Oktoberfest at the Ritz

September 24, 2013


This past Sunday, my Mom (aka Mama Topps) and I headed out for a classy afternoon of beer and brats at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago. The hotel's deca RESTAURANT played host to the first ever Oktoberfest-off featuring seven local restaurants and two local breweries. The event was also a fundraiser for the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. The beautiful lobby of the hotel provided a backdrop for the chefs to prepare their own version of an Oktoberfest bratwurst or sausage. The participating restaurants included:

Howells & Hood
Atwood Cafe
Tete Charcuterie
Revolution Brewing
Saigon Sisters

Beers were provided by Half Acre Beer Company and Revolution Brewing. A selection of beers were paired with each of the brats and sausages with each restaurant's chef selecting the beer they felt best paired with their culinary creation.

Guests were able to vote for their favorite brat, favorite beer, and favorite brat and beer combination. After trying all of the entries, I thought the best brat was from Revolution Brewing because it came with a yummy side of spatzle and pickled cabbage.  I thought the best beer was Half Acre's Akari Shogun (It's one of my favorite beers, so I'm biased) and the best pairing was deca RESTAURANT's boudin blanc with Half Acre's Over Ale. deca prepared a boudin blanc with black truffle and homemade sauerkraut and mustards. The best part was the two sweet mustards; one with concord grape, and another with cranberry.

It was very fun to walk around and sample each dish since they were each so unique. I loved seeing the presentation of each one and trying the beer pairings as well. Check out some photos of the chefs' creations below!
Foie Brat with Pickled Cherries from Atwood Cafe (this one was definitely a hit with many)

Marjoram & Coriander Sausage with Orange, Fennel, Apple & Carrot Slaw from Howells & Hood
Nurnberger Brat with Carrots and Cabbage from Tete Charcuterie
Smoked Sausage with Homemade Spatzle, Mustard and Pickled Cabbage
Shrimp & Chicken Meatball with Fried Rice & Sugar Cane from Saigon Sisters

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