Andy and I were excited to work with Chicago Fire because it’s so close to home and we had actually been there before a few times (thanks to a $100 gift card that I won at a Christmas party my boss threw last year). Don’t ever try to win Christmas Carol Word Jumble against me. You will lose! ;)
We were able to actually use the gift card twice, so we had already tasted their fabulous version of gluten free pizza and already had a favorite wine we like to drink with our dinner (the Windy City Red blend that Boeger Winery creates just for Chicago Fire). :) We already knew the service was great and were lucky enough once to have a server who had adopted a gluten free diet as well. I am seeing that more often in restaurants and it is very comforting.
It’s been a head-spinning 3 weeks since our visit (my apologies to the team at Chicago Fire for not being a little more timely on this piece–life has been absolutely crazy lately with multiple visits to San Francisco, training for a 20 mile race, working 45 hours a week, and being in the process of moving happening all at once). Still, I remember what a great time Andy and I had that night, and we always enjoy the food at the restaurant. So, here’s a recap of what we ordered:
Starter drinkys!! It was Friday night and I was ready for one of the cocktails I had seen earlier in the day on Chicago Fire’s inventive drink menu! I was interested because I saw a few descriptions that were not going to be sweet (like a lot of other drink menus unfortunately are). I picked the Basil Lemonade with Tito’s vodka muddled with fresh basil & lemon juice over ice. It hit the spot, just as I had imagined it would. Basil and lemon together in my drink, yes please! :) Andy had a glass of Bolla Chianti. OK, now we’re all set…
In an effort to make the entire meal gluten-free, we chose the Baked Artichoke for an appetizer. It’s a whole artichoke, doused with lemony caesar sauce and topped with fresh parmesan cheese. Chicago Fire has quite a Greek influence in their menu and many things are flavored with lemon and garlic. That’s a plus in my book and in Andy’s, too because he is half Greek. :) My favorite part of the artichoke was the cheese on top that had slightly browned and gotten crispy, and the way it tasted with fresh lemon juice on it. It was a great lead in to the salad we ordered.
Next up we tried the Chicken Pesto Salad, which is a favorite of mine. It is made of Romaine lettuce, grilled chicken, pesto-marinated artichoke hearts and red onion. We ordered the house made pesto ranch dressing on the side. Pesto is one of my favorite sauces and the dressing that comes with the salad is addictive. ;) The chicken on the salad was grilled perfectly. I recommend ordering a large size salad because it is perfect for sharing if you are a party of two and plan on ordering a pizza as well.
I wanted to mention the wine pairing we had. This time, we did not order the Windy City Red that we usually drink, but instead went with a Greg Norman 2012 (Santa Barbara) Pinot Noir (because of the lighter nature of ingredients in our salad and our pizza). We chose the Greg Norman Pinot Noir (Santa Barbara) because it was a better value than the other Pinot Noir on the wine list (La Crema).
By now it was pizza time! We decided on the gluten free Greek pizza. The Greek is topped with Gyro meat, white Sauce, Artichoke Hearts, Kalamata Olives, Red Onion, Fresh Tomato, Feta Cheese & Pepperoncini and served with what else? Tzatziki on the side. Love it. My favorite part of the pizza (other than the super crispy edges on the crust were the little slices of Gyro meat that had also gotten super crispy/crunchy in the pizza oven. We squeezed the lemon juice over the slices for an extra burst of flavor and the tzatziki lemon combo was just paradise. It’s a real treat for Andy and I to eat pizza/things with crust/bread at all even if it is gluten free, so it was fun to try the Greek flavor combination on a crust. Bonus points for the presentation, one slice of pizza was slightly propped up with the ramekin that held the tzatziki sauce. Beautiful!
Thanks Chicago Fire, we’ll definitely be back for more very soon! We’ll continue to work our way around the menu of gluten free pizzas. We’ve already tried and given thumbs up to the Stockyard and Chicken Pesto on previous visits. :)
Chicago Fire has a loyalty program called Square Points. You can points as soon as you get a Square Points card from your server. By registering online, you’ll be able to redeem your points. Then you can earn more points when you buy food, drinks & merchandise. Some of the rewards from the Square Points membership include a free Deep Dish Delight on your birthday, a free specialty pizza for every 500 points, and free corkage. Of course the term FREE CORKAGE was music to our ears, so we decided to enroll in Square Points, too!
Are you hungry for a visit yet?!?! Good news for you if you aren’t near downtown but live closer to Folsom or Roseville, because in addition to the Midtown location on 2416 J Street, there are 3 other locations: Historic Folsom (Chicago Fire made its debut on Sutter Street in Folsom in March 2003), Folsom at Palladio, and in Roseville at Sunrise/Eureka.
Thanks for the wonderful hospitality and service all the way from the marketing team to the staff at Chicago Fire Midtown. We’ll see you again soon. :)
So picture this: I work in Roseville (as a graphic designer/life saver) from 8:30am-5pm, and last Wednesday Andy and I have to be at a Kings Pre-season game by 7:00pm. Factor in a 30 minute commute time, and 10-15 minutes to get to the game from my house, and there’s pretty much NO TIME to cook and have a meal before we go.
Enter National Pizza Month and zpizza! They have a gluten free menu and salads suitable for a busy person like me.
All I had to do was call them ahead of time and let them know I wanted to pick up my order just a little after 5:00pm. I browsed their website, and chose what looked interesting to me. I thought their website was fantastic at showing what and was not available in gluten free. All you have to do is check a little box in the upper right hand corner, and the gluten free items remain listed, while the gluten items are grayed out. See?
So two items on the menu immediately caught my eye, beginning with the Arugula Salad! The salad has cucumbers, caramelized onions, parmesan cheese, candied walnuts and guess what? Arugula! Sold! I added on some avocado and chicken breast for an extra charge.
The other menu item that grabbed my attention was the gluten free Italian pizza with artichoke hearts, tomatoes, ham, basil, pesto (yes!!) mozzarella cheese, and black olives. At first I was worried I didn’t order enough food, but as we ate, we both got really full. I guess we’re not used to having a treat as nice as pizza––even the gluten free variety––and any kind of dough is really filling. I had 3 pieces and it was so gooood. The crust was great and really crispy on the edges. The pesto was terrific and I only wish I had ordered extra on the side to dip the crust in! The crust had a nice buttery flavor and even a sort of flakey texture. I am glad I have Andy to eat the other 5 pieces, because I would have demolished them for sure! ;)
Now, onto the wine we had with dinner! :)
Andy brought over 2 different wines to have with dinner. The white wine he brought was a 2012 Chardonnay from Mercy Vineyards. The second wine he brought (yep, I am pretty lucky to have such premium wines with a take out dinner!!) was a Cinsaut from Miner’s Leap which is produced from 127 year-old vines in Clarksburg!
Andy said he chose the wine pairing to resist the traditional “pizza wines” like sangiovese or chianti, because this pizza had pesto on it and really lent itself to a lighter style of wine. Enter the Chardonnay from Mercy––a less oakey more fruit forward wine, but still a Chardonnay lover’s wine, and the Pinot Noir mimicky Cinsaut from Miner’s Leap. Try either of these two and you’ll just think wow.
Kind of too fancy for pizza, but hey, gluten free zpizza is pretty fancy–especially before a Sacramento Kings game, so OK I’ll take it. :)
PS: The Kings won the game against the Toronto Raptors, 113-106! :)
Just look at that line up! Those bottles of Cakebread Cellars were the wines featured at Sienna Restaurant’s latest wine dinner last Thursday.
Andy and I were excited to attend this dinner because we are big fans of Cakebread, especially their Reserve Chardonnay.
Pictured below is the menu for the evening, kudos to chef Moses Hernandez at Sienna for making our dinner gluten free!!
We started with the 2013 Cakebread Sauvignon Blanc paired with a Scallop and Tiger Prawn Ceviche over cabbage and a mixed vegetable slaw with red chile and blue corn chips. This dish was the best pairing for a Sauvignon Blanc, as it was citrusy, light and refreshing, just as the wine was. And I was a hungry lady after a semi-stressful day at work. Andy remarked that he was transported to Mexico by this dish. Good thing we’re going in November! :)
The second course was a Seared Chilean Sea Bass with Forbidden Rice, Soy Poached Bok Choy, Lemongrass Broth & Thai gremolata. It was paired with a 2012 Napa Valley Cakebread Cellars Chardonnay.
I was so happy to have had this as the second course, as I love Thai food and this was certainly a Thai inspired dish. Again, really refreshing and just amazingly good. The broth was so flavorful, and the rice was cooked perfectly. We had some wine left from the previous course and it went with the Sauvignon Blanc just as well.
The third course was a Roasted New York Steak with Sauteéd Fingerling Potatoes, Citrus Swiss Chard, Pomegranate Molasses, and Roquefort Blue Cheese butter. It was paired with a 2011 Cakebread Cellars Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
This was the course that made Sienna as a restaurant really shine. Not only was the steak cooked perfectly along with the accoutrements. I want to comment for a moment on the service and attention to detail I witnessed at Sienna. First, one of the servers halted service of this course for Andy and me. They were not sure if we had been served the gluten-free plates or not. Now, that was highly appreciated, because although we do not have a gluten allergy, maybe someone who requested a gluten free meal might have. The staff at Sienna made sure we were delivered the correct entreés.
Another comment is that special attention to detail was given in handling the wine, as it was going to be pretty tight tannin-wise. The bar staff at Sienna took the time to both aerate the wine and then decant it long before dinner guests arrived, so that it would give its best showing.
And the wine was pretty phenomenal to both of us, and pretty much put a spell on Andy. He loved the Cabernet so much, that he ordered a case. I am pretty excited about that, because I benefit. I get to taste the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon as it matures and develops. Softens and becomes even more magnificent. I think he said we are going to open a bottle every 6 months. Don’t be jealous, maybe you’ll get an invite for dinner to share. ;)
Then, it was on to the last course. The dessert course. Sienna made sure to adjust ours so that it was gluten free as well. It was a Peanut Butter Mousse, topped with Whipped Cream and chopped Peanut Butter Cups. It was paired with a 2012 Red Hills Lake County Cakebread Cellars Zinfandel that to be quite honest, longed to be paired with the prior course. No matter. I gave Andy all but two tastes of my dessert and I enjoyed the Zinfandel pretty much as my dessert. It was spectacular. :)
I could pretty much sum this dinner up as pure bliss. It was a beautiful evening under the stars with like minded people. All food and wine lovers like Andy and myself. I want to thank the team at Sienna for making this an incredible evening for all of the guests. No detail was spared and I am pretty sure no one left hungry or the slightest bit unhappy. We’ll certainly be back to enjoy dinner when we come to retrieve the case of Cakebread Cabernet, but we’ll also save the date for your upcoming dinner on October 2nd with Jordan Cellars.
PS: Sienna also does a Monday night Wine and Dine, it’s 3 courses paired with wine for $35 per person. Hook yourselves up by clicking here! Guess what… it’s Monday, you should totally go NOWWWW!!!
OK, that’s the yummy wrap for tonight. I’ll have more Farm to Fork Wine Dinner coverage later this week! Cheers!! :)
OK, I know it’s the end of a four-day weekend for most of us, so I have a little giveaway planned to make the work comeback sting a little less! By the way, I am actually starting a new job today, so I am just thankful to have work again after a 3 1/2 month hiatus. ;)
Today, I would like to share with you a new snack item sent to me by Setton Farms: Setton Farms Pistachio Chewy Bites. It’s got two of my very favorite ingredients: pistachios and cranberries. The pistachios used in the Chewy Bites are grown right in the heart of California’s central valley (San Joaquin), and Setton attends to each detail of growing, harvesting, processing the pistachios.
Setton Farms Pistachio Chewy Bites provide healthy snack lovers the amazing benefits of pistachios, cranberries and agave nectar in a delicious bite size bar. Pistachio Chewy Bites are heart healthy, 100% all natural, gluten and dairy free, low in sodium, GMO free, vegan and a great protein snack on the go. They also have no cholesterol, zero trans-fat and are a good source of dietary fiber. Each bar is about 100 calories. They’re also great before or after a race!
Do you want to try Setton Farms Pistachio Chewy Bites for FREE? Enter to win a 16-pack bag by clicking the link below!
You can find Setton Farms Pistachio Chewy Bites on Facebook here.