Tuesday, March 31, 2009

EXCLUSIVE: A First Look at Market!

(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.

Props for future chefs

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 CafĂ© and Lounge), Seth Siegel-Gardner (C-House) and Carrie Nahabedian (NAHA) participating.

The spirit’s gonna git ya!


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.