I officially have been going to food events for over year.  And there is one consistent thread that runs through each event…my mouth waters.

Whether it is the rich aromas that roam through the halls or my first view of a perfectly plated dish of food…my mouth waters.

When I see the chefs walking in their crisp, white coats…my mouth waters.  (Um, wait, I’m not sure I should admit that.)

As I walked into Merchandise Mart in Chicago  last night for the Sixth Annual CHILL Event, my mouth watered.  How could it not?  40 of Chicago’s top chefs and 150 Premium wines all brought together to benefit three amazing charities.  (Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago, Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras and The Lynn Sage Foundation).

Thank you to the CYSO for providing so much beautiful music.

To add icing to the cake (or is accoutrement to the amuse bouche), you get to eat all of this fabulous food while walking around the amazing boutiques assembled together by LUXEHOME.  (Think of everything you would ever need for your dream home all under one roof.)  My mouth waters…

So to continue the fun of me making up my own award shows…I want to present you with the prestigious Felt Like a Foodie first official WATERS Awards.  (When Appetizing Treats Enter Remodeling Showcases)

2012 CHILL WATERS Award Winners

Best “Godfather” Moment:  Rosebud And Carmine’s for the delicious housemade (Thanks Chef Coppolillo) sausage  and peppers and cannoli!  It was the first time I felt like saying, “Leave the gun and take the cannoli!”

 Best Discussion About French PastryBistrot Zinc and Chef Tim Kirker’s Gougéres with butternut squash, roasted apple and chevre.  I love making (and eating) Gougéres.   I appreciated every ounce of the flavor packed pastry and Chef Kirker’s appreciation for my enthusiasm.

Best Balls:  The Florentine for their buffalo ricotta fritter with chestnut puree, roasted beet puree and truffle honey.  Besides each ball being the perfect temperature and crispiness-it was the bite that excited every taste bud on my tongue.  (Now I am obsessed with truffle honey!)

Best Place I Missed Last Year (so I went twice this year):  Japonais won me over with the Spicy Mono Maki: Spicy Octopus topped with spicy tuna tartare and unagi sauce.  I could have stood there all night.  (Also my favorite bite of the evening.)

Best Place I Didn’t Miss Last Year (but I still went back for seconds)Roy’s Maine Lobster Dim Sum with a lobster emulsion and white truffle emulsion was rich and luscious.  (I’m trying to decide if I could have gone more than twice.)

Coolest Atmosphere for Serving Food:  This award goes to both the boutique (The Nanz Company and Remains Lighting) and the restaurant (Leopold).  Leopold’s pork and rabbit terrine with dill mustard, house pickled red onions on toast was the perfect bite to accompany the stunning mood this boutique exudes.

Best Sweet Bites (2 way tie):  Sixteen for making me feel like I was in a winter candy wonderland and Bistronomic for their homemade bittersweet chocolate chip cookie.  (Okay, I can’t eat a lot of the sweet bites because most of the them have chocolate but my husband was happy!)

Sixteen had cotton candy on a ferris wheel!

Most Colorful:  Blackbird’s beef tartare, roasted maitakes, chestnuts, cranberry yogurt and miner’s lettuce.  This was a great example of tasting a rainbow.  Every component (and color) served a purpose and you could taste it in each bite.  The cranberry yogurt was sensational.

Best Refreshing DishWAVE Restaurant’s celery root apple salad.  I liked the use of the lemon crème fraiche and the tartness it added.  With the crunchy almonds and touches of sheep’s milk cheese, it was light, delicious ….and refreshing.  (It made me want to try more of Chef Elliott’s new menu!)

Best Plays Well with Others:  The Latin America themed room within Design Resource Center that included Barrio Urban Taqueria, Mercadito, Province and Nacional 27 was just a great combination of restaurants and flavors.  (This was also the time I started to get full.)

Favorite Familiar Face:  Chef James O’Donnell from Michael Jordan’s Steak House.  With hearty bowls of short rib and barley risotto at his side, it is always nice to see his friendly face.  (And eat his food!)

And for the last WATERS Award for 2012:

Best Husband:  Earl Miller I met this handsome guy 15 years ago and can’t thank him enough for supporting my crazy food adventures and me. 

As with all large food events, I didn’t get to taste everything.  There were many missed restaurants so I want to thank everyone who worked so hard to make last night’s event wonderful for all of the guests.

I guess I will have to go into training so I can try more dishes next year.  My mouth waters just thinking about it!  : )