Thursday, September 4, 2008

Something good's cooking this weekend . . .

Dale Levitsky of Bravo's season three of "Top Chef."

Oh, it's a little dreary today, but the star power still hanging around town should pick up your spirits.

"Top Chef" fans can check out a special tour making a stop in town today. Olympic fans who didn't have a chance to meet the athletes during Oprah's taping get another shot Saturday when "Redeem Team" star Dwayne Wade hosts a gold medal affair. And those looking to make fans of their own can audition at Spy Bar for a new VH1 reality show:


Top Chef: The Tour hits town for the second day, happening at the Green City Market (1799 N. Clark St.) in Lincoln Park. Former contestants Dale Levitsky and CJ Jacobsen (both from Season 3) offer guests a first-hand look at how to make it as a Top Chef, complete with cooking demonstrations, gourmet tips and show secrets. 10:30am, noon, 1:30pm. Seats are available on a first come, first served basis. Free.

Enjoy Spanish vino?! Get your fill at In Fine Spirits during this tasting that explores the exotic region. Also, meet pioneering Spanish winemakers Raimundo Abando and Luis Ollar as you enjoy tapas-style appetizers. 6:30-8:30pm. Free.

Soul Essentials is the event going down every Thursday at Red Kiva, with resident deejay Cordell Johnson behind the tables. No drink specials, but the sounds will certainly get you high. 10pm-2am. No cover.

Celebrity designer Nate Berkus is the special guest host for Basil Hayden Tastemakers Design Chicago, happening at Lumen. Guests will have the opportunity to meet the finalist as well as sample specialty bourbon-infused cocktails by Basil Hayden and appetizers. 7-9pm. RSVP to for comp admission.


The Windy City Wine Festival is back for a fourth year, taking place at Daley Bicentennial Plaza. Sponsored by Binny's, the event will include more than 250 wines to sample along with appetizers, cooking demos and live entertainment. 4-10pm Friday; 3-10pm Saturday. $25 in advance; $30 at door; $10 designated driver ticket. Call 847-382-1480 for tix.

Liar's Club, one of the few unpretentious nightclubs left in Chicago, is one of those guilty pleasures. And tonight they're hosting Neon Hi-Tops, an event promising to be full of unpredictable moments. Get ready for $2 PBR, $3 Kilo Kai Rum shots and $4 Kilo mixers. 9pm-2am. Free before 11pm.


This is what we've been talking about! This sounds like a great Fulton Market party with music that's not your usual bag of tricks. It's celebrating the second anniversary for Permanent Records, with drink specials, deejays spinning offbeat tunes and live music. It's happening at AV-aerie (2000 W. Fulton St. #310, 312-342-6280) and it's free. Doors open at 8pm.


Take a late-morn stroll to Lincoln Park Zoo, then head over to Perennial for their brand-new brunch. They're pushing a seasonal menu, so right now you'll be good to go with items like the Spanish omelet (olive oil poached Yukon potatoes and onions, garlic aioli and petite salad), Legs Benedict (poached eggs, duck leg confit, hollandaise and English muffin) or French toast (almond baguette, peaches, lemon ginger crème fraiche). We're also looking forward to the brunch cocktails on the menu right now: a Hazelnut Brunch Daiquiri with espresso, Pyrat rum, hazelnut liquor served with floating crushed coffee beans and the B2 with Basil Hayden’s bourbon and basil-infused simple syrup with a touch of orange bitters. 9:30am-1:30pm Saturday and Sunday.

And get ready for the Bears to get their revenge for that Super Bowl loss to the Colts. Do it in style at Cityscape Bar at the Holiday Inn Mart Plaza, as they're offering a number of specials to get your through what's certain to be a nail biter. Order the Football Flights (4oz beer flights for $6) or half-price apps, which includes mini Angus beef burgers, Buffalo chicken straws and roasted duck tamales. Game starts at 7pm.