Toast of the Town Takes on Chicago

More than 2,000 attendees filled the historic Field Museum for Wine Enthusiast’s wine and food extravaganza.


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On Friday, June 8, more than 2,000 guests gathered at Chicago’s historic Field Museum for Wine Enthusiast’s signature wine and culinary event, the 8th Annual Toast of the Town Chicago.

In the museum’s main hall, where Sue, the world’s best-preserved Tyrannosaurus Rex is on permanent display, attendees sipped more than 500 wines from 70 producers, including Wagner Family of Wine and Wines of Brasil, and indulged in delicious bites from 47 of the city’s most notable restaurants.

Standout wines on offer included an earthy, robust Cabernet Sauvignon from the boutique Napa Valley producer PerryMoore. Bisol Desiderio & Figli poured its award-winning 2011 Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Superiore Cartizze Cru, and other labels such as Duckhorn Vineyards, Rodney Strong Vineyards, Sterling Vineyards, Yalumba, Santa Rita and Concha y Toro offered highly coveted selections. Schramsberg’s 2004 Brut Reserve was a guest favorite.

Of the participating restaurants, Japonais Restaurant served arguably the most innovative dish: Kaffir Lime Air, which guests sampled by pulling thin pastry strips through creamy white foam. Black Dog Gelato scooped watermelon and Greek yogurt flavors into bite-size sugar-waffle cones, and Metropolis Coffee Company satisfied caffeine-loving guests. Refreshing dishes designed to ward off the night’s humidity included Lockwood Restaurant & Bar’s Chilled Asparagus Soup with Crispy Prosciutto, and at the 676 Restaurant & Bar table, petite Mason jars stuffed with grilled lamb bacon and radishes, drizzled with honey mustard (made with honey sourced from the eatery’s own beehives), went fast. Red Door, which just opened last month in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood, served Lamb Neck Terrine with Pickled Spring Onions, Mint and Rapini.

VIP guests added an element of surprise to the event. Chicago chef Rick Bayless, host of PBS’s Mexico: One Plate at a Time and owner of three restaurants, including Chicago’s Frontera Grill and Topolobampo, made the rounds, as did ABC’s Castle actor Seamus Dever, with fellow Castle cast mate and wife, Juliana Dever. Seamus tweeted a photo of himself with a bottle of Hope Family Wines’s Treana while at the event.

New this year was an expansion of the event into three tiers of the museum. Wines of Argentina took over the downstairs, with a dozen or so wineries showcasing diversity in Torrontés and Malbec. Jean-Charles Boisset, proprietor/owner of JCB by Jean-Charles Boisset, among other wines, chatted up guests in the intimate and glamorous Boisset Family Estates lounge located on the third floor.

Acoustic guitar music courtesy of Joey Edwin of The Vineyard Lounge Series permeated the elegant space and kept guests on their feet.

For more information on the upcoming Toast of the Town event in Washington, D.C., click here.

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