Karen and I
are taking a few days away to Chicago with the prime objective of eating good food and gaining inspiration. On Sunday we found our way to Bin 36, which specializes in very good affordable wines and small plates in accompaniment. A wide selection of cheese, charcuterie led to a nice relaxing Sunday afternoon despite the bracing chill in the Windy City.

Avec was our destination for the evening. It seems like everyone who found out we were going to Chicago mentioned this loud, buzzy, eatery as a necessary item on our agenda. Imagine dining in a sauna about the size of a train car, minus the steam and heat, of course. Small and large plates are the standard fare served family style among your companions.

As we were leaving, we saw Rick Bayless, the famous chef of Chicago’s Frontera Grill, dining with his posse. Since he didn’t recognize me, I saved him the embarrassment and didn’t remind him. I get that all the time, so I’m used to it.