Christmas Comes to Chicago

Although Palatine isn’t technically inside the city limits of Chicago, many of our Residents and Sisters were born and or have lived in Chicago. As avid sports fans, we consider ourselves Chicagoans and as such, we celebrated our Annual Gourmet Christmas Dinner with a ‘Christmas Comes to Chicago’ theme.

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In 2010, Mother Provincial Maria Christine wanted to do something extra special for Christmas. She enlisted the help of our good friends and chefs, Andy Webber and Tony Stallone, and together they expertly planned a gourmet dinner. The Residents, Sisters and chefs enjoyed it so much, that it became an annual event.

Nervous excitement filled the hallway leading to the dining room. The windows were covered so we couldn’t peek inside. Dressed in our Christmas bests, we were lined up outside the dining room door waiting for the ‘great reveal.’ At the stroke of 5, the doors opened. We could barely recognize the room, as it was professionally decorated with Chicago skylines, Cubs, White Sox, Bulls and Blackhawks decorations.

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We were escorted into the dining room by volunteers and staff. We could hardly believe our eyes when next to the Christmas tree stood Chicago Cubs darling, Anthony Rizzo. It was really a life size cutout, but it was the next best thing as having him there in person. Many of us stopped to get a picture with the 2016 World Series Champion.

Strolling Violinist, Anthony Kawalkowski, played our favorite Christmas songs as the appetizers (Wrigley Field Pigs in Blankets, Mustard (no ketchup), Cape Cod Room Shrimp Cocktail, Garrett’s Chicago Mix Popcorn) were served. The next course was Walnut Room Pumpkin Soup with Pepitas and Crème Fraiche, followed by the main course of Union Stockyards Roast Ribeye of Beef, Conrad Hilton Style Scalloped Potatoes, Drake Hotel Style Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Onions and Balsamic Vinegar and Palmer House Rolls. Dessert was delicious Eli’s Cheesecake with Strawberry and Blueberry Sauces and Whipped Cream.

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Chefs Andy and Tony were met with grateful applause and shouts of ‘Bravo’, as they came out to greet us dressed in their Cubs and Blackhawks jerseys. Over and over they told us that doing this for us is much more special for them than we will ever know. Well, what we do know is that this gourmet Christmas dinner they prepared is more than we could ever dream of.

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With our stomachs full and our hearts filled to overflowing with Christmas Spirit, we reluctantly said good night. Mother Maria Christine and Mother Margaret met us at the door and gave a gift bag filled with chocolates. Chocolate is always a favorite but, it is the sweet memories that we will cherish long after the chocolate is gone.