Archive for January, 2007

Tony Lossano & Amy Zanglin, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

Tony from NUDE HIPPO here! My birthday is next week and last night we were making plans on what to do, where to go. I’m simple. An evening at Culver’s for a Butter Burger & Custard Ice Cream Malt is enough for me. However, I told Mariana that I would leave it up to her to surprise me.

That is what I did for my co-host, Amy on her birthday…I surprised her by taking her, with a bunch of people from NUDE HIPPO to a small somewhat unknown pizza place. THE CHICAGO PIZZA AND OVEN GRINDER COMPANY, (2121 N. Clark St, Chicago, around the corner from where the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre took place). This has fast become my favorite place.

You would never think it from the Victorian brownstone facade, but this little place has (at least) one of the most amazing recipes, the Pizza Pot Pie.

Their website describes it best: “The Pizza Pot Pie is an individual serving, “made from scratch” with triple-raised Sicilian bread-type dough; a homemade sauce consisting of olive oil, fresh garlic, onions, green peppers, whole plum tomatoes and a special blend of cheeses; sausage made from prime Boston butts; and doorknob-size, whole, fresh mushrooms.” It is absolutely amazing. Even their Chef Salad is second to none.

They can get very busy, especially in such a tight but very comfortable space, but the experience & atmosphere is just as good as the food. There is valet service. Heck, you can even pick-up their famous Pizza Pot Pies frozen and take it home. What else could you ask for.

Amy and the gang loved it and couldn’t stop talking about it. Perhaps they will be able to top that for my birthday, but I doubt it.

E-mail me your favorite birthday spot at NudeHippo@nbc5.com

Watch more videos and read the NUDE HIPPO Blog at NBC5.com/nudehippo

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Irit SilvermanIrit Silverman NBC5 Street Team (Video)

Former American Idol contestant Chris Daughtry was already making noise on the rock scene before he rolled into Chicago Sunday. He performed a heartfelt rendition of the National Anthem for the NFC Championship game at Soldier Field. Bears fans in the stadium cheered as he belted out “the home of the brave,” while fans at home watched the close up of Chris simultaneously shedding a tear.

The next day, the singer/songwriter joined his band DAUGHTRY and performed to a packed house at the House of Blues. Between their music and fan base, it was easy to see why DAUGHTRY’s album recently debuted at #2 on the Billboard charts and quickly reached Platinum status. Despite below freezing temperatures, fans started lining up at 8am to ensure a standing room only spot in the first come first serve limited seating venue. At the first site of DAUGHTRY, fans went wild. Camera flashes lit the dark venue giving these newcomers an ambiance of a hallowed rock band.

DAUGHTRY’s music is definitely classified as Rock, but with an emotional twist. I’ve heard them compared to Bon Jovi and there are certainly some power ballad similarities and a contagious energy that makes you want to sing along. The difference is their youthful, sincere, and relatable qualities. In between songs, the band members talked and joked with fans, creating a vibe that you were watching the really talented boys next door who made it big. And these boys have definitely made it big. After the Bears game, they actually flew to New York for another concert, came back to Chicago, and went right back to the airport to catch another flight.

DAUGHTRY has serious talent and gave a very impressive performance. Expect to see these guys around for a long time to come. If you haven’t heard their music, I highly recommend checking it out: their official website is www.daughtryofficial.com.

This concert was part of the After 5 Live concert series for radio station 101.9 The Mix. The station hosts free shows every month, usually at the House of Blues. For more information on upcoming concerts, look for postings on their website www.wtmx.com.

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Body Worlds is Back!

Justin Chen, NBC5 Street Team (video)

I missed the first time Body Worlds was here so I was excited to hear that they’re back in town with a new exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry. If you’re not familiar with Body Worlds, it’s an educational exhibit that helps you understand how the body works by viewing actual humans that have been preserved through a process called plastination. This process replaces the body’s fluid and fat with plastic and the result is truly amazing. There are more than 20 different whole bodies that have been cut and arranged in different ways (doing yoga, hitting a baseball, kicking a soccer ball, etc) to let you get an upfront look at the body’s inner workings.

The most important thing you’ll take away from this experience is the long-term impacts of disease and tobacco and the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle. If you decide to go, I recommend buying tickets in advance online. Check out this online gallery if you want a preview.

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Shlomi Rabi, NBC5 Street Team

I began thinking about it as soon as I got home. “What is it?” I wondered. I looked in the mirror and felt complete frustration at my forgetfulness. I concentrated as hard as I could, and still, I couldn’t think of it. A total blank. I turned off my cell and my landline, and stood in front of the mirror. “Dammit! What is it???” I grew increasingly irritated as I could almost see it in front of my eyes but couldn’t remember it completely. “What was that name?!?!” I began repeating to myself, holding my hands at my temples, closing my eyes, and meditating. “Mimi?” No, didn’t sound right. “Momo?” Nope, that one either. I closed the blinds and unplugged the stereo. “Schnuck?” No, no, and no! I stuffed the cats in the linen closet and unplugged all electrical appliances. “Smelly?” No, but getting close. “I got it! I got it!!!! I yelled to myself, “I remember now! “My name is Shlomi!” Phew.

Yep, I was that drunk, but it was worth every second. Because that night I went out to Boystown newest Hot locale: Minibar. Formerly Felt, Minibar has recently expanded and doubled its space, turning one half into a lounge and the other into a restaurant, both of which turn into one giant bar after hours. The place boasts amazingly sleek decor with flattering lighting (a vital necessity come the third drink), a selection of the hippest tunes by the selected DJ of the night, a fantastic selection of drinks (the Minibar’s Margarita is a must), and most importantly, everyone’s favorite accessory: drool-worthy bartenders. At least one of those things, if not all, will make you forget your name, guaranteed.

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The Newest "It" Club

Irit SilvermanIrit Silverman NBC5 Street Team (Video)

Rockit Ranch Productions (Rockit Bar & Grill, Le Passage) have recently launched their newest nightclub: THE UNDERGROUND. Despite a discreet location kept under wraps to the public until recently, the Chicago social scene (and a few celebs) are already swarming to the new hot spot. Inside, a bomb shelter-chic decor embraces the location of the aptly named Underground. The atmosphere is simultaneously exclusive, hip, and comfortable; the type of place where you can let loose and just have a great time. The objective at Underground isn’t to pack the place, but rather to keep the experience enjoyable for the people inside. I can pretty much guarantee a line and a wait at the door, but also friendly management taking care of you while you regret not wearing a jacket to a club in January.

Check it out for yourself:
56 West Illinois, 60610

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Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team (video)

Did you see the premiere of American Idol last night? I didn’t. Excuse me if I don’t have a lot of passion for this television phenomenon. Not trying to be a pop cultural snob or anything, it’s just never been my thing.

Despite my disdain for the show, it’s not not hard to pick up bits and pieces of information through osmosis — especially with all the “idle” chatter among co-workers.

So I had actually heard of Paris Bennett before she came in Tuesday for a podcast interview. I knew she was young (18), and I knew she lost in Season 5 of the show.

Paris is just starting a PR junket to promote the release of her new single, “Ordinary Love,” and forthcoming album, Princess P.

Previous experience had taught me to expect a huge entourage and an ego to match, but the person I met was sweet little girl who spent every spare moment texting friends (including Jennifer Hudson), and chatting with her mother. In short, a typical teenager.

I’m rooting that this genuine young lady is successful in her future career, and that she doesn’t lose her sweet nature once the trappings of success take hold.

Click here to listen to our podcast interview.

Click here to watch her appearance on an NBC5 newscast.

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JenJen Boyles, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

“Volare” is the Latin and Italian word for the verb “to fly.”

After visiting this Italian restaurant more than five times since moving to Chicago in July, all I can say about that is grab your parachute. Unassumingly situated on the corner of Grand and 2nd (circa ’97), it’s most definitely a first-class trip to heaven. Old-world Italy on a plate.

Let me begin with an admission: I’m an intensely, illogically picky eater, but please don’t let that sway you from reading on. I have a slight phobia of trying new foods (especially sauces), but last Saturday night when my friend Joy and I visited Volare yet again, I decided to broaden my palatte officially. Perhaps I’m becoming cured of this longstanding reservation?

Speaking of, any hungry soul who enters this place past 7 p.m. on any day of the week or weekend better have one — that is, their name on the list with the host or hostess, who have been known to seat patrons well past the agreed-upon time. But once you’re settled in after having a few drinks at the crowded, well-stocked bar, (I recommend the Effin cosmopolitan) strap on the goggles — you’re nearing the jump-off.

Many of the waiters and chefs at Volare came to Chicago from Italy or are of Italian decent. Stumbling over a maze of them to get to the lovely yellow bathroom across from the open-window kitchen, I tripped over a waiter making a beeline for the dining room. “I’m sorry, Bella!” he said robustly as he walked on (I kind of liked that). On my way back to the table, I met managers Simone Bergonzoni and Marco Micheli, who are usually found any given day at Volare chatting up diners and keeping the chaos to a minimum.

“I’m going to choose for you both tonight, is that alright?” Bergonzoni said in slightly broken English, with a big smile that made me more willing to trust his selections. We told him what dishes we were leaning toward, and four (I think four) cosmos later, he brought out an outstanding array of large and small plates and two bottles of red wine.

IMAGES: Click here to see what we thought of each dish.

When it was time for dessert (we’d already made up our mind before entering the restaurant — the passion fruit chocolate torte is “to die”), Bergonzoni came to the table with menus and said, “no one can ever choose a lady’s dessert.” So true — and respectable.

In summary, the pasta is firm but tender. The sauce is horizon-expanding (ha). The atmosphere is rustic and sometimes loud, and service needs some fine-tuning — but it’s as to be expected for one of those restaurants people always refer to as “one of the city’s best kept secrets”. You’ll most certainly not be disappointed in what really matters most — the heavenly victuals Volare has perfected beautifully.


(In the effort of full disclosure, my friend and I have paid for four of five meals at Volare. One meal was comped for purpose of this review. )

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