“To eat well, is to live well.” Truer words have never been spoken, and it’s the slogan the folks at Lombard’s Brio Tuscan Grille (330 Yorktown Center) live by.Brio actually means vigor and liveliness, so you might say to eat well, is to live brio. If the folks at Brio have their way, you’ll be livin’ large by nights end! Brio likes to put its own twist on some familiar favorites. Four variations of bruschetta are punctuated by a wonderful roasted red pepper, sweet balsamic, and fresh mozzarella rendition. Ditch the usual potato soup options and instead choose the velvety and slightly spicy lobster and shrimp bisque. Lumps of shrimp provide texture and the right amount of spice warms the back of your throat.
Posts Tagged ‘dining’
Posted in Chicago, food, lunch, restaurants, things to do, tagged chef kristine subido, Chicago, cocktails, cuisine, d.c. crenshaw, dining, fete, fete select tv, food, hand-crafted beers, martini, NBC 5 Street Team, restaurants, unitea, w hotel lakeshore, wave restaurant on August 27, 2008 | 1 Comment »
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.
Posted in Chicago Events, food, going_green, lunch, restaurants, things to do, tagged catering, Chicago, chicago dining events, city provisions, cleetus friedman, d.c. crenshaw, dining, farm dinners, fete, fete select tv, fresh food, nbc 5 streetteam, organic food, supper club on August 27, 2008 | Leave a Comment »
We’ve heard and seen it several times this year. A food recall that caused unwelcoming health problems and a major scare amongst consumers from around the world. There was spinach, beef, tomatoes, jalapenos, mussels, tuna salad and even popcorn that hit the news wire at some point. It’s great when the FDA finds the source of an E. coli breakout, but it’s very hard to a pinpoint the food origin.
Worry no more, well at least when you eat the cuisine catered by Cleetus Friedman of City Provisions. Founder and Executive Chef, Cleetus lets his clients know exactly where their food comes from. Therefore, he actually connects his customers to the food that they eat, by using local ingredients from local farms. Imagine knowing the exact farm that your ham sandwich or tomato salad came from. How great to have dinner at a farm that provides you with everything on your plate? Everything is fresh, organic and good. They have a suggested catering menu and specialize in custom menu planning.
CleetusFriedman was recently selected as one of the Chicago Sun-Times 50 people changing Chicago. He is definitely doing his part by using products that are easily recyclable or biodegradable. City Provisions is doing everything possible to be Eco-Friendly. They introduce a lot of their customers to their cuisine via Supper Club events. I will partake in their five-course vegetarian Supper Club tonight where cuisine and beer, donated by Great Lakes Brewery, will be paired. The theme is “Sustainability with Food and Drink” and their September 20th Supper Club theme is “The Farm Dinner” at Dietzler Farms. For more information about reserving a spot at the table log onto www.cityprovisions.com. City provisions is located at 1043 N. California Ave.
Posted in food, restaurants, things to do, tagged Chicago, cocktails, cravings, d.c. crenshaw, dave lieberman, dining, fete, fete select, food network, living room, NBC 5 Street Team, restaurants, w city center, w hotels, w lake shore, wave, whiskey blue on August 14, 2008 | 2 Comments »
Celebrity chef, author and Food Network star Dave Lieberman has partnered with W Hotels to create exclusive dishes for both IN ROOM DINING and their newly designed LIVING ROOM lounge menus. “Cravings by Dave Lieberman” features globally-inspired foods with a twist. Each Chicago hotel will choose four dishes created by Dave to feature through April 09. Each new menu item takes inspiration from one of the W’s upcoming global destinations; from Atlanta to Austin, Milan to Marrakech, Santiago to Spain and everywhere in between. Menu’s will change seasonally.
I had the pleasure of tasting four of the menu items at the W City Center last week and they were pretty darn tasty. The “Truffled Taleggio Grilled Cheese” was different from any grilled cheese that I’ve ever had, but not to be outdone was the “Meatball Hoagie” with red paper tomato sauce and provolone. The “Chicken Kebabs” on the menu were inspired by the upcoming W Marrakech. All of the menu items feature foods with unexpected flavors and ingredients that add a personal twist. Also be sure to order their specialty cocktails in the LIVING ROOM or WHISKEY BLUE. The best of the cocktails are the “Strawberry Basil Lemonade” and the “Forbidden Fruit Punch” (made for two).
Check out “Cravings” at the W City Center or the W Lakeshore. Also check out Fete Select TV to get a firsthand look at Chicago’s newest and hottest restaurants.
Posted in restaurants, tagged ajasteak, C-House, Chicago, cocktails, d.c. crenshaw, dining, fete, fete select tv, hub 51, moto, nbc 5 streetteam, new chicago restaurants, otom, Seafood, steak house, sushi on August 1, 2008 | 1 Comment »
I’m always looking forward to trying hot new restaurants in the city and Chicago always has a lot to choose from, especially this summer. Therefore over the past week I set out to try four new hot spots that have been generating a lot of buzz since opening. My criteria for deciding whether a restaurant is worthy of a repeat visit boils down to the cuisine, service, vibe, cocktails, cost, and location. For the most part the four dining venues hit the mark on food, but service was a bit sketchy for at least one of them.
My first stop during my week long dining crusade was Ajasteak. Located at 660 N. State St. (in the new Dana Hotel and Spa), they boast on offering the artful precision of Asian cuisine coupled with the robust flavors of a modern steak house. Basically they serve sushi and a very high grade of beef (Kobe). My wife and I had lunch there and were surprised to see the dining room nearly empty. The lunch menu however, provided an interesting choice of sandwiches, although a little pricey. I ordered the Pulled Pork Sandwich, which our server touted as his favorite, and the steak fries deemed the best ever. My wife chose the Seared Tuna Sandwich and a side of their heaping Onion Rings. We both shared a Maki roll to compare to our favorite sushi joints. The sandwiches were tasty; the service not so much. The steak fries were not even close to being the best ever. The sushi was decent, but nothing better than our more affordable BYOB sushi spot in Lakeview. Be prepared to open your wallet for an expensive and tasty meal, but the service may not coincide with the price.
My second stop was at OTOM, the sister restaurant to futuristic cuisine MOTO. OTOM Executive Chef Daryl Nash prepares post modern cuisine without being futuristic. They pride themselves on having stress free and fun food and I have to say that we had a lot of fun trying his creations. Cuisine such as Carbonated Watermelon to cleanse the palate and Butter-poached Shrimp appetizer were big hits. I’m not a huge fan of tofu, but their tofu poached in olive oil, corn puree and topped with freeze dried corn was savory. The Chicken ala King with oyster mushrooms and the Fried Short Rib Ravioli entrees were spectacular. After the Coconut-Pineapple Paradise dessert we were sold. The cocktails and service were great and the ambiance was low key. This is a great place to relax and chill with a significant other or a group of friends. OTOM is located at 951 W. Fulton Market St.
C-House was recently opened by acclaimed Chef Marcus Sammuelson. Sammuelson, out of New York City, is the youngest chef to receive two 3 star reviews from the NY Times. C-House is an American Seafood and Chop House restaurant. I taped a segment of Fête Select TV there recently and had a chance to enjoy some of Executive Chef Seth Siegel-Gardner’s specialty dishes, including Chili Crusted Fluke, Yellow Tail Fish Tacos, and Chorizo Mac & Cheese. C-Bar, their raw bar, offers standard seafood favorites and allows guests to sit and view the preparation of their meal. Executive Pastry Chef Toni Roberts created The Candy Bar- variety of bite size chocolates, confections and cookies. C-View is their upscale lounge located on the 29th floor and I became a fan of their Honeysuckle specialty cocktail. C-House is a few blocks off Michigan Ave in the new Affinia Hotel (166 E. Superior St.)
The final destination on my parade route of restaurants was Hub 51. Owners R.J. and Jerrod Melman, sons of Richard Melman (Lettuce Entertain You), recently opened this 10,000 square foot space with a 20 ft bar. Hub 51 has definitely attracted a big crowd early and appears to be the new place to see and to be seen. The food is American cuisine with different influences from California, Mexico, Australia and Asia that includes homemade tacos, seafood, signature sandwiches and sushi. We had a Sweet Potato Roll, Chicken Nachos, Halibut Tacos, and the Sea Bass. The dishes were all very good, but the winner was the Sea Bass flavored with horseradish broth. My very pregnant wife couldn’t enjoy the Hub Punch, which is their specialty cocktail concoction of Grey Goose le Citron, tequila, Lcor 43, and pomegranate. The kicker for the evening was Martha’s Carrot Cake; RJ & Jerrod’s mother’s own carrot cake recipe. I’ll be back just for the carrot cake alone. Hub 51 is not a quiet place to have a romantic dinner, however it does offer a lively atmosphere with a bar scene that revs up as the evening grows. Check it out at 51 W. Hubbard St. (Corner of Dearborn and Hubbard).
Now that you have four new spots to try, drop me a line and let me know what you think at email@example.com.
Posted in food, restaurants, tagged boutique store, bring your own food, byob, Chicago, d.c. crenshaw, dining, efete.net, fete, fete select tv, nbc 5 streetteam, restaurants, south loop, wine, wine shop, wine styles on July 24, 2008 | 1 Comment »
I’m a huge fan of BYOB’s in the city, and Chicago has a lot of them that I’ve discovered over the past few years. They usually have great food, a nice atmosphere and the price is definitely right. But recently I discovered a place that is BYOF (Bring Your Own Food), which I thought was a creative idea in allowing me to still enjoy a unique and intimate evening out without breaking the bank.
Trayce D opened a WineStyles franchise in the South Loop recently and hasn’t looked back. Located at 1240 S. Michigan Ave, her goal for WineStyles is to be the neighborhood wine boutique store that carries exceptional wines from all over the world. Wine Styles wines are for drinking, not worshipping and are priced at $25 and under. They take the guesswork out of buying wine by categorizing wines by taste styles rather than grape or varietals. They make learning about wine easy and enjoyable. And, they have an excellent selection of gift items including gift baskets and wine accessories.
The South Loop WineStyles offers the following:
* Wine Club Membership
* Complimentary tastings on Thursdays, 6-8pm
* Online shopping option
* Fine Cigars
* Private parties and events
* Live music on select nights
* B.Y.O.F (Bring Your Own Food) as they serve wine by the glass, or you can open a bottle.
* Wine classes and special order most wines by the bottle or case within 24 hours
Besides being a neighborhood boutique wine store, WineStyles provides a comfort and cozy setting for friends to meet up and partake in libations together. Sara Kay, their on staff Sommelier, can help you select a nice bottle of wine for your special occasion. I particularly like the fact that I can bring my own food, buy a great bottle of wine and still have a few dollars left over for dessert!
Check out Trayce D and her South Loop Wine Styles location at 1240 S. Michigan Ave or log onto www.winestyles.net.
Epicurious.com, the website “for people who love to eat” (like me!) will sponsor From Farm To Table, a fine dining benefit hosted by editor in chief, Tanya Steele. If you’ve never visited Epicurious.com, take a look because it’s a nice site for foodie information including menus, recipes, a food and wine dictionary, and whole host of other goodies. It’s part of the Conde’ Nast family of web and print publications (The New Yorker, Gourmet, W, Vanity Fair, etc), so there’s high quality content and it’s easy to navigate and find what you’re looking for.
From Farm To Table will be staged at one of my favorite Chicago restaurants, MK with co-hosts chef Michael Kornick and pastry chef Amy Sampson. Though there’s tons of well publicized, trendy, tasty, and upscale restaurants in Chicago, I still wander off to MK as often as I can for the reliably fantastic food, casual yet attentive service, and delicious deserts. Fresh and delicious dishes featuring farm fresh produce and ingredients will be showcased along with paired wines for what is sure to be a fantastic gastronomical event. Proceeds from the benefit will help feed the hungry by being donated to America’s Second Harvest, which is the largest hunger relief network in the U.S. Tickets are $125, but that isn’t really much different from what you’d spend just going there and the proceeds do go to charity. To purchase tickets, click here!
The Local Tourist, NBC5 Street Team
Summer’s right around the corner. I know, I know, we just managed to thaw out, but the lakefront path bathrooms are open, the cops are on bicycles and horses, and Chicagoans are actually smiling at each other, so that means our fun season has officially begun.
As a Midwestern gal, fun and food are intertwined, and summer means barbecue, so when I was invited to visit The Smoke Daddy I donned my elastic-waist pants and headed with a friend to “pig” out. Alan Ortiz and I arrived on time for our reservation, but since they were running a little behind we grabbed 2 stools at the tiny bar. Don’t ask me how we lucked out with those because the place is a veritable madhouse.
We weren’t waiting more than a few minutes before they seated us in the back by the kitchen and the bathrooms. Sounds bad, doesn’t it? Except The Smoke Daddy is small and so busy that almost anywhere you’re seated it’s going to be loud and there’s a likelihood you’ll get jostled a bit by other patrons or by the staff racing through. It was actually entertaining, with my view of the servers running a steady stream of food to the tables, the bar back carrying rack after rack of glasses back and forth to the kitchen, and the now three-deep bar full of good humored patiently waiting customers.
Julia greeted us quickly, efficiently took our order, and served it within five minutes. I’m not kidding – five minutes. In front of us we had ribs, pulled chicken and pork on white bread, sweet potato fries, macaroni and cheese, corn bread, and smoked pit beans. Oh yeah. They were all good and I’d order them all again. Then we shared iron skillet cookie topped with ice cream and I was afraid that Charlie was going to roll me out of his chocolate factory for being too greedy.
I’m not sure I can go into much more detail about the food. I know the meat’s smoked in house and they make their own sauce and I liked it, a lot. But other than that I’m just not that picky about my barbecue. What’s important is that I can’t wait to go back, and in a city of a gazillion restaurants that’s a statement.
The Smoke Daddy is not for everyone. It’s loud and crowded and my mother would hate it. But sit me outside when they’ve got some live music going on and I’m drinking a beer while my fingers are covered in sauce and I get bumped by the bar back wearing a shirt that says “Nice rack” and you’ll see one happy woman.
The Smoke Daddy, 1804 W Division, (773)772-MOJO
Live music nightly
Hours: Sun – Wed 11:30am to 11pm, Thurs – Sat 11:30am to 1am
The Smoke Daddy barbecue sauce is available at boutique grocery and specialty stores like Treasure Island.
Type The Local Tourist into the Search bar in the upper right hand corner of the page to see my reviews, bands of the week, trivia questions, upcoming events, and more.
“Free food??? I’m there!!!” This was my reply when I got the invite from my good friend at the Burnham hotel for one of the pre-grand openings of the stylish restaurant/bar and lounge, Zed 451.
Located in the heart of the River North part of downtown, Zed 451 has a very busy atmosphere from the moment you walk through the door. There are several rooms inside, both upstairs and downstairs bustling with hosts and hostesses, servers and patrons. The eye-catching wood decor gives you a warm, inviting feeling with several large fireplaces…almost like you’re stepping into a huge ski lodge. The first room you see is the bar and lounge with it’s cool intimate lighting and music…great place to unwind after a hard days work. A huge wine storage area partially fills the space with an assortment of wines from all over the world.
The main dining area was overwhelming with the surrounding all-you-can-eat harvest bars that included the freshest of food items including: cheeses, soups, salads, and fruits. If you’re not careful, you can easily fill up quick in this area and not have enough room for the main course.
After nibbling on a few appetizers from the Harvest Bar, it was time for the real deal. The main course set up at Zed 451 is very similar to Fogo De Chao. Instead of a red and green coaster, you place a stone on your table to alert the chefs that you are ready to eat. One by one they start to bring several meat, fish, and poultry selections for you to choose from until you can’t eat another bite.
Far be it for me to be the restaurant critic – not to mention that beggars can’t be choosy – but I have to be honest and say I was a tad bit underwhelmed by some of the food. With the exception of the chimichurri chicken wings and the citrus-glazed salmon, a lot of the steak portions left a little to be desired. Perhaps it was me being greedy, but the portions didn’t come as frequent as I would have hoped, and the near nail in the coffin was the restaurant running out of the chocolate desserts.
All in all, my experience at Zed 451 was good and the staff was very friendly and attentive. For a new hotspot, I would definitely recommend and give it another try.