A Dream Come TRU: Foodbuzz in Chicago!

by Jenn (eating bender) on August 25, 2009

There aren’t enough positive adjectives to describe how truly remarkable my experience with Foodbuzz and TRU restaurant were last night. I felt like I was in another world


I was originally going to go straight from work, but realized midday that I wasn’t appropriately dressed for the occasion. Mara was kind enough to pick me up from work and, after taking “the long way” home – we missed a turn and ended up in the most unfortunate chain of red lights, one-ways and closed streets! – I made it back, changed into an LBD, and raced back to Mara’s car. We arrived fashionably late at 6:35 pm :) Just in time to be seated next to MarathonVal and her husband!

DSCN5355(3 M’s: Mara, Me, MarathonVal) :)

Immediately upon being seated, we were greeted with a beautiful place setting.


I opened the menu to see what we were in for, and was amazed by the array of food that awaited us!


While we waited for the remaining guests to arrive, one of the waiters brought us a Basil Collins. It was absolutely PHENOMENAL – made with corn vodka and basil infusions, with a hint of carbonation.


Once everyone was seated, the feast began :) We started with three hors d’ouevres. First up was a Cauliflower Sphere, made of cauliflower puree, trout roe and an orange zest. It was an odd sensation – a little gooey in texture, but full of flavor. Definitely unlike anything I’ve ever tried!


The next hors d’ouevres – or should I say, canapés? – was a Mini-Beef Wellington. It was about the size of a ping pong ball. I ended up having two of these because they were so good. The beef was tender and juicy, and the outer shell was just enough coating – not too heavy.


Our final starter for the evening was a Scallop + Lemon Wonton. What impressed me was the fact that something that seems simple had so many different layers to it. Mara and I decided that this is what sets these chefs apart – I could never develop such rich combinations on my own!


Once everyone had finished their appetizers, we were served brioche and pumpernickel bread. As you know, this was my favorite part of the meal…

Ok, not really, but I always have a soft spot for the bread options :mrgreen: These were tasty.


We were also served our first pour of the evening – a white called Alma de Blanco Godello Monterrei from Spain. It was from 2008 and tasted crisp, dry and fruity.


With our wine came an amuse bouche: sea cured salmon with a lemon cucumber jelly and edible button flowers. The taste was salty, zesty and savory all rolled into one.


Then it was time to get down to business! Our first course was the Peeky Toe Crab, which was served with prosciutto, pequillo and a cantaloupe-cava consommé that was poured over the top. The crab itself was very rich, and complemented the other savory-sweet flavors perfectly.


Our next course was Frog Leg – !?!?! – served with roasted garlic, carrot and watercress. I never thought I would see the day where I’d be trying frog leg, but as you would probably guess, it “tasted like chicken.” If by chicken you mean a rich delicacy with carefully chopped garlic, carrot and watercress puree :) It was definitely an interesting course and I’m glad that I can now say I’ve tried it.


Next up was the Olive Oil-Poached Scottish Salmon. This was my second favorite course (the best is still to come!). It was infused with Granny Smith apple, coconut and Thai long peppercorn.


The last of the savory courses was my absolute favorite: Braised Beef Short Ribs. This dish was so perfectly tender that it literally melted in my mouth. It was topped with unagi (eel), scallion pistou, and a miso emulsion, which is the foam cascading down the side. Miso emulsion = pure genius.


At this point, we were also served the red wine pour of the evening. It was called Niepoort Twisted Douro from 2006, and was made in Portugal. PAPA BENDER: You would have loved it :)


The main courses were over way too soon, but I loved each and every one of them in their own way. I was most impressed by the obvious care that went into the preparation of each dish. I really think that culinary professionals deserve a lot of credit! Amazing, amazing work.

Of course, then it was time for dessert :) Our first serving was Seedling Farms Plum, which came with sarsaparilla cream, milk chocolate and a ginger-lime meringue. I can’t decide which of those sub-parts I liked most. They were all incredible. I may have to go with the sarsaparilla cream!


We were also served Intelligentsia coffee (yum!) with brown + white sugar cubes and cream.


Then came…the tower.


More formally known as “mignardises,” these were tiny finger desserts. I was only going to try a few, but then Val reminded me that I have no idea when I will be going back to this restaurant, so I tried one of each :) In the left picture (clockwise), there was an apricot candy, pistachio macaroon, dark chocolate lollipop and cream-filled chocolate cup. In the right picture (clockwise), there was a dark chocolate shortbread, an almond tartlet and a passionfruit marshmallow. All excellent. All mouthwatering. All irresistible.


Three hors d’ouevres, two wines, four courses and two dessert plates later, I was a happy camper :mrgreen: Perhaps the best part about this meal was that it was THREE hours long. Although we ate a lot of food, it was spaced out in such a leisurely way that I really was comfortably full when it was over. Plus, we spent the whole time chatting, so the time flew by!

After dinner, we were lucky enough to be given a tour. We found out where they keep their amazing dish and glassware, and paid a visit to the “bartender,” who actually works from behind the kitchen doors.


We also got to visit the site where the chefs do their amazing work.


And spent a little time with the pastry chef, who Mara actually knew through her sister!


She gave us a sample of what I think was a ginger-infused truffle. We were told to eat the entire piece in one bite without stopping to take a picture. Good call, because literally upon biting into it I was greeted with a rush of gingery juice that instantly filled my mouth with rich sweetness. Le sigh.


I still can’t believe I was able to enjoy such an incredible meal with even better company. I would like to give a big thank you to Ryan, Amy and Gina from Foodbuzz for coming to Chicago and making this happen. It was so nice to finally put faces with the amazing network that has done so much for me the past year and a half. When I look back on what I have been able to do, taste and see, it never ceases to amaze and astound me, and I have you to thank for that.


Upon leaving the restaurant, we were provided with a “takeaway” and told to enjoy it with the next morning’s cup of coffee. You can bet that I did just that :) It was a jelly-filled, muffin-like culinary masterpiece. It made me smile while I was eating it and remember the previous night’s experience.


Another big thanks goes out to the people at TRU for providing what was hands down one of the best meals of my life. Your hospitality did not go unnoticed! It was equally amazing to have the chance to meet Chef Rick Tramonto, who paid us a visit during our meal. (You can also see Katie from Salt and Chocolate and Alice + Jared from Eat A Duck I Must in the photo. Alice + Jared brought a book copy for Rick to sign!)


I’m looking forward to more Chicago meet ups in the future. Sharing good food is one of life’s greatest pleasures. If anyone is ever in the Windy City, let me know – I’d be happy to meet you for dinner :)

TRU Love,


{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

1 broccolihut August 25, 2009 at 10:02 pm

Wow, what a fabulous evening! I am so glad you had a good time. It all looks amazing, but I think the tower is my favorite:)


2 Lizzy August 25, 2009 at 10:12 pm

This this fab! OMG. How could not enjoy each and every bite! so yum! Glad you had an awesome time girl! :)



3 carolinebee August 25, 2009 at 10:13 pm

BEeeaautiful!!! OMG what a treat!! And great call Val on the once in a lifetime dessert ;D I tend to use restraint sometimes, and it helps to have someone say, Nahh how bout not right now!!

Can’t wait to veeseet you 😀 XO


4 sue August 26, 2009 at 12:22 am

wow what a TRUly amazing meal :) everything is so gorgeous… thanks for sharing it with us!


5 Foodie (Fab and Delicious Food) August 26, 2009 at 12:46 am

Wow, everything looks amazing! Glad you enjoyed all the food, and that you had a great time!


6 Shelby August 26, 2009 at 4:22 am

Stunning meal. Just fabulous.

I’m near Chicago and would love to meet you for dinner, just not when school is this hectic!!!


7 Miz. August 26, 2009 at 4:50 am

jealous much MizFit?

why YES.



8 Erica August 26, 2009 at 5:26 am

WOW! What an event. I love all the small plates. My favorite I think is the Scallop + Lemon Wonton! Yummy. I love the mini desserts too- especially the lolipop!


9 Hangry Pants August 26, 2009 at 5:41 am

That looks awesome! What a wonderful and delicious experience. I would have felt so important – lol! I love Val’s attitude about dessert too!


10 ttfn300 August 26, 2009 at 6:04 am

OMG, what an amazing meal!!! sounds like such a great evening, and quite the restaurant :)


11 Rosey Rebecca August 26, 2009 at 6:06 am

Looks so good and so much fun!! Glad you got the opportunity!


12 Gina August 26, 2009 at 6:33 am

Wow, what an awesome food experience!! I love the ginger-infused truffle, and the frog legs! Everything looks so delicious, but too pretty to eat! Thanks for sharing your experience with us, I’m super jealous. Oh, and that tower of chocolate goodies?? Yum!


13 eatingbirdfood August 26, 2009 at 6:44 am

Jenn, it looks as though you all had an amazing time at TRU. Foodbuzz surely knows how to hook a blogger up! :) Although I had trouble pronouncing most of the dishes… all the food looked absolutely delicious. My favorites are the purple edible flowers and of course, the dessert tower.


14 gina (fitnessista) August 26, 2009 at 6:48 am

you girls were wined and dined for sure!! i’m in love with that salmon– it looks so buttery and glorious
have a wonderful day!


15 brandi August 26, 2009 at 6:50 am

wow – what an amazing meal! You could just take me over to the dessert table and I’d be happy :)


16 MarathonVal August 26, 2009 at 6:51 am

Your photography looks amazing!!! You did such a spectacular job describing your meals….. that was really fun to read since I had the vegan course and, while I peeked over Mike and your shoulders as much as I could, in the moment in the midst of the excitement it was hard to catch all of the details!

What fun did we have!??!?! I still cannot believe we actually got to experience Tru in all its finery!


17 Danielle August 26, 2009 at 7:05 am

What a fantastic dinner, I’m so jealous of all the great food you got to try!


18 Sarah R August 26, 2009 at 7:23 am

Wow! I’m in a food coma just thinking about all that wonderful food! Sounds like an amazing time.


19 Andrea (Off Her Cork) August 26, 2009 at 7:45 am

Awesome awesome awesome!!! 😀 What a great time, I loved the recap and all the glorious food!


20 Kristie Lynn August 26, 2009 at 7:46 am

What an amazing looking meal! And a jelly-filled muffin sounds amaaaazing :)


21 lilveggiepatch August 26, 2009 at 8:15 am

What an AMAZING dinner! Hooray for Foodbuzz! I love when restos give you little goodies on the way out.


22 Marisa (Trim The Fat) August 26, 2009 at 8:34 am

Looks like a fantastic time, Jenn!

Those ginger truffles looked so awesome!


23 Lindsay @ bananaandchocolate August 26, 2009 at 8:46 am

Wow! Everything looks so good! What a great recap!


24 alice August 26, 2009 at 8:50 am

not that it was intentional, but thanks for the photo of us and rick =) and, we should all head back there for another meal!


25 Kristin August 26, 2009 at 8:51 am

It was so great to meet you! Your pictures are amazing! Definitely (but hopefully not) a once-in-a-lifetime experience!!


26 ksgoodeats August 26, 2009 at 8:58 am

As I said on Mara’s blog, the bread would have been plenty enough for me 😉 Love me some carbs! Everything else is just icing on the cake – it looks delicious and beautifully presented! Glad you three enjoyed yourselves!!


27 Allison August 26, 2009 at 9:18 am

What a fabulous night! You girls are so lucky! Thanks for the detailed recap – they had some SUPER intriguing food! :)


28 nutritionbyeve August 26, 2009 at 10:39 am

What an amazing meal! I think tasting meals are so great, b/c you really get the most satisfaction from the first few bites so this provides maximum enjoyment. I would love to try frogs legs one day :)


29 Mara @ What's For Dinner? August 26, 2009 at 10:59 am

I saved reading your post for after the kids left today so that I could re-enjoy the meal again. It really was an amazing experience!! I’m so happy I got to share it with you :)


30 luckytastebuds August 26, 2009 at 11:22 am

OH GOD le sigh is correct!!! I am sooo dissappointed i missed out on Tru by giving up my spot cuz I thought nobody I knew was going!! *sob* It would have been SUCH a ridiculous amount of fun eating with you and Mara! Everything definitely looks gourmet (yes…a dream come TRU!) Thank you for taking pictures of everything so I can live vicariously through you!!! :) Hope work is going fantastic and downtown is treating you well!


31 Shannon (The Daily Balance) August 26, 2009 at 12:04 pm

oh my goodness, what a gorgeous restaurant and meal! so great that you got to share with with such great ladies 😉


32 Stephanie P August 26, 2009 at 12:16 pm

Hi Jenn! That meal looks amazing!

I just moved to downtown Chicago from Texas. Are there any mexican restaurants you recommend!?!


33 Paige (Running Around Normal) August 26, 2009 at 12:18 pm

What a lovely night! All that food looks so unique and so delicious. The crab entree especially made me drool :) Oh, and the plum dessert looked phenomonal, too. Wow. That’s so awesome! I’m just a little under 2 hours south of Chicago, so next time I’m there I just might check this place out 😀


34 Sarah (Finding My Balance) August 26, 2009 at 1:02 pm

Oh. My. Gawd. What an absolutely incredible night! I swear I was just about drooling on the keyboard. Lucky you!


35 Jenny August 26, 2009 at 2:26 pm

ok so regardless of the fact that i can’t pronounce 99% of that food — i still want all of it!


36 Diana (Soap & Chocolate) August 26, 2009 at 2:58 pm

OMG that meal must have been life-changing. What an amazing opportunity! Wishing I lived in Chicago right about now…


37 Pearl August 26, 2009 at 3:58 pm

wow the food looks incredible!


38 Kristie August 26, 2009 at 8:33 pm

What an event! The food… holy camoly! It all looks incredible. I’ll admit some of the dishes would probably freak me out a little (yeah yeah the frog leg) but it’s all so beautifully presented… I’d probably suck it up and try it all anyway. Is it weird to say that I think the dishes look CUTE? Some of them are just adorable.


39 TorontoGirloutWest August 26, 2009 at 10:37 pm

I am all kinds of jealous! lol What an absolute feast!

Now if only foodbuzz community tables would pay Canada a visit. Or foodbuzz tastemaker samples. Or even my long awaited foodbuzz/moo cards. We kind of get the short end of the stick.


40 Heather @ chik n' pastry August 27, 2009 at 11:31 am

Nice description. I finally wrote my post, and we used the same window shot as the first picture – too funny!

That short rib was my favorite too. But lets be real here – I’d eat any of it again if asked :)


41 Lara (Thinspired) August 27, 2009 at 1:42 pm

This event looks like so much fun. The menu is gorgeous…scallop and lemon won ton?! Holy moly. I love all the LBD’s on the bloggers! 😉


42 Alison August 27, 2009 at 2:12 pm

Fun times! I especially like the spoon appetizer.


43 Joelen August 27, 2009 at 10:20 pm

Great write up and pics! It was great to meet you (albeit briefly) and hopefully we’ll meet up again soon!


44 megzzwinsatlife August 28, 2009 at 1:52 pm

Just tweeted about your giveaway!!


45 glidingcalm August 28, 2009 at 4:39 pm

What an amazing meal!!!! Everything sounds so interesting and delicious, and oh so beautiful!!!


46 Rebeca August 29, 2009 at 5:16 pm

Wow what an incredible experience! The food looks amazing…

and your pictures… wow! I’m salivating, mmmmm


47 traveleatlove August 30, 2009 at 7:30 pm

That looks like such an incredible meal, and so cool that you got to meet fellow bloggers! I hope Foodbuzz does a Boston dinner soon!


48 Marianne August 31, 2009 at 2:23 am

Wow, what an amazing dinner experience. Very nice 😀 Everything looks delicious, and so beautiful. Foodbuzz – bring some of your events up north or at least to Seattle!


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