Thursday, February 26, 2009

What they're saying on Facebook . . .

The Chicago Free Press awarded Jim Lasky's Chaise Lounge the "Golden Spoon." He's shown here with wife, Mary. (Photo: Jim Lasky)

Michael Artel (Executive Chef/Cafe Med by Bice): "Had no clue, it is National Pancake Week!"

James R. Lasky (Restaurateur): "Thrilled, Chaise Lounge won a Golden Spoon for Top Restaurant."

Mark Mendez (Executive Chef/Carnivale): "Wants to do Latino version of Ratatouille, and call it Sofrito."

Carrie Nahabedian (Chef/Owner Naha): "Doing a soup benefit on Sunday at Custom House to benefit the Greater Food Depository...only $15..come out and support the cause! 1-4pm."

Salad Spinners: "The HOT ROLLS are coming soon."

Sarah Stegner (Executive Chef/Prairie Grass Cafe): "Working on menu idea for Sunday breakfast."

It's Getting Hot: 'Hell's Kitchen," Restaurant Week

Ben Walanka, executive sous chef at Rhapsody, is the only Chicago chef competing on Gordon Ramsay's "Hell's Kitchen." (Photo: Ben Walanka)

It's been a busy month for local restaurants, particularly this week, with Chicago Restaurant Week, Chicago Chef Week and National Pancake Week all happening at the same time.

Throw in appearances by rock star spinner DJ Kiss and mega-R&B singer Ne-Yo, and let's just say our city is on fi-yah:


Bravo's crowned a new "Top Chef," but the competition's still hot and heavy on Gordon Ramsay's mad intense chef-competition "Hell's Kitchen," which is on at 8pm tonight on FOX. You can catch Chicago's own Ben Walanka, who's the exec sous chef at Rhapsody, busting his ass as one of the show's top contestants. Or, you can check him out at the restaurant, where he's there every night.

Cellar Rat's doing yet another freebie, y'all, so I'd get in on that reservation ASAP. This time they're offering guests Thai cuisine and wine pairings. 5-8pm. Reservations highly recommended.

Did you hold onto your "Slumdog Millionaire" ticket stub?! If yes, bring it into hot Indian eatery Marigold for 15 percent off your bill until March 22 (Friday, Saturday excluded). Limit one ticket stub per table.

The MidWasteland joins forces with Pivot (1101 W. Fulton Market, 312-243-4754) for the launch of the Original Eco vintage launch party. Sip vintage-inspired cocktails as you rifle through loads and loads of retro and contemporary clothing. Also: 30% off new Pivot merchandise with the purchase of any vintage item on the night of the event. 6-9pm. Free.

Full Force is back at Sonotheque, this time featuring a free party with pioneering hip-hop jazz DJ Greyboy. That's 9pm-2am, but head next door to Relax Lounge first for Dine With Dale. The "Top Chef" alum whips up a $30, three-course dinner that includes buttermilk oysters, grilled Mahi Mahi and panna cotta. Also get 20 percent off on cocktails, wine and sparkling wine. That's 7-9pm.


Get a sugar high right after work with the cocktail-inspired, "happy hour" cupcakes at More. They're passing out complimentary treats every Friday 5-7pm in flavors like margarita, piña colada, Cuba libre and mojito. Or, you can also indulge in assorted Champagne-inspired cupcakes—in Bellini, Kir Royale and mimosa.

More offers cocktail-inspired cupcakes every Friday after work. (Photo: More)

The Make-A-Wish Foundation's annual Wish Ball is a big deal to a lot of folks (last year they had Ellen DeGeneres and raised more than $1 mil in one night!), so if you want to know who's hosting this year, try to get to the pre-party happening at Rockit Bar & Grill. Party includes food and cocktails. 6-8pm. $30 in advance; $35 at door.


It's the last evening to TOAST on The Magnificent Mile, the month-long, Moët & Chandon-sponsored event celebrating Michigan Avenue and all its luxury shops, night spots and restaurants. Peep all the events happening right here, which include 6:30pm fireworks at Michigan Avenue and the Chicago River (with viewing at 401 N. Michigan Ave.), Bistro & Bubbles at Bistro 110 and 25 percent off Moët & Chandon bottles at China Grill.


Purgatory Pizza's all-you-can-eat pizza brunch is finally under way at the new-ish Wrigleyville spot. Local MCs, beer and pizza—all for $13. Phillip Morris hosts with friends each week. 11am-3pm.

And soup's on at Custom House, as local chefs go head to head with their signature hot sippers. Participants include Giuseppe Tentori (BOKA/Perennial), Bill Kim (Urban Belly) and Carrie Nahabedian (Naha); ABC-7’s lifestyle reporter and “Hungry Hound” Steve Dolinsky serves as one of the judges. Guests get sample sizes of all entries, plus discounted cocktails, wine and beer. All proceeds benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository. 1-4pm. $15.