6. Ricobene’s: The italian breaded steak sandwich is a huge portion, but really good. The steak is sliced thin and breaded very nicely. I’m tempted not to talk, just so I can enjoy it! If I could, I wouldn’t be anywhere else than at this tent and my wife agrees whole-heartedly.
Archive for June, 2008
5. Bolat African Cuisine: This time I had the grilled plantain with spicy peanut sauce. The plantain was nice, crisp and sweet. The sauce was a spicy peanut butter, but very smooth — unlike a normal thai sauce not like thai. Overall, it’s a little different but worth a thumbs up!
1. Sole Vegetarian: For my first taste portion I had the vegetarian BBQ twists. It was almost like a meatloaf. The texture was spongy, but thank goodness for the carmelized sauce. Overall, it was a marginal thumbs up.
2. La Justicia: The enchiladas had a tough exterior. It was a tad bland, even salt and pepper would liven up this dish. This one’s not a winner-thumbs down.
Just a quick note before we head over to Taste. Hungry Z just left the station to pick up his wife, Colleen, who will be accompanying him on his quest for 65, and taking pictures along the way that we’ll post here on the blog.
I believe we’ve got our technical stuff together for our live stream, including the all-important wireless mic. It will be crazy enough out there without having to worry about dragging around a cord. Check back for the live link at about 11 a.m. on this page, and hope the electronic gremlins leave us alone.
Me and Hungry Z sat down for a podcast interview about his quest this morning, so check it out here:
We will be going in order, 1 through 65, so click on to this map to track our direction. See you soon!
Well, I was up with the roosters and my early morning TV spot is in the can! The nerves weren’t all that bad, but I gotta tell ya, smelling all that food has already got me pretty hungry. Despite the best efforts from the folks at Fireplace, I resisted having a slab of ribs this morning(barely). If you missed the spot and didn’t Tivo it, shame on you. Don’t worry though you can still watch it right here on the blog. Remember to follow the live Web stream today from 11am-5pm and catch my opinions on each place. And I’ll be on again today at 4:50pm on NBC5, to see if I accomplished my goal.
Posted in Chicago, Chicago Events, events, Festivals, food, parties, things to do, TV, Uncategorized, tagged Add new tag, Festivals, food, nbc5_morning_news, taste_of_chicago on June 26, 2008 | 3 Comments »
The Taste of Chicago was born July 4th in 1980, and is now the second largest tourist attraction in Illinois. For ten days, this free- admission festival is the place to be, injecting the city with a spirit of hunger and attracting a few news stories along the way. To add some spectacle to all the gluttony, there will also be a performance by Cirque du Soleil as well as live concerts daily by artists such as Chaka Khan, Josh Kelley, and more.
But when it comes to the food, how do you know what to try? With 65 different vendors serving well over 300 different food items, it’s easy to be intimidated. My friends, that’s where Hungry Z and my very large appetite come in. No need to walk around aimlessly and try random items you’re not sure you’ll enjoy. That’s my job. In an effort to create a comprehensive guide to the Taste, this Friday I will bring my large appetite to Grant Park, and sample something from all 65 vendors!
My quest for 65 is one I fully intend to achieve. In an effort to resurrect my teenage appetite, I’ve been training! My regimen is as follows; I have hit the gym 12 out of the last 14 days, drinking a gallon of water each day, as well as eating 6 meals and 4 snacks each day.
To help me truly “Taste Chicago”, I could use everyone’s help. Stop by the Taste this Friday and show your support. High fives and cheering will be much appreciated. And don’t think that you won’t be able to spot me, I’ll be the guy with a NBC t-shirt on and a camera following him. Thanks, and here’s hoping that I don’t puke!
“Are you sure you’re just a fashion writer?” reads one of the comments on my recent blog about Michelle Obama’s appearance on “The View.” I’ll take the compliment, thank you very much, but I’ll feign outrage: Just a fashion writer? Just a fashion writer? Just?
Just as Harper’s Bazaar produced it’s worst issue ever, just as Christie Brinkley can’t resist another ugly public divorce, just as I’m waiting for Steven Meisel’s 100 page photoshoot in Italian Vogue which exclusively features black models to arrive on these shores, my copy of the July issue of W has arrived at my door.
This issue is a must read for anyone concerned about the intersection of image, politics and the corporate world, (even if only a handfull of Bruce Weber’s photos in the otherwise cliche 36 page photo shoot are worth your time. Check out the real treat of David Slijper’s photographs instead.)
First up is “Party Time,” pp. 46-50, an exceptionally thoughtful piece on how international political leaders use and understand the power of dressing. The deputy mayor of Paris, Christophe Girard, makes the point I make all the time. (Smart guy, he. And not just a fashion writer.) “Political life is no longer separated from real life, and political women and men know their image matters like [those of] a model or an actor to attract the public. But it’s a real danger when politicians are more concerned about their image than their ideas.”
Next, there’s “Money Honeys,” starting on page 64, about the hedge fund industry’s use of pretty young women and even models as “marketing executives” which “has become all but synonymous with a blonde in Theory trousers.” It’s a fascinating read into what amounts to the semi-prostitutional nature of “corporate work” for women in the financial sector.
And finally, the always fabulous and priceless pseudonym protected Louise J. Esterhazy, p.116, will confess that she “can never be president. Of course, the main stumbling block is that I’m Austrian. But it turns out there’s an even greater impediment: I’m an elitist. And what’s wrong with that?”
I suggest you spend your weekend catching up on your reading, especially since the gay Pride parade this year won’t be worth attending just because Dick Devine retired (from his position as Cook County State’s Attorney and thus will not be atop anyone’s float. Alas, hope floats–away. Dick, you will be sorely missed!).
The second annual Gen Art Film Festival kicked off on Monday at The Music Box Theatre in Wrigleyville. The week long showcase of independent films highlights some of todays hottest actors and directors showing two films a night — a short film to start, followed by a feature film.
The first full feature to be shown at this year’s festival was “Bart Got A Room,” a autobiographical comedy starring William H. Macy, Cheryl Hines, Steven Kaplan and Alia Shawkat. Written and directed by Brian Hecker, the story follows Danny (Kaplan) on his desperate journey to find a suitable date to his senior prom and his pursuit to ‘Get a room’.
I caught up with co-stars Alia Shawkat (Maeby from Arrested Development) and Steven Kaplan on the red carpet, and they gave me some insight into their roles in the film (see video below).
The festival continues through Friday at AMC Piper’s Alley with amazing after parties sponsored by Stella Artois and Reyka Vodka to follow each film. Only $15 for members and $20 for non-members gets you a ticket each night and exclusive access to the after party. I’ll be back out on Thursday to check out Dark Streets. The after party is at Rockit Bar and Grill, so come on out and party with me!
About a month ago, shortly after the Bulls won the NBA Draft lottery, I wrote a post here saying why the Bulls might or should take Derrick Rose with the #1 overall pick on Thursday night. What about the other option? Amongst all prospects, Kansas State freshman Michael Beasley is perhaps the most NBA-ready in terms of athleticism. The Bulls will remember the fact that he just had one of the most statistically dominant seasons in college basketball history. His post game has progressed well with a great spin move and a very quick first step to get past defenders. His film conveys a soft touch on hook-shots and fadeaways. As you might’ve heard, the Bulls NEED post scoring. Beasley is tough in getting good position on the block, and he works hard to grab offensive rebounds. His numbers truly bear this out. His length, quickness, jumping ability and strength combine to make him one of the most difficult match ups for opponents.
Nelly asked in his 2002 hit song #1, “What does it take to be #1? Before later stating proudly, “I’m like Sprint or Motorola, no service outta your range.” And Beasley’s range extends all the way to NBA three-point distance. However, his services will be requested most in attacking the tin, as last year’s Bulls had too many jump shooters and not enough balls to go around on the perimeter. Beasley has a sweet stroke, a left handed jump shot so smooth that it would make famed college basketball announcer Bill Raftery scream “ONIONS!!!” Beasley also has great elevation, leaping ability and overall length. Not to mention that the so-called attitude problems he had before have now pretty much disappeared. And we all know how much attention Bulls GM John Paxson pays to these things.
So does Beasley have “what it takes to be #1”? We’ll see tomorrow night…And please check out my archives, and click on the post entitled “Derrick Rose’s Popularity Blooms” to hear the case for drafting Rose instead.
For a full NBA Mock draft, go here.
For more Chicago sports analysis and discussion click on “The Sports Bank” in the “Blogroll” on the right hand side of the page or simply go here.
Posted in Better Sex, fashion, history, movies, music, politics, Stupid, trivia, Youth, tagged "if i never see your face again" by maroon 5 feat. riha, "take a bow" by rihanna, adam levine, barak obama, bill clinton, bryan ferry, justin timberlake, madonna, maroon 5, music video, Rihanna, roxy music, stevie nicks, the fabulous baker boys on June 25, 2008 | 1 Comment »
Given the national reaction to my last blog, I’ve decided that, if you care to indulge me this summer, I’ll be posting more of my running musings on substance, style and popular culture.
Music videos are by definition a triumph of style over substance. You literally have only 4 minutes to savor the hope of attaining your 15 minutes of fame.
There are no more videogenic singers on the planet right now than Adam Levine of Maroon 5 and Rihanna, he the Magnum XL cum laude graduate of the Bryan Ferry dripping-with-detachment-school-of-personal-style, she the Barbados born beauty of the legs that start somewhere around her earlobes and end at the floor.
Both are perfectly matched in their vocal inability to (thankfully) make it past the top 12 on “American Idol.”
While they have each made compelling visual statements in their own videos, who knew that they would be so perfectly matched in the most palpably erotically charged and relevant music video of 2008 for the single “If I never see your face again?”
It’s a refreshing alternative to the insufferably pretentious Madonna and Justin Timberlake collaboration “4 minutes to save the world,” which wears its misguided attempt at substance right in it’s title.
“4 minutes” tries to sell us on the (yesterday’s news cliche) Madonna-as-cougar-Justin-as-boy-toy but the sexual tension comes off as pathetically Oedipal. Justin is no more than the wind machine to her current Stevie Nicks-like inability to move coherently or gracefully. “Stand back, stand back” I keep thinking to myself.
(Note to Mad: You’ve really lost your touch and missed the cultural vibe entirely, just like the other gal who was recently peddling her experience in an effort to save the world .)
“If I never” on the other hand, has it’s visual finger right on the jugular of the cultural moment. (To anachronistically combine Bill Clinton and Barak Obama’s political playbooks, “It’s about change stupid.”)
Unlike the pedantic “4 minutes,” “If I never” brilliantly oozes studied nonchalance both lyrically and, most importantly, visually. The on screen pairing of Adam and Rihanna is frought with at least as much transgression as that of the anscestoral Adam and Eve.
There’s no apple or serpent here, just a microphone which is audaciously wielded about like a shared sex toy and (given the political moment) as a middle finger to the historical interracial intolerance of the miscegenation laws.
Lyrically, the song reminds me of the best line of dialogue ever from an American movie. In “The Fabulous Baker Boys,” a film which oddly enough is famous for a scene involving a piano and a microphone, Michelle Pfeiffer confronts Jeff Bridges about their “relationship.” Bemused, he asks her: “Relationship? What relationship? All I did was [expletive] you twice!”
I assume that’s the exact same response we would get from our current president, as the next election looms, if we were to confront him as an electorate about our collective 8 year relationship.
And if he were ever to find it within himself to say sorry for the economic and military reality he created and is leaving behind, I can hear Rihanna singing her current solo single “Take a Bow” in its entirety, sort of an “Exhale to the Chief: “Don’t tell me you’re sorry cause you’re not. You’re only sorry you got caught.”
Click here to see the video of “If I never see your face again.”
Marc Brooks should know a little bit about Hyde Park, seeing as he grew up there. He also knows a little about restaurants, because he and restaurateur Jerry Kleiner collaborated on a hot concept in the South Loop last year and opened Room 21.
This time around, Marc wanted to bring a concept back to the neighborhood where he grew up and currently resides, so he and Kleiner once again collaborated and opened Park 52. Located in the heart of Harper Ct., Park 52 is described as an upscale American bistro. The menu boasts a nice selection of salads, fish, pasta, and meat dishes. The clientele represents the diversity of Hyde Park, and the vibe is a chilled laid back atmosphere.
The specialty cocktails are unique and prepared by their mixologists, but you must try the Parakeet by Mariah Naella. Get an inside look at Park 52 on Fete Select TV below. See other restaurant reviews at http://www.efete.net/select.html
Some weekends are better than others. More often than not, it’s because of the people you spend your time with. Last weekend I had a great time thanks to fellow NBC5 Street Team members, Tom Kolovos and Chasity Johnson, a bunch of friends, and members of the band The Gravetones!
- Thanks to Tom Kolovos for visiting the trunk show at Shibuy Hada! It was a pleasure to meet you!
- Thanks to Chasity Chaos and to her friends for joining the rest of my friends at the beach bonfire on Saturday!
- A huge thanks to The Gravetones for joining me and the crowd on Saturday for the bonfire, and for the shout out to the NBC5 Street Team in the middle of your fantastic set on Sunday at Beat Kitchen! Great, big crowd and so much fun!
Posted in Chicago, tagged Art Baltazar, Batman Gotham Night, DC, Devils Due, Donald E. Stevens Convention Center, Eric Jimenez, Gregory Titus, Hulk, Lou Ferrigno, Marvel, Mike Norton, Missy Peregrym, The Incredible Hullk, Wizard World on June 24, 2008 | 1 Comment »
Whether you are a kid, or just a kid at heart, you will find plenty of things to do this weekend at Wizard World Chicago.
This all- age extravaganza offers comic and non-comic book fans an insight into the comics world involving more than just buying/trading comics and toys. Wizard World offers aspiring artists and fans an opportunity to learn the tricks of the trade, get the inside scoop on future movie releases, video games and publishing companies such as Marvel, DC & local Chicago company Devils Due. Guests will also have the opportunity to meet the original Hulk himself, Lou Ferrigno, actress and Maxim hottie Missy Peregrym, as well as industry moguls such as Alex Ross, Tod Mcfarlane, and Warren Ellis.
While artists, inkers, and writers show off their skills, sell original sketches, art, or books in artist alley, I will be hanging out at Player’s Paradise, checking out as many video game demos and tournaments as humanly possible, attending panel discussions, workshops, and signings, and be at the premiere of Batman Gotham Night. When I run out of money to spend, I might sign up for the costume contest, where eligible winners can receive up to $1,000 in prizes. Or maybe I will just collect as many free giveaways as I can including buttons, posters, and comics.
So if you find yourself near Donald E. Stevens Convention Center, June 26-29, with costumes in hand, come on down and experience the largest multimedia popular arts convention in Illinois. Be sure to stop by artist alley where you can mingle with or purchase work form local artists such Eric Jimenez, Art Baltazar,Gregory Titus, and Mike Norton. Although Wizard World is considered to be an all ages event, kids day is on Sunday.
Despite all of the festivities this weekend, I managed to slip out of the city for a quick road trip (about 45 mins) to the Chicago Botanical Gardens. After a bit of traffic, my friend Nadja and I were starved. Good thing they have a great little cafe where you can get wine and delicious fresh fare (corn on the cob, grilled vegetables, cheeseburgers, salmon).
Appetites satisfied, we walked through the gardens, and it was absolutely beautiful. The gardens are meticulously kept with attention to the smallest detail. It is hard to believe that all 26 gardens are volunteer managed!
My favorite is always the Sensory Garden. It’s full of different plants with interesting textures and smells. The Rose Garden is also eye-catching, with flowers of every imaginable color. One variety was even named “Strike it Rich”. Sounds like my kinda rose! This is actually the last week to catch the Rose Garden in bloom, with more than 5,000 roses in different varieties. If you can’t make it this week, catch the garden through out the summer on Thursdays for professional mini dance lessons, or Saturdays and Sundays for the “Great Chefs Series” featuring noted chefs preparing recipes with fresh ingredients.
The Chicago Botanical Garden is a great place to catch some relaxation. Just be weather prepared. I apparently didn’t get the memo from Ginger, and of course it started hailing! We got pelted, but hey that’s Chicago for ya!
The Chicago Botanical Garden
1000 Lake Cook Road
Glencoe, IL 60022
Free Admission, $15 for parking
Join Jenn Sbranti, founder of Hostess with the Mostess, and Chambord Black Raspberry Liqueur for the “Hip Hostess Series” in your city.
Known for her stylish, modern entertaining ideas that are simple and inexpensive, Jenn can bring out the inner party planner in anyone. And she’s more than happy to let you “borrow” an idea or two for your next party.
If you have sweet taste buds then you’ll like Chambord Liqueur. Chambord Liqueur is a liqueur from France. I’ve drunk it before in a pineapple martini, and its very good.
The event will be held on June 25, 6-8, & 8-10 pm at The Ivy Room in Tree Studios, 12 E. Ohio Street. To rsvp, visit www.chambordonline.com/hostess.
Micaeh Johnson, NBC5 Street Team (Video)
Just when you thought there could not be another professional or social organization to belong to, here comes another one, only even more fantastic and awesome this time. Ladies Lotto (LL) is a global group of self described bright and determined women connected together to build support and share resources. LL focuses on ways of benefiting local communities on a large scale while simultaneously enriching its members’ personal and professional lives. LL has over 600 young “influencers” in the professions of fashion, retail, publishing, media, marketing, law, health, education, not for profit, living in New York, Los Angeles, Montreal, San Francisco, London, Seattle, and now Chicago. Meeting monthly at nontraditional venues with artistic and forward thinking themes and speakers, LL meets this Wednesday evening, June 25th, at Solemates, a men’s and women’s sneaker consignment and streetwear boutique owned by member Autumn Merritt and her husband located at 2708 N. Halsted (www.solemateschicago.com). Autumn will share her experiences in fashion, retail and marketing while toasting to the 2 year anniversary of LL with other members and guests. The special creative activity will be a henna artist. LL Chicago is green and seeking new free spirited and hard working women who would like to make a difference in their own lives as well as the lives of others while having a good time doing it. If you would like to attend the event or are interested in LL, play your cards with email@example.com and she will put you in the game.
I am a big baseball fan. I am an even bigger Chicago fan. I am thrilled to have two baseball teams to root for in my town. This is why I dread and cannot stand this annual series. One of my teams always has to lose! Not only that, but past history has shown that the loser of these two series usually goes into a slump afterwards. I can only imagine the mental drain it must be to cope with losing to your crosstown rivals when you are trying to gain the attention of your city. I can only hope that the first place White Sox can mentally recover from this weekend’s running into The Buzzsaw which is The Chicago Cubs.
This game is not a ‘Classic’ since it is played every year twice a year. It was a novelty when it first came about when ‘Interleague’ was introduced in 1997. I was at the inaugural game at Comiskey Park. ‘Interleague’ play means National League teams play against teams from the American League during the course of the regular season. The only time in the history of baseball (before 1997) teams from either league would ever play each other was when the champions from each league would meet in The World Series. It was a cool marketing idea to have interleague teams randomly play each other during the regular season. However, due to the huge success of attendance, Major League Baseball now has the Cubs play The White Sox twice a year. This is strictly for greed of the All Mighty Dollar and I do not think it’s good for Chicago. If this is truly to be called a ‘Classic’, the teams should take a few years off before playing each other again.
Rikki Greenberg, NBC5 Street Team
What’s going on here?!
A Chicago Cubs sweep in the Crosstown Classic against the Chicago White Sox? This is not how I imagined the interleague series going.
The first game was a matter of taking out a pitcher who might not have been ready to be taken out. White Sox pitcher John Danks had a steady performance until the bottom of the sixth, going one for five over six innings and enough steam to last another inning. The White Sox put up runs and held an impressive 3-1 lead over the Cubs until the top of the seventh. Thanks to a walk off home run by Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramierez straightaway to center field, the Cubs sealed a 4-3 victory over the rivaled White Sox. That’s ok. The White Sox will win the next one. It’s only one game.
Maybe not. The second game was worse than the first, with the Sox blowing another lead in the fourth inning. White Sox pitcher Jose Contreras allowed eight runs, three of them being homers. The Sox showed some life leading up to the fourth inning and scored one run at the top of the eighth due to a wild pitch by Cubs pitcher Jason Marquis, resulting in a 6-11 score. White Sox right fielder Jermaine Dye hit a single to center field, bringing in shortstop Orlando Caberara for the final score of 7-11at the top of the ninth. Now I’m getting worried.
Do I have to mention the third game? It hurts. It really does, but I’ll say this: Three double plays by the Chicago Cubs during the course of the game. Three double plays. The White Sox lost to the Cubs for the third straight time, 7-1 and currently hold a nine game losing streak on the road.
Let’s just say I am far from disappointed. I am disgusted. How could the White Sox be a first-place team and play like this? The pitching is awful, the offense is mediocre at best and the defense (Caberara flubbing the relay throw from right fielder Dewayne Wise) is..well…not good.
All I have to say is the White Sox better get it together or I will have to physically get in the locker room and give them a pep talk consisting of words Ozzie would never dream of saying.
With a name like “Heavy The Fall” you’d expect a hard rocking sound, and that’s exactly what you’ll get. So hard, in fact, the drummer from Anthrax wanted to be a part of it. Not only did Charlie Benante produce their last EP, he played on all five tracks. Their own drummer, Jason Delismon, is no slouch and was recognized with a sponsorship by Vic Firth.
Their music doesn’t bang you in the eardrums, though. Lead vocalist Daniel Graunke’s voice reminded me of Mindsight singer Aaron’s clear and passionate sound. No wonder – at last weekend’s Mobfest I found out they’re brothers.
Heavy The Fall’s second CD, also produced by Benante, will be released at an all-ages Metro show on July 19. Since it’s also a Mindsight CD release show you’ll get to see the siblings in action. Add On The Front, Janus, and Sudden Dark (and free entry before 6pm) and this is a show that shouldn’t be missed.
There is nothing like a hot boutique opening in the South Loop on a Friday afternoon full of spirits, overly-sized men (otherwise known as athletes), and the latest trends for men in the summertime with just the right amount of women to encourage them to spend some money. The South Loop has seen several grand openings in the past years, mostly stemming from foodies and spa-goers, but the latest to open is SuccezZ — a self-proclaimed upscale men’s boutique for the eclectic and fashion conscious man located at 1329 South Michigan Avenue.
Though I received less than VIP treatment this past Friday for the “VIP Media Event” after being invited by a PR pro herself — being told I could get in but not my guest — the pro athlete and co-owner Bobby Simmons of the Milwaukee Bucks interjected and personally greeted me outside to get me and my guest inside, and this is where the All-Star treatment began. After having our photo taken by the event’s photographer in front of the sponsors’ backdrop, we wandered amongst ornate and colorful fashions, an elaborate denim collection, lounging areas for the shopper and their guests and an energetic staff ready to please including hard working co-owner, Lavelle “V-Dot” Sykes.
Watch the weekly “Word On The Street” segment on 24/7 Chicago: Secrets of the City,” at 12:05 a.m., immediately following Saturday Night Live on NBC5.
Dana Spa and Hotel
This week’s Word On The Street segment took us to the brand new Dana Spa and Hotel, a Chicago owned and operated facility located at 660 N. State St. The word “Dana” translates in Sanskrit to “the pleasure of giving,” which is what the operators of this swanky new establishment try to deliver.
The hotel is set up to be a refuge from all the hustle and bustle from the busy downtown streets surrounding it. Along with the plush rooms, the spa offers a full range of treatments. The hotel restaurant, Ajasteak, is looking to put its stamp on the city’s culinary map. Think of it as a traditional steakhouse with an Asian twist. Make sure you check out their signature floating sushi bar, located on the first and second floors.
Gen Art Chicago Film Festival
Five movies, five nights, five after-parties. It can only mean the second annual Gen Art Chicago Film Festival. The festival kicks off Monday, with the opening night event being held at The Music Box, 3733 N Southport.
A $75 pass gets you into all five nights of activities, including the after-parties.
Check out an interview about the festival with one of the organizers.
Taste Of Chicago
What more can you say about the Taste of Chicago? It’s one of Chicago’s most famous events, even though many locals turn up their nose at the over-the-top sweat-fest.
But pick your spots and Taste can be a great time (like playing hooky from work and going during the day when it’s less-crowded).
The music lineup is pretty stellar this year, with Stevie Wonder, Chaka Kahn, Joss Stone, Bonnie Raitt and more taking to the stage.
Load up the kids — Taste kicks off on Friday.