Inside, Looking Out: Truly Transcendent

second floor window, looking out
For you Chicago foodies, you’d have to practically be in a coma to have not heard of a little restaurant called Tru. Tru is undoubtedly one of the best restaurants in the city, but attached to that title, shared by restaurants like Charlie Trotters and Alinea (which was listed 10th in the San Pelligrino World’s 50 best restaurants), is a rather steep pricetag, a prix fixe menu, and a stuffy dress code (for the dudes at least – we women get off by wearing cute tops, new shoes, and dresses, which is easy). Thus, while you may have heard of the places, you’ve likely been like myself and crossed those restaurants off your list and instead filled your “places to eat” list with other lovelies in Chicago, like Hot Chocolate, Mado, Publican, Blackbird, etc.

I attended grad school downtown at Northwestern, and our program’s offices were in the same building as Tru, which is usually referred to as the “Corner Bakery building” since the overpriced samich shop is on the other end of the building from Tru. I walked by Tru many a day, wondering what types of people got to eat there, and how many other things were sacrificed by dining there. I mean, did they starve the rest of the week? Month? Since I recently started working in the same building, I am again walking by the place every day and longingly gazing in from the street. But now, now it’s different since I wasn’t quite as obsessed with food then as I am now. I mean, who had time anyway, between going to class and bars?!

So yes, like those short kids with the glasses and acne in grade school, I found myself on the outside looking in for many a day. [And not just in terms of Tru – I remember hiding my glasses in the lunchroom and buying every over-the-counter pimple cream I could get my little hands on.] Things changed a little on Monday: I got a last minute invite to dine at Tru – gratis! Hot dizzy damn! Boy I love this blog. Have I said that before? I do. I really really do.

Tru Foodbuzz menu

You see, I partnered with FoodBuzz (or, as I like to call it, Facebook for Foodies) a few months ago to get more blog traffic/followers and in return, their ad sponsors get to advertise on my site (see top right). In their partnering with Visa Signature, they were able to host a few ‘Community Tables’ with area bloggers across the country, and since Chicago is an awesome city, they came here for one of them. I didn’t win the first raffle for a seat at Tru, but I got an email last-minute that there was an opening. And really, between a culinary school lecture and dinner at one of Chicago’s top restaurants, in no time I’d picked my chin up from the floor in my office, typed “YES!” ninja-fast, and pounced on the send button like a cat on a bug. Done and done. The rest of the story, I’ll leave for you in the pictures.

Caution: Foodie I am, but professional (or even semi-professional) photographer I am not. Having met lots of other bloggers Monday with their sporty Canons & Nikons, I’ve realized just how badly I need to purchase a fancy new camera. Also, I will refrain from using phrases like “tickle my palate” and basically anything using the word palate. Hate that word. Is that weird?

cured salmon in cucumber gelee

Following canapés of scallop & lemon wonton, mini-beef wellington, and
cauliflower sphere, my
bouche was amused with ‘cured salmon in cucumber gelee’

peeky toe crab

1: peeky toe crab: prosciutto, pequillo, cantaloupe cava consommé

frog leg

2: frog leg: roasted garlic, carrot, watercress (p.s. – you can’t see it here, but
when the watercress neige was poured into the bowl, the little roasted garlic
pieces looked like frog eyes poking out – think that was planned? hmmm…)

poached scottish salmon

3: olive oil-poached scottish salmon: granny smith
apple, coconut, thai
long peppercorn. All of above paired
with alma de blanco godello monterrei

braised beef short ribs

4: braised beef short ribs: unagi, scallion pistou, miso emulsion
(psst: this was my fave. Who knew eel was so yum in something non-sushi!).
Paired with Niepoort Twisted Douro ’06

chef rick tramontopastry chef meg galus

Surprise! Co-Executive Chef / Co-Owner Rick Tramonto of the Caviar Staircase
& Pastry Chef Meg Galus (
Gale Gand is the other Pastry Chef & Co-Owner)
make special appearances. Who almost peed their pants?! Me!

seedling farms plum

5: seedling farms plum: sarsaparilla cream,
milk chocolate, ginger-lime meringue

mignardises heremignardises gone

mignardises: gone in a bloody flash!

Aaaaaaaaaand the kitchen tour. Damn I’m a lucky girl.

Tru kitchen tour
Tru pastry kitchen tour

Did I mention I love this blogging thing? I hope you enjoy reading it just as much 🙂

For other (lengthier & more eloquent) descriptions and (prettier) pictures of Tru, check out the sites of the other Chicagoland blogger attendees who beat me to the punch, er, post:

Val @
Marathon Val, Jennifer @ eating bender, Joelen @ What’s Cookin’ Chicago, Mara @ What’s for Dinner?, Terrie @ feasting…on gluten-free pixels, Jada @ Better with Butter, Jared & Alice @ eat-a-duck-i-must, Lindsey @ Lindsey’s Kitchen, Kristin @ Gourmet with Me

Am I missing anyone? If you’ve posted and I missed you, lemme know and I’ll add your blog nod too!

Are you a Chicago food blogger? Check out the newly created meetup group, Chicago Gastro Bloggers. I’m definitely gonna hit up some of those events, but not the first one since I’ll be on vacay! woot!

10 thoughts on “Inside, Looking Out: Truly Transcendent

  1. Jared says:

    Heather, it was nice meeting you and finding someone who loves food as much as we do. Don't worry about the photos, they look lovely and your writing is whimsical. You can still take very nice photos with a non-sporty Canon or Nikon. Maybe we should hold a food photography session?!?!

  2. feasting-on-pixels (terrie) says:

    Yes you are whimsical…even if you don't like the word palate.Made me go back and re-read my post to see if I over-used the word…nope…just once…lol…I love reading all the different takes on the TRU dining experience.Nice post, Heather.Added your blog to my blog nod.Terrie

  3. Joelen says:

    Great write up and thanks for the link love! I look forward to having you join us soon and you'll be missed at the first event!

  4. Jenn Sutherland says:

    Wow – what an amazing evening, and well deserved! I love that FoodBuzz offered this opportunity to their community, and that YOU got to eat at Tru. It's definitely on my culinary "to do" list, but we haven't taken the leap to those upper echelon spendy places…the mortgage does come first. *sigh* Makes me want to consider joining the FoodBuzz network, though!

  5. Heather says:

    Thanks all! I deal with my cybershot the best i know how :)Jenn – you should have seen the gluten-free food – it was awesome! Damn that mortgage 🙂 riiiight.But yes, FB is pretty cool – in exchange for ads on your site, you do get a few perks!

  6. Shaw Girl says:

    Why oh why didn't FoodBuzz sponsor a Community Table in DC??? I think this is all a plot to get me to move to Chicago! Your pictures were great and I agree, you have a very whimsical writing style 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s