Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Yeah, he said it . . .

Crimson Lounge mixologist Todd Appel (Photo: Todd Appel)

Todd Appel, the supreme star mixologist from Crimson Lounge, is known for creating offbeat, yet tasty cocktails with fresh juices he squeezed himself, but he draws the line when it comes to the latest local food fad, offal:

"Tongues and hearts...should stay in the boudoir...and the belly thing is way too trendy for me...I like smoked pork belly though...sometimes called bacon."

Dennis Rodman of the culinary world?!

Graham Elliot Bowles as a Chippendale?! (Photo: Marcus Riley for NBCChicago.com)

This is what happens when I'm on a tight deadline and cannot go out.

I miss Graham Elliot Bowles's turn as guest bartender at Monday's popular industry-driven event, Night Shift, at Pops for Champagne.

Occasionally they'll have a celebrity chef fill in behind the bar shaking up his/her signature cocktail, but of course, Bowles (of the eponymous River North eatery), took it to the extreme, according to our friends at NBCChicago.com:

"Yes, that was the acclaimed chef guest bartending with a shirt buttoned down to his navel, a wig, bowtie, fake moustache and the piece de rĂ©sistance—cut-off jean shorts that were cut way too short for comfort. His or ours.

Judging by his recent behavior, it begs the question, is Graham going crackers?

'We're just having fun. There's two ways you can take something like this—super fun or super serious,' Bowles said in between mixing drinks at the bar. 'It's a reflection of our restaurant—we like to have a good time.'"

UPDATE: Oh lawd have mercy. Brace yourselves, people. Now there's a slideshow.

This thing will certainly sell out!

Paul Kahan (Photo: Battman Studios)

We typically find the mobile James Beard Foundation dinners a little too dry for our tastes, but the one going down at Publican later this fall on Oct. 18 is one certain to attract not just the hardcore foodies but a cool crowd as well.

As always, the dinner benefits the prestigious New York organization and its culinary educational programs, so its price tag of $125 a person should come as no surprise. But Beard winner Paul Kahan (Best Chef of the Midwest, 2004) has gathered his staff to create such a memorable dinner that you'll want to whip out your credit card ASAP.

The teams behind avec, Blackbird and Publican will each contribute a course, from Michael Sheerin's goat charcuterie with crab apples, dates and dandelions to Brian Huston's take on the Slagel Family Farm suckling pig with Concord grapes, chanterelles, minestra nero and verjus.

Each course is paired with Napa Valley's Blackbird Vineyards, Goose Island Beer Co. and Three Floyds Brewing Co. And arriving guests will be greeted by highboy tables filled with oysters, smoked black cod and spicy pork rinds, as well as flutes of Henriot Blanc Souverain N.V. Champagne.

The only things missing?! Some of those amazing hand-crafted cocktails from their Wicker Park bar, The Violet Hour, and one of the resident deejays from sister lounge Sonotheque—known for cranking out infectious, soulful beats.