During "Chicago week" at NATO headquarters in Brussels, the menu was as Chicago-style as some of its special guests.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel's wife, Amy Rule, led a delegation to Belgium this week in her first major public role as Chicago's First Lady. Rule joined a long list of welcome committee members as they hosted a mini-Taste of Chicago Thursday at the NATO headquarters ahead of May's summit in Chicago.
"We brought you some of our greatest hits," Rule said after toasting NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
The menu included Manny's corned beef, Lou Malnatti's pizza, Eli's cheesecake and Berghoff root beer that Rasmussen said he specifically requested.
The mini-Taste also included a Chicago blues band and a visit from Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn.
"I think it's very, very good for Chicago, for Illinois and for jobs," Quinn said. "That's our No. 1 reason we're over here in Europe is to encourage people to come and visit Chicago. We want to make sure businesses invest in Illinois, and definitely we're interested in exports to Europe."
The meal precedes a state dinner Thursday night at the home of Ivo Daalder, U.S. Ambassador to NATO. Each room of the home is being transformed into cocktail, dining and dancing spaces for the culminating event of "Chicago Week."
Girl and the Goat chef Stephanie Izard is cooking the meal and has concocted a special drink for the evening: "Chicago Rocks," bourbon, ginger syrup, Belgian cherry beer and crushed basil.
A list of 135 seated guests was invited to the dinner, the most ambassadors from NATO member and partner countries they've hosted.
"We're so excited," Rule told reporters. "It's a great opportunity for Chicago, and we're thrilled that we'll be hosting the NATO summit in Chicago in May."