Archive for July, 2008

Theresa Carter, NBC5 Street Team

If you were one of the many people trying to get into Epic Burger last night and wondering why there was a packed house drinking cocktails, it was their VIP Grand Opening.

Yes, that’s right. A burger joint had a VIP Grand Opening, complete with white tablecloths, wine, and Goose Island beer. Since opening a couple of months ago Epic Burger’s gotten quite a bit of press, including my own rave review, so I wasn’t surprised by the crowd of people.

This wasn’t really a hoity-toity affair. I was taking my son to “Blues Brothers” in Grant Park after the event and our casual tarp-appropriate attire wasn’t out of place. Once the food starting coming out of the kitchen no one would’ve cared if we were wearing kilts and lederhosen anyway. Servers fought a losing battle, barely getting out of the kitchen with their trays of quarter-cut burgers. It was a veritable feeding frenzy as we grabbed burgers with grilled onions, with horseradish havarti, portabello mushroom sandwiches, turkey burgers (still my favorite), and egg and bacon sandwiches on locally-baked buns. The poor women carrying the trays almost had to smack hands just so they could make it to the front of the restaurant, and if the guy with the fries had thrown his tray in the air not a single one would’ve hit the ground.

Is Epic Burger really that good? Oh sure, some of the press of the crowd had to do with the “free” effect, but the fans who were turned away and left disappointed last night were more of a testament. It’s just fresh, organic food without frills and with flavor. Nothing hoity toity about that.

Epic Burger
517 S State St


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Megan Bowers, NBC5 Street Team

Well…maybe not my waistline, but let’s be honest, who walks into a bakery with the expectation of eating healthy? My point exactly.

The other week while I was out exploring the many neighborhoods of this great city, I happened to stumble upon a newly-opened bakery in Old Town on 1543 N. Wells.

Twisted Sister Bakery has only been open a couple months, but it is safe to say they have worked out any new store glitches, because their product is extremely scrumptious!

I tried their banana chocolate chip cupcakes with milk chocolate frosting and it blew my expectations of a regular cupcake. This isn’t the Little Debbie stuff your mom used to throw in your lunchbox. This stuff is the real deal with that has the freshly-baked pure ingrediants taste that your grandma used to make.

I took my mini cake of deliciousness to go and to make the experience even more enjoyable, they placed the cupcakes in little personalized cardboard boxes to keep the frosting from getting smudged.

My grandma wouldn’t do that for the cupcakes she made me, so I give Twisted Sister one extra gold star.

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LaShonda Matlock, NBC5 Street Team

 The CS Magazine party for Victor Alfaro at Zed 451 was HOT Tuesday night and I’m NOT just talking about the heat!  The roof-top party brought out the city’s crème de la crème of A-listers including: fab Candace Jordan fashion editor of Today’s Chicago Woman, Brenda Sexton of Chicago Link Proudctions, the one and only Bunky Cushing (LOVED the shoes!), Carrie Lannon of Lannon Communications,  Kate Templin Executive Editor of Michigan Avenue Magazine, Barth Adams of creator of the new A:M Vodka, former City Controller Barbara Lumpkin, Amanda Puck of XA, The Experimental Agency and Amalie Drury of CS Magazine.

The event was hosted by D. Graham Kostic fashion associate “extraordinaire” of CS Magazine and host of Glossed & Found whose always oh, so stylish!

But the guest of honor was the true star of the party and he was perfect! Victor Alfaro fashions are simply put luxurious sensibility.  His 2008 fall/holiday Women’s Collection was ultra feminine, polished, glamorous, surprisingly affordable and still VERY chic! Let’s just put it like this, Victor is one of my new favorite top designers! Check out my other site The E-Biz tomorrow for a full write-up and display of Victor Alfaro’s fall/holiday 2008 Women’s Collection!  Trust me, your going to LOVE IT!

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Kim Katz, NBC5 Street Team 

I was in Las Vegas a few weeks ago covering the CineVegas Film Festival, just chillin’ by the Luxor  pool  and chewing my nails over which celebrity I could get to appear on my new BuzzNews.TV show, when I got the call from my editor that an email had arrived for me in our general mailbox from Kevin Costner . Kevin actually remembered a positive review that I had given him and his band last year, and was inviting me to attend his upcoming concert in Chicago. Kevin and his band, Modern West, are a top notch group of musicians who play a pleasing blend of original  country/rock with a little bluegrass feel to it, and they totally rocked the House of Blues last week. 

"The Greenroom with Kim Katz" and guest Kevin Costner.

"The Greenroom with Kim Katz" and guest Kevin Costner.

It was kind of surreal when I  walked into the soundcheck with Kevin Costner onstage singing. I tried to keep cool as he came down and introduced me to his friends as a person whose writing he admired. Hey, my  best buddy and editor, Ken Payne, was there and was blown away too, so it’s not just a girl thing.

Kevin then gave my show “The Greenroom with Kim Katz” a really thoughtful exclusive interview about his music and band which you can watch below.

If you are a big Costner fan and  you want to see the whole interview complete with hugs and kisses (MEOW!) and read what I wrote about his concert in detail and his new political comedy “Swing Vote”  which opens August 1,  check out my regular column “The Katz Meow” in Buzz Magazine at www.BuzzNews.Net and the full length video on www.BuzzNews.TV.

The  House of Blues concert was really energetic and fun, with the entire audience standing , dancing and cheering pretty much the entire time. I brought my mom along  and to have a super nice superstar like Kevin Costner give her a hug at the after-party  was absolutely a dream come true. I tell you this to give you an idea of how gentlemanly Kevin is for real, and ladies, if you are wondering how he looks in person — he is tanned, TALL  and hot, hot, hot. 

I’m  proud to be an NBC5 Street Team member so honk if you were at the concert -and be sure to leave me some feedback here, I’d love to purr about the night with some  rockin’ loyal Costner fans! 

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Opening Pandora’s Box

Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team (video)

It’s often said that music is the soundtrack of our lives, but it’s just as easy to track our personal journeys through the methods we use to play those sounds.

I’m old enough to remember playing my parents’ 45s and full-length albums, and the curiosity I felt when the 8-track player entered the scene. When Bob Marley died in 1981, my dad broke down and bought a cassette player so he could tape all of the radio stations playing tributes. It was probably a good 10 years after that before I could afford a CD player and CDs, and a few years later when “MP3” became a part of my vernacular, names like Napster and Limewire entered the fray. And of course, the iPod came along and shattered all of it to pieces.

I may be a little late to this party, but this past weekend, I discovered the next evolution in my personal musical education — Pandora.com. Nuff respect to the Sun-Times‘ Andy Ihnatko for featuring this site on Saturday. The concept is simple. You type in a band or song that you like, and the site creates a channel for you, and plays music similar to it, based on a complex set of algorithms they’ve constructed. In a word, it’s genius. Without typing in anything specificaly related to Jimi Hendrix, it started playing some rare Jimi cuts that I love. And when I typed in some sample-heavy music, such as bands like Breakestra, it started playing the original sampled 70s funk songs. Whole new world. It’s like the “You Might Like This” feature on Amazon.com on steroids. Plus, you can bookmark the song and artists which are kept on file for you, with specific links to buy it from Amazon or iTunes to create your instant playlist. (Tip: Buy from Amazon, which gives you the actual .mp3 file, not a protected version.)

My lady friend has already seen the writing on the wall — there’s a new gal in town, and her name is Pandora.

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Liz Holland, NBC5 Street Team

As a Wisconsin Badger, I am quite familiar with the products of Miller Brewing Company being surrounded by many Milwaukee natives, aka “Miller loyalists”.

Well, Miller’s making some changes – and there’s a Chicago twist. On June 30, Miller Brewing Co. and Molson Coors announced MillerCoors, a 50-50 joint venture to consolidate resources and compete with combined force against rival Anheuser-Busch, a plan that will cut over $500 million annually to their budget.

Most excitingly, the new venture is coming to Chicago! Beating out Dallas, Chicago was chosen for the new headquarters as a neutral site outside of the Milwaukee (Miller) and Denver (Coors) offices.  They won’t be closing any of the eight local breweries in Wisconsin, but they will be relocating up to 400 new employees or should I say “beer enthusiasts”.

I think this might ruffle some feathers, being that Miller beer is a product that is integrated into the image of Milwaukee, not to mention the additional rivalry with Chicago. What else do people do while watching the Packers vs. Bears game but drink beer? Dilemma!

Nevertheless, the move is slated for June 2009, and the MillerCoors site will be located at one of three possible locations: 350 N. Orleans (the Sun-Times building), 250 S. Wacker, or 33 S. State (the old Carson Prarie Scott building).

Let me extend a warm welcome! Cheers!

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LaShonda Matlock, NBC5 Street Team

The Michigan Avenue Magazine  private reception with Bill Maher at Enclave was the place to be at Friday night!  Hot music, great drinks and the fashions were amazing! May I say Amanda Puck from The Experiential Agency is FIERCE!  People attending the event included: Bill Maher and Daniel Uslan (Midwest President and Publisher of Michigan Avenue magazine)

Slideshow: Bill Maher At Enclave

And now on to the JUICY stuff — the FASHION! TV personality and Chef Cat DeOrio was hot in Chloe, Managing editor of Michigan Ave. Lesley McKenzie looked stunning in a dark green number, wish I knew the designer?!  Julie Bensmen knows her fashion in Furla Boots and Susanna Homan wore Cynthia Rowley.

Rachel Schwanz of The Entertaining Company wore some Giuseppe shoes that I would’ve killed for and our very own Marcus Riley of NBC5 was looking very cool and sexy for ladies as ALWAYS! (wink!)

New entertainment news show 24/7 Chicago was on the scene working hard getting the scoop, with host Catie Keogh and exec. producer Collen Kelly.  And oh, the women! I worship Trevisn Kutti owner of G’bani who wore an outfit that made the whole room stop and look!  She was fabulous!  *snap, snap*

So if you missed this party, don’t worry the official September launch party for Michigan Avenue Magazine is right around the corner. And well be here to definitely give you the scoop 1st! FIERCE!!!!!

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