Monday, December 17, 2007

NYE countdown

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I just realized that in exactly two weeks from today is New Year's Eve. Have you made plans yet? Do you need some recommendations?

Starting tomorrow, I will be picking three great options a day for you to choose from. Or, if you cannot wait, feel free to shoot me an email at where I will be happy to lend a helping hand.

Publicists, promoters and bar/restaurant owners are strongly encouraged to send stuff for consideration--especially if they're offering something offbeat.

In the meantime, check back as often as you can.

Red Carpet madness . . .

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This weekend was especially busy for celebrity types, with rock stars, a reality show sweetheart and a songwriting genius making the scene:

--The Hills star Lauren Conrad co-hosted the Holiday for Hope fundraiser with the U.S. Marines at Crobar (1543 N. Kingsbury, 312-266-1900) Friday. The aspiring fashion designer mentioned that her clothing line is coming to several Chicago boutiques in February, but had no idea which stores. Interesting.

--Award-winning R&B songwriter/vocalist John Legend braved Saturday's snowstorm to hit two Chicago hot spots: Table 52 (52 W. Elm St., 312-573-4000) for a quiet dinner with friends; and Carnivale (702 W. Fulton Market, 312-850-5005), where he performed in the fabulous upstairs party room for a private affair.

--And pop legends Duran Duran hit Rockit Bar & Grill last Thursday (22 W. Hubbard St., 312-645-6000) for the famous Rockit burgers (according to Good Morning America), and sat next to Mayor Daley, his wife Maggie, former Friends star David Schwimmer and Rockit partner Billy Dec. Duran Duran was in town headlining a holiday concert at the Chicago Theatre, and then made their way over to Dec's late-night club Underground (56 W. Illinois St., 312-644-7600) for a party to celebrate their new CD release, Red Carpet Massacre.

Go 'Underground' for dinner tonight?

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Bon Soiree's signature braised lamb shank in puff pastry will be one of the dishes on the "Underground" dinner menu tonight.

At Bon Soiree (2728 W. Armitage Ave., 773-486-7511), the hot catering company and cafe in Logan Square, the Underground Wine Dinners are what keep foodies coming back. And tonight they still have a few tables left for their event that's pairing vino provided by Provenance Food & Wine (2528 N. California Ave., 773-384-0699).

If you manage to get a seat, get ready for a five-course feast, which includes: celery root and roasted garlic bisque paired with a Villa Villa Carafia Asprinio D'Aversa wine; braised lamb shank in puff pastry and Moroccan pesto paired with Jaume Mesquida Callet; and sweet potato-stuffed whole quail, curried carrot quinoa, apple-maple gastrique paired with Villa Carafia Zine Aglianico. Seating is extremely limited; call Provenance at 773-784-2314 ASAP to book seats. Tonight 7pm-midnight; $85.

Deal of the day . . .

It's incredibly cold out there today, and if you just happen to get cabin fever this evening, make your way over to Deleece (4004 N. Southport Ave., 773-325-1710).

The cozy, family-friendly Lakeview eatery offers a $20 three-course, prix-fixe menu every Monday and Tuesday, and I'm sure it's enough to warm you down to the bones. Menu highlights include the braised short ribs spiced up with a chile morita glaze, a pan-roasted salmon served with Chinese sticky black rice, and the herb-cured Amish chicken with apple and sage stuffing.

I'm getting all warm just thinking about it.