30 May 2011

Revamping the Memorial Day plans

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Chicago, Food, Friends

On Friday, I made a list of things I hoped to do during Memorial Day, because I’m a planner and need some kind of list of what I’d like to do, even if I achieve nothing.

Yeah, it was one of those weekend when the best laid Memorial Day plans went awry, but in a good way!

I got my mani/pedi and saw Something Borrowed (review here!) but that was it from my list. The French Market and architecture boat tour will wait for another day.

But there were two fun things that also unexpectedly happened this weekend that I had to share!


Chicago is quickly becoming a well-known food town and right now, the hottest ticket here is Next Restaurant, the new brainchild from Grant Achatz. You don’t get reservations, you get tickets and can only get them online. Ticket competition is intense and with it’s current menu, Paris 1906, ending in early July, the demand is more intense.

I’ve been trying in multiple ways to get tickets for more than a month and on Thursday, the stars aligned and I snagged a last-minute ticket for a 10 p.m. reservation that night. I cannot even explain how perfectly everything worked out, it was just clearly, meant to be.

And in a very difficult decision, I did not photograph one piece of my meal. I opted to savor the experience with three good friends and enjoy the amazing food served to us. Yes, I wrestled with whether or not to photograph, but in the end, I was fine with it. I had a wonderful meal with great conversation, lots of laughs and attentive, non-stuffy service.

The entire six-course experience was 100% worth the cost (tickets range from $60-$110) and was the perfect way to kick off the Memorial Day weekend. And when I go back, I would love to steal the place settings because the plates were to die for.

I can’t even list what dish was my favorite (although the duck got very high marks) but it was truly a great experience.

Below is YouTube video that shows some of the dishes we ate. Really, it was so delicious.


In prep for a BBQ/housewarming party Saturday, I had an impromptu pie-making class with the lovely Jessi, who not only had a cutting board set up for me when I arrived, but also let me be the “flour girl” when I was observing.

She made the first pie and then let me get my hands dirty and work out the dough for the second pie. It was easy, fun and she was more than patient with me as I rolled it out. And giving a rolling and lattice-cutting job to a perfectionist like me, is the best thing ever. I’m not bragging (or being too modest) but my pie was awesome.

Check it out (mine is in front):

That lattice work is FLAWLESS.

This weekend was another perfect reminder that even when the best laid plans go awry, that’s not a bad thing :) Also, I need to make my own homemade pie, it tastes so good!

How was your weekend?


  1. I know I’m SUPER LATE, but holy crap, woman, your pie looks AMAZING! And I bet it tasted delicious, too!

  2. Nora says:

    Way to kick butt on that pie! It looks amazing :)

  3. That is some good-looking pie and lattice work.

  4. There was no pie in my weekend. But! I did meet some friends-of-a-friend at a Memorial Day get-together and there was much merriment and gossip.

  5. katelin says:

    seriously that food looks amazing and nice job on the pies,excellent lattice work indeed, mmmm.

  6. allison says:

    OH, how I love three day weekends.

  7. Lil' Woman says:

    That’s awesome you were able to snag tickets…I wish their were more food options in my area….lucky you.

  8. Ali says:

    Hellooo, pie! Amazing job, missy.

    That restaurant sounds amazing, good to know it’s worth all the hype. Hate those places that are all talk and then…nothing.

  9. mandy says:

    I love that you threw your list out the window. I usually have the most fun with spontaneous happenings. I’m glad that you did too. Your pie looks fantastic!