I desperately wanted to go somewhere for spring break this year to get away from this awful semester. What did I want to do on my break? If you answered "go somewhere crazy to eat," you are correct, of course.
The only question left was where to go. Being a big dreamer, I decided I wanted to try to tackle the current king of the mountain, Per Se in New York. The biggest impediment (or so I thought) in my plan was the 2 month requirement for reservations. Undaunted, I called Per Se and ended up on a waiting list. Surprisingly, they called back about 3 days later with a dinner reservation for me. Sure it wasn't until 10pm, but I'm very European like that, so I took it.
I began checking flights and hotels, but for some reason everything was so absurdly expensive, even by New York standards, that the trip was beginning to look unrealistic. Yes, even more unrealistic than flying across the country to eat at a restaurant.
The flights were $350 each, the hotel would have been about $400, and then dinner would have been $800. Add in meals and other stuff, and we are rolling in at like $2500 when the only thing I care about was Per Se. To twist a Justice Antonin Scalia quote around a bit, "I love to eat, but I'm not a nut." However, if I was quoting Justice Clarence Thomas, I would be going on this trip, but I'm no Justice Clarence Thomas. As such, I sadly cancelled the reservation.
Not one to stay down in the dumps too long, I quickly formulated a new plan. I still wanted to eat out somewhere crazy, and Charlie Trotter's immediately came to mind. Trotter's holds a special place in my heart since it was the first multi-course dinner I ever had, but I haven't been back in nearly four years. I also have been hearing good things about Avenues in the Peninsula Hotel, so that was on my list as well.
I was having a very hard time deciding which to choose when I temporarily lost my mind and said to myself, "hey Brian, you were about 4 seconds away from dropping $2500 for one dinner, why don't you go to both restaurants for less than half of that on back to back days?" great idea, Brian, let's do that! What's that you say? It's Chef's Week too and you can go to Vie in Western Springs? Sure, pile it on.
That little thought process is what spawned what can only be described as Dining Out Week. I'm going to Vie tonight, Trotter's on tomorrow, and Avenues on Saturday. I look forward to writing these blog posts, and hopefully I can avoid buying some 1857 Chateau D'Yquem at Trotter's, though I often lose control of myself in situations like that.