Monday, March 21, 2011

One BIG Night In Little Italy . . .

She couldn't wait to chow down on the Butterscotch Cake Doughnuts with bacon brittle from Three Aces. (Photos: 312 Dining Diva and Freddy Love)

I got a bunch of fun, food-loving friends together over the weekend and convinced them to go with me on one journey our stomachs will never forget.

I dubbed it One BIG Night In Little Italy—a culinary-and-cocktail crawl—in which we visited several of the neighborhood's restaurants and bars to eat and drink until we passed out.

We actually only made it to seven of the eight designated spots because frankly we couldn't go on any longer.

Here's what went down . . .

The James Beard Noms Are Out . . .

Curtis Duffy, chef de cuisine at Avenues at the Peninsula. (Photo: Peninsula Chicago)

At last year's James Beard Foundation Awards, Avenues' chef Curtis Duffy was tapped by Grant Achatz to cook for the ceremony—an honor given to a past winner who passes the baton to another worthy chef.

And today, Duffy finds himself among the Beard honoree elite, as the prestigious awards announced the nominees for 2011.