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Archive for August, 2008

Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team (video)

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.

As summer starts to wind down, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to jump on one of the many boats that daily work their way up and down the Chicago River for this week’s segment. The good folks at Wendella Boats (www.wendellaboats.com) were good enough to let us jump on a Water Taxi for a wonderful-looking backdrop of the city. Wendella runs a variety of boat tours, including the popular Architecture Tour, various sightseeing tours, private charters, wine tasting tours and summer fireworks cruises. Get it all in now before it starts getting a little uncomfortable out there.

Last year, one of my favorite outings was the Windy City Wine Festival — so nice, I’ll have to do it twice. It all goes down Sept. 5-6 at Daley Bicentennial Plaza at 337 E. Randolph St. Tickets are $25 and $10 for “designated driver” tickets. Binny’s provides the suds, and if I remember correctly from last year, I actually learned a little something when I was out there, as the pourers hipped me to some great new varieties of champagne.

Two food and music festivals to point out next weekend with an international flair. Check out the Ukrainian Village Fest Friday through Sunday. It takes place at the Saints Volodymyr and Olha Ukrainian Catholic Church in West Town, 2245 W. Superior St. And the 8th Annual German-American Festival will be held in Lincoln Square on Saturday and Sunday, and it’s absolutely free. 4700 N. Lincoln Ave. is where it all goes down.

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Cara Carriveau, NBC5 Street Team

Oprah is taping her season premiere at Millennium Park in downtown Chicago this Wednesday.  There was a post about it earlier but I wanted to make sure you knew that you couldn’t simply show up on Wednesday – if you want to get in, you need to come to Millennium Park TODAY (Saturday, August 30th) at 12pm for reservation information. Audience Coordinators will be located on the East side of the Jay Pritzker Pavilion along Columbus Drive just behind the McDonald’s Cycle Center.  Click HERE for all the details!

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Street Team Party Recap

Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team (video)

There’s a couple of party recaps listed below this (thanks Natalia, Hungry Z), so I’m not going to rehash. But I will say it was a blast seeing everyone come together to meet in person. In a digital world where we often conduct virtual relationships that don’t create the need to actually meet face-to-face, it was important that we all put some real faces to the names. And to all of our readers who came out, thanks to you!

Special big-ups to Jbar for hosting the event and Sarah Vargo and Renae Placinski of Maven PR for setting it up. Till next time y’all!

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Theresa Carter, NBC5 Street Team

It seems that once a person has achieved celebrity status, especially when that person is a chef, almost invariably someone wants to take ’em down. Not so with Rick Bayless. Owner of Frontera Grill and Topolobambo, he also is the author of several cookbooks and host of “Mexico – One Plate At A Time.” The man seems to be universally loved and, if the Chefs Hall of Fame’s induction ceremony was any indication, for good reason.

Palmer House Hilton BallroomThe Chicago Culinary Museum and Chefs Hall of Fame hosted an elaborate evening for the popular restaurateur/chef/author/TV star at the The Palmer House Hilton. Local culinary schools set up tasting stations around the room, and the city’s culinary elite and their supporters tried everything from pulled pork to foie gras.

This was the third year of the award. The first chef to be inducted was, of course, Charlie Trotter, and the second was Heaven On Seven’s Jimmy Bannos. Everyone who came to the podium to honor Bayless was so incredibly complimentary it was almost over the top. Trotter, Naha‘s Carrie Nahabedian, 12-time James Beard award winner Steve Dolinsky, Food Industry News VP Cary Miller, Chicago Culinary Museum President and Co-Founder John Castro – everyone praised Bayless and his wife Deann so much I felt like we were in in the presence of royalty! Musician Jose Cornier even wrote a song for Bayless called “One Plate At A Time.”

Yet when Bayless came to the microphone, his passion for his craft and his devotion to his wife and his conviction in the importance of his work was as obvious and genuine as a child’s love for his dog. This celebrated, praised, and frankly, revered man was just so darn glad to be able to do what he loves in a city he adores.

“Chicago’s the greatest food city in America,” he said. And when he said “It’s a beautiful time to be alive. It’s a beautiful time to be here in Chicago,” you knew he meant every word.

I, too, am now a certified member of the Rick Bayless fan club. I thank you, Mr.  Bayless, for your humbleness and for your consistent effort to bring a country’s culture to Chicago and to the world through food. Thank you for exhibiting such pure joy at being honored for simply doing what you love. Congratulations – you deserve it.

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Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank  On Friday afternoon, Bears cornerback Charles Tillman spoke candidly at Children’s Memorial Hospital. The topic was the three trying months that he just spent watching his infant daughter, Tiana, battle a critical heart condition. “I heard that when life hands you disasters, and tragedy and bad things, it also hands you a gift of energy,” Tillman said at the beginning of his time at the podium. Tillman spent most of his summer days and nights at the hospital, forcing him to miss portions of both the off-season program and training camp. However, he did play in all four exhibition games.

In May, Tiana was diagnosed with a form of cardiomyopathy, a heart enlarging and weakening condition. A transplant was required, but until another heart was available a unique and cutting-edge device called the Berlin Heart was implanted in Tiana.


“We knew the Berlin Heart would extend the patient’s life significantly, and in this case, it also strengthened the child for transplantation,” says Jeffrey G. Gossett, MD, attending physician for the Division of Cardiology. Tiana is the first patient in Illinois to undergo this procedure. The Berlin Heart is widespread in Europe, but has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The Bears defensive back is very thankful for the procedures performed by the Children’s Memorial team. “I’m so grateful for what they did; they did a very noble thing,” Tillman said. Tiana underwent a heart transplant last month and was released from the hospital on Monday. Today, she’s at home recovering and the prognosis is very good. “She’s smiling and kicking and cooing, all that stuff 6 month olds are supposed to do,” Charles said.

A few years ago, Tillman started the Cornerstone Foundation aiming to help chronically ill children. On this afternoon he spoke about his organization raising more awareness about organ donation and another area of great significance to him. “Basically my foundation is headed in a new direction, and we’re going to be there to provide cardiomyopathy research,” Tillman said.

To learn more about becoming an organ donor go to DonateLifeIllinos.org.

For the full detailed version of this story click here.

For more Chicago sports discussion go here

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Blagica, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

Listen up gang, here is YOUR chance to not only go to an Oprah show, but see hundreds of Olympians – all in one place!

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Until next time..

Natalia Avilez, NBC5 Street Team

Thanks to all you that were able to come out last night to our official Street Team party — all 135 of you that is. Although I got there 2 hours late, missing out on the open bar, and my phone was blowing up with texts of “where are you,” I finally made it! It was nice to finally meet many of my fellow Street Teamers, like the Fireman Jon IbrahamThe Local Tourist, Chasity Chaos, Shlomi, Relaxocat (thanks for the bunny ears), singer-songwriter Natalie, and others that I would have liked to have had more time to speak with. It was nice to get some feedback on many of my stories, it was a big ego boost!

Next time, I will definately get there early enough to mingle with the rest of you and meet with more of you. Thanks again to Marcus Riley and Jbar General Manager, Jimmy Koklas, for taking the time to speak with me and giving me the head count of the nights event. For those of you that were not able to make it, I will see you next time!

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

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.

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LaShonda Matlock, NBC5 Street Team

On Thursday night, restaurant owner of Avenue M-Lew Langer threw one hell of a birthday party for Chicago Bears player Adewale Ogunleye. With half the team showing up and jamming to the tunes of my new favorite deejay Timbuck Two, is was the kind of laid back party that you didn’t want to miss!

Robin Thicke made a private appearance at Blu47 resturant & lounge Monday night, singing new songs from his upcoming album “Something Else” out Sept 30th.

Glamorama was a hit! And Glossed and Found host D. Graham Kostic  was on the scene getting the scoop!

The Backstreet Boys partied at the Blackberry Luxe Club party at Enclave on Thursday night

Lindsay Lohan was back in town and stood by Samantha Ronson’s side Friday night as she spun in the DJ booth at Crimson Lounge

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Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank “Juice” is a slang term meaning power, connections, respect and prestige. If you’re on a Big Ten campus, look at the starting quarterback on the football team. Juice (no one ever calls him Isaiah) Williams is the starting quarterback for the #20 ranked Illinois Fighting Illini. The native Chicagoan was a top 100 Rivals recruit while playing his prep ball at Chicago Vocational, the same school where Illini/Bears legend Dick Butkus played. Last year Juice guided the Illini to a BCS bid in the Rose Bowl and Illinois’s first road win over a #1 ranked team ever. Last season, I spoke with Williams on the eve of the school’s first national ranking in 6 years. “I would have something to tell my grandkids about – that I was part of a ranked team,” Williams said about his burgeoning ‘juice.’

If there’s one team people talk to me about more than any other, it’s probably Illini football. This makes sense given how I was the football beat reporter for the student daily in college and that I watch every single Illinois game. Unfortunately, the last two years I’ve heard numerous Illini fans make racist remarks about Juice when his play struggled. Apparently, some backwards people out there still think an African-American shouldn’t play quarterback. I hope I don’t hear any more from those people with Jim Crow era views on race. Idiots like these only reinforce the negative reputation my alma mater had from the Chief Illiniwek issue. Criticizing Williams for problems running the offense is one thing. Those degrading him for the color of his skin have lost their right to discuss Illini football (or anything else for that matter) with me.

This season, Juice and the Illini will have to compensate for the loss of star running back Rashard Mendenhall. Last year’s starting tailback left a year early after setting a school record for season rushing yards. However, he has a ton of returning talent blocking for him up front and reinforcements at wide receiver to complement big-time playmaker Arrelious Benn. Juice himself is an All-America candidate on the Davey O’Brien Award (top collegiate quarterback) watch list. For these reasons, his number #7 replica Illinois jersey is extremely popular…giving him even more ‘juice!’

For more Chicago sports analysis and fun, click here.

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Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team (video)

As if there aren’t enough events to take in as the summer draws to a close, you can add one more to the list. The 30th annual Chicago Jazz Festival kicks off on August 28, but there are plenty of ways to celebrate before then.

Chicago Trolley and the Jazz Institute of Chicago is hosting a club tour of the best jazz clubs in the city on Wednesday from 6 p.m. to midnight. For $25 in advance or $30 that evening, jazz lovers will be whisked to 15 jazz clubs on a trolley. Tickets are available at any of the 15 participating clubs.
Click here for more information.

You also may have noticed that some of the trolleys are sporting a different look these days. That’s because 30 of the trolleys have been renamed after jazz stars to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Chicago festival. The trolleys honor some of the greatest names in jazz history such as Miles Davis, Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald, but also some of the artists who will be performing live this year, such as Dee Dee Bridgewater, Eddie Palmieri and Ornette Coleman.

So c’mon Chicago, get your jazz on!

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Cara Carriveau, NBC5 Street Team

In my last post I described how seeing Eddie Vedder with my husband was so cool because he is such a big fan. To be truthful, I also like Vedder so it wasn’t like I was sacrificing anything going to that concert. However, taking my daughter and her two friends to see The Jonas Brothers Sunday night was absolutely an act of sheer love for my daughter. Nothing against The Jonas Brothers, I think they’re really talented and I even like their new songs – but I knew that there would be thousands of loud screaming girls. Boy, was I right.

Just Before We Left For The Wrong Venue

Just Before We Almost Headed To The Wrong Venue. Oops!

The night began with me almost taking them to wrong venue.  I thought the concert was at Charter One Pavillion dowtown along the lakefront.  Just before I drove away the father of one of the girls I was taking ran to my car to tell me it was at The First Midwest Bank Amplitheatre in Tinley Park.  Okay, so both venues are named after banks – I have an excuse to be confused!

Ouch, My Ears!

Ouch, My Ears!

Once we got to our seats I offered many times to go get the girls something to eat or anything else they needed – not just to be nice, but to get away from the screaming crowd.  Honestly, I’ve been to many concerts and none – including Metallica and Def Leppard – were anywhere near this decibel level.  It wasn’t The Jonas Brothers being too loud, it was the screaming girls in the audience.  I was pleased to discover a “parents tent”.  But it was empty.  I walked a bit further and found where the parents were – in line for beer!  

My Daughter Rockin'

My Daughter Rockin'

My only real complaint of the night was that there were not enough people working the merchandise booths.  There easily could have been double the booths and quadruple the workers so the huge lines would have moved a bit quicker.  The long wait to get out of the parking lot was expected with a sold out show, but the the late night construction on I-57 caught me off guard.  Our trip home was excruciatingly long.  

The Jonas Brothers and their opening acts put on a great show.  The best part of the night:  The audience could text messages to appear on the huge jumbotrons.  My daughter Jeri texted “Bark If You Like Joe Jonas“.  Hearing 30,000+ people bark on her orders was priceless!

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Theresa Carter, NBC5 Street Team

I think the people at J Bar must be insane. They’re hosting us, the NBC5 Street Team, for a meet and greet on Thursday. Type A people who love going out, love talking about it, love writing about it, and love recording it are taking over the joint. I’m wondering just how many video cameras – and egos – we can fit into one room.

I’m allowed to say that because (obviously) I’m one of them! Please join us – if you dare. If you think you need a stiff one to deal with all that energy, Snow Queen Vodka drinks are on special.

The evening starts at 8pm and ends when we run out of stuff to say. Uh oh…it’s going to be a long night.

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Blagica Bottigliero, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

(insert imaginary white gloves here…followed by slap on each side of face)

Your truly won the digital media/Chicago loving lottery a few weeks ago. I signed on to assist the Chicago 2016 team with their new project Chicago 2016 Channel.  As Managing Editor of the Channel, I’m working with writers, content producers, schools, teachers and local Chicagoans to tell the Chicago story. Other Street Teamers like The Local Tourist, the Sports Bank and Jen Chicago have also signed on.

Since the Channel is about YOU and US, put those creative juices together and submit your video. Are you in love with deep dish pizza? Do you have the most amazing story about your Catholic school growing up (or the nun that scolded you)? How about your favorite Cubs memory? Tell us! Tell us your stories and parlay that into you think Chicago should host 2016.

C’mon, don’t be shy.

Don’t forget to come visit on Thursday night at J Bar at the Street Team Bash!

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

The political scene has been at the forefront for Chicagoans the past 18 months.  My personal friend and Illinois Senator Barack Obama has taken the world by storm with his charisma and inspiring speeches that have won over hundreds of millions of people.  John McCain is experienced, but is trying to change his perception of being old and out of touch with typical Americans.  With the help of the media, You Tube and cyberspace nothing has been off limits when comparing and contrasting the Presidential candidates on policy, style, age, family, wealth, and now…um…sushi?

Yes folks, it’s true.  Now Obama and McCain will go “maki-to-maki” in a taste test at RA Sushi for the best maki roll.  You will have a chance to vote for either the Obama roll or the McCain roll as the best political roll conceived by the RA Sushi chef.

The “Blue” Barack Attack Roll is layered with smoked salmon, cream cheese, cucumber and artichoke rolled in rice and seaweed and topped with crunchy blue tempura bits, finished with a sweet eel sauce and wasabi mayo.

The “Red” McCain Terrain Roll consists of spicy tuna, crab mix and cucumber rolled in rice and seaweed and topped with crunchy red tempura bits, finished with a sweet eel sauce and spicy mayo.

In a non-biased taste test, I personally liked the McCain roll better, although I think that they could have come up with something better for Barack who represents more flavor than the roll that represents him.  Nonetheless it was an interesting and enjoyable taste test.

During both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions starting today thru Sept 5th, you can taste and vote for your favorite Presidential roll on the Campaign Platter at RA Sushi for $10.  A portion of the proceeds, $3 from every sale of the Campaign Platter, will benefit Rock The Vote.  The winning candidates roll will be inaugurated onto the menu at all three Illinois RA Sushi restaurants starting on Friday, September 12 through Friday, Oct 3.  Also diners will be able to register to vote at RA Sushi Chicago on Monday, Oct 6, as part of a Rock The Vote event that will be held there.

Check out RA Sushi at www.RAsushi.com for more information.

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Shlomi Rabi, NBC5 Street Team

Every now and again, when I can’t think of the right word, that perfect comeback touche-type of retort that leaves my competition speechless, I go quiet for a moment. All eyes–the spectators, the moderator, the judge, my Correctional Officer (yeah Marcus, you wish)–are on me. I think for a second and go back in my head to a quiet, calm spot. A location so safe and so comfortable I can easily find my way around at no effort. A vision so familiar and loving that I am once again able find the strength to summon my inner bitch, and silence my opponent. That location, of course, is Michael Phelps’s abs.

With the Olympics fading into memory, I am beginning to bid adieu to Phelps’s abs. (Sigh)…. Who knows when and how I will see them again. Most likely the Vatican will dip into their “Bail-A-Priest Trust Fund” and buy him out of Kellog and use his face on their Christmas mass eucharist, now that the U.S. has put him on their Endangered Species list, but until then, I must find my the drive within to proceed solo. Which is why last Thursday I went to Aniko Salon and Spa‘s event to benefit the Chicago Fashion Foundation. Watching Aniko Salon stylists transform the models using body paint (which, as you may have guessed, further reminded me of my paramour), while listening to live music provided by DJ Jason Wolfe, sipping on cocktails, and nipple… I mean nibbling (right, nibbling) on hors d’ouevres, was just what any fun-loving Chicagoan could use these days. Well, at least short of napping on Michael Phelps’ abs.

To learn more about what makes the world get stuck, click here.

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