Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Dog gets its day

Dion Antic (of Iggy's, Harry's Velvet Room fame) finally gets an opening date for his long-awaited Rock Star Dogs (801 N. Ashland Ave.): March 6.

Also, that new Fleming's steakhouse is opening in River North at 25 W. Ohio St. next month.

The Wild Brunch

Bin Wine Café's Mimosa Flight: pineapple (from left), pomegranate, Bellini and Madras (Photo: Bin Wine Café)

Extend your Valentine’s Day festivities through the weekend this year. Have dinner on Thursday, party on Friday and Saturday, and chill out with brunch on Sunday.

Feeling particularly romantic? Share luscious bites with your sig other at some of my favorite spots for amore:

Bin Wine Café (1559 N. Milwaukee Ave., 773-486-2233). Share a few items like the Brunch Pizza (with poached egg, Applewood smoked bacon, spinach, frisee), Croque Monsieur (speck ham, roasted chicken, blue cheese, with fries) or the cheese flight, in which you get six awesome selections specially picked out by the staff. And speaking of flights, be sure to order the Mimosa Flight, 3 oz. tasting portions of champagne-infused cocktails, with fresh pineapple, pomegranate, peach nectar (Bellini) as well as orange juice with a splash of cranberry (Madras).

La Creperie (2845 N. Clark St., 773-528-9050). The cozy, family-run bistro serves up sweet and savory crepes that are legendary. My favorites include poulet & fromage de chevre (chicken breast with roasted tomatoes and goat cheese), poulet au champignons (chicken in an herb cream sauce with sautéed button mushrooms) and Banana Sara (bananas in a brown sugar caramel sauce topped with rum and vanilla ice cream). And yes, they're big enough to share!

North Pond (2610 N. Cannon Dr., 773-477-5845). Or go all out for your loved one with one of the city's most popular brunches, which overlooks Lincoln Park's pond. Your focus, of course, will be on each other as you nosh on Bruce Sherman's seasonal offerings. Right now, he's serving items like stone ground oatmeal with whipped cream, caramelized pears, almonds and cinnamon; a spice-rubbed Hangar steak; a pan-browned Rainbow trout; and dark chocolate sorbet accompanied by mint ice cream, cocoa cookie ganache and a salted butter cracker. $32 per person.

And the nominees go to . . .

Who cares about the Grammys or Oscars when the ballot for the 2008 James Beard Foundation nominees has been released to Beard judges (each category will be whittled down to five nominees in April, when the official list is released):

Here are the Chicago stars getting props:


Richard Melman (Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises)




Martial Noguier(one sixtyblue)

Graham Elliott Bowles (Avenues)

Suzy Crofton (Crofton on Wells)

Kendal Duque (Sepia)

Carrie Nahabedian (Naha)

Bruce Sherman (North Pond)

Giuseppe Tentori (Boka)

Paul Virant (Vie)

Michael Maddux (Le Titi de Paris)


Mindy Segal (Hot Chocolate)


Grant Achatz (Alinea)

Jean Joho (Everest)







BIN 36

The 2008 James Beard Foundation Awards Gala will take place in NYC on Sunday, June 8.

Related: Hosted by Spring Executive Chef Shawn McClain, the Friends of James Beard Dinner will be held on Wednesday, March 19 at Spring (2039 W. North Ave., 773-395-7100). Along with McClain, this mega-chef event will feature the Midwest’s most renowned – and James Beard Award-winning – chefs: Takashi Yagihashi (Takashi); Tony Mantuano (Spiaggia) and Paul Kahan (Blackbird). Together, these culinary all-stars will present a five-course menu that exhibits the most current thinking and knowledge of the American dining scene from a Midwestern perspective. Cost for the event is $175 for members of the James Beard Foundation and $200 for non-members. Advance ticket purchase is required. Space is limited.

Oh, no! Not another 'reality' dating show!

So last weekend, this thing happened.

And now Bravo is holding a casting call for the "Dating Project" on Saturday, Feb. 16 at 9:30pm.

The email that just dropped in my inbox states that "one rising starlet seeks her very own romantic inspiration. On a boulevard of dreams this stunning celebrity awaits her leading man."

O-K. So if you're a "sexy, successful and eligible" bachelor between 25-35, they want you to come in for an interview at Chaise Lounge (1840 W. North Ave., 773-342-1840). But here's the real treat: They're looking for a certain type of dude, so only apply if you're:

Professional athletes
Music execs
Stock brokers
Real estate guys
Investment bankers
Software moguls
Tennis players
Executive chefs
Art dealers

Shallow much?!

The only good thing about this is that all the single ladies now know where to go on Saturday!

All good things must come to an end

Word comes down that there's no more Boom Boom Room, the city's longest-running party that started more than 15 years ago at legendary house club Reg Dog. Hundreds of top local and international deejays performed at Boom Boom Room.

After Red Dog, Boom Boom Room was acquired by nightlife promoters Music 101, who took the party over to Green Dolphin Street (2200 N. Ashland Ave., 773-395-0066), where it remained a Monday night staple until this week. So, that's it, folks. If it returns, I'll be sure to let you know!

How could they not open this week?!


First there was Eno (505 N. Michigan Ave., 312-944-4100), and now comes Chocolate Grape (2113 W. Division St., 773-772-3990), a Wicker Park cafe specializing in wine and chocolate.

Owners Pat Karpowski and Rehanna Leigh Grady met at the "For the Love of Chocolate" benefit in 2007, and decided to make their love for chocolate a reality. Chocolate Grape expects to open in late March, and in addition to handmade chocolates and boutique wines, look for pastries, coffee, salads and soups, as well as exotic cheese and sausage flights.

There will also be a private event room, The Truffle Box, which should be an interesting addition to the local nightlife options.