I met my date at 6:00 p.m. on the sixteenth floor to dine at Sixteen, a Michelin two-star, Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five Diamond restaurant, located in the Trump International Hotel & Tower. The jaw-dropping panoramic views of Lake Michigan, the Chicago River and the Wrigley Clock Tower were so stunning that I felt like I was looking at a green screen.
Executive Chef Thomas Lents and Pastry Chef Aya Fukai created a thoughtful and imaginative twelve-course Vegetarian Tasting Menu that was like nothing I've ever experienced: Tomato Gelee, Avocado, Quinoa, Sorrel; Variations of English Pea; Fresh Pressed Corn, Summer Squash and Citronelle; Grilled Gem Lettuce in its own Juice, Charred Bread; Barley Porridge, Mustard Greens and Juice; Haricot Vert Almondine and Caper Espuma; Baby Fennel, Artichoke, Green Chickpea and Lemon Sabayon; Truffled Leek and Pommes Puree; Grilled Tofu, Confit Eggplant and Garlic Root; Earl Grey Tea Granite, African Blue Basil and Cherry Consomme; Matcha Genoise, Ricotta Cream and Raspberry Milk Jelly; and finally, Mint and Goat Cheese, Compressed Watermelon, Domaine de Canton Tapioca and Brown Butter Streusel.
Food in Progress: Assessing an American Food Revolution began the night with a vintage seed box, filled with unique creations like turnips in edible dirt, that served as the menu. We went on an adventure to the garden, the farm, the sea, the ranch and finally—the grand finale— the field. Each course and wine pairing began with a story from our knowledgeable and passionate host. We traveled to France, Hungary, Italy, Austria, Japan and even California on this gastronomical journey—a dinner that lasted over five hours but felt like one. It was a summer night of great conversation, beautiful food presentations and indelible wines.