Thursday, August 14, 2008

Free pizza if Phelps wins


Seriously, it's free salads if The Golden Boy of the Olympics sweeps the swimming competition with all Gold medals.

Who's giving them away?! Get the deets here.

Yelp on the hot seat . . . again

Rumors have been swirling for awhile over the strong-arm "business" tactics used by Yelp sales reps in order to get positive reviews for restaurants or change negative postings.

The Register does a pretty informative piece on what's really going on behind the scenes:

"One restaurant owner was contacted 'five or six' times, and each time, the Yelp sales rep insisted that if he forked over $6,000 a year for 'sponsored link' status, the site would suppress user posts that put his restaurant in a less-than-positive light.

'They told me I had 60 reviews on my [Yelp] page,' said the owner, who requested anonymity, fearing repercussions from Yelp's famously outspoken users. 'They told me "No one is going to read all 60. They're only going to read the first few."' "

Wow. Who can you trust?!

'Check, Please' on NBC-5 no more?!

I've been complaining about "Check, Please," those uninspired, so-called "real people" restaurant reviews on NBC-5 for some time now, so it comes as no surprise that I'm hearing from some pretty reliable sources that they're canceling the segment.

Word is that the last segment aired right before the Olympics started.

And speaking of sudden deaths, just got this in the inbox about Bella Lounge at State and Division:

"Thank you for your interest in The Bella Lounge. Unfortunately, our business is closed as of Saturday, August 2, 2008 and is for sale at this time.

We appreciate all our patronage for the past 3 years."

Tell us how you really feel about YATS

Michael Nagrant, a reviewer for New City, gives a scathing account of his experience at new Cajun/Creole spot YATS in the West Loop. It's effing brutal:

"Eating there last week was the worst dining experience—and that includes trips to the now-shuttered Bennigans—of my career as a food writer."

Oh, snap!

Trotter returns to Schwa

The Stew's got the scoop on Charlie Trotter's big dinner at Schwa on Friday night.

New tradition for Air & Water Show weekend

The U.S. Navy Blue Angels will rock the 50th annual "Chicago Air & Water Show" for three days this weekend.

Melvin B’s, the “truck stop” outdoor bar where young professionals lazed about on balmy summer days in the Gold Coast, will be sorely missed come this weekend.

We always ended up over there for the extra-tall vodka lemonades after watching the Chicago Air & Water Show all day on the lakefront. But now that it’s gone, making way for yet another luxe boutique hotel, where should we go now?!

We’ll figure that out along the way—especially now that the A&W Show has been extended to three days, beginning Friday.

And as always, there’s plenty more to do this weekend, including a hot A&W Show after-party at Bon V . . .


New online beauty 'zine Glossed & Found throws a launch party at Chicago Illuminating Co. (19 E. 21st St.). It'll cost you the big bucks, but if you're into fab bags full of swag, then you'll want to be there. Early arrival recommended if you want to get in on the manis, pedis, massages, acupuncture and more. 7-10pm. Proceeds benefit Prescription Well-Being. Get tix at 312-335-5350, ext. 2.

Learn about sustainable eating at Go Green's networking and socializing event taking place at Spa Café in the Loop. Guests will have the opportunity to sample everything from the eco-friendly restaurant's menu, from the salads to the organic drinks. 5-7pm. $10 in advance; $20 at door. Call 312-307-4443 for tickets.

Stay in synch with what's going on in Beijing with regional Chinese cuisine at Opera. New Executive Chef Beverly Kim is featuring Beijing Five Spice Ribs (five pork baby back ribs, braised with Thai chilies, star anise, Sichuan peppercorns and duck stock) for $10 and Opera's Peking Duck Service, which is served three ways for $30. First, the duck is deep fried and the skin is crisped. The breast is separated and served with mooshu pancakes with Chinese mustard, plum sauce and scallions. The leg and thigh are served over a chef's hand-crafted sauce of the day. And, finally, the leftover meat is shredded and stir-fried with chow fun, gailon, egg, oyster sauce and shitake mushrooms.


Scoozi! returns with the three-day Tomato Fest, happening today through Sunday. Tonight is the Tomato Fest Wine Down, from 6-8pm, with 20 wines, tomato-inspired apps and live music for twenty bucks. At Saturday's third-annual Tomato Fest Market, from 9am-2pm, guests can taste and purchase a variety of heirloom tomatoes, bread, fresh pastas, wine, pasta sauces, microgreens, cheese and green tomato apple pies. Chefs John Chiakulas and Eric Young will also be on hand showing guests how to cook their favorite tomato dishes. And the event culminates with the infamous Tomato Fest Tomato Stomp on Sunday. It's an excuse to let the little ones jump in barrels to stomp tomatoes and win prizes. They'll also get to make their own pizzas! That's from 4-6:30pm.

An Air & Water Show post-party occurs at Bon V to benefit the USO of Illinois, a civilian non-profit organization serving the needs of the military community. Early arrivals will be treated to Belvedere cocktails from 9-11pm, but party rocks on 'til 2am. DJ Crash spins. $20. transforms Landmark into its own partyland with comped apps and vodka cocktails from 8:30-10pm. If you miss out on the freebies, you'll still be able to get $5 vodka cocktails and Coors bottles all night. And if you're still up for fun, the after-party heads to Le Passage with DJ Pullano. Mention "VibeIsRight" at the door for no cover after 2am.


Atwood Cafe Exec Chef Heather Terhune demos at Green City Market 10:30-11:30am. As always, the Market takes place 7am-1:30pm, so you can grab up all the local, organic and sustainable produce you can. Free.

Olympic fever's also at Viet Bistro, where mixologist Rashed Islam is shaking up the Olympic Rings Cocktail for $10. It's in the signature Olympics colors, served in a series of shot glasses to mimic the Olympic Rings: blue crush (blue), mango (yellow), blackberry (black), cactus pear (green) and guava (red). Guests may enjoy it in the Viet Bistro lounge, which broadcasts the Games throughout the tournament.


And you'll go nuts over Rio's d'Sudamerica's authentic Peruvian brunch, which includes signature items like ceviche de pescado o mixto (fresh sole or flounder marinated in lime juice cilantro) and the Nortena tamale (cilantro base filled with chicken, eggs, olives and hot peppers). You'll wanna pair those with the $3 Mimosas and Bloody Marys. 10am-3pm.