Thursday, October 15, 2009

What You Did Not See on the Season Premiere of 'Check, Please!'

Blue 13's staff: Publicist Stu Mitchell (from left), manager Paul Martinez, executive chef/owner Chris Curren and owner Dan Marunowski. (Photo: Chris Curren)

One of the guest reviewers on the season nine premiere of Check, Please! flipped out so much over the food at edgy River North newcomer Blue 13 that the crew had to stop filming.

According to sources, the crew had to halt the segment because the reviewer's account was very explicitly detailed about the effect his meal had on him. Apparently, said our source, "The mac 'n' cheese was so good that as soon as dinner was over, he went back to the car with his then girlfriend (now fiancée) and banged her brains out."

Once they got him to tone down his comments, the cameras rolled again.

But what's in this mac 'n' cheese, you ask, that got ol' boy so worked up?! Owner Dan Marunowski says maybe it has to do with the white truffle oil that exec chef Chris Curren's dripping over the entree.

"We have a huge popularity from the mac 'n' cheese," said Marunowski, "but this is the first time I've seen it have this effect on someone."

If this mac 'n' cheese is that good—and leads to a guy putting a ring on it—the staff at Blue 13 needs to bottle it up and sell it!

Watch the "G"-rated version of the Blue 13 review here.

Waverly Inn Chef In; Pops for Champagne Chef Out

John DeLucie, executive chef/partner at NYC's Waverly Inn, appears at a booksigning event at Rockit Bar & Grill Oct. 22. (Photo: John DeLucie)

You probably heard about that $55 white truffle mac 'n' cheese made infamous at New York's Waverly Inn, and here's your chance to sample it for free!

Chef/partner John DeLucie will be in town Oct. 22 signing copies of his bestseller, The Hunger, at Rockit Bar & Grill.

The book is a behind-the-scenes look into his experiences cooking at Greenwich Village’s notorious paparazzi-stalked dining destination. In addition to cocktails comped by small batch bourbon whiskey Basil Hayden, guests will get to nosh on some of DeLucie’s most famous bites, including mini pot pies, cheese tarts with onion marmalade, and of course the signature mac 'n' cheese.

The party's 7-9pm and all you have to do to get in is email

In local chef news, Pops for Champagne exec chef Andrew Brochu (whose background includes cooking at Alinea) is out as of Wednesday, according to an Ultimate Insider. The new fall menu he just introduced will remain the same, now engineered by his sous chef.

And finally, The Drunken Goat's chef/owner Stephanie Izard takes a trip down to Prairie Fruits Farm in Champaign, Ill., to taste some amazing goat cheese!

Weekend Cannot Get Any Sweeter Than This . . .


Saturday is Sweetest Day. Do you have plans yet?!

If not, allow 312DD to pub some of our favorite spots when it comes to a little romance. Plus, if you're feeling a little philanthropic, these restos as well as 100 more are participating in the In Good Taste: A Breast Cancer Research Initiative sponsored by the Lynn Sage Foundation. One dollar from each check benefits the worthy organization.

Gold Coast gem Le Colonial offers an amazing prix fixe menu Saturday for $50 per person. You'll get an appetizer, entrée, dessert and glass of cava.

Also, we love the Thali Platter at exotic Uptown eatery Marigold Indian Restaurant. It comes with three tasting portions of curries paired with naan and basmati rice. We highly recommend the succulent Lamb Vindaloo and Murg Makhni (boneless spiced chicken simmered in tomato cream sauce).

And those looking for late-night cocktails should head to Perennial's picturesque corner lounge in Lincoln Park. Just sink into one of the many colorful sofas and indulge in a tasty B2, made with Basil's Hayden bourbon, basil-infused simple syrup and a touch of orange bitters.

Single or going steady . . . there's plenty to do this weekend . . . .


A little Spanish flavor goes a long way at Eivissa, where you can enjoy half-price tapas (4-6pm), $5 caipirinhas and $3 mojitos every Thursday. Bonus: Live Latin band, too! 4pm-2am.

Chaise Lounge just introduced its regional cocktail series, so you'll be able to savor a number of seasonal sippers this fall. Every Tuesday and Thursday they're doing $5 drink specials made from housemade syrups, sweeteners and sour mixes.

Jerrod Melman—the colorful co-owner of HUB 51—kicks off his three-day birthday bash tonight with deejays JEM and NYC's finest KISS. Local spin star DANTE the DON works the tables Friday, and DJ KONSEPT performs Saturday. No cover, but reservations are strongly recommended at 9pm-2am.

Learn more about biodynamic wines during a tasting at Webster Wine Bar. Ales Kristancic and Giusto Occhipinti will be pouring rare, artisinal wines (red, white and sparkling) and speaking about their respective domaines: MOVIA, in Slovenia, and COS, in Sicily. 9pm. $35.

Late-meal seekers should love the new deal over at Tocco. They're offering half price on all pizzas and $5 martinis every Thursday at 10pm. We hear the ones to get are the signature Margherita, vegetarian (with mozzarella and fresh veggies) and prosciutto e funghi.

New York's DJ KISS spins at HUB 51 Thursday for owner Jerrod Melman's birthday. (Photo: DJ KISS)


Around the Coyote Fall Arts Festival returns to Bucktown—where it belongs. The three-day fest kicks off with an opening party tonight at Blu Coral Sushi for free appetizers and $2 domestic/$3 imported beer in the lounge. $20 for a weekend pass.

Deals galore happening over at 44th Ward Dinner Party, which is doing half price on appetizers, soups and salads through Sunday. Also, bingo!


Those heading over to Around the Coyote Fall Arts Festival should first hit up Francesca’s Forno for brunch. You'll find a number of breakfast classics tweaked with Italian accents, including Truffled Egg Toast, a house-cured pancetta with coddled yolk, fontina cheese and mixed greens from northern Italy. The Italian-born chef, Massimo Salatino, has managed to include favorite dishes from every region in Italy. 10am-3pm.


Today kicks off Rioja Wine Week, and Nacional 27 gets in the mix with a number of events happening through Oct. 24. They're doing paella pairings (Suckling Pig and Roast Organic Chicken Paella!), vibrant rioja-based sangrias, wine flights and other deals throughout the week.

And also happening through Oct. 24 is Sofitel’s Vietnamese Week at Cafe des Architectes. It's to celebrate the launch of Sofitel Legend and the premier property, Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, in Vietnam. The three-course dinner menu ($35; $45 with wine pairings) includes traditional fare like Saigonese chicken salad, hue prawns on lemongrass and beef cooked seven different styles—an old Vietnamese recipe used previously to cook tiger meat. Le Bar will also have a Vietnamese appetizer.