Thursday, June 12, 2008

He's got game . . .

Graham Elliot's masterful version of beef stroganoff. (Photo: Graham Elliot)

. . . and word is spreading fast about how hard it's gonna be to get into Graham Elliot Bowles' eponymous River North eatery.

And the critics—the pros and the foodies—are already weighing in on their experiences even though it hasn't been open for two weeks. Metromix got a first look and Chowhound's rabid readers get real on quirky menu items like PBR-soaked onions, a Buffalo chicken thigh, risotto with Cheez-Its and frozen foie gras covered in Pop Rocks.

Fabulous fetes, fests, fathers, Fiddlehead . . .

Spy Bar unveils its new hot look, including this sexy graphic wall, to the public on Friday. (Photo: 312 Dining Diva)

It's time to give Pops his props, Old Town Arts Fest arrives and Spy Bar returns with a hot new look:


Get ready for an Urban Renaissance as several local promoters host an exotic, Brazilian-themed event at Alhambra Palace. Party includes drink specials, deejays Mark Fulla Flava and Eddie Mills spin, and Brazilian dance shows (7:30, 9:30) will set the room on fiyah. 5pm-2am. No cover before 10pm.

Beginning today and every Thursday during Green City Market
season, Carnivale exec chef Mark Mendez features a Farmer's Market Prix-Fixe Lunch. The meal includes an entree, appetizer or salad, and seasonal fruit dessert for $19, and it's best enjoyed on Carnivale's relaxing outdoor patio. 11:30am-2:30pm.

The 13th Annual St. Jude Chicago to Peoria Run raises money for the world's largest childhood cancer research center. The benefit happens 7-9pm at Jbar. Stay for the Diva Series with Sarah Vargo Productions, featuring Snow Queen Vodka specials. Deejay Jesse de la Pena spins soul, funk, Latin beats and more. 9pm-2am. No cover.

Fiddlehead Café hosts its popular neighborhood wine-tasting event, which is themed this time around Wines of the Mediterranean. Guests get to sample more than 60 wines with light snacks. 6-8pm. $35.

The Farmer's Market Prix-Fixe Lunch at Carnivale will offer goodies like this beet salad. (Photo: Carnivale)


It's time for the second installation of Project Art, which includes live art, dance and deejays at Victor Hotel. Hosted by PLS Magazine and Good for Party, the set includes specials on Hennessy drinks and visual art from Peabe, Revise CMW, Blutt and Joey Potts. Deejays Spre and Rahaan spin. 9pm-2am. No cover.

Outfit Events fetes two fabulous years in the biz with a party at Enclave. They're bringing back celebrity spin star DJ AM for what's cetain to be the wildest party of the weekend. 9pm-2am. $20-$30.

Spy Bar is the city's only nightclub serving tableside, hand-crafted cocktails like this mojito. (Photo: 312 Dining Diva)

Say hello to the all-new Spy Bar tonight. 312 Dining Diva got an exclusive preview of its sleek, upscale interior—with hardwood accents, muted colors and a sexy wall with eye-catching graphics—that replaces the dark, mysterious setting that gave it a seedy vibe. Also, they've secured MK mixologist John Kinder to consult on a lustful list of cocktails like a traditional mojito as well Strawberry’s Drip (Belevdere vodka, a refreshing blend of fresh strawberry and lemon juice with a hint of lavender), Pineapple Chamo (Hennessy VS, pineapple, chamomile and Tarragon come together) and Sparkling Jasmine (Veuve Cliquot Yellow Label with an exotic blend of Tahitian vanilla, fresh citrus and soothing jasmine). Spy Bar is the only nightclub in the city serving tableside, handcrafted cocktails. 9pm-4am. Cover varies.


Dan Marquis, the chef de cuisine at Bin 36, conducts the cooking demo at Green City Market. Event starts at 10:30am, but the market is open 7am-2:30pm. Free.

Get the bubbly on early at Pops for Champagne for the Paul Bara Champagne Tasting. Guests will taste three different cuvées from this legendary Bouzy producer considered one of the best sources of pinot noir. 3-5pm. $20.

It's that time again for the Old Town Arts Fest/Wells Street Arts Fest, but these things can get overwhelming! Meet up with friends at Spoon, where they'll be offering drink specials and then end the night at sushi fave Kamehachi, which stays open until 2am. 11am-2am. Donation requested.


If your dad loves the links, then he'll probably want to check out Wine Styles' exclusive PGA Wine Tasting at GolfTec (2847 N. Halsted St.). Guests will taste five PGA Tour wines while participating in long drive and putting contests, all while watching final round action of the U.S. Open. Also, appetizers and PGA professionals on site for game improvement tips. 2-8pm. No cover or reservations.

For fathers who prefer to skip the crazy brunch hours, head to Cafe Selmarie for steak au Poivre, Jamaican jerk chicken or crispy Tilapia. All dads will get a complimentary specialty cocktail. Outdoor seating available; dinner service begins at 3pm.