their Savvy Gourmet bloggers. I of course accepted the offer, and eagerly awaited the weekend of June 29 for the kick-off event. Bloggers from all over the midwest would be coming together for a day of fun and new technology, and I was excited to meet some new bloggers. We connected on twitter, and finally met up in the lobby of the Hard Rock Hotel in the Carbon and Carbide building here in Chicago.
After a bit of socializing, lunch, and a great blogging talk by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen,
we received our mobile devices that we get to use to help expand our blogging and our kitchen experiences. My new Droid XYBoard is incredibly cool, and even though it’s not an iPad, I’m thinking I’m going to have a blast with it!
We left the conference center with about two hours to kill before dinner, so a few of us went on a search for cupcakes. We soon found Sugar Bliss Bakery, and our cupcake desires were filled.
We each got a little cupcake and shared multiple big ones.
Key lime and deep chocolate cupcakes
It was an adorable bakery with truly delicious cupcakes and frosting… I’ll definitely be visiting again!
It got to be a little warm downtown that day (only about 92°) so we headed back to the Hard Rock Hotel to get ready for our mystery dinner. A short bus ride later, we were dropped off in front of an old oak door.
Through that door was the courtyard and kitchen of an old convent, which has been rehabbed to house events such as the one we attended. Chef Efrain Cuevas is the founder of Clandestino Dining, an underground dining organization which hosts dining experiences for its members at unique locations, much like this rehabbed convent.
After a brief introduction, and some chit chat with new blog friends, cocktails and appetizers were served: fresh strawberry mint juleps, cauliflower ceviche, and elotes, each more delicious than the next.
We were seated at a beautiful table with fresh raspberry plants at the center, and were told to save our silverware for each course, as there was only one set per person!
The courses started impressively, and not one disappointed.
Clockwise from top: Grilled cornish hen, ancient grains cake, local greens; arugula salad with 4 cheeses; hangar steak tacos; 3 berry shortcake with cinnamon ice cream; center: spicy grilled shrimp and heirloom beets
It was such fun meeting new-to-me food bloggers, and am looking forward to having new reading material!
There were many many others, but my memory fails me at the moment. I already have a few ideas for my new XYBoard Tablet, and can’t wait to share them with you all!