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Archive for August, 2008

Hungry Z, NBC5 Street Team
After weeks of anticipation, the Street Team party finally arrived! Inside the the swanky JBar, this was a chance to meet fellow Street Teamers and our fans face to face. I arrived at 7:30pm and then abruptly left at 9pm.

Why the abrupt exit? Well, my lovely wife and daughter locked themselves out of our home, so good old Hungry Z had to come to the rescue. I included a pic of my beautiful ladies. Before my departure, I had the pleasure of meeting some of my fellow Street Teamers, even though it was far too brief. In that short time I met some of the coolest people anyone could hope to meet.

Paul “The Sports” Banks was on hand and it was cool to finally meet you, we’ll definately hang out soon. Theresa “The Local Tourist” , it was great to meet you, you’re probably the most well rounded blogger we’ve got here. Cara Carriveau, I love listening to you on the Mix, and I’m glad you enjoyed my Taste of Chicago adventure. Big D.C. of “Fete Select TV”, nice running into you and let’s collaberate on some things to help expand both of our growing universes. I briefly ran into John “The Fireman”, now we have officially met buddy. I very briefly met the lovely Liz Holland, thanks for the love in regards to the Taste. And of course Mr. Marcus Riley was on hand, and it’s always a pleasure to share an idea with you.

Finally I did run into a couple of fans before I left, so we snapped a pic before I had to run. Nikki and Lynn, thanks for coming and for all the love! I wish I could have stayed and met everyone, and I apalogize to everyone I missed tonight. But alas, my ladies needed me, and what’s a dad/husband to do, but help his family. Hope you all had fun and we need to do this again next year!

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Bacon Cupcake

Theresa Carter, NBC5 Street Team

I bet those are two words you never thought you’d see together. That combination just seems so wrong, but try one from More and you’ll see – it is oh, so right.

More is a new cupcake boutique opening on September 12 at 1 E Delaware Place. I can hear you now – “another cupcake store?” It does seem like the market’s a bit saturated for such a specialized item. But with flavors like BLT, Salted Caramel, and Bacon and Madras Curry, More stands out.

Patty Rothman, a mother of five, made so many cupcakes at home that she decided to make a business out of it. Already a succesfull entrepreneur, she enlisted Gale Gand (yes, that Gale Gand) and Todd Maturatai, an up and coming pastry superstar, to make that happen.

The cupcakes are classified as “Sweets” and “Savories”. I tried many, many minis this morning and here’s a rundown of some of my favorites:

BLT Cupcake, photo credit Jessica TampasSavory

BLT & Bacon, Maple & Brown Sugar

I love bacon, to the detriment of my waist and my arteries. Make it candied and throw it in a cupcake? Oh my. Seriously. You have to try both of these. Especially enchanting is the cute little heirloom tomato on the BLT.

Madras Curry

This is one of those where you should just pop the whole thing in your mouth. The blend of curry creme freche cake with goat cheese and yogurt icing topped with puffed wild rice and a blackberry is simply amazing.

BBQ Peach

An homage to Labor Day, and an homage to my tummy. There’s just a slight hint of tangy barbecue sauce that’s sweetened by the peach.

Sweet

Carrot Ginger

This is their version of carrot cake, except there are spices and ginger in the icing also, and it’s topped with a ginger cube (Patty loves ginger)

Chocolate Chocolate

Duh

Coconut Mango

Another of Patty’s favorites is the Thai dish Mango with Sticky Rice. How fortunate that Todd is from Thailand.

Salted Caramel

Wow! This one is so sweet it quite literally oozes. One bite and caramel pours out like a thick, gooey river in Candyland.

More

This is their signature cupcake and they sent me home with a big one. Marshmallow-filled like a super-rich Hostess cupcake, it did make me want more, even after my sugar overdose.

One flavor you won’t find is peanut butter. And I loooove peanut butter. So does Patty, but her oldest daughter is deathly allergic, so after a bit of hemming and hawing, she decided she’d rather have her daughter visit her in the store than serve the legume. I suppose I can forgive her.

Cupcakes for breakfast, lunch, and dessert. What “More” could you ask for?

MORE, 1 E Delaware Pl (opens September 12), 312-951-0001

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Liz Holland, NBC5 Street Team

The long distance love affair can end! Ian’s has come to Chicago!!

Ian’s Pizza that is. We go way back, back to my college days as a Badger at Wisconsin. Well moreso college nights that is, if I could beat the line.

Do I seem a little overexcited about pizza? Well yes, but this isn’t your typical slice. Newly opened on Clark Street in Wrigleyville, this joint has no reservations when it comes to making your mom’s favorite dishes into a perfectly concocted pizza.

On top of a crispy crust, you can choose from a variety of selections; Mac ‘n Cheese (their signature slice), Lasagna, Chicken Cordon Bleu, Steak and Fries, Burrito Mexicana – they’ve got it all. Listen to me when I say it’s nothing but tasty goodness.

Best of all, they aren’t going to charge you an arm and a leg ($3.75 a piece) when all you really wanted was a late night bite.

While they do have the basic pepperoni and cheese, take a ride on the wild side with a one-of-a-kind slice. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

Either way, you don’t have to take my word for it – check out the Yelp reviews.

Ian’s Pizza by the Slice

3463 N. Clark Street

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Shlomi Rabi, NBC5 Street Team

As most of you have had to find out the hard way (and by “hard” i mean difficult, not “viagra-infused”), unless I have had my harem of semi-nude turkish boys fan me to consciousness and tickle my “nose” with their round, firm purple “grapes” , I won’t get out of bed. Or in the words of supermodel Linda Evangelipstick “I will not get out of bed for less than a 10,000 botox shots.” So, like, yeah. What a bitch. Hmmm… where was I going with it? Oh yeah, the environment. (I urge you to try sealing every argument you make with “AND it’s green-friendly”, it will do wonders for your listeners. Imagine this: “Officer , I was only stalking Michael Phelps because he’s dreamy… and I was trying to save trees by cutting back on the lilac-scented stationary I would have used to mail him my panties and a wedding ring. I’m being green-friendly!”)

But anyway, until you have picked up on my brilliance, here is something for you chew on (and by “chew” I mean “think”, as in “I think I will stalk Michael Phelps today”): next Thursday, September 4th, the International Summer Social will take place. Organized by the sexy people over at the Chicago Sister Cities, the event–to be held at rooftop of Gallery 37 Center for the Arts–invites reps from Chicago’s 27 Sister City Committees and Chicago-based international business execs. While Michael Phelps will not be present (he normally takes a nap from 5:30-6:00p.m. and then takes about a half hour to get out of bed, call his friends Jenny and Mark and consumes a live elephant for dinner, I heard), just about anyone with culture, class and sophistication will. Tickets are $20, so to RSVP please email Phillip.Svehla@cityofchicago.org.

To learn more about my superficial profundity, click here.

Another day in Chicago, naturally.

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Jim Grillo, NBC5 Street Team

On Monday night, 500 Chicago meeting and event professionals celebrated the end of the summer with Hereschicago.com at the Chicago Meetings and Hospitality Industry’s 2nd Annual End of the Summer “Talent” BASH! at Sound Bar, 226 W. Ontario.

From the entrance to the dual levels of the venue, Chicago’s top meeting and hospitality professionals enjoyed mingling and meeting with others while Hereschicago.com provided them with both “eye candy” and “audio” candy. 

A jazz trio in the alley entrance supplied by Upbeat Musical Productions entertained all attendees prior to entering the venue.  In addition, an Aerial Chiffon Artist from Cirque USA entertained the attendees prior to entering the registration for the event. 

Cirque USA

Cirque USA

Once inside, attendees were treated to music supplied by Pipe Dream, the “house” band for the “Suppliers”, a newly created project to showcase meeting industry’s talented people who supply to the meetings and hospitality industry but also have talents such as singing, playing drums, guitar, etc.  Hedroom Productions supplied the audio and mixing for both bands which made for a perfect ear pleasing blend. 

Dennis Debondt, Chicago’s top magician and comedian provided strolling magic and added yet another “entertaining” aspect.  Chicago Sports Games provided the ultra popular Wii machines where attendees became their own “rock star” and bowled competitively.

The Sound Bar provided for a perfect venue for this exclusive private event to bring the 1.3 billion dollar Chicago meetings and events industry into one room to enjoy cuisine provided by The Entertaining Company, one of Chicago’s top caterers for Chicago meetings and events.

VRVCO captured the whole event on video and we will have the video and photographs by EventGallery posted shortly.

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Hungry Z, NBC5 Street Team

White chocolate is a confection of sugar, cocoa butter, and milk solids. In fact the same cocoa butter people use as hand lotion is directly related to the white chocolate you eat. Since it does not contain any cocoa solids, it has virtually no atioxidants, is in no way healthy, but is sinfully delicous. Take that image of sinfull goodness and name a restaurant after it, and you already have people hooked. The people at “White Chocolate Grill” are so ingenious, that they have you thinking about dessert before you even walk through the door.

Located in Naperville, “White Chocolate Grill” boasts an ultra hip décor with stone and maple wood covered walls, and an impressive wall of designer spirits. Open the menu and the thought of dessert is reinforced by having the dessert menu right at the top if the menu. They have a focused menu of classic American fare; made from scratch, a selection of house-made white chocolate and other desserts.

AZ egg rolls start out our evening with a slightly spicy kick. While more like a flauta, the spiced chicken, black beans, and jalapeños put a nice southwest spin on the traditional dish. To finish off our “warm up” for the main event, my wife and I each decide on the WCG salad. Mixed greens, Maytag blue cheese, smoked bacon, red onion, and candied nuts make up a salad that is filled with varying textures. The blue cheese is wonderfully creamy, the bacon is crisp and smoky, and the candied walnuts add a nice sweet crunch.

Tonights main course includes a parmesan crusted filet and a rib/chicken combination. The rotisserie herb rubbed chicken was exceptionally moist and flavorful with a nice crisp outer skin. The ½ slab of tender baby back ribs were smoked, grilled, and then topped with a sweet barbeque sauce. But instead of the usual hickory or mesquite wood, they smoked the ribs in oak, and it delivered a sharp contrast to the sweet sauce. The dish was accompanied by a side fresh cut shoe string fries, which were unfortunately slightly greasy and not very crisp.

The filet was a lovely sight to behold. The 10oz filet was grilled beautifully to medium, and the topped with an unbelievable Parmesano Reggiano crust. This was absolutely fantastic! The exceptionally tender filet had its mellow flavor turbo charged by the wonderful buttery parmesan crust. I would have eaten two of them if I had the chance! My filet was accompanied with their freshly whipped mash potatoes, which were very creamy, and had nice pieces of the potato skin running throughout.

It would be an absolute sin to go to a restaurant named “White Chocolate Grill”, and not have any dessert. To keep ourselves in good standing, we ordered the white chocolate raspberry cheesecake and the white chocolate brownie. The medium density cheesecake sits in a drizzle of raspberry sauce, has a nice raspberry ribbon running through it, and is topped with some of their white chocolate shavings. The cheesecake strikes the right balance of decadence and fresh raspberry taste. The white chocolate brownie is actually a “blondie” with chocolate chips and a river of white chocolate inside waiting to run out. The blondie sits in a pool of chocolate sauce and is topped with creamy vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, and of course some white chocolate shavings. Rich and wonderful!

Final bill for the two of us with tip was about $120. Somewhat pricey, sure, but the high quality food, hip décor, and attentive service certainly warrant the price. Overall, “White Chocolate Grill” hits the mark and seems destined to be one the newest hot spots in the suburbs.

Location
1803 Freedom Dr.
Naperville, IL 60563
Phone – 630.505.8300
Fax – 630.505.8333

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D.C. “Fete Select TV” Crenshaw, NBC5 Street Team

The first time that I had tea was at the Ritz Carlton here in Chicago.  My wife treated me on my birthday afternoon to little sandwiches, cookies, tarts, champagne and of course tea.  It was a really nice and we both enjoyed ourselves, but I probably wouldn’t go back unless it is with her.  The idea of “tea”, especially among guys, is perceived as girly, quite stuffy and pretentious, and for the most part it is.  However, WAVE Restaurant in the W Lakeshore Hotel, is attempting to change that perception and make “tea” time sexy and unisex.

WAVE Executive Chef Kristine Subido created the uni-tea experience.  No white gloves or a full room of ladies here, but feminini-tea and masculini-tea are encouraged.  Along with a selection of loose leaf teas you’ll find tea-infused vodka elixirs (mar-tea-nis), bubbly and a selection of hand-crafted beers.  The menu prepared by Chef Kristine appeals to both men and women.

Mar-tea-ni selections include Raspberry Nectar and White Ginger Pear.  The Masculini-tea (beer choices) includes Goose Island, Pere Jacques and Chimay, Red.  The Tea-ni-bites are tailored to Guys and Gals selections.  The Guys menu include grilled beef tenderloin, beef tartare and mini Angus beef sliders.  The Gals savory treats consists of chilled shrimp and cucumber salad, smoked salmon cannolli, and curried deviled eggs.  Their Sweet Bites are scones, tarts, tea cakes, and macaroons.  The cuisine, cocktails and vibe at unitea is a place where friends can go hang out on a fall afternoon.  In-fact, unitea is a place where the fellas can go hang without having the “girly” stigma that surrounds tea time.  Unitea is available at WAVE Restaurant in the W Lakeshore Hotel Wednesday – Sunday from 2:30 pm – 6:30 pm.  For more information log onto www.waverestaurant.com.

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