Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Why I'm mad at The Violet Hour

The glamorous interior of The Violet Hour. (Photo: Michael Robinson)

I'm a big fan of bars that are totally scruffy on the outside and absolutely fabulous inside. You know, what they call the Speakeasy.

That's why I'm a bit miffed about the recent exterior makeover over at The Violet Hour, the cocktail-crazed lounge in Wicker Park.

There was just something endearing about the loco graffiti on the dark blue walls right outside of the door, where the well-dressed doorman stood. If you didn't know what was up, then you didn't need to be in there. It was gritty and it was good, but now that they've put fresh paint up with a random image of some dandy-looking cat, it's just not the same and feels a little too mainstream.

I cannot wait until the gangbangers tag it again 'cause right now it's just too civilized out there!

Let's go (carb) crazy

Mac ‘n' Cheese Pizza is one of the carb-a-licious pies on the menu at Ian's. (Photo: Ian's)

Here's a sure sign the no-carb craze is o-vah: Urban Daddy uncovers new pizza joint Ian's Pizza By the Slice. What's certain to be the stoner pizza place debuts tomorrow in Wrigleyville, and get this: There's free food from 5-9pm on this first day.

I'd get in line early if I were you.

Duchamp does Bucktown next week

So the guys behind Lumen and Michael Taus (Zealous) have settled on an opening date for their American-French-Asian-influenced eatery called Duchamp.

It's set to open next Thursday, according to one of the partners, and if you were in this Bucktown location when it was Meritage, you probably won't recognize it. They've totally gutted the interior and changed the patio into a feng shui wonderland complete with communal seating and a lovely garden vibe.

Taus, who was once the chef at the legendary, yet short-lived night spot China Club, is going back to his cool roots with an exotic menu that's very neighborhood friendly. What we're particularly looking forward to is his version of bouillabaisse that uses a Thai coconut curry sauce in lieu of the classic one.

Food fest attracts culinary elite

"Top Chef" winner Stephanie Izard, with "Top Chef" runner-up Dale Levinski in the background, cooked at "Green City Chefs' BBQ Festival." (Photo: Suzy McMillen)

Intern extraordinaire Suzy McMillen checked out the Green City Market Chefs' BBQ Festival last week, hung out with "Top Chef" elite and wrote about it for UR Chicago.

*&^%$#@!@!?% Starbucks

I'm sorry, Phil Vettel, I love you like a brother, but I just cannot get down with your plea for saving Starbucks. Instead, here's what I recommend people do.

A Twist-er of fate


Let's just loosen up today with an offbeat event:

Happening Edgewater wine bar/restaurant Broadway Cellars pays homage to the famous cycling competition with 20 Wines 20 Dollars: Tour de France Wine Tasting. You'll get snacks paired with selections from regions and cities featured on the tour, including Burgundy, Bordeaux, Languedoc and the Rhone Valley. 7pm. $20.

Can you handle Tough Love Wednesdays, the weekly rotating party featuring a dope lineup of local deejays?! It's happening this time at Par-Lounge with Bear Who? and NewLife, who'll be thumping out a mixture of hip-hop, house, '80s, rock, R&B, Dancehall and Brazilian beats. 10pm-2am. No cover.

It's time for Twisted Keys, an outrageous Twister competition on the largest Twister board in the world. Held at Uncle Fatty's Rum Resort, the event happens 7-9pm, with a dueling piano party (with two pianists going to war with your fave songs) immediately following. And because you cannot do Twister sober, Uncle Fatty's is offering a bunch of drink specials, including $6 30 oz. fish bowls, $5 Malibu frozen drinks, $5 bombs and $12 Miller Light buckets. 7pm-midnight. No cover.

Guests just can't seem to get enough of Steve Chiappetti's Viand's Gourmet Burger Bar. Monday through Friday, between 4-6pm, all burgers are $2 at Viand. Guests choose from a number of fine Wisconsin cheeses as toppings.