Friday, July 13, 2012

Chobani Boka Dinner

Wednesday night I was given a great opportunity to attend a dinner put together by Chobani.  A couple weeks ago I received a save the date and was quite surprised and excited to be invited to the event.  The event was to enjoy a Chobani inspired dinner at the local restaurant Boka.  I had never heard of the restaurant before, but after doing a quick Google search found that the chef has received a Michelin Star the past two years and tons of great reviews.  It looked like it was going to be good.  

The restaurant is located in Lincoln Park on North Halsted, which isn't too far from downtown, where I work.  The timing ended up being perfect for me to make it to the event after work Wednesday.  The day before we got an email letting us know what other bloggers would be there and a reminder to dress up since Boka was more upscale.  Trying to find something to wear was a challenge.  I had a couple dresses, but I haven't worn them in awhile and when I went to try them on found they were too big for me now and weren't that flattering.  I didn't have time to shop for something new so decided to belt one of the dresses which I think helped.  

After work I took the El straight over and walked into the restaurant just past 7pm to find all the ladies drinking and chatting.  I am always a bit intimidated and shy meeting new people, but I walked over and introduced myself.  There were about four Chobani representatives, Emily, Jackie, Mariana, and Amy, and nine bloggers attending.  After a few appetizers and introductions we sat down to a large table.  I think I chose a good side of the table because I got to sit near Katie, Marissa, Lindsay, and Kelsey.  These ladies were awesome!  We had great time chatting about everything from food, blogs, tv, music, and books.  

The other bloggers in attendance were Carly, Jessica, Megan, Molly, and Joelen.  It was long table so I didn't get a chance to chat long with the other ladies, but it was so nice to meet them and hopefully we get together again soon.

As we sat down a menu of the evening meals was presented and we were promptly given pieces of warm bread.  I knew a big meal was coming, but it is so hard to resist fresh bread and this stuff was perfect. 
Our kind and attentive server, Stu, then came around to ask everyone if they had any dietary restrictions.  (My only one was that I won't eat lamb, I just can't get past it.)  I have to say they were really great about making substitutions for the vegetarians and those who are gluten free. 

The first course: Hay Roasted Baby Beets, Blueberries, Chobani Greek Yogurt, Fir Tree Honey, Pepper Wheat Cracker.
I only recently tried beets about two weeks ago, when some friends and I from work went out to celebrate a birthday.  I didn't really care for it then, but I thought I'd give them a second chance.  I am so glad I did!  This dish was so good.  The combination of flavors was perfect.  This might have been my favorite dish of the evening.  I was really quite surprised I liked it so much.  I could have done without the crackers though.

The second course: Soft Shell Crab, Grilled Prawns, Chobani Greek Yogurt Grits, Morel Mushrooms, Beet Braised Kohlrabi, Mache.
Something new for me again, soft shell crab.  I wasn't quite sure how to eat it.  I have only had blue crab and snow crab before, so I didn't know you could actually eat the whole crab. I kind of picked the meat out of them.  I tried to eat the soft shell, but couldn't get past the soft shell thing.  However the shrimp and Chobani grits with the mushrooms and beets were delicious!  I have had my fair share of shrimp and grits and I have to say Boka's was great.  Very creamy and awesome flavor.  I think the Chobani really made those grits.  The mushrooms and beets were a great compliment as well.  Besides the crab, this was a close second for my favorite dish.

The final savory course: Lamb Rack, Roobios, Bulgur Wheat, Roasted Baby Vegetables, Purple Fingerling Potatoes, Fava Beans, Roasted Eggplant, Chobani Greek Yogurt Sauce.  I didn't want the lamb, so they subbed beef tenderloin for me.
I haven't had steak in forever and this one was cooked perfectly.  The best bites were when I got some of everything on the plate on it.  I was starting to get full at this point, but everything was just so good.  

Finally was dessert: Chobani Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta, Plums, Honey, Streusel.
This was a great dish to end the evening.  I wish there was a little bit more of the the red sauce on the plate, but the plums were tasty with the panna cotta.  

By the time we had finished the amazing four course menu Boka had put together for us it was almost 10pm and everyone on my side of the table usually gets up early, so we figured it was time to say our goodbyes.  

We all left with a bag of Chobani themed goodies.  Including a water bottle, magnet, and a super cute lunch bag that I can't wait to use.
Chobani has only been around five years and have come quite a long way.  This year they are an Official Sponsor of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team and six athletes.  (I have to say I am super excited for the Olympics to start!) 
I had a such a nice evening meeting and spending time with all the ladies there and eating some super delicious food.  A big thank you to Chobani for inviting me!  

Have you cooked with Chobani before?  Are you excited for the Olympics?