Tuesday, April 22, 2008

This pub's got no name, but the chef's got game . . .

Brian Huston, chef de cuisine, chills out at yet-unnamed Warehouse District gastropub. (Photo: Anthony Tahlier)

Brian Huston, chef de cuisine of the Blackbird team's no-named restaurant at 845 W. Fulton Market, sounds off in this recent interview by Restaurant Intelligence Agency:

Is there anything you won't eat?
I'll try anything once.

If you could travel (just for the food and money wasn't an object) where would you go and why?
Southeast Asia for the street food.

What is the best restaurant we've probably never heard of?
Sun Wah Bar-B-Q Restaurant on Argyle St. in Chicago. Go for the Hong Kong-style pork.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received and who gave it to you?
Jimmy Bannos (of Heaven on Seven) told me that cooking was a great hobby.

Describe a perfect Sunday.
75 and sunny, a Bears win followed by barbecuing out back with my girlfriend.

What profession would you try if you could?
Professional basketball player.

Do you take any vacations that have nothing to do with food; if so, what was your last one?
Recently my vacations have been spent coming home to Chicago to be with my family but some might consider my last six years in Colorado a vacation.

Five Chicago properties make Conde Nast Traveler's annual Hot List

Chicago, stand up!

Several local red-hot properties get props in Conde Nast Traveler's 12th annual Hot List, which comes out in May. It's considered the insider's guide to the newest, hottest, sexiest hotels, restaurants, spas and nightclubs opened all over the world in the past year.

Chicago hotels:

Hotel Sax: 333 N. Dearborn St., 312-245-0333

Trump International Hotel & Tower: 401 N. Wabash Ave., 877-458-7867

Chicago restaurants:

Aigre Doux: 230 W. Kinzie St., 312-329-9400

Brasserie Ruhlman: 500 W. Superior St., 312-475-9112

Sepia: 123 N. Jefferson St., 312-441-1920

A toast to TreeTinis, eco-friendly fashions

All TreeTinis sold at Whiskey Bars will help save America's trees. (Photo: Gerber Group)

I'm not going to get all preachy about Earth Day—which fetes its 38th anniversary today—but there are some pretty cool things going on around town where you can have your usual fun while helping the environment:

At hip, Euro-style Lumen (839 W. Fulton Market, 312-733-2222), you'll get an eco-friendly fashion show hosted by Wicker Park's Funkshion (2121 W. Division St., 773-697-4119) and Image magazine. As always, drink specials, and a sophisticated industry crowd. 9pm-2am. No cover.

All three of Rande Gerber's Whiskey Bars get in on the action with a special on the TreeTini. Tonight only they're $6 (regularly $14), and for each one sold, a tree is being donated to a place in dire need of forestation and ecological improvement. The TreeTini was created by Live It Green, an Illinois-based sustainability company, and it's available for the special price at Whiskey Blue (172 W. Adams St., 312-782-4933), Whiskey Sky (644 N. Lake Shore Dr., 312-255-4463) and The Whiskey Bar/MEXX Kitchen (1015 N. Rush St., 312-475-0300).

Make your way to the fourth-annual Get Trashed on Earth Day at Mahoney’s Pub & Grille (551 N. Ogden Ave., 312-733-2121). The idea is for this event to be a chill-out opportunity for those who've spent the day cleaning up trash in the local neighborhoods. They’ll be serving up three special Earth Day cocktails: a Mud-tini (a creamy chocolate martini), Ocean Blue (a blue, citrus vodka cocktail) and Greenie-Tini (melon and green apple martini). Fifty percent of the profits of the cocktails benefit Keep Chicago Beautiful, a non-profit organization that works with the business community, schools, neighborhoods and government agencies to improve our environment through education, public awareness and community involvement.

And ZED451 (739 N. Clark St., 312-932-1100) finally debuts today. The contemporary steakhouse designed by renowned architect Chris Smith (Buddakan, Philadelphia and New York; Grayz, New York; and OLA, Miami) is very heavy on wood throughout the interior and much of it is reclaimed. One of my fave highlights of this sexy newcomer is its rooftop lounge, which features real grass, a fireplace and no reservations to sit down. Seasonally driven cocktails include the Cucumber Sage Martini (fresh cucumber and sage mixed with lemon and Hendrick’s gin), Gingered Bourbon Lemonade (composed of citrus infused Woodford Reserve Small Batch Bourbon with freshly squeezed lemonade and a zesty ginger kick) and the Kiwi Strawberry Martini (with fresh kiwi and strawberries blended with Reyka vodka and housemade sour mix).