Saturday, February 6, 2010

ENO Bar - Wine, Cheese, & Chocolate

This past Friday night, the commissary closed early so that Mrs. Hackknife and I could spend an evening in the big city doing big city things. First, we attended a tour and reception at our local National Public Radio affiliate studio on Navy Pier (luckily, I had a few minutes before the event started to sneak across the hall to Billy Goat Tavern for a quick cheezborger and Billy Goat dark lager). Afterwards, we headed over to a swanky nearby club (the kind which on a normal Friday night would be hosting a demographic that is a full level younger than us) for a Starlight charity benefit to support a friend auctioning off a prize package. I was given strict instructions to drive up bidding on his basketball-themed package (which included 2 Final 4 tickets and dinner w/Milwaukee Bucks rookie Brandon Jennings, among other things) and I didn't disappoint - I told Mrs. Hackknife that I wouldn't bid higher than $1,200, then couldn't resist seeing her reaction when I made another unexpected bid at $2,000 (she was amazingly nonplussed for the most part). Luckily, we didn't end up having to pony up (the winning bid was $2,300), thus avoiding the dilemma of having to find someone to come with me to St. Louis to watch 9 games of the Missouri Valley Conference Post-Season Tournament (another part of the package, which would have included such stellar potential match-ups as Evansville vs. SW. Mo. St.).

Anyway, getting to the real reason for this post - before heading home empty handed, we stopped on Michigan Avenue at a place I've been wanting to check out since it arrived a few years back. In the lobby of the Intercontinental Hotel is a small wine bar specializing in pairings with cheeses, cured meats, and chocolate (what's not to like, right?) called ENO Bar ENO Bar. It wasn't particularly crowded for a Friday night and may be slightly suffering from the effects of a new pork-and-wine type joint now open immediately across the street (Purple Pig, which will likely be the subject of a future posting when we get there). After perusing the menu, we settled on a combination platter of three different meats/cheeses that also included some nuts, bread slices, spicy mustard, some raspberry jam, and four small chocolates (the remnants of said platter can be seen in the photo above). The cheeses were a variety of hard sheep's milk, a triple cream (this means triple artery-clogging, but also triple tasty), and something else that wasn't bad (note to self: starting taking better notes if I'm going to be blogging about restaurant food). Mrs. Hackknife enjoyed a glass of Spanish red blend wine, while I tried an off-dry (semi-sweet) white from Washington State that had marsanne, rousanne, and pinot gris in it. All in all, the food and wine were enjoyable, but not outstanding and definitely not as good of a value as our favorite wine bar in town (Randolph Street Wine Cellars) as they probably have to jack up the prices a couple of bucks to pay for the Magnificent Mile location.

In summary, decent place, not bad to stop by if you're in the neighborhood or looking for a low-key snack w/friends, but probably not a destination unto itself.

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