Jan 4, 2012
General Manager Jason Prah and Chef Ryan McCaskey stopping to enjoy the moment!
New Year’s Eve photos courtesy of Ian Bul-lalayao
Just before a nice break with the holidays, New Year’s Eve happened!! 2 seatings, 7 courses of food, and a midnight surprise from the Environmental Encroachment band! Something almost indescribable. I’ll let the pictures do the talking…
Dec 23, 2011
Photos courtesy of Anthony Tahlier and Huge Galdones Photography
"All the years combine. They melt into a dream…"
Acadia is now open! Wednesday thru Sunday. Please visit acadiachicago.com to make reservations. Come for dinner and try our ala carte menu, or just hang at the bar for a cocktail. We’ll have a bar menu with nothing over $14 coming soon! Also tasting menus and Sunday brunch in the near future! Hope to see everyone that has followed the progress and building of Acadia over the last 6 months!
Dec 12, 2011
Maine shrimp, cuttlefish, fried spoon bread, chorizo, cauliflower, marcona almond
Wagyu beef, mushroom conserva, herb puree, pommes- maixm, puree, confit
Chicken presse, mousseline, parsnip, braised celery, chestnuts, black trumpets, jus roti
Just a few tweaks here and there after testing our entrees. Almost ready to go!
Dec 8, 2011
The finishing touches are being made at Acadia. We are finally down the homestretch after a long journey that started back in July. It’s perplexing to think that we started with a raw unfinished space, and transformed iit into something as elegant and inviting as this. We will be opening within the next two weeks. This hardly seems possible. I’m finally standing inside my vision…
Nov 28, 2011
"People are like stained glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out. But when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within."- Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
Light, which sets the mood, will be an integral part of the dining experience at Acadia. The amount of kelvins, the degree of the beam spread, and the hue of each bulb, has all been taken into consideration. A wrong calculation, angle or diffusion, could result in disaster with the appearance of the dishes, the room, or even the company you’re with!
Nov 22, 2011
Scallop, wheat berries, coconut, butternut squash, dill, lime
Hon shimeji mushrooms with shallot and thyme bring an hearthy savory note to the other sweet and delicate flavors of the dish.
Nov 19, 2011
"What if everything is an illusion and nothing exists? In that case, I definitely overpaid for my carpet."- Woody Allen
I’ve always been a sort of tactile person. I love textures and linear elements. Today the carpet was finished. The pattern and colored textures of the carpet really compliment the lines in the room and the linen like wall covering.
Nov 12, 2011
Toad Hall- employee living
The planters around the restaurant had lettuces, herbs and edible flowers that were used every night for service. "Farm to table" living was simply a way of life. Not seen as a trend or used as a buzz phrase. I feel lucky to have been exposed to great product, truly "from the source," at such an early stage in my career.
This was the view from the restaurant.
Goose Cove Lodge
As Acadia comes closer to completion, I am asked more and more why I’m paying such homage to Maine, and why I’ll always consider it my second home. This is a brief back story to where it all began…
For whatever reason, back when I was in fifth grade, my parents decided to take us(the kids) to Maine for a summer vacation. None of us had been there, and we really didn’t know what to expect. This part of the country was new to us, and I really had felt like we were traveling to the ends of the earth. I recall arriving to Deer Isle, Maine in the middle of the night, and being a bit freaked out by how dark the area was. No light pollution. No street lights. Not many cars. And a darkness like you wouldn’t believe. I couldn’t see my hand in front of me kind of dark. Though the t.v. show hadn’t come out yet, it now reminded me of something you’d see from an X-Files episode. Thick forest, aliens or monsters lurking in the darkness, strange noises that seemed to move closer and closer.
The smell of pine and ocean permeated the air, yet, being as dark as it was, I had no sense of where the ocean even was. But as morning broke, I recall seeing the beauty of Maine unfold before me. Forest behind me, rocky shores and ocean in front of me, a lighthouse whistling in the distance, and the constant smell of a fireplace burning somewhere nearby.
We stayed at a rather rustic place called Goose Cove Lodge. Though far from glamorous, it did accommodate some pretty famous people over the years. I remember picking herbs with Sarah Jessica Parker, joking with Matthew Broderick, spying on John Malkovich in the dining room and hanging at Paul Stookey’s(from Peter Paul and Mary) house. The area also brought Mel Gibson, Julia Child, Elton John, Stephen King, Barbara Streisand and a slew of famous poets, writers, artists, beatniks, and musicians.
I immediately felt the appeal to this area and was instantly in love with all things Maine. I had made a lot of friends, had a few girlfriends and even brought friends from Chicago to witness this great area. Our family ended up coming back to Goose Cove Lodge summer after summer, until I had graduated high school. By then I had decided I wanted to be in the restaurant industry, and knew I’d one day return to Deer Isle, Maine. Ironically a couple of years after high school, I had ended up getting a job as a Sous Chef, Pastry Chef and Baker at Goose Cove Lodge as I was finishing culinary school. Goose Cove Lodge would also become a great launching ground for other reputable and renown chefs like Mike Hazen, Doug Albertson, and James Beard winning chef Rob Evans, of Hugo’s in Portland. I am proud to have known such great people in Maine and to have forged lasting relationships. And now for Acadia restaurant I’ll source some of the world’s best seafood and shellfish from the very area in which I had spent my youth. Maine was an integral part to the start of my career, and one day, most likely a place where i’ll retire and end my career. Those dark, dark woods await me. And I couldn’t be happier…
Nov 7, 2011
Cedar bathroom partitions
"The trouble with the maples, and they’re quite convinced they’re right. They say the oaks are just too lofty, and they grab up all the light. But the oaks can’t help their feelings, if they like the way they’re made. And they wonder why the maples can’t be happy in their shade…" – Rush
Much like the lyrics from Rush, the natural design elements inside the restaurant take on a life of their own, bringing personality and comfort to the space.
I’ve always liked the idea of natural elements inside the restaurant. Elements like wood, limestone, slate, granite and driftwood bring subtle outdoor nuances to the interior. Those elements bring a warmth to the space that feel natural and organic.
Nov 6, 2011
Wild boar terrine- mosto cotto, parsley cornichon shallot salad, chicken liver mousse- pepper, whole grain mustard, shallot kumquat confiture
Amuse- warm apple toddy, curry apple butter, lemon gel, malt, savory
A brief explanation as to why we do test kitchen in the first place, and how it translates to each diner… To execute at a high level of cuisine, and to deliver a truly hospitable experience to the guest, we must work relentlessly before the doors even open. Training, planning, testing, tasting, making mistakes, adjusting, writing recipes, and training again, all go into the pre-opening stages of what will be Acadia. Test kitchen allows us to catch any errors that may deter from the dining experience at Acadia. From flavor contrasts, to textures, to acidity levels, and aromas, the food has to make sense and work on many levels. If we execute this due diligence, then the chances are the final product will be successful. Bottom line is that the food has to taste good.