Uncharted

Friends forging a course together through the unexpected

Fancy Steaks and Fast Cars February 19, 2014

Matt and I decided we would switch each year the planning responsibility of Valentine’s Day. And 2014 was my year. Since it’s our first year being married, I wanted to do something special – a really nice meal and some type of activity. First, the meal. Because food is way too important to be second in my book!

After reading Chicago Magazine’s top twenty steak restaurants in Chicago, I immediately had an epiphany. Matt’s favorite meal is steak and I would be a fool to pass up a listing of 20 possibilities! Off to OpenTable I fled to see about reservations at David Burke’s Primehouse (the number one steak house rated by Chicago magazine). Wanting to avoid crowds, fights for parking spaces and pre-fixed menus I opted for a Saturday night reservation at 6:15 p.m.

The activity part was proving difficult. With the unpredictability of the winter weather, I was limited to a few options. That was until my boss gave me tickets to the Chicago Auto Show. Problem solved! Steak and cars? I thought to myself, I totally have this Valentine’s Day in the bag!

This past Saturday afternoon, we drove down to McCormick Place. With free tickets, our only out of pocket expense was a reasonable flat fee of $14 for parking.

This was my first time at the auto show and Matt’s second. I don’t know what was more fun, watching Matt look at all the vehicles or me analyzing the vendor set-up for brand consistency. (Yup, I’m an advertising nerd). For me, highlights included:

  • Ford with a display of unique vehicles including their police line, a Tonka truck and a few Mustangs.

  • Being able to sit in a variety of cars from Ford, Nissan to Volvo, BMW and more!

  • Driving courses. Toyota hauled in at least a ton of dirt to create an course that you could drive through with a variety of  their SUV’s and trucks. Jeep did something similar but less dirt and more like a car on a platform roller coaster. Unfortunately the lines were way too long and we had a dinner reservation to keep!

Ford Tonka Truck

Ford Tonka Truck

David Burke’s Primehouse offers reasonably priced valet parking or there is a public parking garage on the same block as the restaurant. We arrived ten minutes early and to my surprised were seated  immediately. Our waiter was very friendly and attentive. He explained all the specials and his favorites dishes. Our meal began with signature cocktails, bacon sticks and surf and turf dumplings. The bacon sticks were AMAZING. You MUST get these if you go to David Burke’s. The turf dumplings weren’t too special, and probably the most lackluster dish out of our meal.

Back Sticks

Back Sticks

The main course for Matt included a 55 day ribeye (which was named by Chicago Magazine as the best dry-aged steak and I went with the  40 day ribeye. Our waiter recommend two sides, one veggie and one starch. We split an order or bourbon glazed mushrooms and mac’n’cheese with chorizo, cilantro and jalapenos. The portions were very generous and delicious – from the meat to the sides. Almost too much food for me, because I stopped eating to save room for dessert!

40 Day Ribeye w/ mushrooms and mac'n'cheese!

40 Day Ribeye w/ mushrooms and mac’n’cheese!

The cheesecake lollipops peaked our interest as did the special of a raspberry chocolate treat. Asking our ever faithful waiter his recommendation, we went with the special, which happened to be made by the head pastry chef. And boy, I was very, very, very happy with our selection. The dessert was light, flavorful with raspberry, chocolate and mascarpone. We pretty much had to restrain ourselves from licking the plate.

By the end of the night, I got a well done from Matt. With our bellies full we headed off planning on when we could return to and get more bacon sticks.

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