Aviary : 7 Layers of Goodness & Research

By Tsz on March 13, 2012

Gastrophoria is having a deconstructed Hurricane and small bites at Aviary. Especially when it’s for done in the name of research.

One of my passions is painting abstract portraits. Few things can top it—except when it’s painting an abstract portrait of food. So when KevinEats contacted me about creating a triptych depicting his dining experiences on Alinea (the momentous meal that started KevinEats), it was on!

Since I was going to Chicago already for a convention, I thought the best way to do research was to visit one of Grant Achatz’ legendary establishments. Unfortunately, Alinea was out of my budget and Next was sold out (and out of my budget). What’s left was Aviary, Achatz’s cocktail bar: no reservations needed and prices that were practically a steal when compared to his restaurants. Score.

Aviary isn’t your typical bar, in fact, it’s closer to a science lab than an eatery. Mixologists and cooks work in silent precision, crafting up cocktails and small bites that look like modernist art.

Bloody Mary comes in a vodka filled cherry tomato and topped with micro celery and a sliver of thai chili. N’awlins’ favorite, the Hurricane comes carefully in a flask, displaying 7 layers of juices and alcohol.

As for the bites, I had:

1. Cantaloupe with prosciutto chip, basil and champagne
2. Foie Gras with rhubarb, pumpernickel and lavender
3. Brioche with chocolate, smoked salt and vanilla

Remember those commercials of fruit gushers? Well, the best way to describe the experience of Aviary bites are just that. Each dish is a bon-bon explosion of intense flavors and textures.

With the night committed to my memories, I got back to work. This was the result:

The Aviary
953-955 W. Fulton St
Chicago, IL 60607
Phone : None


Trader Joe’s Chocolate Croissants : A Taste of Paris for Breakfast

By Tsz on March 13, 2012

Gastrophoria is a pain au chocolat fresh out of the oven.

My first experience was when I visited Europe (1st timer!) last year. I had just landed at the Orly airport during the last leg of my European adventures and was absolutely famished. Due to a lack of funds (Europe is not cheap I tell you), I settled on this unassuming pastry from the airport’s bakery for my first dinner in Paris. It was heavenly.

Layers upon layers of flaky pastry surrounding a dark chocolate bar that’s in a semi-liquidly state, it was a rhapsody in carbs and sugar. Needless to say, I attempted to eat one for each day I was in Paris. Fortunately for my waistline, I walked everywhere—partly due to my curiosity and partly due to the lack of understanding of the metro system.

Ever since I got back, I craved pain au chocolat. Mercifully, the experience can be closely recreated at home, sans the $1000 plane ticket.

Believe it or not, Trader Joe’s has a top-notch pain au chocolat (or chocolate croissant as they like to call it) in the freezer aisle. All you need is to plop the little pastry bundles on a cookie sheet, let them rise over night (they expand 4 times its own size) and bake for 20-30 minutes. Et voila, a taste of Paris!

Best paired with a vroom vroom red nail polish a la Chanel 475 Dragon for a balanced breakfast. Bon appetite!