Sunday, October 31, 2010

Let's Avoid Another Tragedy This Season


Every local news outlet has reported on the tragic death of Megan Duskey, a 23-year-old Crete woman who was a Chicago public schools special education teacher.

She fell to her death Saturday during Surreal Entertainment/Global Adrenaline's Haunted Hotel Ball at the Palmer House Hilton when she attempted to slide down one of the banisters on the mezzanine level.

Reports also say that even though the incident took place at 10:30pm, the party continued until 12:30am when someone was allegedly stabbed and four revelers were sent to the hospital following alcohol poisoning.

This leads me to wonder: Has the partying gotten out of control?! Many events like the "Haunted Hotel Ball" feature open-bar deals—an incentive to get people to attend. They also last anywhere from two hours to six hours, and not everyone can handle their liquor.

Bayless Tweets Obama Dinner

(Photo: Topolobampo)

The Prez was in town Saturday campaigning and made a stop to Rick Bayless's sensational Topolobampo to the delight of diners.

Bayless tweeted the visit after Obama left, and even included a few photos of some of the dishes he served, including scallops and lobster with roasted tomatillos, corn sauce and sweet corn tamales.

Apparently he was bombarded with more than a few people complaining that someone was likely "bumped" in order to accommodate the party because he sent out this missive to detractors:

Leave It To Graham Elliot . . .

(Photo: Graham Elliot)

. . . to change out of his chef whites and into a "Big Situation" costume.

He showed up at Landmark's hard-rockin' party immediately after his shift at his eponymous restaurant in River North.

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Cupcakes From a Bonified Cutie!


I cannot wait to see this tall drink of water behind the counter at Sprinkles.

The 6'9" Chicago Bulls Forward Carlos Boozer (#5) will be taking customers' orders 4:30-6pm Nov. 3 at the Gold Coast cupcakery. He'll also sign autographs and take photos with guests along with Benny The Bull.

This Has Got To Be . . .


. . . the yummiest tat ever.

This guy really loves his Chicago-style hot dogs! It was created by the Tattoo Factory in Uptown and it is making me hungry.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

'We Are Just Getting Warmed Up . . .'

Matt Maroni holding down the Gaztro-Wagon. (Photo: Michael Boyd)

That's the response from Matt Maroni, the guy behind Gaztro-Wagon, on Gawker's declaration that food trucks are over.

"Chicago will set a new standard," Maroni added, referring to the likes of high-quality munchie mobiles recently springing up such as more's new cupcake truck and chef Philip Foss's Meatyballs Mobile.

This Time It's For Real!

(Photo: Doug Fogelson/DRFP)

Avec reopens Oct. 29, and here's what to expect, according to the email that just dropped in my inbox:

This Is What Needs To Happen

Angels & Kings is located in River North.

You wouldn't believe the complaints I get from minorities about the discrimination they face when going out to Chicago's downtown nightclubs.

It is not uncommon, most say, from what happened to the Chicago Bears players who were denied entry to Angels & Kings on Monday.

One African-American clubgoer, who also happens to be a nightlife promoter, said: "I have personally seen and experienced firsthand how venues like Y Bar, Crescendo and FUNK openly discriminate against blacks. If those guys didn't play in the NFL, nobody would have ever known about this incident and the promoters would still be there. Here's a many of these venues do you think allow 'black' promoters to produce events at their venues?"

Which leads to another question that has been burning in my mind for quite awhile. Where are the upscale minority-owned nightlife venues in the downtown area?!

Blocked! Bears Players Turned Away At A&K

Bears star Brian Urlacher and a number of his teammates were denied entrance to Angels & Kings Monday.

The long-running industry night event at River North's Angels & Kings has ended following a ridiculous incident Monday night.

A large group of high-profile Chicago Bears players—including stars Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs—were denied entrance, according to Stella Foster of the Sun-Times:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Let The Kids Have Their Candy


On Halloween weekend, you'll have your choice of some of the coolest events in a long time.

The party we're most excited about is the first-ever Chosen Few Sexy Halloween, from the same team behind the hottest summer house music picnic.

If you appreciate deep, underground dance music and a mature sexy crowd, this is your spot. Deejays Wayne Williams, Andre Hatchett, Jesse Saunders, Alan King, Terry Hunter and Craig Loftus spin. There's a "sexy" costume contest for female guests. 9pm-4am Oct. 29 at Loft 74 (7445 S. South Chicago Ave.).

More tricks and treats to get into this weekend:

Get Your Taste Buds Ready . . .


. . . for tonight's free beer tasting at Red & White.

Typically, the boutique wine and beer shop features vino tastings, but this time they've brought aboard the beer experts from Big Star to share some of their wealth of knowledge.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Even More Of A Good Thing

Customers line up for free cupcakes Monday in the Gold Coast. (Photo: More)

After several months of delays, the more mobile cupcake truck finally had its debut Monday.

To mark its maiden voyage, owner Patty Rothman is giving away her biggest hit cupcakes throughout the week. On the very first day, she gave out more than 5,000 treats, including Chocolate-Chocolate and Red Velvet, in the downtown area.

312DD got to see firsthand how a mobile-food truck operation works by assisting Rothman in giving out free cupcakes in the Gold Coast.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Ummmm, Ouch!


From Stephanie Izard's Twitter feed:

"The Backstreet Boys just tried to come in for lunch. Who knew they were still alive. Hostess blushing big time..."


By the way, Girl & The Goat does not serve lunch. Yet.

The Best Wedding Gift Ever . . .


. . . came for one couple on their first-year anniversary.

A guy named Steve tells 312DD that the Fairmont Chicago sent them an invitation for overnight accommodations that they'll likely remember for the rest of their lives.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

How About A Slice Of . . .


. . . Julius Peppers Pizza?!

That's the signature pie during Bears season at Bricks in Lincoln Park.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Something To Look Forward To This Winter

Big Star's dining room. (Photo: Grant Kessler)

"Overheard" on Twitter:

Bradley Bolt (owner/Bar DeVille): "Big Star with an enclosed patio for the winter? Genius and it'll pay for itself in no time."

If you thought biz would slow down during the winter at the Wicker Park taco shop, think again!

Calling All Carnivores!


Andy Nelson, an alum from Coobah, Cyrano's Bistro, The Whiskey Bar and The Adventurers Club, is now executive chef at Ole Hardwood.

The South Loop gastropub and BBQ joint has a soft-opening Thursday, according to an Ultimate Insider close to the chef.

If that's not enough meat for you, Park Grill is debuting its first-ever Steak Week, happening Oct. 25-31.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Stars In Our Midst . . .

Marion Cotillard (from left), Matt Damon and Kate Winslet

An Ultimate Insider tells 312DD that some serious A-Listers have just checked into the Peninsula:

Local Chef Gets Dumped By Text Message


Ladies—and gentlemen—you take your chances when you date a chef.

They work loooooong hours, sleep a lot when they're off the clock, and can get pretty moody, says one chef at a popular Wicker Park restaurant who suddenly found himself single again over the weekend.

His girlfriend of several months got fed up and after not getting the response she wanted after wishing him a "Happy Three-Month Anniversary," she promptly dumped him by a series of text messages:

Introducing ‘The Underground Mixologists’

Todd Appel (from left), Daniel de Oliveira and Josh Pearson.

Watch out, these guys are about to set Chicago's mixology scene on fire with The LBA . . .

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Ed Burns Couldn't Get Into Girl & The Goat


The award-winning actor/director was in town Friday promoting new movie, "Nice Guy Johnny," and managed to get some Giordano's deep-dish pizza, but wasn't so lucky snagging a reservation at West Loop hot spot Girl & The Goat.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Gastropunk, Pork . . . And Porn . . .

Three Aces' soon-to-be-infamous "pornographic wall." (Photo: Anthony Potenzo)

Opening Wednesday in Little Italy is Three Aces, a collaborative effort from three restaurant vets.

They're calling the restaurant's concept "gastropunk," blending a hard-rockin' atmosphere of elevated black leather Gangster booths with black glass chandeliers. And what should be intriguing to most patrons is the wallpaper patterned with microscopic pornography.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Avec Is Back On Track

(Photo: Doug Fogelson/DRFP)

Steve "The Hungry Hound" Dolinsky reports that avec will finally re-open next week.

We couldn't be more excited . . .

Thursday, October 14, 2010

*&^%$# Madonna, She HATES Chicago . . .


That's right, Her Madgesty had the nerve to diss our city, but apparently she expressed these views in 1991 when she was filming "A League of Our Own."

Huffington Post has uncovered a letter that the pop star wrote to a friend complaining about "the lack of hot guys" in Chicago: ". . . when God decided where the beautiful men were going to live in the world, he did not choose Chicago."

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Our Very Own Hip-Hop Chef . . .

(Photo: Connie Lovely Jackson)

. . . goes by the name of "Lovely," and bump what's going on with Bravo and its upcoming reality-style show featuring this so-called hip-hop chef, this girl's got some serious skills on the mic and in the kitchen.

If Lovely (real name Connie Jackson) looks familiar to you, then you probably remember her as one of the cheftestants on Gordon Ramsay's "Hell's Kitchen" a couple seasons back. She gave no indication on the show of being such a talented rhyme master who I can best liken to the earlier days of Lil' Kim or Foxy Brown (Ramsay would have probably backed down if she did!).

Suds & Sausage On The Way To Wicker Park

(Photo: Goody)

Looks like Matt Eisler's next venture is opening in two weeks, according to Eater Chicago, who filed a report Wednesday on Bangers & Lace.

They got a sneak peek of his Wicker Park project, which is situated in the old Mas space and not too far from his other night spots, Bar DeVille and Empire Liquors. Here are some of the highlights we have to look forward to:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Something To Think About . . .

A seemingly happy crowd at Roof at theWit. (Photo: Meredith Gregory)

This curious email dropped in my inbox late Tuesday night:

"What are the main factors for you to like a nightclub/lounge? Like, what about the whole process stands out to you as being important? Music, decor, theme, staff, location, name, etc.? Basically just wondering what makes you enjoy a spot & obviously want to return, bring friends, tell people & ultimately deem worth spending $$?"

Hmmmmmmmmm. What do you guys think?! I'd be interested in hearing your answers—as well as I'm certain bar and club owners would be equally curious . . .

STAGE BITES: The Weekly Dining & Drinking Guide

Drake performs Wednesday and Thursday at the Chicago Theater.

Every Tuesday look for the week's top performances paired with the best deals before and/or after the show:

Drake at Chicago Theater. It looks like this R&B star/actor's career has taken off like lightening, and he may have Chris Brown's downfall to thank for that. 2010 has definitely been one hell of a year for Drake, who released his debut studio album ("Thank Me Later") and collaborated with hip-hop royalty: Lil Wayne, Young Jeezy, Kanye West, Eminem and Jay-Z on a number of songs. This is one of the most highly anticipated shows of the year. Opening act is Tyga. 8pm Wednesday, Thursday. Get tickets here. The official after-party goes down at The Shrine, and Drake is confirmed to attend.

Here's Your First Look . . .


. . . at the new logo for GT Fish & Oyster, the seafood-focused resto taking over the old Tizi Melloul space in River North.

Named after its executive chef and partner Guiseppe Tentori, the restaurant is part of the incredibly sucessful Boka Restaurant Group, which is also behind Boka, (where Tentori is also executive chef and partner), Landmark, Perennial and Girl & The Goat.

Boka Group partner Kevin Boehm tells 312DD exclusively that GT Fish & Oyster is expected to open in the winter, sometime in February 2011.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Is This 'Two-Hour Dining Limit' Fair?!


River West's La Scarola is one of my favorite go-to spots for cozy neighborhood Italian fare, so I was pretty disappointed to read a diner's review of a recent experience on GrubStreet:

Our First Rahmbo Sighting . . .


. . . comes from Kith & Kin Executive Chef Andrew Brochu, who spotted the flamboyant mayoral candidate in his restaurant Sunday night.

Nice that he's already up on one of the hottest restaurants in town . . .

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Step It UP For Supper!


CS dining critic Michael Nagrant gave a rave review to West Loop sensation Girl & The Goat—which was no surprise because he's already made it clear how much he loves it in other articles.

The surprise was the "dress code" the magazine recommended to its readers for the hottest restaurant in town. Their suggestion of what to wear: a No-Fuss T-Shirt and Jeans, which translates roughly to something you'd probably put on when you're running errands on an average Saturday afternoon.

Are We Falling For French-Inspired Nightlife?

The gleaming exterior of Maude's Liquor Bar, which is set to open this fall. (Photo: Maude's Liquor Bar)

312DD had the exclusive deets on Maude's Liquor Bar way back in the summer, so it's about time for an update.

Still scheduled to open this fall, the French-inspired dive bar owned by Gilt Bar's Brendan Sodikoff is well on its way to being finished, according to their blog tracking the progress of construction:

Deejaying Dancing with the Star . . .


Quirky neo-soul star Macy Gray's performing tonight at Park West, and tickets are still available here.

If you miss out, head to the after-party at Victor Hotel, in the Warehouse District, to catch her behind the 'decks spinning soul, funk and whatever the hell she wants.

This should be fun!

No Resos?! 'Get Over It!'

Mark and Elizabeth Mendez are blogging at "The Cook & The Corkscrew" as they work on their Latin-concept restaurant.

I'm beginning to think there will be a "no reservations" policy at Mark and Elizabeth Mendez's new Latin-focused restaurant when it opens soon.

I'm just basing that assumption from their latest blog post at The Cook & The Corkscrew, written by Elizabeth (the sommelier who used to work at Carnivale with her executive chef husband), as she passionately wrote about her issues with diners complaining about the practice:

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

It Ain't Pretty Right Now . . .


. . . but look for this space to look spectacular in the next few weeks as it magically transforms into Leopold.

You may remember it as Relax Lounge, in West Town, which struggled with a few identity issues after it was forced to change from its original name, Pharmacy, and concept of prescription-themed drinks and boozy milkshakes.

They even had former "Top Chef" finalist Dale Levitski (now exec chef at super-successful Sprout) for a spell hooking up prix-fixe dinners, but the new owners are now taking it in an entirely new direction.

The Apple (Pie) Of Your Eye . . .


Break out that old family recipe because the annual Bucktown Apple Pie Contest is 2-5pm Sunday in Holstein Park (2200 N. Oakley St.).

Even better this year is that Tru's freaking fabulous executive pastry chef Gale Gand (who incidentally guest judged the most dramatic episode to date of "Top Chef Just Desserts" this week!) is one of the judges, so you need to be on your A-game, people.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Your Ticket To Celebrity Chef Ball is Waiting

C-House's Pastry Chef Toni Roberts (from left), partner/chef Marcus Samuelsson and Executive Chef Nicole Pederson at last year's "Celebrity Chef Ball." (Meals on Wheels)

More than 100 readers entered the contest to win free tickets to Meals on Wheels' annual Celebrity Chef Ball, taking place Oct. 15.

All you had to do to be eligible to win was answer this question correctly:

STAGE BITES: The Weekly Dining & Drinking Guide

"The Lion King" returns to Cadillac Palace Theatre Oct. 6-Nov. 27. (Photo: Disney)

Every Tuesday look for the week's top performances paired with the best deals before and/or after the show:

Collaboraction's Beggars' Banquet at Salvage One (1840 W. Hubbard St.). This traveling theatrical group knows how to throw a bash, so you don't want to miss the wildest dinner party of the year. This time around it's working an "Arabian Nights" theme inspired by current production, "1001," onstage at Chopin Theatre (1543 W. Division St.) through Oct. 9. The venue will be transformed into a Persian fantasia, and Ali B. and his 40 Thieves host. Guests will enjoy an open bar, dessert, belly dancers, snake charmers and more than 40 characters from the stories of the "Arabian Nights" performing throughout the space. 9:30pm-midnight Friday (or 7:30pm for a ticket to "1001" and after-party). Get tickets here.

'I'll Have The Lurch, Please!'


If you were an "Addams Family" fan back in the day, you should get a thrill from these specially themed cocktails now on the menu at Custom House Tavern.

The South Loop restaurant's mixologist Denise Beckman has whipped up whimsical creations in honor of each character, like our absolute favorite, Lurch. That one's simple, but guaranteed to give you a buzz with Dewar's Scotch, Aperol and Carpano Antico Sweet Vermouth.

Here's the rest of the menu:

Monday, October 4, 2010

'Man vs. Food' Star Has One Helluva Temper


Maybe he was having a severe case of indigestion.

Or perhaps he was coming down from a serious sugar-induced high.

Whatever the case, Adam Richman—star of pig-out Travel Channel show "Man vs. Food"—did not take kindly to those criticizing his show last week.

It all started with this interview with Food Network's Alton Brown, who called Richman's show "gluttonous" and "disgusting."

Richman immediately lashed out on Twitter at not only Brown in defense of his show, but also anyone else who criticized him, including a Chicago bartender who works at a popular West Loop lounge.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Party With Chicago's Celeb Chefs For Free!

Sixteen Executive Chef Frank Brunacci blowing off steam at last year's "Celebrity Chef Ball" at Macy's. (Meals on Wheels)

This is the biggest chef-focused fete of the year, and you don't want to miss it.

312DD doesn't want you to miss out on going to Meals on Wheels' Celebrity Chef Ball either—which raises enough money for more than 70,000 meals for elderly and disabled residents throughout Chicago—so I've worked out a way for you to win free tickets.