Monday, November 5, 2007

Le Passage re-launches with hot new look, celeb chef

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Le Passage's Friday night-opening invite is hot too.

The re-launch party invitation for Le Passage (937 N. Rush St., 312-225-0022) just arrived in my inbox, and I'm actually getting a little excited about it. In its heyday, we used to hang out there so much that we knew all the doormen and bartenders on a first-name basis.

Anyway, this is a new day for Le Passage, which has renamed the old Yow Bar The Drawing Room, where celebrated chef Shawn McClain (Custom House, Green Zebra, Spring) is designing the menu with his protege, Nick Lacasse. Not that there was anything wrong with those scrumptious mini-burgers and skinny fries, but methinks he's going to take it up a few notches.

The main room for the club looks the same save for they moved the deejay booth in the middle of the dance floor, but The Drawing Room has undergone a dramatic makeover that will be unveiled at the opening party Friday, Nov. 9 from 9pm-4am.

Give them a call and get on that list.

'Win Chef Kim' at your home

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Le Lan's new private dining room could be yours this holiday season.

Here's a chance to impress your friends--if you win.

The stylish Asian-French Le Lan (749 N. Clark St., 312-280-9100) recently unveiled its swanky second-floor private dining room just in time for the busy holiday season. And if you book it for an event now through the end of the year, you'll be entered into a contest to win a dinner party at your home for up to 12 guests. The multiple-course menu--paired with various wines provided by the restaurant--will be prepared by the man himself: Executive Chef Bill Kim.

Blackbird's Paul Kahan as DJ?!

He's great with his hands, so I guess it should come as no surprise that he's using them to spin records now.

That's right. Blackbird's kick-ass, award-winning chef Paul Kahan is the special guest deejay at boutique wine bar Juicy Wine Co. (694 N. Milwaukee Ave., 312-492-6620). It'll be interesting to see what he spins when he takes on the turntables Monday, Nov. 12, 10pm-close. Will it be rock? Soul? Old-school funk? Who knows, but it's something you don't want to miss. He's also bringing some signature appetizers for guests to snack on as they take advantage of owner Rodney Alex's hand-picked wine selections for $5.

Deal of the day . . .

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The yummy pork empanadas at People Lounge.

Going out tonight?

Wicker Park's People Lounge (1560 N. Milwaukee Ave., 773-227-9339) has a deal you should check out right after work. Every Sunday-Thursday 5:30pm-7, they're hosting a happy hour with all tapas for $3. Specials include pork empanadas, croquetas, queso de cabra (goat cheese with garlic bread) and spicy potatoes. You'll want to wash them down with their great selection of sangrias, including a white one made with champagne.

Also, stick around for nightly live music, ranging from Latin to soul.

Chambord takes note

The company behind Chambord, the deliciously decandent raspberry-flavored liqueur, is in town for a few days to get the opinions of some of our top industry experts on how their product is doing at their venues.

At a private event at the James Hotel on Sunday, the company invited service professionals from some of Chicago's hot spots to test out new cocktails and encourage them to create their own. Most of the guests admitted that Chambord is rarely used in cocktails at Chicago's bars and restaurants, but the company aimed to change that trend by the end of the night. Reps from Butterfly Social Club, Blue Water Grill, Club 720, Funky Buddha Lounge, Martini Park and NoMI sampled a variety of Chambord-flavored cocktails, including a sweet tea made with vodka, a bourbon drink and a frozen margarita. But it was their spin on the mojito that everyone seemed to love the most--including me--so I've decided to include the recipe so you can make it yourself:

Chambord Mojito
2 oz. Appleton White Rum
1/2 oz. Chambord
6-8 mint leaves
2 lime wedges
1/2 tablespoon sugar
Club soda

Add sugar, mint leaves, lime wedges and a splash of soda water to a tall glass. Muddle until sugar is dissolved. Add ice to glass. Add Appleton and Chambord. Stir to mix. Top with a splash of soda.