Monday, February 4, 2008

Josh Kelley returns with national CD release bash

(Photo: MBaker Photography)

Rocker Josh Kelley kicks off the national release of his fourth CD, Special Company, with an exclusive show at Rockit Bar and Grill (22 W. Hubbard St., 866-468-3401) on Feb. 7.

It's hosted by club owner Billy Dec, and there's word that Kelley's brand-new bride—red-hot TV and movie star Katherine Heigl (of "Grey's Anatomy," "Knocked Up" and "27 Dresses" fame)—may be in the front row (!!!).

Tickets are $35, and includes drink specials and admission to the after-party at Underground (56 W. Illinois St.). Doors open at 6pm.

A fabulous Fat Tuesday


When it comes to Mardi Gras season, Chicagoans celebrate it like they're in the heart of the Bayou. On Fat Tuesday (Feb. 5), get those beads ready and get you butt to:

Brasserie JO (59 W. Hubbard St., 312-595-0800) for complimentary beignets for all dinner guests. From 5-10pm, you can enjoy the traditional apple, donut-like dessert that originated in New Orleans.

Cafe Selmarie (4729 N. Lincoln Ave., 773-989-5595) for a special lunch and dinner menu celebrating the occasion, including a Cajun chicken Caesar salad, shrimp Po' Boy sandwich, blackened catfish wrap and spicy Creole jambalaya. 5-10pm.

Fat Cat (4840 N. Broadway, 773-506-3100) for what is certain to be a raucous event. The new, retro-style lounge will have an all-you-can-eat buffet with oyster Po' Boys, jambalaya, Mardi Gras King cake and more for only $9.99. Also, beer and drink specials; those in Mardi Gras costumes will have the chance to enter a contest. Partial proceeds from the party will benefit Brad Pitt’s "Make It Right Foundation," which is helping displaced Hurricane Katrina victims with housing. 9pm-2am.

Green Dolphin Street's (2200 N. Ashland Ave., 773-395-0066) Boom Boom Room, Mardi Gras style (on Monday, Feb. 4!). Hosted by Music 101, and Crunch Fitness, the Big Easy Masquerade Ball will have Kafele Bandele on the trumpet, plus deejays Diz, Just Joey, Uncle Milty and others spinning the usual deep, underground house. Drink specials: $5 Stoli cocktails and $3 Budweisers. And those who dress in festive, Mardi Gras attire get in free; $10 without. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana as they celebrate 25 years of service to the community. 10pm-4am.

Heaven on Seven where all three locations will get in the holiday's spirit with an authentic Mardi Gras vibe, including decor, Zydeco bands, on-site face painting, and Lousiana-style dinner specials. Also, you cannot get out of Heaven on Seven without gulping down a few Hurricanes—a potent blend of several rums and juice. And being down with all things Louisiana, owner/chef Jimmy Bannos is donating a percentage of his Mardi Gras proceeds to the continued efforts to revive the city of New Orleans. Locations: 111 N. Wabash Ave., 312-263-6443; 600 N. Michigan Ave., 312-280-7774; 224 S. Main Street, Naperville, 630-717-0777.

Redfish (400 N. State St., 312-467-1600), where revelers snap up seats before work is even over. I know some people who rush out of the office by 3pm to the restaurant's Voodoo Lounge, where an authentic Zydeco band performs until closing. No drink specials, but the Hurricanes here are notoriously strong.

Room21 (2110 S. Wabash Ave., 312-328-1198) for a party with live jazz by Carlos Cannon, specialty cocktails and a Mardi Gras-themed three course menu for $29.

Zocalo's (358 W. Ontario St., 312-302-9977) Mexican Mardi Gras 'Mardes Gordo' from 5:30-10:30pm. They're adding another dish to their standard $25 prix-fixe menu (In addition to choosing any appetizer, entrée and dessert off the regular menu, for one day only patrons may choose an additional soup or salad from the menu for no extra charge.) Also, get the Zocalo Margarita for $5.

Deal of the day. . .

Laid-back Ukrainian Village tavern High Dive (1938 W. Chicago Ave., 773-235-3483) gets a nod for its fantastic daily drink and dinner specials. Loungy, with a sporty vibe (two flatscreens over the bar are always tuned into the biggest games), the spot draws a steady neighborhood crowd in the evenings. Every Monday they're doing somewhat of a Mexican theme with $2 steak or chicken tacos, $3 Coronas and $5 Cazadores margaritas.

Muy Bueno!