Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Where Should They Go This Weekend?!


By now everyone knows that the Jersey Shore crew is invading the 312 this weekend.

All going down Friday, Nicole "Snookie" Polizzi is set to host Manor; Mike "The Situation" and Pauly D will be fist pumping their way through Lumen; and hopefully J-WOWW won't throw a fist when she makes an appearance at after-hours hot spot, RiNo.

And because these hardcore East Coasters are not familiar with our neck of the woods, it's only proper to be a good host and point out some restos they might enjoy during their stay:

Pickle enthusiast Snookie would certainly feel at home at Steve's Deli because she can go absolutely crazy. They wouldn't even look at her like she's nuts if she bypassed their amazing Reubens for a handful of extra-large dill pickles.

Or if she's feeling adventurous, she can head up to Risqué Café in Wrigleyville for fried pickles. It's a little harder for her to "suck the juices out," but we're sure she'll be satisfied nevertheless.

The old-school meat lasagna at Jay's on Taylor should satisfy "The Situation." (Photo: Jay's on Taylor)

J-WOWW claims she only eats 500 calories a day—which is absolutely crazy by the way—so we'll send her off to Berry Chill so she can load up on froyo. With no toppings, she can get a small cup of Strawberry-Banana (110 calories), Maqui-Blueberry (120 calories) or Original (100 calories).

The boys will be looking for a little more sustenance, but one place they should avoid is Rockit Bar & Grill because owner Billy Dec has already made it clear that he's not that into them.

That's aight. We feel like they'll be more comfortable at Jay's on Taylor and La Scarola, especially Jay's for its back dining room where they can order heaving plates of chicken Vesuvio and meat lasagna. Plus, La Scarola serves up the best veal parmesan in the city.

One more thing: For the rest of the week, my name is A-WOWW.

Brunch Predictions for New Year?! Bring It On!


Local food writer Carly Fisher of Chicago Brunch Blog makes some predictions on what to expect in early-morning meals in 2010:

"Small Plates: We’ve all been there. Forced to make a decision among 20 awesome brunch choices only to settle with a stack of double chocolate raspberry pancakes with liquified candy bar syrup that has as much appeal half way through as filing taxes. Roof at theWit is already serving smaller plates to encourage sharing and having a well-balanced breakfast."

Also. Fisher's Top 5 List of Brunch Spots Hot Right NOW:

Bakin' and Eggs: "Great food, attentive service and minimal wait time at a brunch-specific restaurant. Never thought I'd see it happen.
Considering the popularity of this spot, we were seated within 10
minutes and received our food in a timely manner. Had a fantastic
frittata here—and it was actually as advertised, not an omelet-dubbed frittata. Excellent tea from Rare Tea Cellar and Intelligensia coffee, plus Lovely pastries."

Birchwood Kitchen: "Consistently awesome food and service, including really interesting and well-prepared brunch specials. The Croque Madame makes me weep."

Hot Chocolate: "I hate, hate, hate waiting for a spot for brunch, but I just can't resist the Mexican Hot Chocolate, baked eggs and breakfast sandwich here. Call me selfish, but I also hate children and this is
more of an 'adult' brunch with dark walls and minimal stroller interaction, so that's an added bonus."

Nana: "A brunch spot that makes me leave my neighborhood to go to the other side of the planet in Bridgeport with a raging hangover and not
regret it. Beautiful restaurant, great service and perfectly crispy
potatoes. Love the twist on classic eggs 'Benny' with the Nanadict."

Publican: "The food at Publican is sort of a given, but the best part about brunch here is that you get the best elements of the restaurant
at a much lower price-point, which is great for broke-ass bitches like
myself. Get the scrapple and the red-wine poached eggs."

Experts Weigh in on What to Expect in 2010

Arturo Gomez of Rockit Ranch Productions (Photo: Arturo Gomez)

What big trends should you expect in the New Year?!

NBCChicago.com spoke to a number of local experts, including Arturo Gomez of Rockit Ranch Productions (Rockit Bar & Grill, Sunda, Underground) and yours truly, on what to look forward to in dining, nightlife, music and more.

Says Gomez:

"This year, guests will be cautiously optimistic. The effect of the economy will have people searching for value-added experiences, but operators will see continually increasing guest counts.

"As far as hospitality trends themselves, microbrews and small batch beers continue their popularity and whiskies and gins will be everywhere, with vodka falling behind from its pre-eminent position in the cocktail category.

"Asian and Latin cuisine are where people want to eat now, and that's only going to be expanded upon. Casual, relaxed dining where you aren't emptying your wallet for a night out is not only the way of 2010, but will likely be the preferred dining trend that's here to stay."