Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Charlie Trotters

Six weeks before I went to Chicago I decided to see if I could get a table at Charlie Trotter's restaurant. I could- it would be about 10 pm, but I could get a table. That is how popular this restaurant would become.

Over the course of the four hour dinner I had eight courses of some of the most amazing food I had ever tasted - but not a single course was more than a couple of ounces of food. Yet, by the end of dinner- I had one of the most amazing food experiences.

Charlie Trotter was not a classically trained chef - he became interested in cooking while in college, and read every cookbook he had and practiced cooking on friends and family.  Finding this to be his passion, he started catering, and ultimately worked for the Chicago legend Gordon Sinclair. He than started this restaurant with his father.

What Charlie learned were several very simple truths: what is in season works, what is local is better, and if it means we change the menu daily- then we do it.

The result- simple food, well balanced, cooked to perfection - and not something that will cause you to gain weight- but an experience that will last a lifetime.

Some of my patients would balk and say that there was just not enough food-- the soup was presented in a small gourd - and probably had two tablespoons of soup- but was fresh, and delightful. The desert was a sliver of fine cake - not a traditional "piece."

I calculated the caloric content of the meal to be less than 450 calories (including coffee).

Great meals, with fresh ingredients, are not meant to "stuff" you- and a great meal is not how much food you can get- but the taste of something great.

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