Flight Chicago: Three restaurants in three hours

December 24, 2010 (CHICAGO

"We do love wine, and a flight of wine is usually three different stops. It also is the perfect way to describe the different tastes of the restaurants that we take you to," said Monika Lotter, co-founder of Flight Chicago.

Lotter and her business partner target three restaurants in hot neighborhoods, always between 2:30 and 5:30 p.m., when restaurants are slow. On this tour, it's Bucktown, with stops at Spring then Feast on Damen.

"We did want to showcase the neighborhood in which they're in, because each neighborhood in the city of Chicago is also known for different types of food," Lotter said.

At each stop, the chef or owner mingles with guests, and gives them a chance to learn more about what goes on behind-the-scenes. Wine is usually served, and three small courses are prepared in smaller portions.

"So it is enough, definitely, to constitute a lunch or an early dinner, certainly nobody's complained that there's not enough food. If anything, by the end, people are already saying 'alright, I'm good for the rest of the day,'" Lotter said.

After about 45 minutes, it's time to either walk, or take a van a few blocks away to the next stop. For the final Bucktown stop, crew heads to The Bristol, where all three courses are served at once: plates of roasted bone marrow, a refreshing salad of root vegetables and apples, plus head-on prawns steeped in anchovy butter. After this final flight, a tour of the kitchen is included, where guests see the staff prepping for the first customers of the night.

"So we're really able to take advantage of the fact that they're prepping and getting ready for dinner and using the freshest ingredients that day.. and then also it's great for many different visitors that want to come in because they'll be able to have a meal before, say, an early show," Lotter said.

Now Flight not only gives you a sampling of each restaurant, as well as the neighborhood they're in -- it also gives you the entire restaurant for that one hour, in that no-man's-land between lunch and dinner. And when 5:30 rolls around, you're not gonna be hungry.

Flight Chicago
Booking is done online at flightdeckchicago.com

Monika Lotter / Amber Tillett

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