Monday, August 11

Chicago Food Bloggers Check Out Coppervine

A few weeks ago I ventured to Lincoln Park's Coppervine with fellow foodies and food bloggers from Chicago Food Bloggers. Coppervine prides itself on providing the perfect pairing for all of its dishes. Each item on the menu is listed alongside a suggested wine, beer, and cocktail pairing. While participation is not mandatory, Coppervine says they usually have a 90% participation rate in a pairing for at least one course.

My evening was shared with fellow bloggers Christine from Chritiques, Starr from Chicago Foodie Girl, Douglas from Chicago Pinot, and Mike from Chicago Food Bloggers. We were led on a journey through all aspects of the menu, paired with wine, beer, and cocktails. Our trusty tour guides were Owner and Sommelier Don Sritong, and Chef David Wang.

For starters, we tried three small plates paired with beers. The first was blue lump crab fritters served with a guindilla pepper aioli. I thought these fritters has a nice spice to them, and the sauce was nicely balanced between citrus and sweet. The pairing was Brooklyn Blast IPA.

Blue Lump Crab Fritters, Guindilla Pepper Aioli
Next up was the classic ahi tuna tartare served with slices of hen egg and a side of crostini. I like ahi but had never tried it with egg. The creaminess really helped compliment the ahi's texture. This dish was paired with Founder's Centennial IPA which is a double IPA. The maltiness of the beer helped balance the saltiness of the ahi.

Ahi Tuna Tartare
The third and final small plate our group tried was the Maine lobster mac and cheese topped with a panko-romano crust. You can never really go wrong with a good, old-fashioned mac! This was paired with Two Brothers' SideKick Extra Pale Ale which has citra hops to cut the richness and complexity of the mac and cheese.

Maine Lobster Mac & Cheese
Moving along to the flatbread section of Coppervine's menu landed us with the mozzarella di bufala flatbread with mozzarella, heirloom tomatoes, basil, and roasted garlic. The flatbread was fairly simple in execution, but it wasn't until we tried it with the cocktail pairing that it truly shined. The cocktail pairing was an heirloom daquiri with tequila, tomato, basil, and lime. Yes, there was tomato in my drink and it was fantastic. It truly highlighted the acidity of the tomatoes in the flatbread.

Mozzarella di Bufala Flatbread
Cocktail Pairings (L to R: Heirloom Daquiri, The Standard, Brown Butter Old Fashioned)
Next, we checked out three items from the medium plates section of the menu. The first was the Maine Lobster BLT with Nueske's apple smoked bacon, and heirloom tomatoes (sense a theme?). This was quite the decadent little sandwich and was held together with two pieces of buttery Texas toast. There was also a faint hint of truffle mayo, which never hurt anyone. Our cocktail pairing was the number one selling cocktail at Coppervine, the Brown Butter Old Fashioned, a blend of brown butter infused bourbon (whaaat), brown sugar, and aromatic bitters. This tasted similar to a sweet tea cocktail and I loved the way it washed down the buttery lobster sandwich.

Maine Lobster BLT
Coppervine's homemade English pea agnolotti pasta was next and included green beans, lobster mushrooms, burrata, and mizuna greens. I liked the contrast of the warm pasta with the cool burrata. The cocktail pairing, The Standard, with gin, St. Germain, maraschino, egg white, and lemon, offered a savory and bright balance.

English Pea Agnolotti
Diver Scallops
Lastly, we tried the diver scallops with morel mushrooms, English peas, tomato butter, and English pea puree. These were uber buttery and smooth and nicely paired with butter chardonnay.

For our last round of main plates, we explored the large plate section of the menu, paired with wine tastings.

Wine Pairings (L to R: Sparkling, Chardonnay, Syrah)
The best-selling large plate is Coppervine's fried chicken which is served with buttermilk whipped potatoes. I was surprised to find the chicken was not greasy, instead it was nicely crispy and salty. The pairing for this dish was a dry sparkling wine which worked beautifully. Fried chicken and bubbly might just be my new favorite thing (I know some others who might agree!).

Fried Chicken
Buttermilk Whipped Potatoes, Cajun Gravy
My favorite dish of the evening was the lamb t-bone which was served with heirloom baby carrots and mint chimichurri. I thought this dish was seasoned very well and it was paired with an earthy California red wine.

Lamb T-Bone
For dessert we taste tested a rhubarb cobbler with mint ice cream. I loved the freshness of the rhubarb and the ice cream. The pairing for this dessert really surprised me because it was Timmermans strawberry lambic, something I usually hate (I'm not a fan of sweet beers). However, when paired with the cobbler, it was great!

Rhubarb Cobbler with Mint Ice Cream
We also tried a molten chocolate cake with chantilly cream which was paired with a madeira port, which I did not particularly like (too sweet!).

Molten Chocolate Cake with Chantilly Cream
I had a great time wining and dining with fellow Chicago food bloggers and sampling a huge selection of Coppervine's menu. I applaud the restaurant for taking a risk with their concept, and would recommend it for light bites and drinks whenever you're in the ever-so-popular Halsted and Armitage area.

Note: my meal at Coppervine was complimentary; however, the opinions expressed herein are my own.

Coppervine
www.coppervinechicago.com
1962 N. Halsted Street
Chicago, IL 60614
Coppervine on Urbanspoon

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