NRA Show, Chicago

May 17, 2012 § 1 Comment

Last weekend, I attended the National Rifle Restaurant Association’s annual conference in Chicago, IL. Not only was it my first weekend at the show, but my first time visiting the windy city! For anyone who is involved in the restaurant industry, I highly recommend attending next year. While my favorite part was walking the giant hall and sampling everything I passed, there is something for everyone there–whether your goal is to find new software, a new meat freezer, or just meet Richard Blaise, Kenny Loggins (rockstar, still kickin’ at 64), or Bill Clinton (ex-president, still kickin’ at 65).

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In addition to the Grand Hall, they have educational sessions throughout each day and I attended a brilliant discussion on utilizing social media to grow business. I bet a lot of deals go down every year as a direct result of this. Here is a video of the first day from their website.

I was probably most excited just to try some of the amazing food Chicago has to offer and I recommend these spots if you’re planning a visit:

Xoco – Rick Bayliss’s casual Mexican spot has melt-in-your-mouth caldos (mexican soup) like the “Pork Belly Vermicelli” (Fideos): Crispy-tender pork belly, toasty-tender noodles, woodland mushrooms, zucchini, avocado, salsa negra. YUM. They also have churros with dipping sauce and handmade vanilla ice cream. I MEANNNN just look.

Sunda – It’s a New Asian bona fide Chicago hot spot, and its da bomb. You will actually not believe the Crispy Brussel Sprout Salad could possibly be vegetables and ask if this special little bite is on hand–silky white fish wrapped around sticky rice and topped with a truffle potato chip. Then inhale. I also always thought I hated sake but their Peared Sake cocktail tastes like sweet pear and cinnamon. Dessert? It is simply called “The Ridiculous”–tempura-fried, ginger carrot cake-covered vanilla ice cream with caramel sauce and candied nuts.

Obligatory Chicago Bean Pic, duh

Yes, it was a misty rain for the entirety of our stay. Chi-town spring ain’t got nothin’ on Nashvegas.

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