the aviary.

a quick departure from my usual food notes ...

my first post here was on alinea, the original grant achatz (molecular gastronomy) restaurant. well, i've finally made it to the aviary, another grant achatz place ... this one, a bar in the west loop.

here's an informative snippet from their site ... "the aviary is where cocktails and service are given the same attention to detail as a four-star restaurant; where bartenders are trained as chefs; where the produce and herbs are carefully sourced and procured fresh daily; where the name and branding of the spirit mixed is less important than its actual flavor; where drinks are made quickly and consistently in a state-of-the-art drink kitchen; where innovation and tradition are both honored."

ain't no lie. the aviary is amazing. and the perfect place for a celebratory night out. since there were four of us ladies, we all ordered a bunch of items to share. apologies in advance for the poor quality of photos ... it was damn dark in there. gotta set the mood. here's what i had ...

chai :
 elderflower, saffron, tequila & bourbon.
super flavorful & delicious. i'm not big into the bourbon, but this was awesome.

lychee :
basil, maraschino & rum.
a little sweet. perfect for sipping.
and don't you just love the brown paper sack?

celery :
 honeydew, riesling & chartreuse.
SO.GOOD. i would definitely try this one again next time.

bitters :
 smoking barrel, amari, tequila & cognac.
this drink is super cool & fun ... but i am not a cognac drinker. so not quite sure why i thought i'd enjoy this. but honestly, it's equally about the presentation, so it's kind of a must try.

sips ...
 took me a while to finish these two ... but finish them i did! mostly.

margarita :
fresno, agave & tequila.
the ice cubes had chili powder in them ... as the ice melted, the margarita got spicier. yum!

 horchata :
cinnamon, rum & tequila. 
best drink of the night! it also had homemade rice milk (or maybe just tasted like it? to make it a horchata) and the same chili ice cubes. i could actually drink 75 of these.

lollipops :
vegan options ... pineapple & dark chocolate.
 i enjoyed both the pineapple and dark chocolate lollipops quite a bit ... and $8 for the whole lot? a perfect sweet bite to finish the night. 

overall, amazing. but. one of my favorite parts of the evening was that chef grant achatz was at the restaurant !!! i love a good chef sighting, so this was pretty much really really exciting. so nerdy. oh, well.

ok, so in terms of vegan options (that's what this blog is about, right?) ... a few of the drinks (mostly dessert type ones) & snacks were not vegan. but the majority were. and our server knew exactly what was and wasn't. the amuse-bouche drink they brought out first was actually not vegan (it had egg white) ... but that was okay. i was set the rest of the night.

if you like to drink (who doesn't?) and are looking for a cool & unique experience, the aviary is the place to go.

and ps - chef achatz, if you're listening -- please do some vegan stuff at next!