Sunday, April 29, 2012

Notes From . . .

Master Mixologist Bridget Albert's "Smoking Jacket" cocktail was served at The Gage. (Photo: 312 Dining Diva/Additional Photos: Illinois Restaurant Association/Chicago Gourmet)

. . . Chicago's Culinary Crossroads Trolley Tour Kickoff.

• To celebrate the nations represented during the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Summit, the Illinois Restaurant Association hosts the first-ever Chicago's Culinary Crossroads May 1-25.

• The dine-around initiative includes more than 200 restaurants throughout Chicagoland that will feature special tasting menus, desserts, wine selections and cocktail creations inspired by the NATO nations.

• A select group of food journalists were invited to the Chicago's Culinary Crossroads Trolley Tour Kickoff and visited Mexique, Piccolo Sogno and The Gage.

• Chefs Carlos Gayta (Mexique), Tony Priolo (Piccolo Sogno) and Dirk Flanigan (The Gage) were gracious hosts at each location.

A South Loop Bodega With Flavor

(Photos: 312 Dining Diva)

It's still very much a work in progress, but chef Efrain Cuevas—best known for putting on the monthly Clandestino Chicago Supper Club—is on his way to having a very cool bodega in the South Loop.

He took over the BYOB East Coast Pantry a few weeks ago, but look for him to change the name really soon. For now, however, he's completely revamped the menu, adding his own gourmet spin to the sandwiches.

What are some of the favorites?!