Tuesday, January 29, 2008

King of New Orleans' cuisine on 'Today' for Fat Tuesday fun

Jimmy Bannos of Heaven on Seven
(Photo: Heaven on Seven)

Heaven on Seven's Jimmy Bannos is back on the "Today" show to kick off Fat Tuesday. Tune in on Monday, Feb. 4 to watch him whip up one of his signature dishes, BBQ shrimp on buttery cornbread squares from his latest book, Big Easy Cocktails, Jazzy Drinks and Savory Bites from New Orleans.

And on Fat Tuesday, all three of his locations will get in the holiday's spirit with an authentic Mardi Gras vibe, including decor, Zydeco bands, on-site face painting, and Lousiana-style dinner specials. Also, you cannot get out of Heaven on Seven without gulping down a few Hurricanes—a potent blend of several rums and juice.

And being down with all things Louisiana, Bannos is donating a percentage of his Mardi Gras proceeds to the continued efforts to revive the city of New Orleans. Locations: 111 N. Wabash Ave., 312-263-6443; 600 N. Michigan Ave., 312-280-7774; 224 S. Main Street, Naperville, 630-717-0777.

Three for tonight


Cellar Notes. The weekly NoMI event tonight features a whiskey tasting. Advanced sommelier Fernando Beteta will guide guests through a blind-tasting of some rare spirits. It's open-house style; 5:30-7:30pm. $30. Park Hyatt Chicago, 7th Floor, 800 N. Michigan Ave., 312-239-4030.

Industry Tuesdays. Lumen's popular industry-night party hosts a special event for fashion-industry types with this event hosted by the Mayor's Fashion Council. They're celebrating the launch of chicagofashionresource.com, which is "home for all things
fashion-related in the City of Chicago." Free; 6-8pm. 839 W. Fulton Market, 312-733-2222.

Lush Wine Tasting. The Roscoe Village outpost of Lush Wines & Spirits hosts Spanish winemaker Bon Vivant and ODYSSEUS this evening. Enjoy simple Spanish tapas as you sip and schmooze. 6-8pm; free. 2232 W. Roscoe Ave., 773-281-8888.

Big props for some worthy Chicago restaurants

Charlie Trotter's (shown above) and Alinea were the only Chicago restaurants to receive five stars from the 2008 Mobile Travel Guide.
(Photo: Charlie Trotter's)

The 2008 Mobil Travel Guide comes out today in stores, and several of Chicago's top restaurants received some pretty high honors. The following spots totally deserve the props, but the list is pretty predictable. [Hey, what about Moto (945 W. Fulton Market, 312-491-0058) NaHa (500 N. Clark St., 312-321-6242), NoMI (800 N. Michigan Ave., 312-239-4030), Sepia (123 Jefferson St., 312-441-1920) or Topolobampo (445 N. Clark St., 312-661-1434)?!]

Five Star honors:

Alinea (1723 N. Halsted St., 312-867-0110): "Steaming eucalyptus leaves, smoking cinnamon sticks or lavender air-filled pillows are just some of the unusual elements that may be incorporated in the presentation of some dishes."

Charlie Trotter's (816 W. Armitage Ave., 773-248-6228): "Charlie Trotter’s is a place for people who prefer food to be treated like a work of art. It’s also a restaurant for those who value a chef’s masterful ability to transform sustenance into culinary wonder."

Four Star honors:

Avenues (108 E. Superior St., 312-573-6754): "Cutting edge, contemporary cuisine awaits diners at Avenues, located within Chicago’s Peninsula Hotel."

Everest (440 S. LaSalle St., 312-663-8920): "Chef and owner Jean Joho blends European influences with local, seasonal American ingredients. He’s not afraid to pair noble ingredient like caviar with humbler fruits of American soil such as potatoes and turnips."

Les Nomades (222 E. Ontario St., 312-649-9010): "Chef Chris Nugent has crafted a traditional French menu that features dishes such as white asparagus soup with wild mushrooms and truffle froth."

Seasons (120 E. Delaware Pl., 312-280-8000): "Seasons restaurant has a diverse menu that changes depending upon the availability of fresh ingredients such as a surf and turf tartare, which features American Kobe beef with violet mustard, or ahi tuna with wasabi sorbet and tamarind-soy gelee."

Tru (676 N. St. Clair St., 312-202-0001): "Tru’s modern, airy dining room is a stunning stage for chef and co-owner Rick Tramonto’s progressive French creations and co-owner pastry chef Gale Gand’s incredible, one-of-a-kind sweet and savory endings."