Friday, April 25, 2008

This is what happens when you take a night off!


I TAKE one night off from partying, and I miss meeting the ultimate party girl—Lindsay Lohan—who hung out in the deejay booth alongside galpal and celeb deejay Samantha Ronson at Crimson Lounge (333 N. Dearborn St.) in Hotel Sax last night.

Samantha was in town for her monthly residency and Lohan, dressed down in her usual uniform of black leggings and flowy frock, made a surprise appearance that had guests doing double takes and WTFs like crazy. And according to an Ultimate Insider, she hung out for three hours and drank no liquor.

Oops! And yet another Ultimate Insider tells me that she attempted to light up some smokes at least twice before being told that smoking was a no-no in Chicago venues. Bad Lindsay, bad girl!

Gale Gand adds sweetest touch to MORE


WHAT will set MORE (One E. Delaware Pl., 312-951-0001), the sexy Gold Coast cupcake spot, apart from other cupcakeries around town when it opens in mid-May?!

They've got Gale Gand, the award-winning pastry chef and partner of TRU (676 N. Saint Clair St., 312-202-0001), as a consulting chef. The multiple James Beard award winner—including for Outstanding Pastry Chef—is designing a rotating collection of more than 30 varieties of the ultra-moist cupcakes.

Look for twists like ganache-filled chocolate, passion fruit poppyseed, pink grapefruit and creme brulée. Savory flavors, such as cracked pepper and parmesan, pear, bleu cheese and port, corn and bacon and maple, will also be featured. Of course, you'll also be able to indulge in more conventional flavors like chocolate, white, yellow and lemon.

Yum, just yum!

Update on 'Hell's Kitchen,' 'Top Chef'

Chicago's culinary cuties are still in the mix on chef-driven reality series Bravo's "Top Chef" and FOX's "Hell's Kitchen."

While Stephanie Izard almost goes home on "Top Chef," Jennifer Gavin emerges as the one to watch on Gordon Ramsay's emotionally charged "Hell's Kitchen."

Let's give it up for both of them for making it another week!

Jazz Showcase on its way back, finally

Great news: Looks like Joe Segal's legendary Jazz Showcase, which lost its lease in early 2007, is finally on track to reopening by May 1, according to the site. New location is at 47 W. Polk St. in the South Loop.

What the critics are saying . . .

. . . about:

Aria (200 N. Columbus Dr., 312-444-9494): "We also liked the global takes on chicken entrees (often a low point for menus) — nothing mind-blowing, but very solid and pleasantly different. Tandoori chicken is lightly spiced with masala rub and served with a tomato-based curry-style sauce and lentil salad. Also fun, light and inventive: chicken crusted with the makings of falafel (ground chickpeas, herbs and breadcrumbs) and sauced with tahini-thinned hummos."—Alison Neumer Lara (Crain's Chicago Business) Read it all here.

Jane's Restaurant (1655 W. Cortland St., 773-862-5263): "The potatoes that come on the side are a very reasonably molded sphere of rosemary breakfast potatoes, a far cry from the huge pile of oozing greasy potatoes you can find at many other brunch spots. The rosemary was just enough to make them flavorful and a great accompaniment to the egg dishes. Moreover, they were glad to sub fresh fruit for the potatoes and chicken sausage that were the standard sides. The turkey Canadian bacon, as I have said, was some of the best I've ever had. If she hadn't told me it was turkey, I would never have guessed."—The Skinny Gourmet Read it all here.

Kan Pou (4256 N. Western Ave., 773-866-2839): "Lacquered mahogany chairs flank tables topped with sea-blue cloth and white butcher paper, while modular bookcases display food mags like Saveur and Food Arts alongside small cellophane bags of the restaurant’s secret weapon: traditional Thai butter cookies, baked by the owner’s wife. There are a handful of varieties, including subtle lemongrass, sesame seed, toasty coconut and the standout buttery clove. A plate of them arrives, gratis, at the end of the meal, but trust us—you’ll also want to take a bag or two home."—Heather Shouse (Time Out Chicago) Read it all here.

Prosecco (710 N. Wells St., 312-951-9500): "Among the main courses, the quartet of fat scallops in a gently sweet vanilla-prosecco cream reduction is dazzling, as is the veal saltimbocca, in a brandy-tomato sauce that nicely balances sweet and acidic flavors. One cannot go wrong with the daily risotto, judging by my sampling. The elegant mushroom-and-tomato version had a fragrant whiff of truffle oil."—Phil Vettel (Chicago Tribune) Read it all here.