Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A taste of Paris in the Loop

Heather Terhune, executive chef at Atwood Cafe (Photo: Atwood Cafe)

Heather Terhune, cuisine queen at Atwood Cafe (1 W. Washington St., 312-368-1900), is one of my favorite local chefs because she loves to have fun with her food.

And her latest creation, American in Paris, is no exception with its quirky offerings of fantastic spring fare. Highlights of her menu include soup au pistou with spring vegetables and rich chicken broth; Coriander-crusted butterfish with fingerling potatoes, French green beans, grape tomatoes and a warm niçoise olive-lemon-caper vinaigrette; oven-roasted Georgia quail with garlic-herb butter, mashed potatoes, sweet onion jus and crispy onion straws; and a heavenly-sounding vanilla bean crème brûlée.

It's $45 per person (with wine pairing for each course, an additional $20), and only available through April, so get on it.

A 'Star' is born and other openings

As you can see, there's never a shortage of hot new restaurants and bars in Chicago. There's quite a few openings this week that may pique your interest:

Formerly known as Jay's Amore, Viaggio (1330 W. Madison St., 312-829-3333) opened yesterday in the West Loop. After shutting down for a few weeks for renovation and overhauling the menu, they're now ready to serve a contemporary menu of Italian classics.

Starfruit Cafe (1745 W. Division St., 773-328-2900), boasting froyo parfaits, smoothies and frozen treats made from kefir, opens today in Ukrainian Village.

And Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar (25 E. Ohio St., 312-329-9463) actually opened last Friday. It's a national chain, but don't let that scare you away.

A toast to Tax Day . . . going away


Well, it's here. Tax Day, that is. It's time to celebrate with a cocktail or two, or three . . .

Get a jumpstart on some fabulous finds for Mother's Day tonight at the tony Tory Burch boutique (66 E. Walton St., 312-280-0010). Author Melanie Charlton Fascietelli will be there to celebrate the launch of her new tome, "Shop Your Closet," and all guests get 20 percent off on all purchases. Cocktails, light appetizers, but they'll need your RSVP for entry at kelly@michiganavemag.com. 6-8pm. Free.

Don't pull your hair out about your tax woes. Instead head to Juicy Wine Co. (694 N. Milwaukee Ave., 312-492-6620) for its fourth-annual 1040 Tasting. Taste 40 different shackle-breaking wines and swirl against the machine to seething jams from DJ Fiscal Response. 5:30-7:30pm. $10.

Pops For Champagne (601 N. State St., 312-266-7677) hosts its annual 1040 Tax Relief Celebration, which includes bubbly and food specials for $10.40, including three premium sparkling wines: Rosell Boher Brut Rose from Mendoza, Argentina, a North American exclusive at Pops; Argyle 2002 Brut; and Ruggeri & C. Prosecco. Also, guests may enjoy a discounted cover charge to the Jazz Club ($10.40 for two) to listen to the Chris Sargent Trio.

CityScape Bar (350 W. Mart Plaza Center Dr., 312-836-5000) is really offering some relief with a complimentary appetizer buffet from 5-7pm and drink specials all night. Go for the Effen IRS Blue Lemonade Martini, In The Red Bloody Mary, In The Black Russian or the Deduction Draft (Samuel Adams Draft)—all for $4.15.

And if you're still in need of relief by tomorrow, make your way over to Martini Park (151 W. Erie St., 312-640-0577) for Tax Bash 2008. The Karaoke Dokies will perform popular money-themed songs (“The Taxman” by the Beatles, “Take The Money & Run” by Steve Miller Band). The karaoke starts at 8pm, and there will be a $500 “refund” prize for the best performance of the evening. Judges will be, ahem, Amanda Puck from X/A PR, LeeAnn Trotter (entertainment reporter for NBC-5) and 312 Dining Diva (!!!). There is also some crazy rumor going around that we're supposed to perform too. I think I'll suddenly get a case of laryngitis. . .