United MileagePlus® Visa Dinner: Formento’s

by Anthony Losanno
Formento's Exterior

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I’ve attended several United MileagePlus® Visa dinners in the past and had the opportunity to dine at the latest one in Chicago last night. This dinner was held at Formento’s, which is a few blocks away from my home in Chicago and a spot we have eaten at several times through the years.

United and Chase produce 14 of these dinners annually across the country (in cities near United’s hubs). These are a great use of United MileagePlus miles as each seat costs only 12,000 miles. This includes:

  • Passed hors d’oeuvres
  • Multi-course dinner
  • Wine pairings
  • A peek behind the scenes
  • Cocktail demonstration
  • Complimentary coat check
  • Complimentary parking or valet
  • Premium gift bag
  • Access to digital photos, post-event
  • Taxes and gratuities

United Visa Formento's Entrance

The evening started upstairs with cocktail demonstrations and passed hors d’oeuvres.

Calabrian Tuna

The Calabrian Tuna was delicious.

Nonna's Meatballs

We have ordered Nonna’s Meatballs in the past and they were as good as we remembered.

Formento's Cocktail Hour 1


Formento's Cocktail Hour 2

The upstairs room is spacious and offered plenty of room for mingling.

Formento's Cocktail Demo 1

During the cocktail hour, there were two demonstrations.

Amalfi Coast Cocktail

The first cocktail was called the Amalfi Coast.

Amalfi Coast Cocktail 2


Amalfi Coast Cocktail 3

It contained rum, Luxardo, Amaro Abano, and pineapple.

Cinque Terre Cocktail 1

The second cocktail was called Cinque Terre.

Cinque Terre Cocktail 2


Cinque Terre Cocktail 3

It contained gin, Rosolino, elderflower liqueur, mint, and lime.

Formento's Kitchen Tour 1

A kitchen tour was provided for guests who wanted to see some of the areas behind the scenes.

Formento's Kitchen Tour 2

The kitchen opened to guests is used to bake breads, desserts, make pasta, and handle events. A larger kitchen takes up the full basement of the restaurant and serves as the service kitchen to pump out dinners daily.

Formento's Kitchen Tour 3

Focaccia is made here. Dough rests for 24 hours.

Formento's Kitchen Tour 4

Pasta is made in this corner of the kitchen. The Hobart also grinds the meat for the meatballs.

Formento's Kitchen Tour 5

The upstairs kitchen is small, but functional.

Formento's Dining Room

After our tour, we went downstairs for dinner.

Table 6

We were seated at Table Six.

Formento's Menu

Dinner was four courses with wine pairing for each one.

Whipped Stracciatella

Whipped Stracciatella with Caviar


Cauliflower with Pepperoni and Preserved Lemon Relish

Hamachi Crudo

Hamachi Crudo with Prosciutto and Fresno Chili


Agnolotti with Broccoli, Asparagus, Mascarpone, and Summer Truffle came next.


There was a choice of four entrees for the third course. I had the Whitefish with Thumbelina Carrots and Zucchini.

Hanger Steak

My husband opted for the Hanger Steak with Salsa Verde and Potato Puree.

Formento's Chocolate Cake

Finally, Formento’s Chocolate Cake was brought out. It was outstanding. The Hazelnut Praline was delicious.

Gift Bags

Gift bags were provided as we exited and walked the few blocks home.

Gift Bag Contents

Inside, there was a salt & pepper shaker, an insulated cup, a wooden plate, a clay dish made by Northern Clay Center, some candied hazelnuts, and some almonds.

Anthony’s Take: The meal was delicious and this was definitely worth the 12,000 points per person to attend. We’ll return to Formento’s (as it’s right down the street) and will look forward to more of these dinners.

Anthony’s Credit Card Pick: The United℠ Explorer Card is the best card for regular United flyers and one of the two United cards I hold. The annual fee is waived the first year, then it’s $95. With it, you get 2 miles per $1 spent on United Airlines, restaurants, and hotels (booked directly through the hotel); 1 mile per $1 spent on all other qualifying purchases. Other benefits include: upgrades on award tickets for Premier® members (a benefit not offered to anyone else other than GS members), a free checked bag on every flight, a 25% statement credit on purchases made onboard (think Wi-Fi or snacks), two United Club℠ passes (annually) and priority boarding with Group 2. Learn more.

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