The second annual Divine and Wine Chicago is a unique culinary event that celebrated the most popular and accomplished restaurant/bar owners and chefs in the Chicagoland area. The event was held on Thursday, February 28th, at Venue One at 1044 West Randolph Street in Chicago, from 6 to 9 pm. Divine Wine and Dine Chicago was a benefit for The West Central Association (WCA), and donated its proceeds to its mission.
I entered the event with an empty stomach and with an exciting craving to sample food, desserts, wine, and beer, from a variety of culinary establishments. With over 50 different foods and drinks to try, my taste buds had a tasty crash course of what the best of Chicago's dining had to offer. There was a wide variety of food and drink showcased by Chicago's top restaurateurs and chefs. Some of my personal favorites included Athena Greek Restaurant, City Winery, Glazed and Infused, Haymarket Pub and Brewery, Madison Vine Wines, Mariano's Grocery, Pastoral, Saigon Sisters, Skinnie Piggy, Vanille, Vera and Vivo.
One disadvantage that I experienced at Divine Wine and Dine was my limited consumption of many of the culinary samples that were offered. I am a vegetarian, and there were several dishes provided by the chefs that I was unable to eat. There were meat dishes such as pork, chicken, and beef, that I could not consume. For an avid carnivore, there were unlimited foods for guests to choose from. As I ventured from one booth to another, I was greeted by welcoming and generous representatives of each food venue. I felt sad that I was forced to decline what they genuinely offered me. It was very frustrating not having more meatless options for vegetarians like me, who love eating and drinking in Chicago.
Besides the disappointing lack of vegetarian cuisine, I became one with my inner foodie, instead feasting on fabulous wines, heavenly chocolates, and delicious baked goods and desserts. I indulged myself with wine from City Winery and Madison Vine Wines, chocolate truffles from Vanille, donuts from Glazed and Infused (sampled one of each!), cheeses from Pastoral, and cupcakes and brownies from Skinnie Piggy. In addition to wines, beers and desserts, the few meatless cuisines I could definitely eat as a vegetarian consisted of a feta cucumber appetizer from Athena Greek Restaurant, tantalizing winter garlic soup from Three Aces, and a wonderful macaroni and cheese from Lillie's Q. Also, at the many booths that only offered meat dishes, I suggested to them that they might want to consider more meatless options for next year's event.
Overall, I had the best experience trying out food and drink. As mentioned before, despite the scarcity of vegetarian options, I left Divine Wine and Dine Chicago full and very satisfied. I felt very fortunate that I was able to experience this great event, and will definitely plan to attend next year.
For updates on the third Annual Divine Wine and Dine Chicago in 2014, feel free to visit the West Central Association Chamber of Commerce website at http://wcachicago.org/divine-dine-wine. You can also call the association at 312-902-4922 or mailing them at 917 West Washington, #173, Chicago, IL, 60607.