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Archive for the ‘getting around’ Category

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

It’s rare to find a restaurant in the burbs that I really like which is not in the city. I found such a gem in the western suburbs a couple of weeks a go. Prasino, the new eco-friendly restaurant in LaGrange, promotes “green” and is doing it very well.

Prasino (means “green” in Greek) is the first eco-friendly restaurant for Chicago’s western suburbs. With an eco-chic design, and family friendly environment, this 200-seat restaurant is committed to promoting organic agriculture and supporting local growers & artisanal food producers whenever possible. General Manager Peggy Maglaris Kopley was inspired to start the concept after her husband was diagnosed with stage four non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2007, that brought the family’s attention back to the importance of “all things fresh.” She soon started buying organic products from the grocery store and attributes her husbands recovery to his organic diet.

Prasino’s menu appears to have similar menu items that you can find at other restaurants, but the key is that they’re organic and healthy. For example, their “Blue Crab Nachos” appetizer are served on baked yukon gold crisp with steamed blue crab, mango salsa, and cilantro bearnaise. The “Grilled Fresh Monterey Calamari” features blistered cherry tomato, braised cannellini beans, baby spinach, sea salt crustini, and a truffle mustard vinaigrette. Prasino has an attractive list of meat and seafood entrees, but I chose to sample the “Miso Chili Glazed Alaskan Black Cod” and the “Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna”. Both dishes were extremely fresh, delicate and complemented by steamed basmati rice and baby bok choy. The flavors were light but present and the wasbai cream added a pleasant touch to the tuna. Side dishes range from “Grilled Asparagus” to “Roasted Cauliflower Gratin”. I thought the “Asparagus & Corn Risotto” made with truffle oil and lemon butter would be a dream, but it turned out to be a little too salty.

Prasino has a drink menu that works for everyone. Besides the standards of specialty coffees and teas, other organic highlights include fruit and veggie blended juices, sodas, smoothies, bottled beers and ciders, and sparkling wines. They have nice red and white wine selections, but Prasino’s specialty alcoholic cocktails take the blue ribbon. Be sure to order my two favorites, the “La Grange Manhattan” and the “Rose Hipster”. Top off your dinner with the apple waffles or bread pudding, although the latter of the desserts was very average.

Prasino is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and has affordable prices. The atmosphere has a friendly family feel and the service was good. It’s a great place to dine with kids and is located steps from the Metra station in downtown LaGrange enabling easy access from the city and other suburban areas. My wish is for Prasino to bring their concept to the city. Check out Prasino at http://www.eatgreenlivewell.com. Visit www.efete.net/blog.html to view my “Tru” ratings for Prasino.

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

After a disappointing experience at the grand opening of the new restaurant Epic, in the downtown River North area of Chicago, I was a little hesitant to return for dinner.  The event that evening was far too crowded and a little unorganized that left me pondering the concept of the new hot spot.  I didn’t know whether they it was a club or a restaurant, so I decided to go back and check it out, after receiving a sincere message from their Maitre De.

Upon arrival, I again had the same thoughts.  Is this a club or a restaurant? But as soon as we were seated in the main dining area, the concept became very clear.  The downstairs bar area provides more of a lounge atmosphere with hip music, couches and hi top bar seating.   The upstairs space is where the feasting takes place.  The entire place is massive complete with four levels, including a rooftop terrace.  Epic’s design is simple and straightforward.  The architecture has a loft like appearance with elements of exposed brick, steel and concrete.  It didn’t wow me, but it got my attention.

Epic’s dinner menu is filled with beef, chicken, pork and fish entrées.  Seafood items plaster most of the appetizer section and they have a nice selection of salads and side dishes to choose from.  Since I’m a connoisseur of lamb shanks, I opted for the “Spiced Lamb Shank” entrée.   Our waiter assured me that their lamb shank would be right up there with the best that I’ve had.  Well, I wouldn’t necessarily give it those props, but it was definitely tender and succulent.  The combination of spices complemented the shank and the lamb jus was pungently flavorful without sweetness.  My dinner guests enjoyed the “Chilean Sea Bass” and “Salt Crusted Market Fish For Two” entrées.  The presentations for both dishes were done well.  The “Brussels Sprouts” side dish prepared with bacon, honey and chestnuts tempted my taste buds.  The sweet and savory combination helped me forget that I was eating brussels sprouts for a moment, but sprouts are sprouts.

Dinner was capped with dessert.  The “Chocolate” and “Pumpkin & White Chocolate” desserts were sampled.  The former consisted of flourless cake, mousse and hot fudge, and the latter was made with toasted white chocolate cake, roasted pumpkin ice cream and chestnut caramel.  Both desserts were solid, but didn’t have me licking the plate.  The service started off a little slow, but picked up as the dinner progressed.  The atmosphere was festive, which helped the cocktails to flow more readily, although, I wouldn’t recommend Epic for a quiet evening at dinner.  Expect to drop $50 per person on dinner before getting your keys back from the valet and be prepared to hang out for after dinner cocktails in the downstairs bar area.  Overall Epic’s cuisine was solid with a good atmosphere and decent service.  My final “Tru” rating is TTt.

   To view my “Tru” rating system for Epic visit www.efete.net/blog.html.
 

 

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Glenn Murray, NBC5 Street Team

This Saturday the Legacy Initiative hopes to reverse a trend as it raises awareness of its mission with its first fundraiser this saturday 7PM at the Wine Consortium 110 East 23rd Street.

Our news media is inundated with stories of death and despair. There seems to be a self-inflicted endangerment to the lives of our youth. We are in a time of self-gratification and we have become short sighted in our decision-making.”This core issue led to the creation of the Legacy Initiative.

The mission of the Legacy Initiative is to assist in the establishment of an individual’s personal legacy of success, by making critical thinking their cornerstone. They establish a platform for making our students aware of programs, scholarships and opportunities that may not otherwise have been realized; provide a necessary pipeline of highly qualified candidates for educational, entrepreneurial and employment needs; and thus create a synergy between high school, college and technical schools, and various industries.

The non-profit organization whose solution will change the present self destructive course our underserved youth are travelling and are exposed to. That solution to the issue, is teaching them the habitual behavior of critical thinking.

 The donation to attend the event is $50 where the proceeds will help fund the organization’s ability to teach this essential, life altering behavior. Included in your donation will be a food provided by Lee’s catering. Dessert will be provided by Lizzie’s Confections. A hand-picked selection of fine wines will accompany the meal. A drawing for prizes including a grand prize cruise vacation for two.

Live music from Dudley Owens’ Jazz trio. A Spoken Word performance by Young Flame. Music throughout the night will be provided by the a special guest DJ I.N.C.

For more information on The Legacy Foundation, visit their web site at
www.tlionline.org

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Glenn Murray, NBC5 Street Team

Authenticity Preview Party: 4 Guys, 4 Girls and a Board Game

This Saturday at Dream (1750 North Clark) games will be played, disagreements will be had, the audience will roar and if you’re lucky you might walk away with a cruise vacation. No, Dream is not about to move to a talk show format. The lounge will host a preview party for the growing in popularity relationship board game Authenticity. “We had so much fun we decided to do it again” said game creator Sheila Brown. “But this time we wanted to give the audience an even more realistic look at the board game complete with conversations that follow”.

If you don’t know about the game (www.playauthenticity.com) it’s great for couples, (dating or married) to get to questions that you may not ask in general conversation. The topics range from Sex and Romance, Religion, Family, Finance, Life and Real Life Situations. There are also some fun twists in the game like the “Pick Your Pleasure” Section and every turn around the board requires you to plant a kiss on your partner (helpful if you may not provide the “right” answer for your partner). All in all the game is design to help the relationship win.

The brave souls joining me on the panel answering questions from the game include: Theresa Carter (Street Team and Thelocaltourist.com), Melinda Joseph (Raymi Productions), Derrick Lane (Art After Dark), Luke Jensen (Luke Jensen & Company Management and Consultations), Tish Murray (actress, model), Michael Hahn (beyondthegoodlife.com), Zondra Hughes (author and editor of N’Digo Magapaper). The event is hosted by Sarah Vargo of Maven. Doors open at 7PM with a pre event reception and the game panel begins at 7:30. Attendees who purchase a copy of the game that night are entered into a drawing for a 6 day cruise vacation for two. Admission to the event is free. For more information call 1-866-533-9884 or email info@220communications.com.

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Eric Smith, NBC5Chicago Street Team

On location at TEAMiFIT Lifestyle Center-676 N. LaSalle Street-with Founder, President and Wellness Coach-Amy Leffel.

Speak a little bit about your background-life before TEAMiFIT and how all this happened?

I received my undergraduate degree at Indiana University in Exercise Physiology and Public Health.  I worked as a personal trainer and exercise specialist-teaching fitness classes at gyms across the city.  Then I went back to school to get my masters degree in Education, where I worked with kids from 1st grade all the way up to 8th.  While as a school teacher, I was also teaching fitness classes and working as a personal trainer on the side.  So I have about seven years working in fitness.  This has been my passion, so doing this doesn’t feel like work.

TEAMiFIT at Chicago Soul Music Festival

Amy Got Soul

The initial concept was exercise on location at different outdoor venues across the city.  What gave you the idea to get started that way?

I’ve had this vision a long time.  April through September every year we hold outside classes.  So you’ll have classes happening all around the city…Lincoln Park, West Loop, West Town, River North, Gold Coast, Lake View and South Loop.  We also take these classes to the beach.  And as the weather cools we bring this more of this action to our space here.

So what makes TEAMiFIT different?

TEAMiFIT Lifestyle Center

TurboKick

TEAMiFit is a one-stop shop promoting health and wellness!  You can come here and get fitness classes for adults and kids.  We have Strictly CORE, TurboKick, Zumba, Strength Boxing classes and more…we’ve got all kinds of flava flava-including Power Yoga and Power Pilates.  We’ve got specialized workshops like plyometric training focusing on high-intensity movements for high impact.  We also have small group personal training called ‘Armed and Dangerous’ for only six people, to work with a personal trainer at a discounted price.  And beginning in November we are going to have educational classes ‘Doing Life Together’, where our lifestyle coaches will educate based on personal experience using their expertise to focus on what our members want.  Topics will include like how to eat right when working out, how to balance life, how to spend smart over the holidays, educational self-massage, couples massage, etc.  The lifestyle coaches will be here to educate and build relationships with our clientele.  We’re basically doing life together.

TEAMiFIT

TEAMiFIT

Amy is definitely on the move in Chicago and wants to get your body moving.  For additional information and register for classes visit TEAMiFIT online and Facebook.  To hear the entire interview, download the audio casts below.

Part 1  Interview w/Amy ‘Body’

Part 2 Interview w/Amy ‘What You Waiting For?’

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[Glenn Murray, NBC5 Street Team

On a recent visit to the House of Blues Foundation Room, I was overwhelmed by the atmosphere the venue has created for its guests and members. The private area incorporates an eclectic, multicultural vibe and offers a series of intimate rooms outfitted with inviting sofas and 300-year old antiquities which include a hand carved Rosewood bar from the Raj’s palace in India.

Members can enjoy a secluded space with intimate enclaves in the Divinity, Buddha and Ganesh rooms. The ceiling of the Ganesh room is comprised of the actual door leading to the Raj’s private prayer room while hand-carved, 18th century wall coverings adorn the interior.

the Foundation Dining Room is decorated in 19th century French carved mahogany, Oriental carpets and treasures from the Anheuser-Busch mansion. A contemporary American menu encompasses influences from the American south and Pacific Rim.

The ten-person private table sits in a luxurious dining room embellished with mahogany walls, velvet curtains and intricate artwork.

The foundation room members get access to special events like the upcoming Taste of Tuscany where members enjoy wine, olives, bread, cheese and antipasto. We will also also be highlighting liqueurs from Silvio Meletti. Events like this are frequently provided to its members.

For more infromation about the House Of Blues Foundation Room
Phone :312-923–7050
concierge.foundationroom.chicago@hob.com

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

Some business people have the ingredients for success.  They find something that works and try to duplicate it.  Restaurateur Jerry Kleiner is a perfect example of opening several restaurants very similar in style and experiencing a level of success.  His restaurants include Red Light, Carnival, Giocco, Marche and most recently 33 Club.  Those venues are located in the city, but Kleiner has ventured out to Hinsdale to open Il Poggiolo and is making his mark in the burbs.

Salmon Dish

Salmon Dish

Il Poggiolo is located on the site of Hinsdale’s first silent movie theater and means “The Balcony”.    The interior is typcial “Kleineresque”, rich in colors including vibrant red upholstery.  The atmosphere is warm, classy, casual and elegant.  Big picture windows allow for a nice view of the outside.  Like a lot Kleiner restaurants the food is solid.  Nothing will really blow you away here, but dishes are nice, savory, and satisfying.  Favorites to consider are the Arancini (rice balls filled with mushrooms and taleggio) and the Pesce Spada con Caponata (sword fish, vegetables, raisins, pine nuts, capers).  The Lamb Shank special was good, but could have been a little more tender and their Risotto del Giorno with corn, leaks and mushrooms met, but didn’t exceed expectations.  The Pan Roasted Halibut and Pan Roasted Seabass rounded out other solid dishes.  The Fig Tart dessert was something special and comes highly recommended by yours truly.

Il Poggiolois a nice addition to downtown Hinsdale and should continue to provide Kleiner with a string of successful hot spots.  The vibe and location could make it a fan favorite for the locals.  Il Poggiolois located at 8 East First Street in the historic Harold R Zook building.   Log onto www.ilpoggiolohinsdale.com for more information.  Check out www.efete.net for more reviews on the newest and best restaurants in Chicago.

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