Photo: courtesy of the Peninsula Chicago
If Candy Land had a "smart casual" dress code, it might look a lot like Chocolate at the Pen. The weekend-only affair transforms Peninsula's well-appointed lobby into the most sophisticated kind of chocolate bar. For $33 a person ($20 for tots under 12), guests get free reign over a buffet of sweets whipped up by the hotel's Executive Chef, Terry Crandall and Executive Pastry Chef, Jimmy Macmillan.
Amidst the plush trappings of the hotel lobby (think soaring ceilings, crisp cream and gold accents and floor-to-ceiling windows), a bevy of plates is piled high with every flavor of the chocolate rainbow. Look for chocolate coffee tarts, dark- and white-chocolate mousse served in a martini glass, chocolate flan, chocolate creme brulee, chocolate truffles and homemade chocolate cookies.
Sip-able confections include white hot chocolate infused with lavender, dark hot chocolate laced with allspice and, for those feeling saucy, a special martini (guess what flavor?) The sugar fest is scored with live music from a jazz trio.
Average cost: $31+
Centerstage Reviewer: Jennifer Berg