Archive for October, 2009

New Orleans is a city full of vibrant music, bold parties, and spiced up cuisine. So it’s no surprise that Pappadeaux is a big, bold, and loud restaurant eager to usher in some fun. Even on a typical Tuesday in October, Pappadeaux was drawing big crowds. Who says you can’t have fun on a Tuesday?

There are times when you dine out purely for the food and other times you go for an experience. The experience side is done right! Right off the bat, the hostess is knowledgeable and eagerly gives you a brief tour of the fresh seafood available that evening. Décor is geared for fun as well, with tall ceilings and monstrous chandeliers in the shape of compasses. pappagumbo


So now that you’re feeling bold and ready to have fun, all that’s left is that party in your mouth! Dishes are boldly seasoned and one could never mistake them as bland, but might some find them over seasoned? The appetizer trio is the first item sampled and it consists of shrimp and crawfish fondue, calamari, and fried alligator. The calamari was a bit chewy, the deep fried alligator could have passed for chicken fingers, but the true oddball was the fondue. Shrimp and crawfish swam in a soupy bath that had cheese melted on top similar to french onion soup.


Speaking of a soup type dish, next up was the gumbo. The flavorful broth was joined by spicy andouille sausage, shrimp, crawfish, and rice. A good gumbo has layers of flavor that work together, while the broth was flavorful, the ingredients didn’t work harmoniously. This gumbo felt as if it was thrown together and not created, as if each ingredient was cooked separately and then put together at the last minute without a chance for the flavors to marry.pappashrimp


First entrée was the Stuffed Shrimp Montage. Large oven baked shrimp are stuffed with crab cake and a parmesan cream sauce. There is no shortage of flavor here! If you’re looking to taste the shrimp, then there is too much flavor. Over seasoned and over sauced, these jumbo shrimp get lost in the flavor shuffle. The parmesan topped lobster is luckily restrained from the over seasoning. The salty characteristics of the parmesan actually work quite well with the very fresh lobster.


A smile is brought to my face when I see the dessert tray. Sweet potato pecan pie was a nice twist to the often too sweet dessert, while toasted pecans added a delicious crunch. Key lime pie is a personal favorite dessert, although this version is very sweet with only a hint of tartness, true key lime should be the opposite.pappapecan


Entrée prices range from the mid teens to upper forties, so diners have plenty of options. So what does all this add up to? A fun, loud, and bold restaurant that may please the everyday masses, but will leave true foodies with a little too much spice in their mouth.



798 W. Algonquin Rd

Arlington Heights, IL

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Eric Smith, NBC5Chicago Street Team

In the fourth year of installment, Fashion Focus Chicago once again lit up the runway with the latest couture fashions this past weekend at Millennium Park. A gathering of the City’s upscale fashionistas and industry insiders, this was a collection of creative intellectuals on the scene-to push the envelope of Chicago’s fashion industry. A call to all in the know that although we are in the Midwest-far away from the East and West coasts, the Windy City is here-determined to make an imprint in the marketplace, and we will do so with our own sense of style and flair.

Chicagos Hot Couture

Fashion in Focus

Within minutes of arriving I was graced with the presence of Melissa Gamble- Chairwoman of the Mayor’s Fashion Council, Jason Felger-Executive Vice President of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center, Alice Berry-Chicago Native-designer and Fashion Council member and the one and only Mayor Daley who launched the Council and subsequently Fashion Focus Chicago to establish the city as a fashion destination.

Most impressive was the fact that these collections debuted the next rising stars of top students from Chicago’s fashion design schools: Columbia College Chicago, The Illinois Institute of Art – Chicago, Academy Chicago and the School of the Art Institute Chicago.


Dress Code 2009

From the looks presented on the runway this evening, the goal of establishing a fashion mecca here is well in sight! To learn more and score event tickets visit
Fashion Focus Chicago.

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DWD signNBC5meby April Lawson

They say green is the new black, but what the devil is a Nutrition Stylist? Debra Ward is a River North designer with a unique holistic approach to style. Her company DWD doesn’t just design clothing, but also bodies from the inside out. While some designers ensconce their clients in layers of diaphanous fabrics, DWD believes as within so without -viewing the person as a complete being. After 25 years in the business, Ward has evolved from her role as Wardrobe Consultant to Nutritional Stylist and now offers Nutritional Coaching in addition to chic urban style.

“We provide a nutritional plan based on fashion desires so you get an ideal body to go with the style. You get Little Black Dress meals, and DWD InsideWrapped Sweater Jabari Glynnissoups to maintain that body. It’s smart, sexy and healthy.” Says Debra.

You get the complete package:  whole mind, whole food and whole body. DWD is Located at 501 N. Wells near Illinois.

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Fashion Pictures 222

Desiree, NBC Chicago Street Team

I cannot think of a better time of the year for a Victoria’s Secret Grand Opening than during the week of Chicago’s 2009 Fashion Focus. And, in what better location than downtown’s Magnificent Mile? But you know what would be even better, given the spirit of Halloween? If an angel flew in from up above—wings and all—to celebrate with guests. Wait a minute. That did happen! Well, almost.

While Victoria’s Secret Angel, Supermodel Marisa Miller, wasn’t wearing her wings, but instead, a pair of tight black jeans, platform heels and a pink t-shirt with the words, “Victoria’s Secret Chicago,” it still felt like our prayers—whatever they may be—were answered. Despite the wet weather, both men and women lined-up around Michigan Avenue anxiously awaiting autographs, and decked out with the pink VS striped umbrellas the store provided.Fashion Pictures 223

At first, I was taken aback, annoyed even. Not just by the angry crowds, ‘He told us to wait out there, so why do they get to wait in here?’, but by the bodyguards wearing earpieces. ‘Surely Obama is not back for fashion week, and surely Marisa does not think she’s the president, does she?’ I thought. But, the moment Marisa floated out, everyone—myself included—praised the lord (or maybe cursed him).

Her nose was so perfect and tiny, her forearms so skinny and toned; even her dirty-blonde hair looked like a halo rose high above her head (someone must have handed her ten of those umbrellas this morning). The women wished they’d worn heels today and the men wished they’d either worn heels too or done 500 crunches. At least some of us remembered to wear our Body-By-Victoria’s Secret push-up bras (shhhh…it’s a secret).Fashion Pictures 196

As Marisa sat down to sign autographs and we all did back flips with each of her hair flips, there was too much Grand Opening action to ignore. Make-up artists not only painted faces but gave cheekbone consultations, sales women handed out gift cards in excess of $500, and orange juice in champagne glasses danced around waitresses’ heads. Hmmm…perhaps they were really mimosas – I never got my hands on one so I can’t be sure.

To continue the spirit of the season, the place was decorated like a scantily-clad Halloween—but better. Golden wings in the sky, flying bras, tassels, fringes, and translucent corsets. I even spotted baggy mom pajamas for the evening’s end; a perfect opposition to transition from hours of suffocating breast-pushing and stomach-squeezing.Fashion Pictures 212

But, as with all of Victoria’s Secrets, the experience is never quite complete without the creepy guy. Typically, he’s someone else’s boyfriend sitting in the only chair that happens to be right outside YOUR dressing room. It was my cue to leave when I asked creepy guy, ‘Here with the wife, ha?’ and he naively responded with, ‘Yea. Shopping with my wife and daughter.’ Gross. I’ve never ever gone underwear shopping with my dad. Not even while running errands at Wal-Mart as he’s in the automotive section.

Although the spirit of this holiday was over for me, I long to use my gift card another day, but mostly, for smaller forearmFashion Pictures 208s and a nose that does not move left to right while making facial expressions.

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Spa EM side 2by April LawsonSpa EM Front

If you are accustomed to the factory assembly line get ‘em in and crank ‘em out philosophy of the average manicure joint then you are in for a treat at Spa Emilia on 21 West Elm. After 21 years they have developed a reputation for the best manicures and pedicures in Chicago bar-none. On any given day you may find yourself seated next to some of the city’s most successful and savvy businesswomen. Anyone from Christy Hefner to our nations current Social Secretary, Desiree Rogers to the founder of the original White party. Even HARPO Studio’s books a weekly spa day with them.

Partners Grace Sniezynski and Elizabeth Gilewicz are endearing and committed to providing unparalled customer service. You will be greeted at the door with a cup of organic herbal tea whose bright fresh green color is surreal.  (Even the premium tea leaves are a customized mix by wellness gurus DWD and cannot be store bought.)  “We want customers to have a lovely, pampering experience … an escape from their stressful lives. So every manicure and pedicure includes a fabulous massage to relax them and improve blood circulation,” says Grace. “Our staff is mostly European. The difference is more extensive training than the usual one year in the U.S. To protect our business, we are very selective about who we hire. They must take pride in what they do.” Spa Emilia is a Gold coast neighborhood jewel that no woman should miss.

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Jeff BarakaJeff Baraka, NBC Chicago Street Team

jp shot2

Tomorrow night, singer/songwriter Jen Porter and Chicago inde label, Stonecutter Records are throwing a release party for her 4th original studio album, “Closer to the Surface”. She’ll perform the entire album with a 7-piece band.

Her style is expansive and universal, though best described within rock/folk rock and adult contem- porary genres. You can’t help but love her power house voice, rhythmic piano and mellow, acoustic guitar.

9pm, Thursday, 10-22-09

Martyrs’ Pub, 3855 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago

$7 cover

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]Glenn Murray, NBC5 Street Team

The mortality rate for women with low to moderate income suffering from breast cancer remains alarmingly high. As a result, minority women are disproportionately affected. Understanding breast health and proper screening saves women’s lives.
To help raise awareness, Dance Pink presents a sultry evening of sizzling Latin dance music on Wednesday, October 21, 2009 from 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM at Rumba, 351 W. Hubbard Street, Chicago, Illinois tickets are $35 in Advance and $50 at the door. Dance Pink will benefit A Silver Lining Foundation.
The event features a Salsa lesson, fabulous raffle prizes including the grand prize a 6 day Cruise Vacation and an opportunity to dance with Chicago’s top instructors. Advance tickets are available for $35 which includes a buffet from 6:00-8:00 and one free drink. Tickets are $50 at the door. Complimentary cocktail and hors d’oeuvres will be served from 6-8pm.

Dance Pink: Tonight 6PM - 9PM Rumba 351 West Hubbard

Dance Pink: Tonight 6PM - 9PM Rumba 351 West Hubbard

The mission of Dance Pink is to raise awareness about the higher-risk and less positive outcomes of breast cancer among low-income and uninsured women and to raise funds to increase access to early detection and affordable screening.
Rhonda Bell, a Breast Cancer survivor who attributes her surviving the ordeal to her access to excellent health care, first held the event in 2007 with great success. This year promises to be even better in terms of support and attention.
I plan on attending Dance Pink tonight in support of all the friends and love ones who have suffered at the hands of this dreaded disease. I hope you’ll come out to support the event tonight. For advance tickets visit the web site http://www.dancepink.org.

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