Friday, December 14, 2007

Fat Cat still leading Nightlife Poll

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Uptown's Fat Cat (4840 N. Broadway, 773-506-3100) continues to lead the Nightlife Poll for Best New Bar of 2007. Looks like the retro-style pub has a strong following because they're certainly coming out to vote!

Agree? Disagree? Cast your vote at the bottom of the page. 16 more days to go . . .

Taste offers a 'taste' of super-premium tequilas tonight

If you were wondering whatever happened to Eric Aubriot (Aubriot, Hotel 71's Fuse), we found out. He's landed at Taste Food & Wine (1506 W. Jarvis Ave., 773-761-3663) in Rogers Park where he's a partner in this gourmet cheese, wine and liquor shop.

Every Monday at 6:30pm, they're offering wine tastings paired with various cheeses. But tonight they're stepping out with a super-premium tequila tasting event.

Partida—known for its handcrafted tequilas from Mexico that come from blue agave plants grown 7-10 years—will be sampling four different tequilas tonight from 6-8pm. Partida has only been in the country for three years, according to Partida Ambassador Alex Fowler, and 16 months in Chicago.

For shoppers, Fowler's serving up Blanco (boasting a soft floral aroma and blended with hints of citrus, fresh herbs and tropical fruit), Resposado (aged for six months in Jack Daniels barrels; a rich finish topped off with scents of vanilla, hazelnut and almond), Añejo (aged for 18 months in Jack Daniels barrels; soft honey fruited tones blended with flavors of banana, chocolate and sweet pear) and Elegante Extra Añejo (aged for 38 months; uses the very best Partida estate-grown blue agave, carefully selected by estate owner Enrique Partida himself).

He'll also be sampling margaritas made from the super-premium tequila. Oh, and if you can't make it to Taste in Rogers Park, Fowler is also a bartender every Saturday at Wicker Park's Moonshine (1824 W. Division St., 773-278-3735), where he'll be happy to make one for you that's strong and long.

What the critics are saying . . .

. . . about:

Blu 47 (4655 S. King Dr., 773-536-6000). "I'm not dissing the dinner menu when I say that Sunday brunch might be the best time to visit Blu 47. The $19.95 buffet is a bargain, a fine array of Southern comfort food that includes white grits and cheese grits (take the white grits; the cheese grits are gummy), chicken wings, biscuits with honey, catfish nuggets, pork sausage patties and one or two entrees such as gumbo or smothered pork chops. Omelets and waffles are made to order, and there's a cereal station for youngsters. The food is simple, down-home and good. The price includes a complimentary mimosa. It's a tough deal to beat."—Phil Vettel (Chicago Tribune)

Bonsoiree Cafe & Delicacies (2728 W. Armitage Ave., 773-486-7511). "The contemporary American menu showcases clean, streamlined, seasonal flavors. The autumn menu introduces an appetizer of cured pork belly with star anise, fig sauce, and polenta and a main course of duck breast with acorn squash puree, fried parsnips, and a white balsamic gastrique."—Martha Bayne (Chicago Reader)

Ja' Grill (1008 W. Armitage Ave., 773-929-5375). "The menu is tight. The place is small. But there is a good deal of character and creativity in both. The highest-priced dish on the menu is the whole snapper, which runs $20 but includes (as do all entrees) rice and peas ("peas" in Jamaican cuisine are actually kidney beans), steamed cabbage and carrots, plantains and bread. (Ja' Grill offers preparations -- chicken, shrimp -- that involve curry, but I didn't try any of them.)"—Pat Bruno (Chicago Sun-Times)

Tavern at the Park (130 E. Randolph St., 312-552-0070). "Perhaps the finest dish is braised beef short ribs, slow-roasted tenderness soaking up a concentrated red wine demi-glace ($22). I don't know why they gave me a knife. A side of whipped potato casserole ($5) is buttery and creamy."—Laura Bianchi (Crain's Chicago Business)