A peaceful night under the stars, accented by colored lights around the quarry and flickering of the campfire. Did I mention amazing food? My wife and I celebrated our “date-a-versary” (the anniversary of our first date) by heading to The Forge: Lemont Quarries for Forgefire Globe Dining.
We were able to get our hands on a 6pm dining time, which is truly hard to get. There are only six domes for each dining time (2pm, 4pm, and 6pm). You get 90 minutes to finish your meal, which allowed the staff 30 minutes for disinfecting the area to keep everyone safe.
We arrived to an array of colors as we passed the check-in tent. The various lights around the quarry, including spotlights that not only reflected off the peaceful waters, but also danced to different holiday songs on the quarter-hour. This was part of their Christmas lights display, which runs through next weekend.
We walked a little further to The Foundry and checked in for dinner. You received the choice of beverage, including a selection of alcoholic drinks (beer, wine, or cider – all in cans), and then were escorted to your dome. Our meal came with one drink.
For those wondering about wearing masks and COVID safety, masks were required everywhere except for your dome. And, when the staff was present in your dome (for example, bringing your food and checking on you), you needed to wear your mask.
How about the weather? It was in the low-30’s when we started our meal, dropping a few degrees when we had finished. There were two propane space headers inside the dome, which did provide warmth. My wife and I were in coats, and each had 2 layers on. We felt cold, but comfortable. You could definitely feel a different through if you had to leave your tent. When the temps get colder, you may want to bring a blanket. Their email actually suggests to bring a blanket, but we were OK without one – just remember to keep your blankets clear of the heaters.
Our main entree was fajitas, which I’ll will talk about shortly. Each weekend features one meal. Some of the upcoming weekends feature beef short ribs, beer brats, stuffed portabello mushrooms, and more. For those who are vegetarian, I was asked if I was a vegetarian upon checking in. The people checking in behind me mentioned they were gluten-free. I am certain that if you fall into those groups, the chef will take care of you. I would still call before making your reservation, just to make sure.
The atmosphere was truly unique. At the top of the dome, which I didn’t get in the picture above, was a string of small LED Christmas lights. You can see the lights in the picture above that has two domes in it. There were five or so small candle lights (you can see one of the holder in the bottom left of the photo featuring the flower) along the base of the tent. The glow of the spotlights gave the flowers a neat silhouette effect.
We were in the further dome away from The Foundry, which wasn’t a big deal at all. You would hear a bit of the music coming from The Foundry, and the occasional thump of one of the ice skaters hitting the wall on the rink nearby. But truly, it was very quiet and romantic. You truly felt alone.
Let’s talk about the food! And, I apologize with the photos, the flash on my phone was a little bright.
The menu was originally set for a salad, but the chef made an executive decision to change it to a fire-roasted vegetable soup. And, it truly was fire-roasted, as we saw the soup being cooked over a campfire. You can see some of the goodness below, and imagine some barley hidden below the layer of veggies. I didn’t take a picture of it, but they also brought chips and salsa for this first course.
This truly is adventure dining, and I love the char marks on everything. The main course was a plate of fajitas. In the foil, there were 4 grilled corn tortillas and 4 grilled flour tortillas for our group of 2. Going counter-clockwise, the plate offered plenty of steak, chicken, and portabello mushrooms to fill us up. You may see a little underneath the protein, there were also grilled peppers, caramelized onions, and black beans. The sweet potato was a nice side that I wouldn’t have thought of. Lime, salsa, and cheese round out the meal.
Both my wife and I really loved dessert. A grilled pineapple spear, with bananas, horchata whipped cream, and a beautiful sauce. I have to be honest, I was hoping that my wife was too full so that I could steal her dessert as well. This beautifully topped off our experience at The Forge, which we highly recommend and will do again.
You can take a look at the upcoming schedule and menus, including their Valentine’s Day special menu, by jumping over to https://www.forgeparks.com/forgefire-globe-dining. As of writing, their schedule goes until Sunday, February 28. Make sure to reserve your times as soon as possible, because this is an experience that is highly sought after (and deservedly so).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dan Mulka is the Marketing Manager for the Heritage Corridor Convention and Visitors Bureau and creator of LemontDowntown.com and HeritageCorridorAleTrail.com. He typically will never turn down steak, whether it’s in fajita, ribeye, Filet Mignon, or any other version.