Monday, February 25, 2008

Big props for a South Side chef

(Photo: BJ's Market & Bakery)

BJ's Market & Bakery (8734 S. Stony Island Ave., 773-374-4700) owner/chef John Meyer becomes the Illinois Restaurant Association's first-ever African-American president. Writer Chuck Sudo uncovers where his amazingly tasty soul food originates.

Right about now, I wish I had a slice of his gooey sweet banana pudding in front of me. Mmmmmmmm!

No Starbucks?! Have no fear . . .

If you're one of those who needs your Starbucks fix in the evening, you probably already know that all stores across the country will be closed for training tomorrow (Tuesday, Feb. 26) at 5:30pm.

But have no fear. Your local coffeehouse is here for you. Get on it.

Get your party on . . .

(Photo: Darkroom Demons)

Local spin star Tommie Sunshine played Smart Bar (3730 N. Clark St., 773-549-0203) over the weekend, and Darkroom Demons was there to shoot all the late-night naughtiness. Who says Smart Bar still isn't the ish?!

Vegetarians need love too during 'Restaurant Week'

An inquiring foodie wants to know which restaurants are keeping vegetarians in mind during this first-ever Chicago Restaurant Week.

Related: And just because he wasn't on the official list of participants doesn't mean that Cyrano's Bistrot & Wine Bar chef/owner Didier Durand can't take advantage of the foodie-driven week. Through March 2, his authentic French bistro is celebrating the region of Provence with bottles of red, white and rosé available for $20.08 when you order their four-course menu at $31.95. My fave? The braised beef bourguignon with olives and plum tomatoes in a Bandol red wine sauce. 546 N. Wells St., 312-467-0546.


Time Out Chicago reports that Natalino’s (1523 W. Chicago Ave., 312-997-3700) in Ukrainian Village got its windows shot out on the day it was supposed to open for a supposed "chef stealing" incident. Now that's gangster.

Deal of the day . . .


Bistro 110's (110 E. Pearson St., 312-266-3110) Sommelier for a Day returns, so you know what that means. It's time to help the delightful French eatery pick a wine for its spring menu.

Four times a year Bistro 110 hosts this event that turns the tables allowing diners to pick their favorite vinos, and tonight it's all about red Mediterranean wines, with the best of Greece, Italy, France and Spain.

For the event, Executive Chef Dominique Tougne will serve hors d’oeuvres, including braised short ribs, pulled duck confit pizza, mini steak au poivre with mashed potatoes, tuna tartare with Dijon mustard, spicy mini crab cakes, cheese and charcuterie, mini crème brûlées, chocolate mousse and mini apple tarts. Tonight 6-8pm. $35 for Levy Preferred guests; $45 general admission.