Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for August, 2009

rebecca_1Rebecca Taras, NBC Chicago Street Team

 

The origin of the clambake was not  the 1967 Elvis movie bearing the same namesake. In fact, it all started when the resourceful Pilgrims picked up the technique from Native Americans steaming soft-shell crabs on the rocks – kinda like an early day Food Network.

Roll down your pant legs and put away the bucket and shovel. An urban clambake is as close as Fulton’s on the River, no manual labor required. From 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM on Tuesday September 1st,  Fulton’s veranda will be transformed into an authentic clambake atmosphere, complete with an all you can eat clam-bake and two Hoegaarden beers for just 22 bucks. NBC-Fultons

Menu items like Baked Stoneneck Clams with brown butter bread crumbs, roasted garlic, fresh parsley, horseradish hollandaise, Sweet New Queens corn on the cob and Jalapeño-Wisconsin white cheddar corn bread with honey butter will be served on family-style picnic tables where guests can sip and nosh while taking in the Chicago river views.

In addition, Fulton’s will offer tasty drink specials for throughout the night for all you sailors out there.  Look for $4 beers, $6 cocktails and $8 glasses of wine. With lively music, great food and killer views, Fulton’s clambake is the perfect way to wrap up another unforgettable Chicago summer!

Don’t clam up! This is the LAST bake of the summer.

Visit http://www.fultonsontheriver.com for more info.

Read Full Post »


Dave Leonard, NBC5 Street Team, (Video)

The Midwest continues to represent in a major way on the music tip this Summer! Here are a couple of new releases that recently dropped that you will definitely need in your collection:

In late 2007, Chicago’s own HotStylz dropped a hilarious and creative hip-hop anthem called “Lookin’ Boy” which was based on “The Dozens”, a hood tradition of good natured trash talking and two or more competitors trading witty insults. This song featured Atlanta rapper, Yung Joc, who also signed HotStylz to his Swagg Team Entertainment label and became an instant classic. Virtually, nothing was heard from the trio for almost two years…until now.Hotstylz-ADD-Front

Thanks to Swagg Team/Jive Records and UIC Radio’s own DJ Moondawg, Hotstylz’ Raydio G, Krayzee, and Meatball are back with a funny, yet innovative major mixtape release, “A.D.D. : The Mixtape”. In this day and age of rappers talking about money, cars, and clothes, Hotstylz brings a great deal of comic relief, realism, creativity, and originality to the game. On “A.D.D.” they pick-up right where “Lookin’ Boy” left off with catchy hooks and infectious club beats. Standout tracks include “Michael Phelps”, the “laugh out loud” “Auntie Booty”, “Go Dutch” and “Thik & Fye” which features fellow Chi-town MC, Twista. Of course, Hotstylz’ true comedic talents shine on the hilarious skits. Check out the “Dead Beat Dad” skit and you will probably have tears in your eyes from laughing so hard. You can download this mixtape for free at DJ Moondawg’s website at www.djmoondawg.com

Shadowkat Nightson came to bring the pain…and it’s called “The Hurt Game”. This impressive collaborative effort brings together some of the Midwest’s best with a majority of them hailing from the Indianapolis area. “Nightsons Presents: The Hurt Game” presents a hard-hitting, unflinching soundscape that also has a very organic feel to it with a diverse collection of MCs rockin’ over beats provided by the Nightsons camp.

nightsons

Shadowkat and his fellow Plugg City family, Chi-town’s own Rhymefest let you know what time it is right off the top with the sickening title track where “they ain’t playin’ no word games”. They keep the energy going with the pulsating “Breath Control” which features alpha.live and it’s pretty much a straight listen from start to finish from there. Check out “Money Bags”, “Full Blown”, and the head bobbing “Cold Case”. Don’t let this one pass you by! “Nightsons Presents: The Hurt Game” is now available at iTunes and Amazon.com. For more info or a preview of the album you can also go to www.nightsons.com

Last but not least, the anticipated debut release from Chi-town MC and Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music affiliate, Really Doe “First Impressions”, dropped via Cartel Records. Ever since the MC showcased his unique rhyme flow on “We Major” on West’s multi-platinum “Late Registration” album alongside the legendary Nas, hip-hop heads have wanted to hear more and Really Doe delivers on his first effort.reallydoecoverWEB

“First Impressions” has a lot of soulful hip-hop on it courtesy of producer Griffin Guess. “Sew It Up”, “RPS (Rock, Paper, Scissors)”, and one of my personal favorites, the unapologetic “My City” are indicative of that. Another single to check for on “Impressions” is the first single, “Mesmerized” which features vocalist Danny Klein and has a slightly similar sound to Lupe Fiasco’s “Superstar”. Other standouts to peep are “Follow Me”, “Million Dollar” and Mr. West even shows up on “Plastic”. Really Doe has been grinding for a while on the hip-hop scene and it’s good to see the hard work finally paying off. Hit up iTunes or Best Buy and cop this one for the iPod. He makes a good “first impression”…really doe.

Read Full Post »

 

Hungry Z, NBC5 Street Team

By definition a “Trattoria” is an informal restaurant or tavern serving simple Italian dishes. “Bella” is the Italian work for beauty, combine the two and you get a lovely Italian restaurant named Trattoria Isabella. Located in the city’s Fulton river district, the restaurant features a gorgeous outdoor patio that includes its own bar.

 Since simple and straight forward dishes are featured, a great place to start is with the wonderful sausage and peppers. Sweet Roma sausage rests in a pool of lemon and garlic, and then surrounded by a colorful array of sweet peppers. While many salad choices are available, by far the stand out is the Caprese. This traditional Italian salad features thick cut tomatoes, whole leaves of basil, fresh buffalo mozzarella, and is nothing short of delicious!

 IsabellasaladWhen diving into the main course, remember that heavy sauces are not always needed. A lovely such option is the Chicken Vesuvio. Two large breast of chicken swimming in a rosemary and white wine sauce, topped with peas, and surrounded by oven baked Vesuvio potatoes. For those who must have red sauce, the tender veal parmesan is covered in tangy marinara and topped with melted mozzarella.Isabellavesuvio

 Ending a meal without dessert should be, and is a sin. Gelato lovers should definitely choose the creamy and flavorful Pistachio gelato. While the house made tiramisu is bursting with espresso and has a near velvety texture.

 Couples on a date will enjoy the intimate setting, the soft sounds of Sinatra, and well executed dishes. Those couples should also plan some extra time for their meal. The service is quite relaxed and a meal may take more than a couple of hours. Prices are fairly reasonable and dinner for two should run around $80 with wine and tip.

Location: 217 N. Jefferson

Check out all of Hungry Z’s Reviews at www.hungryz.com

 

 

Read Full Post »

Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank, NBC Chicago Street Team

Until Chicago’s Blackhawks and Bulls get their respective seasons going again, there’s a void right now for local fans yearning to see some live professional action. As usual, the Cubs are way out of playoff contention and their ticket prices remain ridiculously high. The Sox, with just slightly more reasonable entrance fees, are eliminated too. (Don’t let those AL Central standings fool you, that division features 5 teams which could honestly struggle to win a AAA league. Even if the Sox actually learn how to field the ball, and “win” their division, the AL East Champions would crush them into a million little pieces come the playoffs anyway.) Yes, we all love our Bears and their flashy new QB, but you pretty much have to be a Federal bailout recipient to afford a halfway decent seat at one of their games.

Explore the Chicago Fire, out fair city’s MLS offering and your problem is solved. Start by reading the “Newbie’s Guide to the 2009 Chicago Fire,” and you’ll learn everything you need to know. The blog’s author is to soccer knowledge what the Fox network is to trashy reality television. As the guide states:Fire_Blanco_Soccer_ILBK101

“Midfield seats are $50- compare that to $350 (face value) for 50-yard line seats for Bears- and if you take advantage of section8chicago.com’s $15 ticket deals, you can go to a whole summer’s worth of Fire games for less than the cost of a single bleacher ticket to Wrigley. Yes, a Cubs bleacher ticket gives you a front row view to the Unintentional Comedy Extravaganza {and psychiatric disorder case study, I might add} that is Milton Bradley…”

…but instead of finishing his thoughts I’ll switch to a lighter topic. Section 8 is one of the biggest parties you’ll find. They hit the pubs before the game (match) together and commute on the same bus to beautiful Toyota Park and back. Once there, they wave enormous flags, sing, chant, stand, cheer and make merry better than the rowdiest of college basketball student sections. It’s like what you see in Europe- minus the hooliganism, broken bottles over the head, and rioting.
Seriously, this summer (or whatever you call it, calendar says summer even though the thermometer says October) you should see that Fire games rock, and right now the Toyota Park experience is more fun than watching two overpaid, underachieving baseball teams meaninglessly play out the string. There’s tailgating, bean bags, totally boss Mexican food and their coach Denis Hamlett even says fun things like “we pissed points away” (at least he did on this night, a 1-0 loss to hated rival D.C. United) at their post game press conferences. Oh, and did I mention that the Fire are within striking distance of the best record in their league? They do this thing called winning games too. For tickets, click here

See more of Paul M. Banks’ work at the Washington Times, Walter Football.com and The Sports Bank

Read Full Post »

Cara Carriveau, NBC Chicago Street Team

Okay, people think the biggest perk of working in radio is free concert tickets.  Or meeting celebrities.  Nope…it’s the free food, and lots of it!  Seriously.  Especially in a town that has so many incredible restaurants.  And of all the stations I’ve worked at, I’ve never seen so much complimentary grub as at WTMX.  It seems every restaurant in Chicago wants to feed Eric and Kathy – which makes perfect sense since their huge ratings dwarf the competition.  And lucky for me, Eric and Kathy are kind enough to share with the rest of the staff so I rarely even need to pack a lunch.

Yesterday I walked into work to find an amazing buffet of gyro’s from Kronos in Swany’s production studio.  He wisely moved the food to the kitchen so nobody made a mess near his equipment.  As soon as the food hit the table in the kitchen “the vultures” (myself included) descended up the chow.  Delicious lamb, incredible tzatziki (creamy cucumber sauce), onions, tomatoes, pita bread and even foil wrappers for each sandwich made.

Hungry?  Here’s the best part.  These tasty gyros are free for you, too!  Mark you calendar for Tuesday, September 1…it’s the premier of “Kronos Free Gyros Day”.  Yep.  You get a free lunch.  Head to www.kronosfreegyros.com to download and print a free coupon.  Yum!

Read Full Post »

Shreyas Shah, NBC Chicago Street Team

If you’re looking for some nightlife tonight that’s a little more dirty, ill-mannered, and risque than the usual fare, then check out Good for Party’s Disco/Sex Launch Party tonight at The Funky Buddha Lounge (728 W. Grand Ave.). DJs Sol Son, Josh Deep of Deeper Soul Recordings, and Larry Miller are going to play the most salacious underground disco sounds from the ’70s and early ’80s, and the girls of Chicago’s hush-hush erotic consortium Secret Skin will be there to showcase their titillating dance moves. It’s free to get in before midnight, so RSVP asap if you want to check it out.

Read Full Post »

Marcus Riley, NBC Chicago Street Team

The people behind most new bars and restaurants will do whatever they can to build excitement about their new venture.

Which is why it’s so curious that we haven’t heard many details about a new bar in Old Town, until we learned that they’ve been purposely trying to keep it under the radar — which of course, only managed to increase the buzz even more.

Well, the intrigue is over. The new spot is called Old Town Social, and it will have its “soft opening” on Saturday.

Get the deets at NBCChicago.com.

Read Full Post »

Chasity Chaos, NBC Chicago Street Team

Penny Starr Jr., producer of “The Velvet Hammer Burlesque” a self-titled documentary film on the Los Angeles neo-burlesque troupe, will be in town to conduct a burlesque workshop August 29 at Think Big Studios located at 2120 W. Grand Ave.Penny Starr Jr

The granddaughter of Philadelphia’s legendary burlesque performer Penny Starr, Starr Jr. decided to dedicate herself to uplifting the legacy of her grandmother after producing the film. “You can only live with the circus for so long before you want to join,” said Starr Jr.

The workshop boasts the following classes:

11am-12pm – A Burlesque Routine in 10 Moves or Less

12:15pm-1:15pm – Rhinestone Application & Design Principles

1:30pm-2:30pm – Take it Off: Pop vs. Peel Striptease Techniques

In addition to holding the workshops, Starr Jr. will also assist Chicago’s own burlesque production company Vaudezilla in celebrating the year anniversary of BROADZILLA!, a free burlesque show held the last Friday of every month at Exit, 1315 W North Av.

For more information on the workshop, visit http://vaudezilla.com/pennystarrjr.htm

Read Full Post »

Cara Carriveau, NBC Chicago Street Team

Wow, this is a way cool bang-for-the-buck concert experience. Don’t miss your chance to see The Plain White T’s in a very intimate setting tonite (8/28/09). Only 1500 tickets are being sold for Lake Effect, a charity show they are headlining tonight at The Palmer House.

$75 includes three bands performing (Plain White T’s, Chicago blues artist Melvin TaylorPWTs Dave Tirio, Cara Carriveau and Tom Higgenson plus the Gentlemen Of Leisure Band which happens to be one of President Obama’s favorite Chicago bands)…it also includes an open premium bar, an amazing array of food stations created by the Palmer House’s Executive Chef Stephen Henry and Pastry Chef Fabrice Bouet…and, as an added bonus, a limited number of behind-the-scenes tours of Palmer House will be conducted by docents from the Chicago Architecture Foundation.  Most importantly…100% of the proceeds benefit the Rainbow Hospice and Palliative Care’s Good Mourning Program (providing support for families and children of all ages in overcoming the loss of a loved one).

Don’t pass up this opportunity to help out a wonderful organization while enjoying a phenomenal experience.  Got o www.LakeEffectParty.com or call 847-692-8897 to purchase tickets.

Tom Higgins from The Plain White T’s just spoke to me about this show – listen here:

Read Full Post »

Marcus Riley, NBC Chicago Street Team

What you missed: a new destination for frugal female fashion, networking flirty-girl style and a new Wrigleyville spot to drown your sorrows after another Cubs loss.

Thursday turned out to be rainy and cold, but that didn’t mean things weren’t getting hot behind closed doors. It takes much more than temperamental weather to make Chicagoans even think about hibernating, as evidenced by the healthy crowds at all three spots we hit.

Click here to view the pics and video on NBCChicago.com.

Read Full Post »

stephanie_small1Stephanie S. Green, NBC Chicago Street Team

 

 

 

It was only because of the invitation from my best friend who was visiting from out-of-town that I went to Road to Freedom: Photographs of the Civil Rights Movement 1956-1968 at the Field Museum.  It just kinda seemed old hat – I’ve studied civil rights and didn’t think I had anything to gain from the exhibit, so it wasn’t really on my radar.  But, as I viewed the exhibit and rounded the corner from the first wall, I found myself frozen in place and time, and in tears.

The Road to Freedom is the largest exhibit of civil rights photos and memorabilia that has been assembled in twenty years.  As soon as I entered the space, I was struck by the solemn and reverent air, an ambiance created by low lights, deep blue paint, the continual looping narrative of a video tape about the civil rights area and, of course, the photographs. The solemnity was so profound that people spoke in hushed tones and there was the occasional “shhhhhhhhh” directed toward children.

Alone . . .

Alone . . .

While the civil rights era is not a new subject for me,  nor for most of us, the images were compelling.  I was struck by the youth of the people photographed, unknowns as well as Jesse Jackson, Julian Bond, John Lewis and, of course, Dr. King.  But, my breakdown occurred when I reached the photos of the desegregation of Little Rock Central High. Young Elizabeth Eckford did not get the message that the date for the African American students to start school had been pushed back by one day. So, this fifteen-year-old girl arrived alone and was the target of unimaginable venom. Even as I look at the picture today, I get chills as I think of the strength it must have taken for her to keep moving.

The exhibit gave a clear sense of the commitment people had to this movement that lasted not days, weeks or months, but years. Years to attain basic civil rights. Years.  Commitment.  Personal danger.

As I moved further through the exhibit, I was captivated by photos of people on the sidelines. African-Americans cheering on the protesters – both Black and White.  Whites glaring as protesters passed in front of their homes.

I remember after Roots aired, a popular Black male comedian joked with great braggadocio about what he would have done to massa if he were Kunta Kinte.  The Road to Freedom made me wonder: what would I have done if I were alive then? Would I have been on the front line or would I have been on the sidelines cheering the protestors on or would I have been too scared to participate in any way whatsoever.  I then asked myself – is what I’m doing now reflective of what I would have done then? What about you? Are you a participant or a spectator? Are you committed to a cause? Passionate about it?

I urge you to visit the Road to Freedom: Photographs of the Civil Rights Movement 1956-1968, and take your children or a child in your life and ponder these questions.  It is a powerful reminder of changes that can be made with sacrifice and commitment.  The exhibit ends on September 7th.

Stephanie!
Looking for more To-Do?  Visit www.so-LAZE.com!

Read Full Post »

Fayth a.k.a. Relaxocat, NBC Chicago Street Team

Chicago’s very own Grape Juice Records celebrates it’s 5 year anniversary with a big bash on Thursday, September 3 at Double Door!  How big of a bash?  Well, they’ll have a 6 band line-up including The Lower 48 and Phillip Morris.  Also look forward to a special appearance by Duff Goldman, Food Network’s “Ace Of Cakes”,  not only performing in his band, …soihadto…, but also bringing along a very special custom cake.  So if you ever wondered what those fancy cakes taste like, now is your chance to find out.Grape Juice

Grape Juice Records is one of Chicago’s growing labels with a grassroots philosophy and a full roster of some great indie and folk inspired bands.  “We like people. And the environment. And a lot of other things, too. That’s why we have each band choose an organization, to which we’ll donate a portion of our revenue from that band’s album sales. The band can match our contribution, for twice the giving.”

Tickets are $6.  Double Door is located at 1572 N. Milwaukee Ave.  Doors open at 7 p.m., shows begin at 8 p.m.  Show up early and receive a free CD compilation, “Grape Juice Family & Friends Vol. 1”, a splendid sampling of their bands’ music.  And don’t forget to have your cake and eat it too!

Read Full Post »

Fayth a.k.a. Relaxocat, NBC Chicago Street Team

Join your fellow music lovers at Beat Kitchen on Friday, August 28th for the Stimulus Music Show, an eclectic show featuring live music from bands Stimulus-Flyersuch as the underground, Brit influenced Blah, Blah, Blah and Chicago’s own indie/psychedelic, Loyal Divide.   This is the first show of its kind bringing forth not only some up-and-coming indie bands, but also everyone who attends will receive a discount card good for promotional discounts at some of the city’s favorite places.

Among the many businesses offering Stimulus discounts – Threadless Tees and ICream plus free stuff from Time Out, Wow Bao, and 312UNES (312 Beer).   Discounts are valid for a month, so you’ll be able to reap the rewards of the Stimulus Music Show until summer’s end.

This is first in a series of upcoming Stimulus shows.  Keep an eye out for future shows with new music and even more discounted offerings from local businesses.  For more information and a free music sampler download, click here.

Read Full Post »

Marcus Riley, NBC Chicago Street Team

The About Last Night crew will be out and about the city Thursday night, grabbing video, taking pics and engaging in occasional bouts of raucousness and general tomfoolery. Don’t wait until Friday morning’s online segment to see what you missed. If you want our cameras to catch you and your crew in action, here’s our plan:

6 p.m.: A’Gaci Grand Opening, Palmer House Hilton
The city’s female fashion followers have been getting excited about A’Gaci, a new clothing and accessories store that won’t break the bank. AnnaLynne McCord of 90210 is supposed to be in the house tonight. Now I know we said to come meet us out, but unfortunately, the invite list on this bad boy has already closed, so how about catching up with us at the next stop?

7 p.m.: Jazzin’ at the Shedd
Seems like all week we’ve been posting stories about how it’s your last chance to do this or that before the summer’s out, and this event falls into that category. We haven’t made it out to the Shedd Aquarium all season, so tonight’s the night. Detour JazFunk and The Tim Fitzgerald Trio are performing, so let’s all pray for good weather. Shedd Aquarium, 1200 S. Lake Shore Dr., 5 – 10 p.m., $12

8 p.m.: Rockwood Place Grand Opening
Just what Wrigleyville needs, another bar, right? Well, this one looks kind of interesting — a dive bar without the stuff you typically hate about dive bars, meaning you’ll feel safe actually eating the food. Rockwood opened earlier this week and tonight, they celebrate. Rockwood Place, 3466 N. Clark

Read Full Post »

Marcus Riley, NBC Chicago Street Team

Thousands of people will flock to Oak Street Beach this weekend to see some of the best sand volleyball players in the world compete in the AVP’s Chicago Open, but more than a few eyes will be on a certain duo who are posing with little more than sand in the September issue of Playboy.

They’re known as Team Gorgeous — Michelle More and Suzanne Stonebarger — and they’re taking their newfound notoriety in stride.

Click here for pics and video. You know you want to.

Read Full Post »

The University of Michigan Club of Greater Chicago is kicking off its new Young Alumni group with what you would expect from a young alumni group…a giant party with lots of food and booze! Join the UMCGC tomorrow, Thursday August 27th at LaSalle Power Company, for the Young Alumni Launch Party and celebrate with Michigan’s second largest alumni group in the country.

The party starts at 8:00 PM and will feature a three hour premium open bar, food provided by Lincoln Park’s newest hot spot Sarks in the Park, and prizes from all around Chicago including a reserved table at Duffy’s for football and dinner for two at Rockit (co-owned by Michigan alum Arturo Gomez).

The cost of the event is $40; tickets can be purchased online by clicking here and will also be available at the door.

Read Full Post »

See Jay-Z for Free

Marcus Riley, NBC Chicago Street Team

If you want to catch Jay-Z at the House of Blues next month it’s going to take a bit of luck — and a lot of persistence.

Hova’s Sept. 8 show is free, but you have to win the tickets. The Samsung Summer Krush concert series has already hit several cities already, with a different artist at every stop (sorry about your luck with that Darius Rucker show, Nashville).

Only a certain amount of tickets will be released each day at random times on the Summer Krush Web site, so it looks like you have to continually check back.

Click here to read the rest of this post on NBCChicago.com.

Read Full Post »

Cara Carriveau, NBC Chicago Street Team

My jaw hit the floor when I heard that Jordin Sparks was touring with Britney Spears on the second leg of her “Circus” tour (coming to the Allstate Arena September 9).  C’mon…Jordan is a sweet innocent 19 year old that proudly wears a purity ring and just spent the summer on the road with super-sweet-goodie-guys The Jonas Brothers (also known for their purity rings)…if I was Jordin‘s mother I’d be very nervous knowing she’ll be on the same bill as Britney.  They’ll be spending a lot of time together on the road.  Do I really need to list the reasons why it’s worrisome?  OMG.  Heck, maybe Jordin‘s behavior (ie, morals) will rub off on Britney…wouldn’t that be special!

I just spoke to Jordin Sparks for WTMX and she is thrilled about all of the things going on in her Jordin Sparkscareer.  She’ll be part of “VH1 Diva’s” airing live on September 17 hosted by Paula Abdul, and Jordin is very blatant about her opinion regarding Paula no longer being a judge on American Idol.  Listen here:

Catch Jordin Sparks at “Skate For The Heart” September 19 at the Sears Centre Arena.

Read Full Post »

JenChicago, NBC Chicago Street Team

Last Saturday, my teammate Kristin, and I explored Chicago in the World’s Largest Urban Adventure Series, City Chase Chicago, and Matt was there to catch the excitement on camera! From jumping hurdles, to strutting the catwalk, the race challenged our bodies, minds and… well, sneakers. The race started at 10am on Saturday, August 22 and concluded promptly at 4pm. We went “all out” for 6 hours straight and now, 3 days later, we are still sore. But it’s that good kind of “I did something really awesome and it’s totally worth it” sore, you know?

Watch the adventure unfold here!

PS: Thanks again to Chicago Sport and Social for sponsoring our registration for the City Chase and to The Joynt, Retro Club and Piano Bar, for sponsoring the video coverage. Sponsors rock!

Check out more exciting videos at JenChicago.com!

Read Full Post »

Marcus Riley, NBC Chicago Street Team

Nobody would argue that Wrigleyville “needs” another bar/restaurant the concept, but the minds behind the new Rockwood Place — opening Tuesday night — believe they’re bringing something new to the scene.


Rockwood Place
(3466 N. Clark) is the latest project from the Eat Well, Drink Better group, also responsible for LaSalle Power Company, Angels & Mariachis, English and the Grand Central.

It features “dive cuisine, easy to spell drinks and occasional roadhouse” — you know the kind of place where a mechanical bull might fight right in.

Click here to read the rest of this post on NBCChicago.com.

Read Full Post »

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

Sooo many restaurants to try and sooo little time to try them.  In-fact, most of us get so caught up going to the same restaurants week after week that we forget about the fine dining options that the city has to offer.  One particular example is Aria, located in the Fairmont Hotel.  The New World Asian restaurant offers a contemporary twist on conventional dining.  Chef de cuisine Ronnie Aleman prepared a meal that was memorable and that deserves to be revisited.

Aria Main Dining Room

Aria Main Dining Room

Aria’s culinary team brings a diverse ethnic influence to the menu.  From the start of their “amuse” to their “dessert flight” the cuisine boasted flavors and spices that prompted an eagerness to take the next bite and to try another course.  The following menu items is a guide to Aria’s New World Asian experience.

Amuse:

“aria spiced” grilled shrimp, sweet summer watermelon, cilantro basil cucumber broth

Appetizer Flight: 

Hot and sour baked rock shrimp, sweet and sour chili glaze

Spicy citrus calamari, lime zest, scallion

Shrimp and pork potstickers, ponzu

Aria “sushi poppers” (created by Ronnie Aleman)

 Salad: 

Organic Heirloom Tomatoes, sherry marinated shallots, English cucumbers, brioche croutons, extra virgin olive oil, organic green and opal basil, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper 

Fish:

Soy and mirin glazed Black Cod, organic pea puree, sugar snap peas, hon shemedji mushrooms, organic pea tendrils

 Meat:

 Wagyu strip steak, butter glazed organic carrots, summer baby squash, wild mushroom demi glace

 Dessert Flight: 

“Banana Split” sorbet: banana, strawberry, chocolate, pineapple sorbets

Take Five:chocolate cheesecake, savory pretzel crust, peanut butter ganache, caramel sauce

Banana Bread Flan:  spicy oaxacan sorbet, candied walnuts, banana bread tuille

Aria Dessert

Aria Dessert

Ambiance and service at Aria is what to be expected from a fine dining environment.  The service is attentive, detailed and knowledgeable.  The rich colors of the restaurant makes it a comfortable and warm place to dine with friends or a significant other.  The Aria Bar is an upbeat diversion from the main dining area and is highlighted by an illuminated sushi bar.  Communal style tables make it easy to share dishes or meet new friends.  It’s a perfect place to meet for sake or a glass of wine from their extensive wine list.  In 2008 Aria’s Bar received an award for “Chicago’s Best Date Spot”.

Aria is on the ground level of the Fairmont Hotel, 200 N. Columbus Dr.  For more information visit www.ariachicago.com.  To get an inside look and a review of the newest and best restaurants in Chicago check out Fete Select TV on www.efete.net.

Read Full Post »

Glenn Murray, NBC Chicago Street Team

The Gold Coast’s top restaurants come together for the first annual Taste of the Gold Coast this Wednesday, August 26th at the Sutton Place Hotel 21 E Belleview Place from 6PM to 9PM. Guests delicious tastes from a number of the gourmet restaurants in the area presented by each restaurants head chef. Pama and Hypnotic will serve cocktails during the evening and the Joe Freer trio will perform live. There will be a silent auction and an after event reception at Tavern on Rush from 9 to 11. Proceeds from the event benefit PAVE
(Promoting Awareness Victim Empowerment)

Taste of the Gold Coast is presented by Cece & Melinda with Raymi Productions. The duo produces unique events, travel excursions and receptions. For more information visit their website at

www.raymiproductions.com

Read Full Post »

tom_kolovos_wordpressnewTom Kolovos, NBC Chicago Street Team

Chris Rock once joked that as a father you have  only two responsibilities: to keep your son from winding up on the (crack) pipe and your daughter from winding up on the (stripper) pole.

After last night , I would add a third:  keep your daughter  from winding up on Donald Trump‘s “Miss Universe Pageant.”


Slideshow: Miss Universe Competition


Billy Bush was the host of the festivities and his main function was to repeatedly remind us that contestants would be sporting some of the hottest bathing suits. Ever. OMG!

All buttoned up in an ill fitting tux, he kept promising us that “lots of skin” would be on display.

He wasn’t kidding. As the top 15 contestants changed into their suits, we were treated to a photo shoot of contestants in (perhaps the tackiest of) string bikinis. When Flo Rida came out to perform, bikini clad contestants who were not lucky enough to make it into the top 15 were lucky enough to be able  to sashay behind him, in the manner of what used to be disparagingly called “a video ho” on MTV.

After the contestants were winnowed down to the top 10, we were  finally treated to a synopsis of their inner life, whilst they stood there in….. string bikinis.

Billy’s pithy revelations were limited to their ages and  their hobbies, which were almost exclusively limited to  exercising, shopping and watching reality television. Really? At least in the  pre-feminist ‘ 70s, pageant organizers wanted us to know so much more about the contestants, including their measurements and favorite color (peach used to be the most common, as I recall).

It is difficult to walk away from the telecast last night without thinking that the “pageant” should be properly retitled Donald Trump Presents:  I’d Like to Hit That (When Melania Isn’t Watching).” The top 15 we were told were chosen by an (unnamed) panel of judges and by representatives from the “Donald Trump organization.”

When we were introduced to the judges who were actually going to pick the winner, I couldn’t help but wonder what qualification any of them had to pick the winner of, well, anything.

Some of the judges (both male and female) were downright creepy in that sex trafficking sort of way. And because, unlike the Miss America pageant, the Miss USA/Universe pageant has never  bothered with the pretense that it is a scholarship competition in which some (dubious) talent is involved, sex–sorry, skin– is all it can traffic in.

Oh, it turns out Miss Venezuela won the title, even though Miss Dominican Republic was by far the most stunning and beautifully dressed of all the contestants this year. She had to settle for runner up.

I, simply, better settle down.

tomkolovos.com, TheBestDressedLIst.com

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »