It’s probably safe to say that my favorite sport is cooking. Coming from a long line of home cooks, I was one of those kids who grew up in the kitchen pretending to host a cooking show. I dreamed of creating magical dishes that fed people’s bellies and hearts. I developed a longing that the food I would create would nourish bodies and souls, gather people together around a table, and produce in them a feeling of being full.
It’s not often that you sit down at a restaurant table for the first time and feel like a guest in someone’s home, but at Filini at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, I had just that experience. I sat with friends old and new, drank wine, ate a meal, and left feeling full. I understood why after meeting Chef Carolina Diaz, who at an impressively young age is heading up Filini’s culinary team. She was all I dreamt her up to be during my meal: kind, humble, and full of joy to see smiling faces gathered around her table.
We tried a variety of the summer’s finest tastes on the Filini menu, my favorite being the asparagus. To me, what Chef Diaz has done with one plate encompasses many of the best things about summer: a crisp, fresh vegetable, a bright citrus tang, salty capers, and a luxurious egg yolk topped with smoked sea salt reminiscent of ocean wind. The temperature and texture contrast of the warm egg yolk with the cool crunch of the asparagus brought it all together to make a cohesive plate. It was so good that I recreated it at home not a week later.
[Branzino – grilled mediteranean sea bass, salsa verde, rainbow carrots]
Do yourself a favor and get to Filini ASAP and experience the quintessential Chicago summer evening.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary meal to facilitate this post. Review and all opinions are my own.