Wednesday, May 6, 2009

EXCLUSIVE: Melvin B's coming back?!

(Photo: Melvin B's)

Could this be true?!

Just in time for summertime shenanigans, word is that Melvin B's—the Gold Coast's most notorious outdoor bar—is back!

An Ultimate Insider tells 312DD that it's resurfacing in its old home at 1114 N. State St., and will be reopening in about three weeks.

Former owner Donnie Kruse (who also owns Stanley's), says he's not behind this second incarnation, so we're on the case to find out who's in charge.

This is sooo developing!

If She Had It Her Way on Mom's Day

Michelle Garcia (left) of Bleeding Heart Bakery and her mom, Sharon (Photo: Bill Lambert/Erickson Design)

They're truly the queens of their kitchens, so they almost never get a day off to relax.

312DD managed to catch up with some of Chicago's busiest chefs—who just happen to be moms—to find out their idea of the perfect Mother's Day:

Malika Ameen, executive pastry chef and co-owner of the exotically sexy Aigre Doux, manages to run a tight ship in the kitchen with her husband Mohammad Islam even though they have three sons under age seven. A blissful Mom's Day for her would be huevos rancheros served to her in bed by her family. And no housework.

Favorite Menu Item at Aigre Doux: Black Truffle Pizza with a wood-fired crust.

Tru's Gale Gand, the tireless pastry chef, author, TV personality and restaurateur, is also the mom-in-chief of three children (two girls and one boy). Her special fantasy day would consist of homemade cards from her kids, just-picked Daffodils from her garden, foot rub from her husband and movies. Of course, there'd be breakfast in bed, seeing as the award-winning artist just released Gale Gand's Brunch!: 100 Fantastic Recipes for the Weekend's Best Meal (Crown Publishing Group; 2009). She'd want her family to whip up her recipe for Blanched Asparagus with Poached Eggs and Shaved Parmesan paired with fresh-squeezed OJ (with strawberry puree, passion fruit juice, and a shot of Cava).

Favorite Menu Item at Tru: King crab, white asparagus, pineapple, and tarragon appetizer; also the gianduja cremeux with concord grape sorbet, basil and manchego cheese dessert.

Author, TV star, pastry chef and restaurateur Gale Gand.

Punk rock mom and pastry chef Michelle Garcia has two children and two popular, organic-focused North Side bakeries, Bleeding Heart and Smash Cake. And if she managed to get a day off for Mother's Day, she'd want to be lavished with gifts from Lush (the cosmetics store with handmade organic products, not the spirits shop!). Also, for her son not to hit her in the head with his Star Wars' lightsaber.

Favorite Menu Item at Bleeding Heart: The infamous tattoo cakes that put her store on the map. Get the organic goodies in whatever flavor you like with the Mom heart tat surrounded by flowers.

Sarah Stegner may have more prestigious awards than children (one daughter, one Robert Mondavi Culinary Award Of Excellence, two James Beard Foundation awards), but she takes her role as mom to heart. As co-owner and co-executive chef at Prairie Grass Café in Northbrook, she always works on Mother's Day, but if she had the chance to get away she'd spend every precious moment with her daughter.

Favorite Menu Item at Prairie Grass Café: She keeps it simple with spaghetti and roasted chicken.

For an extensive list of Mother's Day events, go here and for freebies, check this out.

May is National BBQ Month . . .

David Burke (left) and Marcus Samuelsson (Photo: XA, The Experiential Agency)

. . . so you can either fire up that grill and try your luck at getting it right this year, or allow two of the nation's most recognized chefs to show you how it's really done.

Meat master David Burke (Primehouse) and seafood specialist Marcus Samuelsson (C-House) join forces to host a grilling demo and tasting at the Affinia hotel's C-View rooftop lounge.

But that's not all. The first-ever Land & Sea BBQ Bootcamp also includes a cocktail reception and information Q&A with the chefs. They'll be whipping up BBQ short rib tacos, grilled oysters and more, plus guests will leave knowing exactly how they did it. A gift bag will include the day's recipes.

Event happens 1-3pm May 16; call C-House for the $75 tickets. It's happening the same weekend as the National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show, so this thing will sell out!