Allium

Four Seasons Hotel 120 E Delaware Pl. Chicago, IL 60611 •  (312) 799-4900 •  alliumchicago.com

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I suppose it should come as no shock that the restaurant in the Four Seasons is excellent, because after having now eaten at five of them (New York, Toronto, Atlanta, Istanbul & Chicago), the only shock would be if it wasn’t superb. After all, that’s just how they roll- four knives or better, or four get it. And unFOURgettable it was (okay, I’m done with the “four” puns). A farm to table tour de FOURce (I lied) that would make the Department of Agriculture proud.

Feeling a bit chunky, however, I didn’t go all in, deciding to keep it lite with choices like the white asparagus gazpacho accented with marcona almonds, grapes and smoked trout roe. It was one of the best cold soups I’ve ever had and everything I was hoping it would be. Full of flavor, not calories. And as fresh as The Prince of Bel Air.

The other half of my soup and salad duo was a roasted carrot salad comprised of marinated wheat berries, lime yogurt, bitter greens, pistachio and some mysterious form of heat. I’m gonna go with chile. It was like Bugs Bunny’s wet dream on a plate. Ew… I think I might’ve even grossed myself out on that one. But assuming I didn’t just ruin it for you, this is a must get. Trust me. You need this.

Then, wash it all down with an excellent sav blanc from South Africa and you will be happier than Pharrell on Zoloft.

4 teeth

La Pizza Fresca

31 E 20th St. New York, NY 10003(212) 598-0141lapizzafrescaristorante.com

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New York pizza is an art unto itself, and regardless of the plethora of artists in the city, there are few that can dish out a pie as masterful as La Pizza Fresca. But don’t just take my word for it, after all, I’m just some schmuck with overbearing opinions, but do take it from the authorities on the subject as this is the only pizza place in the entire city that is verified by the Associazione Vera Pizze in Italy. And yes, apparently that’s a real organization.

The sauce, the crust, the toppings- all top notch and bursting with fresh flavors that rise off of the pizza like a Pharrell song up the pop charts. All are excellent, but my two personal favs are the quattro fromaggi and the primavera. The former is so artfully layer you can actually taste each cheese on the pie shining through. And the primavera with fire roasted veggies is so rich and full of flavor you don’t even miss the absence of meat. That said, you can’t go wrong with the meat pies either if that’s your bag.

Now for a few caveats. The pies are only individually sized and they take a LOT of time to make. Roughly 40 minutes each. Plus, the oven is small, so if the place is busy you could easily go 90 minutes before ever seeing a bite. This brings me to my other caveat… It’s not really a “pizza joint” in the typical sense. It’s much more upscale. They have an extensive wine list and menu and both are also good. But pies are not their only thing, so don’t go if you’re hoping for a quick slice. This is a place where you sit and savor what pizza can be when it is self-actualized. Heady I know, but with a 40 minute wait you’ll have plenty of time to pontificate what I mean.

And I’m glad it only has 3 stars on Yelp, so other people don’t flock to it. Because if they did, the wait for a pie would be worse than Godot. So let’s all just keep this gem to ourselves, okay?

5 teeth