Tuesday, March 31, 2009
(Photo: Darkroom Demons)
Kenny Williams—the GM for the Chicago White Sox—unleashes Market during prime time baseball season.
Scheduled to open the first week of May, the sleek, sports-minded spot settles in right next to Harpo Studios in the West Loop, though it would've been nice to see Williams and his partners set their sights on the Bridgeport area (home of the White Sox, which is starving for at least one swanky sports bar).
The multi-level Market boasts an indoor 4,500-square-foot bar and dining area with 20 flat screen televisions, 2,500-square-foot outdoor beer garden, 1,200-square-foot sidewalk cafe and a sprawling 4,000-square-foot rooftop lounge with a 360-degree unobstructed view of the city.
(Photo: Darkroom Demons)
They've also secured the talents of chef Joe Rosetti, who's worked the kitchens in Gioco and David Burke's Primehouse. His menu's stepping out with quirky twists on the classics: Popcorn Shrimp served in a traditional movie theater-style popcorn bucket; Mac n Cheese Muffins in a picnic basket; and the Fifty Yarder—shrimp and pork tenderloin skewers—served in the shape of a football goal post.
Hope this one's a home run!
If you cannot wait until May, look for this week's openings of West Town's newest gem Branch 27 (sneak peek Wednesday!) and Greek-focused Taxim (Thursday), in Wicker Park.
Radhika Desai, executive chef at Between, serves as one of the esteemed culinary judges for the annual Cooking for Scholarships competition. (Photo: Between Boutique & Cafe)
A number of culinary rock stars sit on the judges' panel for the annual Cooking for Scholarships competition for the Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP).
Former Blu 47 chef David Blackmon is charged with the program for the Chicago Public Schools, where 19 high schools (more than 1,500 students) take part in culinary arts education. Nationally C-CAP operates in seven cities and has awarded more than $3.5 million in full/partial tuition scholarships for students to attend culinary, baking and hospitality management intuitions.
This year's event will be held April 18 at the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago with chef judges Rick Gresh (David Burke’s Primehouse), Richard Camarota (Custom House), Mark Sparacino (Ristorante Prosecco), Phillip Foss (Lockwood), Mark Mendez (Carnivale), Radhika Desai (Between Café and Lounge), Seth Siegel-Gardner (C-House) and Carrie Nahabedian (NAHA) participating.
WhiskeyFest goes down April 1 at Hyatt Regency Chicago, but if the $95 ticket's a bit steep for you, we've uncovered some other deals around town:
Kicking off WhiskeyFest is The Great Whisk(e)y Debate, happening tonight at Five Star Bar. The unique, interactive seminar brings to light the differences and nuances between bourbon, Canadian Whisky and scotch whisk(e)y. Whisk(e)y “professors” (bourbon advocate, scotch malt master, Canadian Whisky ambassador) will educate participants, and of course you'll be treated to a tasting of all. Starts at 9pm. Free.
Both Lush locations (University Village, Roscoe Village) host parties celebrating WhiskeyFest tonight. Enjoy an extensive tasting of Old Pappy Van Winkle bourbons, then join the mayhem at Twisted Spoke for barrel-aged beer from Goose Island, plus Death's Door spirits and cocktail creations by Nacional 27's mega-mixologist Adam Seger. And return to Lush on Thursday for even more complimentary, whiskey-infused cocktails. That's 6-8pm.
At Boka tonight, members of the Illinois Chapter of the United States Bartenders Guild face off for one spot to represent our state at the National Cocktail Competition in San Francisco in May. Guests will be treated to canapes and cocktails created by Boka's Dan de Oliveira. 8-11pm. No cover.
Also happening tonight is a late-night scotch tasting (midnight-2am) by Chivas 18 at Delilah's. Arrive early for $2 High Life, $2 Canadian Club and a 7pm showing of legendary rock-opera "Tommy." No cover.
On Wednesday, Chivas 18 heads to Bull & Bear to deliver another comp tasting (6-7pm) during the monthly Divo Series. The party gives props to local guys in media, biz, charity and fashion. Sponsored by Thrillist. 6-9pm.
And Province Executive Chef Randy Zweiban and the restaurant's mixologists team up to pair Cielo tequila cocktails with cuisine. Guests will also learn about the history and craft of making this fine tequila. 5:30-7:30 Wednesday. $30.
Monday, March 30, 2009
It's been around for a while, but Wicker Park's Mirai is the only Chicago restaurant that made the cut in Playboy.com's A List for Best Sushi:
"Here's proof that not all good sushi spots have to be ultratraditional, zen-like shrines to raw fish. Mirai, located in trendy Wicker Park, is a modern sushi restaurant with a seductive, dark lounge upstairs and outdoor seating when the weather's nice. . . . Chef Jun Ichikawa, who trained at Hatsuhana, offers between three and five types of shrimp, salmon, oysters and caviars, as well as lesser-known bites of monkfish liver wrapped in octopus with chives and horse mackerel. And only half the menu is raw: The signature dish, shrimp togarashi, balances crunchy, spicy and smoky in a cooked edible shell."
Chris Curren is the executive chef/owner for Blue 13 (Photo: Chris Curren)
What were Chicago's top chefs up to this weekend?! 312DD checks out their Twitter accounts:
Chris Curren (Blue 13): “Cooking for an old chef of mine from a long time ago tonight...and getting ready for Sunday Supper tomorrow I'm thinking veal scallopini, fettucini with lemon caper butter sauce, grilled veg, tiramisu ... classic rustic Italian.”
Rick Gresh (David Burke’s Primehouse): “Mmmmmmmmm, the 40 day dry aged burger. I'm thinking I need to age it some more, maybe 65 days!”
Stephanie Izard (The Drunken Goat): “Just leaving the farm after being part of my first pig slaughter....very eye opening experience!”
Ryan Poli (Perennial): “Just turned the lights back on in the kitchen at Perennial. Really cool cooking in the dim light for a hour!”
Friday, March 27, 2009
A few Ultimate Insiders spotted some celebs kicking it around town this week:
Singer Katy "I Kissed a Girl" Perry was seen Wednesday chowing down at new Asian delight Sunda while in town for a performance at House of Blues. She came, of course, with an entourage. Word is the sultry singing sensation also made her way to Debonair Social Club, where she caught up with members from Chicago-based band Kill Hannah.
And pop star Justin Timberlake, who was in town for an appearance on "Oprah," hit up Berry Chill on Thursday, and ordered a small original-flavored frozen yogurt with kiwi, blackberries and Cap'n Crunch. He also exclaimed, according to owner Michael Farah: "I hate Pinkberry, this is my new spot."
Later, in the evening Timberlake stopped into Bull & Bear, where he caused a bit of a stir . . .
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Landmark hosts a free wine-tasting event tonight with music from U2 as soundtrack.
Right on the heels of a whirlwind night two weeks ago, U2 is back in town. Well, sort of.
Landmark hosts a wine-tasting event, creatively pairing the Irish superband's music with vino. Think bold Barolos with "Sunday Bloody Sunday." Appetizers provided as well. Limited seating, so RSVP asap. 6:30-8pm tonight. Free.
Another music-focused wine fete is Rock Band Wednesday, happening every week at Juicy Wine Co. They're serving up the signature Pornographic Chili Dog (beef brisket chili from Smoque and mounds of aged Wisconsin cheddar over a smoked hot link) that should pair well with $4 pints of Three Floyds and $5 glasses of wine. After chowing down, head to the upper level for Rock Band karaoke on XBOX. 6pm-midnight. No cover.
There's even more wine being poured at Quartino, as the trendy neighborhood favorite throws its end-of-the-month wine party. This time they're featuring Spanish wines, which will be poured with light appetizers. 7-9pm. $20.
Top mixologist John Kinder hosts a rare event in the city with this cocktail-and-cuisine pairing at Salud. The four-course dinner (think empanadas, pork tenderloin, spice cake) is complemented by hand-crafted cocktails made with Los Arango Tequila. There may be a couple of seats left, but reservations required; no walk-ins. 7:30pm Wednesday and Thursday. $40.
A good after-work set happens at Rebar for the weekly Champagne Table. This month they're pouring Moët & Chandon, which will be paired nicely with appetizers from the restaurant. Held in the VIP area, with a view of the Chicago River. 5:30-7pm. $20.
Loop workers can blow off steam with complimentary Chivas 18 Scotch at Miller's Pub. Look for the spirit's ambassador, who'll be pouring various cocktails. 5-6:30pm. Free.
And learn all about Templeton Rye Prohibition Era Whiskey, a small batch rye whiskey made in the tiny town of Templeton, Iowa. Guests at In Fine Spirits will be treated to an interactive seminar that includes tastings paired with light appetizers. 7-8:30pm. $25.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
N9NE Steakhouse's sashimi preparation, now available at the new Raw Bar. (Photo: N9NE)
When N9NE Steakhouse opened almost 10 years ago, the seats at its flashy, centerpiece caviar bar were the most coveted in the house.
But now the times have changed, and people have a completely different outlook when it comes to fine dining. They still want to do it, but they want it much more downscaled.
That's why it was a smart move on N9NE's part to recently transform the ostentatious caviar bar into the now understated Raw Bar. It hasn't lost its cache as the best seats in the house, as the area's still flashy as the see-and-be-scene section.
But now the focus is on the freshest preparations of seafood, where Executive Chef Michael Shrader personally oversees and interacts with guests as he shucks oysters and slices up sashimi. He'll even take special requests, serving up made-to-order items not listed on the menu.
Most items at the Raw Bar cost $3-$6, including oysters on the half shell (Kumomoto, Calif.; Malpec, Canada; Rappahanock, Va.), Ahi tuna, salmon and seabass sashimi, as well as shooters mixed with Bloody Mary mix, lemongrass, saki, ginger, hot chile, lime and cilantro. And for those wanting a little more, they'll whip up a creamy lobster salad ($16) or the octopus carpaccio for $13. The Raw Bar's only available on weekends.
Another good deal happening every day is the new Seven After Seven special at Petterino's, in the Loop.
Dine at the classic American eatery after 7pm for a three-course dinner for $19.95, plus a nice selection of wines by the glass for $7. Choices include classic tomato bisque, Yankee pot roast, classic beef Stroganoff, chicken pot pie and broiled salmon Wellington.
Valet parking is complimentary for those dining in after 7.
Monday, March 23, 2009
The Beard Foundation has nominated Blackbird/Publican Executive Chef Paul Kahan for "Outstanding Chef 2009." (Photo: Blackbird)
Sooo glad I checked out Publican Sunday for the brunch everyone's raving about because it's about to get truly nuts over there.
Executive Chef Paul Kahan just received a nomination for Outstanding Chef 2009 by the Beard Foundation, which will announce winners in New York on May 4 at Lincoln Center.
Here are all the Chicago nominees for the most prestigious restaurant awards in North America:
Best Chef, Great Lakes Region: Koren Grieveson (avec), Arun Sampanthavivat (Arun's), Bruce Sherman (North Pond Cafe)
Best New Restaurant: L2O
Outstanding Service: Spiaggia
Outstanding Pastry Chef: Mindy Segal (Hot Chocolate)
Outstanding Restaurateur: Richard Melman (Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises)
Outstanding Wine Service: Brian Duncan (Bin 36)
Outstanding Restaurant Design and Outstanding Restaurant Graphics: The Publican
Cookbook in the Cooking From A Professional Point of View category: Grant Achatz's Alinea cookbook
Good luck, guys!
Stephanie Izard is the executive chef/owner of The Drunken Goat, set to open in the fall. (Photo: Stephanie Izard)
What were Chicago's top chefs up to this weekend?! 312DD checks out their Twitter accounts:
Graham Elliot Bowles (graham elliot): "Goose Island Brewery tour today with GE team."
Phillip Foss (Lockwood): "3rd year anniversary dinner @ Avenues last night ... food was brilliant. Curtis Duffy is one of the top chefs in Chicago!"
Koren Grieveson (avec): "Just had the most amazing brunch at the Publican! rocking grits!"
Stephanie Izard (The Drunken Goat): "Recovering from an awesome meal at Schwa last night. The arctic char roe was killer."
Stephanie Izard: "I just saw the best cocktail being shaken at bar de ville...Ramos Gin Fizz...they love workin their muscles for this one."
Carrie Nahabedian (naha): "Getting ready to cook at Justin Winery in Paso Robles, California this weekend."
Rick Tramonto: "I just had a brilliant meal by Chef Chris Pandel at the Bristol in Chicago. All must go and go again and again."
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Slashfood readers pick the top 50 sandwiches in America, including the Cemita and wet Italian Beef at local favorites Cemitas Pueblo and Al's Beef, respectively.
Don't see yours on the list? Make your voice heard in the comments section like everyone else!
The James Club, at the James Hotel in River North. (Photo: James Hotel)
March Madness's officially on for the NCAA basketball season, and everyone's scrambling on where they're going to watch the games.
If you don't want to get caught up in the mayhem, we suggest reserving The James Club, tucked inside the James Hotel.
The venue's typically used for private dinners and small board meetings, but you can have it for your very own March Madness viewing party for free (with a minimum of 15 people; $65 per person). The personalized wet bar, leather-rimmed billiards table, free Wi-Fi, plasma screen and lush, oversized furniture are just some of the perks.
Plus, you can't beat the David Burke's Primehouse Bracket Buster Menu (mini steak “Burkers,” wings, fajita station, cured Italian meats, sushi station and Chicago-style pizza) that comes with the deal. Call 312-337-1000 to secure.
Here's where else to go on this very guy-centric weekend (where the guys go, the girls will certainly follow!):
Bulls' star Ben Gordon hosts a March Madness kickoff party at Bull & Bear. We'll put our money on those two coveted VIP tables with personalized beer taps already reserved. 7pm-2am. No cover.
Award-winning British ale B United makes a rare appearance in a Chicago venue, and Roscoe Village's Lush Wine & Spirits gets the honor. A few spaces are left for guests to indulge in sampling, food and words from a rep. 7-8:30pm. $15; RSVP required.
Celebrated Nacional 27 mix man Adam Seger's monthly happy hour class is back, this time focusing on "spice and ice" cocktails. He'll show you how to make his Mango-Ginger-Habanero Daiquiri and Chadwick Mojito. Appetizers and recipe cards, too. 5:30-6:30pm. $15.
Ultimate bro-mance flick "I Love You Man" hits theaters Friday, but you and the boys might wanna check out the specially themed party at Sheffield's before going. Somehow tonight was tagged National Man-Date Day (WTF?!), so they're doing it up big with "man trivia," a “Rock, Paper, Scissors” tournament, $4 bromance shots and more. Oh, and the grand prize for the tournament is a "beer bouquet." O-kay. 9pm-midnight. No cover.
Martini Park's brand-new, after-work menu includes a number of small bites ($5-$8), plus cocktails. Favorites include Rhode Island Style Rock Shrimp and Buffalo Chicken Lollipops. Also, live music and the games will be shown on several monitors. 5-8pm. No cover.
Who needs the Pussycat Dolls when Le Passage has The Dollhouse?! Think sexy burlesque dancers and $200 bottles of Snow Queen vodka. And if you arrive early (10-11pm), they'll pamper you with complimentary cocktails. DJ Adrie Marie spins hip-hop. 10pm-4am. RSVP to LPinfo@lepassage.com for guest list.
NYC electroclash duo Fischerspooner spins a one-of-a-kind deejay set at Debonair Social Club to support Chicago-based environmental cause "Dude We Can Fix It." The group's raising funds for "We Can Solve It," the Al Gore organization with the goal of having America's electricity generated from non-fossil fuel sources within 10 years. 9pm-2am. Donation.
NYC electroclash duo Fischerspooner spins at Debonair Friday.
For the first time ever, Gen Art's SHOP Chicago features men's designers—selected by Thrillist. Look for more than 50 emerging accessory and clothing designers, including Lara Miller, organiK Revolution, PAOO LLC, liaMolly, Foxglove Accessories as well as Thrillist-approved menswear DEMOGRAPHIC, Loop Apparel and TATTOOED TEES. Those who get the VIP tickets will also have access to the lounge, which includes sounds by DJ Sye Young, comped cocktails and spa treatments. 1-6pm. General admission free; VIP tickets $40. The Great Hall, Union Station, 275 S. Clinton St.
More shopping on tap over at Funkshion (2121 W. Division St., 773-697-4119) in Ukrainian Village, where you can get cardigans and blazers at 70 percent off. You can also rifle through their new spring line of men's styles (and women's) as DJ Ben Castaneda spins in the corner. Guests will also be treated to an open bar 7-11pm. The after-party happens at Bon V (mention "Funkshion" for free admission). 9pm-3am.
If you're still standing after watching the games all day, how about some scotch sampling from Chivas 18?! Head to Moonshine (8:30-10pm) and/or Five Star Bar (10-11:30pm) for the juice. No cover.
The Publican's first-ever brunch last Sunday was a little shaky, yet a major success as executive chef Paul Kahan twittered the entire service to the delight of hundreds of hungry fans all over the country. We think it'll be even more crowded as folks come in for the Beer Mimosas, Scrapple & Sunnyside Eggs and house-cured smoked bacon. 10am-2pm
Newcomer Feast Gold Coast delves right into brunch service with Eggs Royale (poached eggs and smoked salmon on an English muffin with hollandaise and caviar) with a glass of Luis Pato Sparkling Rosé Brut for $20 and a classic Hangover Helper (a.k.a. Bloody Mary). 10am-3pm
Warrenville's Two Brothers Brewery hosts a tasting at Bluebird, highlighting the full lineup of all their beers. They're also bringing in a special pin firkin (5 gallon keg) of just-released Bare Tree Barleywine, plus reps will be on hand to answer questions. Brats and snacks will also be served. 7:30-9:30pm. $25; RSVP required.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Sheffield’s at it again with more "beer school programs" coming up by two of Michigan's premier breweries.
Beer fanatics will love Dark Night, hosted by Dark Horse Brewery, and a chance to check out yummy stouts like One Oatmeal, Too Cream, Fore Smoke and Tres Blueberry.
For the event, Sheffield’s offers $3 pilsner-size (half-pint) paired with comped passed appetizers as Pink Floyd’s "Dark Side of the Moon" serves as a backdrop for the evening. 7pm March 25.
Also happening is Bells’ Oberon Summer Ale Release Party, as the brewery taps its first keg of the season. The lively event includes sampling of the beer; Luke Schmidt of Buddy Nuisance and American Taxi on hand for a live acoustic performance; and raffle giveaways for Cubs tickets, t-shirts and a VIP tour of Bells Brewery. That's happening at 7pm March 30.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Monday, March 16, 2009
"Get a life," emailed Chicago Sun-Times restaurant critic Pat Bruno to Chicagoist dining writer Chuck Sudo in response to this post Monday calling out his "re-review" of Cafe Bionda:
"We still read newspapers, oh yes we do, indeed. So we were happy to find, while reading last Friday's Sun-Times, that restaurant critic Pat Bruno had an opinion of Café Bionda much in line with ours. We also have a good memory and thought, 'Hadn't Bruno reviewed Bionda before?'
Turned out he had. Only it was Bionda's Wicker Park location, and it was only last February that Bruno raved about that one. Helen Rosner at MenuPages Chicago compares the similarities between the reviews. For us, the issue is one of simple laziness. One of the knocks on Bruno's recent work is that it's, let's say, by the numbers. Far be it from us to criticize someone for writing about what he knows best, which in Bruno's case is Italian dining. But two reviews of what is essentially the same restaurant seems like laziness."
Oh, and this gets even better when the Chicagoist writer gets Bruno on the phone, but you gotta read his response—and diss—here.
Please, please, please tell me my eyes are playing tricks on me!
Here's today's headline for Daily Candy:
"Slutting Her Stuff"
And then it just gets better from there:
"There are two kinds of hos.
Cheap ones (Ashley — or is it Kirsten?) and hos who make dough.
Jessica Volpe is the latter. Her alter ego, the Pasta Puttana (“pasta whore” in Italian), makes the silkiest, freshest macaroni in the land."
Celeb chef David Adjey (Photo: Red Apple Productions)
We cannot get enough of chef-driven reality shows, from Tom Colicchio's "Top Chef" to Marco Pierre White's "Chopping Block."
So now comes Canadian superstar David Adjey ("Restaurant Makeover," "Ready, Set, Cook," "Iron Chef America"), who's doing a nationwide casting call for a brand-new show. Each episode of "David Adjey's Restaurant 101" follows a first-time restaurant owner as he/she gets ready to open to the public.
They're looking for new owners who are launching local restaurants (no chains, franchises) with at least 50 seats and a full-service bar. Potential candidates must also allow cameras to shoot in the restaurant for 10 days.
If a Chicago-area restaurateur is selected for the show, portions of the shoot will take place at the annual National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show, happening May 16-19 at McCormick Place.
Rick Bayless (Frontera Grill) and Marcus Samuelsson (C-House) (who are both confirmed to attend) as well as Art Smith (Table Fifty-Two), Tony Mantuano (Spiaggia), Thomas Keller, Gale Gand (Tru), Cat Cora, Mario Batali and other star chefs have attended the show in the past.
For more info on "David Adjey's Restaurant 101", go here.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
The "Scrapple and Sunnyside Eggs," from Publican's first-ever brunch service, which was Live Tweeted Sunday. (Photo: Publican)
What were Chicago's top chefs up to this weekend?! 312DD checks out their Twitter accounts:
Grant Achatz (Executive Chef/Owner Alinea): "Figured out way to make entire tabletop a plate. Fun, engaging, and entertaining,but is it fine dining eating w/ hands from table surface?"
Graham Elliot Bowles (Executive Chef/Owner graham elliot): "New spring menu, new music/playlist, new dining room lights, new lavender aroma, new mirror box display...mon, March 30th."
Phillip Foss (Executive Chef/Lockwood): "Just finished brunch at the Publican... sadistic to come during the 1st service, but enjoyed very much... loved the egg poached in red wine.."
Koren Grieveson (Executive Chef/avec): "I'm getting on my motorcycle today and seeking out a fat juicy burger at Kuma's!"
Stephanie Izard (Executive Chef/The Drunken Goat): "Heading back to Chi...will have a blog and recipes from this michigan trip up in a couple days on website."
Paul Kahan (Executive Chef/Owner Publican): "Teaching everyone how to make hash browns, its about the crispy. And the curly parsley. So cheesey on the hashbrowns, I love that." (from the Live Tweet of Publican's first brunch service)
Paul Kahan: "My inspiration for brunch is obviously not any brunch experience I may have had at Erwin but late night dining at the Diner Grill." (from the Live Tweet of Publican's first brunch service)
Ryan Poli (Executive Chef/Perennial): "Still thinking about the great time i had at Sunda last night!"
Debbie Sharpe (Executive Chef/Owner Feast): "Avoiding sea of green in Bucktown by escaping to home by way of alleys. Will deal with OP's hangovers tomorrow at Feast brunch."
Sarah Stegner (Executive Chef/Prairie Grass Cafe): "86 salmon cake benedicts. Sold 25 orders!"
Erick Williams (Executive Chef/mk): "Just got in live sea urchins and they look amazing..."
Friday, March 13, 2009
Former supermodel/talk show host Tyra Banks taped "Oprah" Thursday, but instead of heading to the Gold Coast for lunch, she opted to dine at the Gibsons in Rosemont. Wearing jeans and trenchcoat, staffers said she looked fabulous (but of course!), and only chowed down on shrimp cocktail and a tomato and goat cheese appetizer.
And speaking of Gibsons, sister restaurant luxbar is the place to be for the annual St. Patrick's Day benefit for Misericordia. Head to the top floor for the buffet (filled with Sliders, chicken fingers and more), $2 green Bud Light drafts, $4 Jameson shots, and tastings of 12- and 18-year Jameson. That party happens 1-4pm March 14. $10.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Photo courtesy of Urban Daddy Chicago
Turns out the guys behind couture-themed club Moda have teamed up with the crew from John Barleycorn to transform Moda into swanky sports lounge Social Twenty-Five—which was exclusively reported here earlier this week.
They've swapped fashion for flatscreens, plus look for rocker-inspired and champagne-based cocktails, mini versions of our fave fare (burgers, pizzas, tacos), and a highly energetic atmosphere.
They're opening it to the public tonight at 8pm, so try to make an appearance.
Carol Wallack, executive chef/owner of sola, is participating in the fifth-annual "Rampfest" at Garfield Park Conservatory. (Photo: sola)
Help preserve Illinois' farming industry by supporting the fifth-annual Rampfest, happening at the Garfield Park Conservatory (300 N. Central Park Ave.) on April 3.
Award-winning journalist/Tall Grass beef rancher/author Bill Kurtis hosts, as noted local chefs create unique dishes featuring ramps, a native wild leek. Participating culinary artists include Chris Opper (Food for Thought), Paul Kahan (Blackbird), Tony Galzin (mk), Carrie Nahabedian (NAHA), Carol Wallack (sola), and Sarah Stegner and George Bumbaris (Prairie Grass Cafe).
Get tix here. $75 before March 20; $90 after.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Erick Williams, executive chef at MK, presides over the hugely popular "Wine on Wednesdays." (Photo: MK)
Kevin Boehm (Partner/Landmark): "March 25th is our free wine tasting, U2's music paired with wine."
Eve: "Crispy Sweetbreads with housemade pancetta, strawberries, grilled red onion and balsamic gastrique."
Greg Hall (Owner/Brewmaster Goose Island): "Ok, ok, Just tasted new version of Demolition Ale, new malt, new hops, new yeast, holy #@$* this is yummy. thin, pale, hoppy and Dangerous!"
MK: "Sweetbreads tonight for Wine on Wednesdays! 3 wines, 3 small plates $25, 6-9pm."
Chef Rick Tramonto: "Looking for New Restaurant spaces for two new for Tramonto concepts the fall."
If you're like 312DD, you've been having some serious "Top Chef" withdrawals.
So, thank the lord for The Chopping Block, which hosts a head-to-head competition between the culinary show's fifth season finalists Carla "Hootie Hoo!" Hall and Stefan "The Arrogant Finnish" Richter.
We'll finally get to see who should've won as they square off in the fifth-annual True Flavor Celebrity Cook-Off, benefiting True Child, a national organization supporting disadvantaged children.
Hall, owner and chef of Alchemy Caterers in Washington, D.C., and Richter, owner of Stefan's Catering in Santa Monica, Calif., each will lead a team consisting of a local chef and an audience sous chef (determined by live auction).
Both teams will have 35 minutes to make a three-course meal with secret ingredients they will only learn of moments before the contest. And local chefs participating in the competition include Heather Terhune (Atwood Café), Luca Corazzina (312 Chicago) and Chris Lateano (South Water Kitchen).
Event occurs 6-9pm April 4. $150. Get tix here.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
U2 hosted a super-private after-party at The Violet Hour on Tuesday.
The Violet Hour publicist just posted this to Facebook:
Ellen Malloy: "U2 after party at Violet Hour...Chicago launch party...details to come. Special invite only. Super exclusivito!!!"
312DD had been hearing buzz from inside the bar earlier about the event happening immediately following the Q&A event at Smart Bar on Tuesday, so apparently this is the real deal.
UPDATE: More from uber-publicist Malloy:
"U2 hosted an exclusive launch party for their new album at the Violet Hour. After a rocking DJ session at Metro, the band headed over to the Violet Hour for an exclusive record-industry event hosted by Interscope Records. The Violet Hour special menu for the evening comprised of Dublin Old Fashioneds (made with Powers Irish Whiskey) and special drinks named after songs on the new record, ('Juliet & Romeo' Moment of 'Surrender' and 'The Magnificent' champagne cocktail). Also served fantastic highlights from the Violet Hour menu.
"Shirley Manson, lead singer of Garbage, was in attendance, along with her long bright red hair. The band came in through the back door at about 10 for a quick party before jetting off to Boston for the next gig."
U2 is set to make a special appearance tonight at Smart Bar—not Metro as many media outlets reported this week.
Johnny Clark Street with the U2-stalking Twitter account just posted this about the superband's appearance tonight:
"Smart Bar is right next door to the Metro. So it's not at Metro but at Smart Bar!"
Trust me, there IS a big difference between the two!
Publican Executive Chef Paul Kahan begins brunch this weekend with Beer Mimosas. (Photo: Battman Studios)
Michael Bottigliero (Sommelier/Eno): "Just tasted Eric Perrin's 2004 Ch. Haut-Vigneau. 70 CabSauv/30Merlot fr/Pessac-Leognan. Bright berry fruit, dusty earth, smooth tannins."
Stephanie Izard (Executive Chef/The Drunken Goat): "Going to read up on Peruvian food for my dish at the Common Threads World Festival on March 23."
Paul Kahan (Executive Chef): "Finalizing brunch menu for the Publican. Starts this Sunday. Yumaroo." (Beer Mimosas on tap!)
Nacional 27: "Talk about St. Patrick's Day with a modern Latin twist. Get Irish with (mixologist) Adam Seger's Irish Bacon Sour."
Cary Taylor (Executive Chef/Chaise Lounge): "About to cold smoke a whole mess o' chorizo."
How is this opening right under our watch?!
Social Twenty-Five, a swanky new sports lounge, debuts on Friday to the public. A sneak preview happens later this week, so we'll have even more info after we check it out.
UPDATE: Read the latest info on Social Twenty-Five here.
On the horizon, we're also looking forward to Elate, which is slated to open in Hotel Felix in June.
Some dude going by the handle Johnny Clark Street set up a Twitter account to stalk U2 if they indeed show up for the supposed deejay set at Metro tonight.
He tweeted late last night:
"Check back (all day) for updates live from U2's scheduled stop here in Chicago. Updates all day from outside and inside the venue."
If you're a fan of the band, I'd follow him if I were you!
Have a cocktail with your coffee as the Chicago River turns green and everyone's Irish for this weekend's St. Patrick’s Day parades downtown (Saturday) and the South Side (Sunday).
The parades start early, but the bars start even earlier to accommodate all the revelers. Your best bet is to plan ahead with one of many bar bus packages around town certain to wake you up, get you sloshed and take you straight to the middle of the action:
For an authentically rowdy ride to Chicago’s downtown St. Pat’s parade, hitch a ride on The Abbey Pub's bus. They’re leaving at 9am to drop you off at the front of the parade. When guests return to the bar, they'll get a packed lineup of more Gaelic-themed events to keep the holiday going, including the Six Nations Rugby game on TV monitors, Spriorad Damasa Irish dancers and live music. $10; $4 Jameson shots.
For BYOB parade ideas, the Bar 1 guys will run buses from several of their locations making sure to get all the partiers down to the South Side parade. You can choose your pick-up location and bring your own booze of choice to help you celebrate the holiday while on the excursion. Buses leave Duffy’s and Redmond’s at 10am, and McGee’s and Durkin’s at 11am. $10; RSVP required.
Casey Moran’s whipping up a kegs and eggs breakfast deal for the downtown parade (8-10am), but the real event is the bus trip down to the South Side for Sunday morning’s mania. Doors open at 9am for brunch, Bloody Marys and Mimosas, followed by a bus ride down to the parade location between 10 and 11am. The event is BYOB, but there will also be a keg provided on the bus. $12.
Travel from Lakeview to the South Side with a beer in hand as part of the parade bus trip leaving from Kirkwood Bar & Grill. The bus loads at 9:30am from the parking lot and keeps it classic Irish with Guinness on the bus. $20.
Indulge in the breakfast buffet and beer deal at Mahoney’s Pub & Grille before hopping on their parade bus for a trip down to the South Side. After an afternoon of celebrating, they’ll bus everyone back to the pub for a hosted one-hour post party. The breakfast buffet runs 8-9:30am followed by buses leaving at 10am and returning at 5pm. RSVP for $30 tix.
Get warmed up with McFadden’s St. Practice Day on Saturday morning with the all-you-can-eat-and-drink kegs and eggs (7-9am) before you stumble your way to the downtown parade ($20). For round two on Sunday, they're doing a 7-9am breakfast and brews in preparation for a party bus to the South Side. Buses leave after breakfast to drop partiers off at the parade location to do a little more drinking and return to pick them up at 2pm. And if guests are still feeling ambitious after all that, the bar will feature $3 cocktails all day. Saturday kegs and eggs event $20; Sunday is $45; RSVP required.
Timothy O’Toole’s will be going strong all weekend with themed menus, specialty drinks and a “leprechaun” selling shots. For the downtown parade, they’ll have an Irish contest, giveaways and bagpipe music. And, for an even bigger hoo-ha on Sunday, they’re packing up the parade buses, as well as offering “sack” breakfasts and beverages for a lively trip to the South Side. The bus leaves at 10am and returns at 3pm. $15.—Served deliciously by Suzy M.
Monday, March 9, 2009
The crew behind English (shown here) is scheduled to open LaSalle Power Company a block away. (Photo: Eat Well)
Today's a big day for big news!
First the new Wrigleyville Rockit Bar & Grill scoopage, now the latest project from the Eat Well guys, who own Bar Celona and English.
We made a call to their offices and found out about LaSalle Power Company, which is slated to open in the old Lalo's location in River North sometime in April.
The massive, multi-level venue supposedly will offer the most high-tech sound and video system in city, costing well over half a mil.
More to come . . .
Rockit Ranch principals Brad Young (from left), Billy Dec and Arturo Gomez (Photo: Rockit Ranch Productions)
Today is the official opening for trendy Asian-focused eatery Sunda, yet its restless owners are already making moves on the next project.
After years of holding down the River North 'hood with Rockit Bar & Grill and Underground, it's no surprise that they'd eventually branch out to an equally popular area.
So we're hearing—from several Ultimate Insiders—that they've set their sights on the recently shuttered Wrigleyville location for Tuscany (3700 N. Clark St.). Thus far, we haven't been able to figure out exactly what they're planning in that space, but wouldn't it make sense (since it's RIGHT across the street from Wrigley Field) to have some sports-bar angle?!
UPDATE: This was posted on partner Billy Dec's blog later in the morning (as a response to this post?!) about employment in the new Wrigleyville Rockit Bar & Grill outpost—scheduled to open just in time for Cubs season:
"On a day when unemployment in this country is at it’s highest- since before most of us started being old enough to work- it comes with great excitement to announce that we are putting about 125 new Chicago jobs out there in the next couple weeks with a new project we just signed to open a Rockit Bar & Grill across from Wrigley Field- to open in less than 60 days- in time for opening of Cubs Season! Can’t believe I am announcing a new project before our current New Asian Restaurant project Sunda technically opens to the public tonight (which was 150 new Chicago jobs- and this group is truly amazing!)."
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Chris Pandel is the executive chef at The Bristol. (Photo: Chris Pandel)
Soooo, what were Chicago's top chefs up to this weekend?! 312DD checks out their Twitter accounts:
Grant Achatz (Chef/Owner Alinea): "Working on a Thai dish. Distilling it down (literally and figuratively) to 3 quintessential ingredients. What are the top 3 of Thai cuisine?"
Jimmy Bannos (Chef/Owner Heaven on Seven): "Good meal at Gibsons Steak House in Rosemont tonight."
Graham Elliot Bowles (Chef/Owner graham elliot): "Psyched about hitting up Kuma's Corner tonight after work with some of the kitchen crew."
Graham Elliot Bowles: "Salt-cured foie torchon, apple-turnip preserves, chervil salad, purple mustard (at) Aigre Doux."
Homaro Cantu (Chef/Owner Moto/Otom): "Perfecting toast that is impossible to burn. Coming soon to a tv show near you."
Stephanie Izard (Chef/Owner The Drunken Goat): "Just getting back from an amazing food and wine week at Club Med. Will have fun stories and pics on website in a few days!"
Mark Mendez (Executive Chef/Carnivale): "Going to buy cheese at Green City Market, then do a wine and food pairing thing with management staff then cheese tasting with waitstaff."
Chris Pandel (Executive Chef/The Bristol): "Making BBQ goat legs for brunch tomorrow-corn pone, pickled jalapenos."
Friday, March 6, 2009
Ben Walanka, executive sous chef at Rhapsody (Photo: FOX)
Last night's episode of Gordon Ramsay's "Hell's Kitchen" had all the elements of good reality telly: lots of tears, a yummy Asian fusion fare challenge, crazy-ass customers, backstabbing and a mooning!
Of course, our boy Ben Walanka—who reps Chicago as the exec sous chef from Rhapsody—was in the thick of it all.
Won't give the details of what exactly went down on Thursday night, but you can watch all the action here.
John Ross, owner of Bucktown's The Bristol. (Photo: The Bristol)
The Palmer House Hilton's innovative Phillip Foss (March 4) creates the decadent French- and Italian-influenced dishes as executive chef for Lockwood Restaurant.
OK, so Tyler Florence (March 3) isn’t a Chicago-based chef, but this dashing culinary star from the Food Network will be here on March 22 to participate in the annual Common Threads World Festival, and that’s close enough for us.
John Ross (March 5) is co-owner of The Bristol, Bucktown’s bustling neighborhood spot that serves not only amazing beers, but also a menu that changes so often they keep it written on a chalkboard.
And Joe Shanahan (March 5) has been keeping Chicago rocking hard for more than 25 years with his creation of Metro, a home for legendary music acts as well as those sweet up-and-coming bands no one has heard of . . . yet. The former deejay—who occasionally still gets behind the turntables—is also the brains behind the venerable Smart Bar, known for bringing in world-class spin stars.—Served deliciously by Suzy M.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
ABC's "Hungry Hound" Steve Dolinsky did not like his experiences at just-opened South Loop spot, Tapas Valencia, according to his latest Facebook Status:
"Steve Dolinsky went to Tapas Valencia twice tonight: his first and last time."
Hmmmmmmm, wonder what went so wrong there . . .
Yikes. He also snubbed a new Ital spot on his Twitter:
"First Tocco, now Tapas Valencia..ugh. Two nights in a row of lackluster food."
Bad dining week, man?!
(Photo: Courtesy of Urban Daddy)
First, the Chicago-Style Lobster "Haute" Dog at Lockwood, now More has gone and done this, according to Urban Daddy:
"You'll also be the first (on March 6) to inspect their latest masterstroke, the Foie Gras Cupcake, a sour-cherry-filled chiffon cake iced with rich foie gras mousse."
David Richards, of Sweets & Savories, is creating "Bacon Waffles" for brunch service this weekend. (Photo: Sweets & Savories)
Rodney Alex (Owner/Juicy Wine Co.): "Waiting to taste some new Goose Island Beers with (owner) Greg (Hall). Maybe we will sit on the deck."
Jimmy Bannos (Owner/Executive Chef Heaven on Seven): "Had a great meal at Publican last night I can still taste the awesome Duck Hearts."
Jesse De La Pena (Deejay/Producer): "Spinning @ Junior's on Cermak tonite."
Elizabeth Palmer (Wine Director/Carnivale): "Taking inspiration from this weather, Spring wine list changes on the brain."
David Richards (Executive Chef/Sweets & Savories): "Working on recipe for Bacon Waffles for Sunday Brunch."
Shin Thompson (Owner/Chef Bonsoiree): "Will be cooking at the historic James Beard House June 22nd."
Ben Walanka (Executive Sous Chef/Rhapsody): "Excited about Hells Kitchen tonight!!!........Did someone say asian fusion?"
Jon Young (Executive Chef/Kitsch'n On Roscoe): "Getting ready for the Chili Cook-Off this Saturday!"
Ben Walanka (at very top), of Rhapsody restaurant, is competing on chef-driven show "Hell's Kitchen." (Photo: FOX)
So, I'm gonna give props to Ben Walanka again.
He's the only Chicago chef (from the Chicago Symphony Center's Rhapsody) competing on Gordon Ramsay's "Hell's Kitchen," which airs at 8pm tonight on FOX. He caused a lot of drama last week by getting into it with a couple of teammates, so if you've missed episodes, you can check them out here.
Another Chicago chef shaking things up is Lockwood's Phillip Foss, whose Chicago-Style Lobster "Haute" Dog is making mouths water all over town.
And finally, Chicago Chef Week continues through Friday.
Here's what else is going on:
Goose Island head honcho Greg Hall gushed a couple of days ago on Facebook that he was releasing a new beer today. Night Stalker is the third beer in the Fulton Wood Series, and also pays homage to the Chicago-based television show from the 1970s. It's a jet black, dry-hopped Imperial Stout that's extremely rich and full flavored with malt and chocolate followed by a bright dry hopped aroma. You can also get it at the Wrigleyville location.
Café Ba-Ba-Reeba! kicks off Orange Festival with Craft Beer Bodega. You'll get 20 beers for $20, along with passed Pintxos appetizers. 6-8pm.
If vino's more your thing, head to Vivo for the weekly wine tasting. Twenty dollars will get you a number of well-selected varieties from 5-7pm. And if you decide to stay for dinner after the event, you'll get 20 percent off the dinner bill.
We told you a few weeks ago about Lincoln Park newcomer Faith & Whiskey's Thursday night live music series. It launches tonight with local cover band The Walk-Ins. Check 'em out while enjoying $1 domestic bottles. 9pm-1:30am. No cover.
Mario Romay is the man behind Groove Parlor, and his monthly after-hours party, "Soul Joy," happens at The Silver Room Saturday. (Photo: Groove Parlor)
Tonight's the last night for Chicago Restaurant Week, so check out some places you've always wanted to try like Crofton on Wells, Klay Oven or Old Town Brasserie. More than 130 local spots are participating with deal-icious three-course, prix-fixe lunches ($22) and three-course, prix-fixe dinners ($32).
How excited are you about the thought of the 10th Annual Jack Daniel’s Chili Cook-Off?! Happening at Sidetrack, the daylong event will include 20 competing restaurants, including Kitsch'n On Roscoe. 2-6pm. $10 cover benefits the Chicago Area Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.
Live out your "American Idol" fantasy at the Nicklebee Idol Charity Fundraiser Sing-Off, happening at Globe Pub. Winner of contest gets an all-expense paid trip to Vegas, but you get two comped cocktails. 7-10pm. $20. To find out more about Nicklebee, go here. 7-10pm.
Motel Bar is four years old, so stop by for comped drinks and food (8-9pm), then keep the party going until 3am. Deejay spins "funky" beats. No cover.
Late-night party people need to be at Groove Parlor's monthly fete happening at Silver Room. The Soul Joy party includes hot deejay performances by Vick Lavender, Mario Romay and Celeste Alexander. 10pm-4am. No cover. BYOB.
The Hearty Boys are back with brunch! 312DD and The Daddy went on opening day a few weeks back and the line was out the door. And who could blame them?! We got piping hot biscuits and waffles to tide us over before our entrees arrived. Highlights include a Breakfast Shepherd's Pie (layer of creamy chive scrambled eggs topped with crumbled sage breakfast sausage and shredded hash browns) and Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with lingonberry compote. Oh, and don't miss the Tang Mimosas and Bloody Mary Flight (Bloody Mary, Bloody Bull and Bloody Caesar). 9am-2pm. Everything's a la carte and not over $12.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Bro-mance must die!
This is why:
"Chicago’s own masculine-oriented nightspot, The Pony, will give patrons a chance to win free passes to (see 'I Love You Man,') t-shirts, official movie cups, beer pong paraphernalia, among other prizes. Men and their friends can raise a glass to one another with The Pony’s featured drink specials."
That party happens Friday, March 13 7-9pm.
Also, if you haven't already heard, tonight's the first-ever DIVO Series, hosted by Maven—the same folks behind The Diva Series. This time they're honoring local dude hot shots in the media, entertainment, sports and other fields at hyper-masculine hangout Bull & Bear.
Party includes comped Chivas scotch (6-7pm) and socializing until 9pm. Free.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Michelle Garcia, owner of Bleeding Heart, features Death's Door Spirits' organic whiskey in her pastries in March. (Photo: Bleeding Heart Bakery)
Grant Achatz (Owner/Executive Chef Alinea): "Looking for a space for a new concept. Lincoln Park and/or Bucktown areas."
Bleeding Heart Bakery: "Flavor of the month...whiskey!! Tarts, cupcakes, truffles, cakes and brownies all soaked in whiskey from Death's Door Spirits!"
Homaro Cantu (Chef/Owner Moto/Otom): "Making toast that is impossible to burn."
Graham Elliot Bowles (Owner/Executive Chef graham elliot): "Excited about the changes that are afoot at the restaurant!"
Gregory Hall (Brewmaster/Restaurateur): "2 days until Night Stalker dryhopped imperial stout debuts at Goose Island."
Mark Mendez (Executive Chef/Carnivale): "Trying to conceptualize new spring menu items."
John Ross (Owner/The Bristol): "Tonight...Agnolotti, Pappardelle Bolognese, Lamb Chorizo!"
Sarah Stegner (Executive Chef/Prairie Grass Cafe): "Enjoying the new microgreens from Three Sister's Garden."
Paul Virant (Owner/Chef Vie): "Corning a veal brisket/bottom round from Swan Creek."
We've got Mado's menu for those unsure of where to go these last days of Chicago Chef Week:
Fried Farm Egg Bruschetta with Truffle Butter
Chicken Liver Paté
Green Lentils with Pickled Red Onion and Parsley
Rainbow Trout stuffed with Braised Swiss Chard and Confit Pork Belly
Hanger Steak with Gorgonzola Polenta
Oh, there's much more to the three-course, $32 per person menu, but these are some of my favorite things!
(Photo: Revel Post Office)
To mark the debut of their hot new nightlife space, the crew behind Revel Post Office is hosting Battle Royale—a battle of the bands, 200 obnoxious t-shirts and some random breakdancers.
We're excited about the event, which includes guest celebrity judge Alpana Singh and a portion of the proceeds benefiting Imerman Angels, but come on. When was the last time you partied it up at the post office?!
They've taken over the 3,000-square-foot space of an actual old post office, transforming it into a raw entertaining room for live music, offbeat special events and whatever else comes up. This is the kind of action Chicago desperately needs, especially in this area.
As far as the Battle Royale event, guests'll get lively competition between Project Ultra, Empra, The Ripley's, Kinzie Rapport and Everelle, deejay performance by Madrid, plus an open bar and hot dogs. 9pm-1am March 28. $49. Get tickets here.
Lockwood's Chicago-Style Lobster Hot Dog (Photo: The Pickled Tongue)
OK, I'll admit it. 312DD's a little obsessed with Phillip Foss (Lockwood) right now.
But can you blame us?! Last week it was the Foie Gras Sliders the executive chef initially created for a special event, then added to the regular menu. And now after a challenge from MenuPages' manic food blogger Helen Rosner, he's created the ultimate Chicago-style hot dog on his Pickled Tongue blog.
This one is all about the lobster:
"I’m not trying to rival the incomporable Hot Doug’s. And you won’t automatically get bitched out if you order it at Lockwood like you do at the Weiner Circle (but I may make an exception if you ask… or if I don’t like the way you look)! ... . Regarding the menu though, it took me forever to work up the balls to put my buffalo-ed wings on the menu and that has been to huge fanfare. So stay tuned… this dog may also see its day (pun intended).
These are the components:
Diced lobster folded into a scallop mousse, seasoned with smoked paprika, cayenne and tarragon; rolled it in plastic wrap the size of a hot dog, then slow poached it at 140 degrees. It is then removed it from the plastic and grilled.
Not wanting to use mustard, instead I made a saffron-ginger beurre blanc to give it a similarly bright yellow color.
The rest is pretty basic - peeled pear tomatoes instead of the tomato wedges.
Brunoise of sweated leeks instead of onions
Green pepper curls
Potato bun - I f’d up and forgot the poppy seed!
I’m happy that ketchup as it turns out is considered sacreligious on a hot dog as I didn’t know how I would pair/mimic it with lobster!"
But how much is it?!
UPDATE: It's $16.
Monday, March 2, 2009
Charles Joly, mixologist for The Drawing Room
Phillip Foss (Executive Chef/Lockwood): "Making plans for Kuma's Corner after work to try the burger I've been hearing so much about."
Charles Joly (Mixologist/The Drawing Room): "Gearing up for week 2 of Restaurant Week- extended by popular demand."
Socca Lakeview: "Featuring $25 3 Course Personal Prix Fixe Dinners Sunday through Tuesday Nights!"