Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What Did Marcus Samuelsson Serve at the White House State Dinner?!


C-House executive chef Marcus Samuelsson had the honor Tuesday of cooking the Obamas' first-ever state dinner at the White House.

The esteemed guest list included the likes of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and First Lady Gursharan Kaur of India; CBS news anchor Katie Couric; ABC news anchor Robin Roberts; NBC news anchor Brian Williams; and Hollywood elite Steven Spielberg, David Geffen, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Steven Spielberg, Alfre Woodard and Blair Underwood.

Samuelsson's menu, in honor of the Indian prime minister and first lady, fused Indian and American favorites, including curried prawns and smoked collard greens, chick peas and okra, basmati rice and red lentil soup, and a pumpkin pie tart to finish.

See the entire menu here.

Hot Floridian Chef Makes a Move to Chicago


It totally sucks that VTK's closing at the end of the year, but an Ultimate Insider dropped a dime in the inbox that should put a smile on folks' faces:

"Chef David Carrier who (owned) Avenue Sea Restaurant in Apalachicola, Fla., and who was Grant Achatz's sous (chef) at Trio and also an alum of French Laundry, is opening a spot in Lincoln Park next week. One of Chicago's finest will be helping him in da kitchen too. Juicy."

Begged my source to get me more deets, but no go. So, in the meantime, the questions that remain about this mysterious resto:

The name?!

The location?!

And the chef who's helping him in the kitchen?!

My guess for incoming chef would be former Pops for Champagne chef Andrew Brochu, who left in October and is also an alum of Achatz's famed Alinea restaurant.

We'll see what happens next week!

Lava Lounge is Closing!

Lava Lounge serves its last cocktail on Dec. 18, making way for a new concept in January. (Photo: Lava Lounge)

After only a few short years in its new location in Wicker Park, Lava Lounge is on the move again.

But this time the direction is its look, not location.

Owners Phil McFarland and Ty Fujimura (also behind SmallBar) have decided to shut it down on Dec. 18 to give it a complete overhaul—including a new name and concept.

Mixologist Peter Vestinos will be an integral part of the new post-Lava Lounge concept. (Photo: Peter Vestinos)

Also expect signature hand-crafted cocktails from master mixologist Peter Vestinos (who's consulted for the likes of Naha, C-View, Roof, In Fine Spirits), as well as exceptional wine, bubbly and craft brew lists.

Look for the new bar to open in January.

Turkeys, Tastings, Tina Turner!


It's one of the biggest party nights of the year, y'all.

Before you chow down on Turkey Day, 312DD's serving up the absolute best Black Wednesday bashes in town (plus a few extras for the weekend!):


Since most folks get off early, the line starts forming around 3pm at Butch McGuire's, the legendary Division Street bar known for its retro Christmas decorations and flirtatious crowd. This is the only night of the year they're charging at the door too, so you know it's good! Pros: Fun, professional crowd. Cons: No drink specials. 3pm-4am. $10.

Methinks they're starting a new tradition at HUB 51, which has come to be known as a great spot to gather for after-work shenanigans. Deejays Alex Rage spins in HUB, while Will Galvan works the 'tables in the lower-level SUB 51. Pros: Better food than Butch McGuire's. Cons: Guest list enforced in SUB 51. 4pm-2am. No cover.

House music icon Frankie Knuckles spins his annual Thanksgiving party at Green Dolphin Street. Arrive early, wear comfortable shoes, get ready to dance your ass off. Pros: The best dancers in the city come out to this party. Cons: If you cannot dance, get out of the way. 10pm-4am. $10; $20 after midnight.

Deejay Mark Fullaflava hosts and spins at this lively affair targeting an upscale urban crowd. It's held in the second-floor ballroom of the James Hotel, which also houses David Burke's Primehouse. Pros: The music will be amazing, with the latest in hip-hop, house and R&B. Cons: They can get mad shady at the door with the cover price. 9pm-2am.

Longtime sexy River North resto Kiki's Bistro hosts a complimentary tasting of Twisted Oak Winery's *%&@!" (Potty Mouth) red and Rueben's Blend white. They will also be doing by-the-bottle and glass options that'll go well with a number of small plates, including frog legs, lamb stew, smoked salmon and pommes frites. Pros: Ideal if you're looking for a low-key night with friends or a sig other. Cons: Seats at the bar typically fill up quickly. 5-9pm.

Bar owner Matt "Bird" Lindner—known for his massive afro—celebrates his birthday and 30 years in the biz tonight. It's going down at his after-hours dance club Le Passage, and the first 100 guests get an afro wig. Deejay White Shadow spins. Pros: C'mon now, the free 'fros! Cons: If you've been hangin' at the bars since early afternoon you might not last too long, this one goes late. 10pm-4am. Cover varies.

Jesse De La Pena's Backtrack party celebrates 10 years at Double Door. They're doing it up big with live performances, plus deejays de la Pena, 33 1/3 and Pumpin Pete spinning hits from the 1980s and 1990s. Pros: Jesse knows how to bring on the dance party, which is sorely needed in this town. Cons: We need to dance until 4am! 8pm-2am. $15.

The brothers behind McGee's, Duffy's, Durkin's, Redmond's, Wrightwood Tap and Maeve host their annual Turkey Trolley Trot. You'll get domestic drafts, punch, a food buffet and trolley service to all their bars. Pros: A great deal. Cons: Drunk, stumbling folks all over Lincoln Park. 8-11pm. $20.


Tina Turner turns 70 and she's still working those amazing legs! To celebrate her fabulosity, Kit Kat Lounge and Supper Club throws its annual bash in her honor with half-price cocktails, 20 percent off entrees and a three-course special menu for $30. Also, female impersonator Traci Ross performs as Ms. Turner. Pros: Drink specials! Cons: Never enough performances.


The return of Red Dog debuts this weekend at Ohm, as it transforms into the legendary nightclub. This will happen every Saturday, featuring deep-house deejays such as Dennis Ferrer and Gene Farris. Pros: Multiple levels for gitting down. Cons: Only happens once a week. 10pm-4am. $10.