You have exactly eight days left to pig out at restaurants you couldn’t otherwise afford/get into. Go.

Yup, that’s right, it’s Chicago Restaurant Week again.

Bloggers who inexplicably end up on the media contact list for the Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau (yours truly) and hangers-on (Dave) had the pleasure of attending the Chicago Restaurant Week press kickoff event last week at the Chicago Theatre.

It was nothing short of fantastic—but then again, give me free food and good champagne and filing my tax return would be enjoyable.

My favorites:

Berghoff’s bacon-wrapped shrimp atop a “Blue Moon” polenta cake. YUM. Definite validation of our choice of caterer

Mexique’s Cochinita Rillettes: pork shoulder rillette (think pâté) on a crostini.

Trout Amandine from the Cape Cod Room at the Drake Hotel. Melt-in-your mouth fish with little pops of crunch from the almonds. Admittedly not as appealing-looking as some of the others, but definitely top three of the night.

Mini beef tenderloin sandwiches from Rosebud. A week later, I still vividly remember the taste of this heavenly combo of perfectly cooked tenderloin, spicy horseradish sauce and tangy coleslaw on a soft roll.

Province’s Rotisserie Shredded Indiana Duck Tacos. Juicy meat and impossibly light and flaky taco shells (fried wonton wrappers, maybe?).

IPO’s goat cheese and strawberry shortcake.

The Bristol’s mascarpone and blood orange cheesecake.

With more than 200 restaurants, only one reservation choice came fast and easy:

Joe’s Stone Crab. A cup of chowder or bisque, four stone crab claws, hash-browned potatoes, coleslaw and Joe’s famous key-lime pie for $22. Um, seriously? I still think this can’t be true. We’ll see when we arrive for lunch next Saturday.

I was late to the party for Cafe Spiagga, NAHA, Blackbird, Duchamp and Mercadito, at least for the days and times I wanted. But I did manage to snag reservations to Branch 27, Veerasway and Cibo Matto.

So what are you waiting for? Go book your reservations, and, in the words of the chubby Restaurant Week mascot, “Eat it up, Chicago.”

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