Thursday, January 14, 2010

Bars & Restos Raise $$$ for Haiti Relief


Here are some ways you can help Haiti:

Law & Order: SUV star Chris Meloni took a video during his recent trip for Smile Train, which helps malnutritioned children.

Donate $10 instantly by texting "HAITI" to 90999 on your mobile phone (you'll see the charge on your next bill); all proceeds go to International Red Cross. Also, get up-to-the-minute updates on relief efforts here.

Doctors and nurses volunteer with Doctors Without Borders to provide urgent medical care in countries to victims of war and disaster regardless of race, religion or politics.

Hip-hop star Wyclef Jean, who originated from Haiti, is taking donations to help rebuild his homeland at You can also automatically donate $5 to the Yele Haiti Earthquake Fund if you text "YELE" to 501501 on your cell phone.

Messiah St.-Bartholomew Development Center (MSBDC) is a Chicago-based, non-profit organization offering relief for disadvantaged children and seniors. They've been raising donations for programs in Haiti for more than 10 years. They're accepting donations that will go directly to the country at 8255 S. Dante Ave., Chicago, IL 60619; 773-721-6965.

All Gerber Group properties, including Whiskey Bar and Whiskey Sky in Chicago, will donate a portion of the night's sales on Jan. 22 to Oxfam America, Partners in Health, American Red Cross, UNICEF and Yele Haiti Foundation. They're doing it in conjunction with the Hope for Haiti celebrity-studded telethon.

Joel Barnes, the general manager at Le Passage, is hosting Haiti fundraisers each Friday in January. He'll be collecting canned goods at the door, and all tips he receives will benefit American Red Cross. 6-9pm.

Through the end of the month, Custom House is offering the Aid to Haiti Punch made with Rhum Barbacourt, Myers Rum, Bacardi rum, apricot, orange and pineapple. All proceeds from the $16 cocktail go to the Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund.

Twenty-five percent of all burger sales at DMK Burger Bar will benefit American Red Cross. We highly recommend going for the No. 3 (NY pastrami, Grand Cru Gruyere Cheese, Sauerkraut, Leroy’s Remoulade), No. 9 (organic turkey with cucumber and blue cheese coleslaw) or the No. 10 (grass-fed lamb with sheep's milk feta, olive tapenade and tomato and onion salad). Jan. 19-24. Also, DMK will have a Haitian Relief Fund donation raffle for $20 per ticket; the winner will receive a month of free burgers. The drawing takes place midnight Jan. 30.

Province's party raises money for Doctors Without Borders. Benefit includes food and drinks, with 100 percent of the money going to the group. 5:30-8pm. Jan. 28. $40.

Bottom Lounge is the place to be on Grammy Night, when local musical and spoken-word artists join forces to raise money for the Yele Haiti Earthquake Fund. There will be a special Grammy viewing party, food and a silent auction. 6:30-10:30pm in the upstairs Volcano Lounge. Jan. 31. $20. (17+ admitted)

Will update as more events come in . . .

Baby, It's Cold Outside, So Heat It Up Inside . . .


. . . with a significant other by cozying up to one of many events this weekend. You don't even have to wait until Valentine's Day!

Chopping Block's known for innovative cooking classes, so grab your honey and head to the Merchandise Mart location to whip up flavorful, spicy dishes like blackened shrimp with remoulade sauce; crawfish and Andouille sausage etouffee; and flambéed bananas foster with vanilla bean ice cream. 6pm Friday, Saturday.

Or if you're in the mood for more traditional dishes with a little bit of twist, make a date for the Lincoln Square spot. You will prepare spinach artichoke dip, smothered pork chops with caramelized onions, scalloped potatoes and a gingerbread pear cobbler. 7pm Saturday. All events are $75 per person.

More events where you can snuggle in the city . . .


Make your hot date right after work for Adam Seger's Hot Drinks Class at Nacional 27. The master mixologist will show you how to make his signature Hot Buttered Hum and Hot Agave Mocha, as you nosh on appetizers. 5:30-6:30pm. $27 per person. And if you stick around, we highly recommend you share a bowl of the black bean soup (with smoked chicken, crema, amontillado) and get a shot of 1894 solera sherry and spanish flor de sel for an extra $1.95.

Seasons Lounge's "haute" chocolate. (Photo: Tyler Curtis)

West Town Tavern's wonderful Pappardelle with turkey meatballs, roasted tomatoes, market veggies and mushrooms is not going to be one of those dishes you'll share with your sweetie. So your night will be fight-free, you both order it along with a bottle of 2006 Quinta de Cabriz Red.

Liquid lovers will certainly enjoy the sexy lounge at Sepia, where you can gaze in each others' eyes and sip the Hot Spiced Whiskey, made with Jameson Irish Whiskey, spiced honey, Grand Marnier and topped with Rooibos tea.


If it gets below 20 degrees tonight—or any night this winter—make your way to MK for a complimentary Hot Toddy.

Hot Toddies are also on tap at graham elliot, when it reopens tonight after a holiday break. Mixologist Lynn House's take on it is the Hot Crimson and Clover, made with Hum Liqueur, rum, Hibiscus tea, lemon, honey, clove rock candy syrup and garnished with a brûléed lemon.

Aja chef Joshua Linton offers a delicious chile-lime soup with hearty ingredients (charred chicken, braised pork and rice noodles) that's certain to warm you right down to your toes.

If you're on a budget, Chens Chinese and Sushi is the hookup for its variety of soup specials you can share, including the vegetable and tofu soup or chicken sizzling rice soup. Both are $6.95.

Aja's chile-lime soup with charred chicken and braised pork. (Photo: Aja)


If you're heading to the Mag Mile to finally spend those gift cards you got over the holidays, might we recommend stopping in Seasons Lounge in the Four Seasons for some "haute" chocolate?! It'll pair well with savory short rib sliders, the homemade all-beef hot dog or crisp pork belly flatbread.

Or, make your way down the street for Bistro 110's classic French onion soup that's made with Provolone and Swiss cheese melted on top of a medley of onions, leeks and homemade beef bouillon and served in a cast-iron bowl.

For guys who want to throw the smooth moves on a mama, take her to the new Elysian Hotel, where she's certain to be impressed. Right now what's hot on the menu at casual eatery Balsan is the duck cassoulet, made with cranberry beans (cooked with pork belly, bacon, chicken stock herbs), confit duck gizzards, confit duck leg, pork skin, duck heart and homestyle Toulous sausage. That's only $10 and serves two people. Skip dessert and instead opt for the Kentucky Cider, a delicious drink of bourbon, warm apple cider, cinnamon and star anise topped with whipped cream and shaved nutmeg. Get one more nightcap at Bernard’s, the delightfully decadent bar on the second floor. A Hemingway Side Car (cognac, Cointreau and lemon) or Brown Derby (bourbon, grapefruit, honey) would be the perfect way to cap off your evening.


Snag seats near the fireplace and get ready for a massive, all-you-can-eat brunch at ZED451, which is now $24 a person. Ideal dishes for winter include the vanilla-spiced whole-grain oatmeal; bourbon-glazed ham that's been roasted over a wood-burning grill; and duck hash browns sautéed with confit duck, shallots and fresh herbs.

And you can also cozy up to the fireplace at sola, where Executive Chef Carol Wallack's putting a Hawaiian and Asian twist on her comfort soups. Indulge in Carrot Miso or Parsnip Miso, her take on ‘French’ onion with pineapple (sweated in bacon fat) with gruyere croutons.