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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!

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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.

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

palmwrap[1]

Palm Wraps

The song “When You Wish Upon A Star” was made famous in the Walt Disney movie Pinocchio and includes the lyrics “Anything that your heart desires will come to you”.  The song has some other inspirational lyrics such as, “If your heart is in your dreams, no request is too extreme.  When you wish upon a star as dreamers do”.  Well the folks at Nozumi Japanese Cuisine must have sang that song a few times, because their “wish” has come true.  Nozumi is the newest Japanese restaurant to open in the North Western suburbs, but the 45 minute drive out to South Barrington is well worth the trip.

The literal translation of Nozumi is “wish”.  Their wish is to take you on a journey of the five senses while exploring their Japanese cuisine.  Nozumi’s culinary team consists of world travelers that give their own interpretation of the menu items, therefore they soar above the traditional approach to sushi.  Nozumi is all about sharing and Executive Chef Andy Park created the menu with that in mind.  Even the Nozumi Menu Box – a collection of five books, or menus, are meant to be shared.  This new approach is distinctly separated into a beverage menu, plates menu, sushi menu, sweets and treats menu, and a chefs daily special menu.  I had numerous favorites out the fourteen dishes that were shared, but the following were at the top of the list.

Scallop Ebisu – seared scallops, saffron cream couscous, asparagus, tomato confit, soy balsamic reduction.

Shinju Crab Cake – Shiso remoulade, scallop puree, sawgani, haricort vert, shitake vinaigrette.

Chef’s Special Signature Roll – Roasted pepper seasoned spicy tuna, cucumber wrapped in nori topped with Japanese sea bream in ponzu sauce.

Togarashi[1]

Togarashi Maguro Penne Pasta

Nozumi doesn’t only serve sushi, but meat and pasta dishes.  Don’t leave the table without trying their tender Taiyou Short Ribs.  The Kobe Steak melts in your mouth and the Togarashi Mauro Penne Pasta has a sun-dried tomato cream sauce and big eye tuna combination that will have you biting your fork.  Dessert is a must with the Shokura Dream chocolate layered cake and the Natsuki Apple Brulee

Nozumi is simple yet stylish.  The sushi bar area is upbeat and vibrant, but a separate dining area appears to be more relaxed and chilled.  The bar area is roomy enough to enjoy a cocktail and an entree without being too crowded.  Owner Fred Hong was certain to hire a staff that was knowledgeable about their cuisine and serious about their service. 

Yes, Nozumi appears to have had their wish fulfilled, but the true test will come from the wish of their customers.  Nozumi is located at 100 W. Higgins Road in South Barrington.  For more information log onto www.nozumirestaurant.com.  Also check out www.efete.net and Fete Select TV  for an inside look at the newest and hottest restaurants in Chicago.

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

 Finding the time to play golf is a challenge on many different levels, especially while living in the city.  The first challenge is making the tee time early enough to avoid being on the course the entire day.  Secondly, the location must not be too far from the city and should have easy access away from major traffic.  Thirdly, the golf course itself must be void of a lot of water, trees and brush that will limit the number of balls that I lose.  Lastly, but most importantly is the club house food, which should be good enough to make up for bad shots and a high score.  The Glencoe Golf Club seems to have at least the latter locked down with their newly renovated restaurant Max’s on the Green.

Glencoe Golf Club

Glencoe Golf Club

Larry Estes, President and founder of Catering by Max’s, opened Max’s on the Green with the intentions of making it more than a food venue for golfers.  His hopes are to attract locals to dine at Max’s on the Green throughout the week, regardless of golfing.  The menu consists of breakfast and lunch, but the dinner menu deserves the most attention.  Atypical of most club house options dinner entrees include dishes such as the Salmon Filet, Lobster Ravioli, Pork Chop and Skirt Steak.  The Greg Norman Kobe Burger was delicious and consists of an 8 oz beef burger grilled to your liking and served on a pretzel bun.  Be sure to complement the burger with cheese fries or onion strings.  Although Max’s is known for their Italian Beef the Grilled Chicken sandwich topped with your choice of BBQ sauce or honey mustard is the way to go.   They still have the traditional golf course grub, including sandwiches, salads and wraps and a few dessert menu items.  All meals can be enjoyed inside the restaurant or on the outside deck overlooking the ninth hole.  Max’s transforms into a traditional restaurant setting with waiters and servers only during dinner hours.

The Glencoe Golf Club is located on the North Shore at 621 Westly Rd and is not too far from the city.  The public golf course is gorgeous and scenic.  For more information about Max’s on the Green and the Glencoe Golf Club log onto www.cateringbymaxs.com or www.glencoegolfclub.com.  Check out www.efete.net or Fete Select TV for a review of the newest and best restaurants in Chicago.

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

Most great ideas are inspired by personal experiences or passions.  In the restaurant/food  industry,  many concepts emerge from the love of a particular ethnic food, a visit to another part of the world,  or a need that has yet to be addressed.  Bottom line is that we create based on our own motivations, successes or challenges.  Being known as the “fat kid” growing up was challenge for Matt Matros, but helped to motivate him to shed 60 pounds eight years ago.  His vision after dropping the poundage was to help people everywhere live the healthy lifestyle that they want to live.  His brainchild?  “Protein Bar”, a new food venue downtown Chicago where folks can quickly get a meal with essential proteins needed to live a healthy active lifestyle.

Protein Bar provides quick and healthy items high in protein and fiber, but low in sugar.

Protein Bar provides quick and healthy items high in protein and fiber, but low in sugar.

“Protein Bar” has signature protein drinks, signature whole grain bowls and a plethora of boosts too choose from along with fresh made wraps, soups and salads.  There is also an option to build your own drink or bowl if you’re not feeling any of the signature options, but a must try signature protein drink is the “Wrigley Peeled”, consisting of chocolate protein, a choice of milk, all natural peanut butter and banana.  “Protein Bar” uses either whey, soy, or egg as a protein and has four different types of milk.  Some of their boosts include an “Anti-Oxidant Blend”, “Fat Burner Blend”, “Hangover Blend”, and “Libido Blend”.  Gotta try the “Libido Blend”!  Their whole grain bowl options are steel-cut oatmeal, quinoa, power granola, or Kashi Go-Lean Crunch.  Try the “Crackberry” bowl if you like Acai berries mixed with vanilla protein, yogurt, power granola and a fresh banana.  All items are high in protein and fiber and low in sugar.  The “Chipotle Roast Beef with Guacamole” highlights their wrap selections.

“Protein Bar” provides nutritional facts about all of their menu items, which is very helpful for the health conscious individual.  The menu explains the differences between proteins and compares the nutritional differences between their signature items and similar selections found at Jamba Juice, Starbucks, Duncan Donuts and Chipotle.  Overall, “Protein Bar” is a new favorite of yours truly, another former “fat kid”, and will be a frequent stop on my protein tour.

“Protein Bar” is located at 235 South Franklin Street.  For more information log onto www.proteinbarchicago.com.  Check out www.efete.net for more restaurant reviews and an inside look at Chicago’s newest restaurants via Fete Select TV.

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

Many city dwellers perceive Chicago’s suburbs as being foreign, out of touch and not very cosmopolitan. The thought of driving 20 to 30 minutes to enjoy an evening out with friends or just a fabulous dinner is not the norm, since the city has so much of that kind of stuff to offer. Of course suburbanites beg the differ and their dining options continue to increase to include fabulous local restaurants with big city appeal. Glen Ellyn’s Glen Prairie restaurant is one of those new upscale places that has both city folks and suburbanites raving.

Glen Prairie Interior

Glen Prairie Interior

Glen Prairie offers casual sophistication in a warm and comfortable atmosphere. The menu is contemporary American cuisine and their ingredients come from local contemporary American farmers. Starter dishes like “Grilled Sweet Corn and Tomato Bruschetta” and “Buttermilk Fried, Herb Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms” are straightforward and very tasty. The “Wisconsin Pike” and “Bison Ribeye” are entrees that were well prepared and very memorable. Other signature must haves are the “Miller Farms Seared Chicken” and the “Parpadelle Carbonara” served with “Caw Caw Creek proscuitto, slow roasted tomatoes and fresh herbs. Their side dishes are the perfect complement to any meal, but the “Mac N Local Farmed Cheese” is what foodies dream about. A variety of desserts plaster the menu, but their “mini” order option satisfies the sweet tooth with smaller tastings of at least six of their offerings, including the “Bing Cherry, Brioche Bread Pudding”, “Strawberry, Peaches & Cream Trifle”, and “Heavenly Brownie Sundae”. The cocktail menu boasts a plethora of signature martinis and their wine list is solid and affordable. In-fact, expect to enjoy a very pleasant dinner in an upscale environment without breaking the bank.

Glen Prairie is connected to the Crowne Plaza Hotel at 1250 Roosevelt Rd, but this restaurant could just as well be connected to a Four Seasons. The service was great and the surroundings were elegant. It’s about a 30-40 minute drive from the city, but the trip was well worth the trip. Glen Prairie serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and offers a gluten free menu. Click here for more information www.cpglenellyn.com  Also check out www.efete.net and Fete Select TV to get an inside look at the newest and best restaurants in Chicago.

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

Wouldn’t it be nice if everyday was Friday?  Well supposedly the tropical island of Eivissa evokes the type of energy where every night out seems like a Friday night celebration.  Eivissa, the Catalan name for Ibiza, is known for its summer club parties that attract a ton of tourists and a lot of publicity.  It’s no wonder why the owners of the new tapas restaurant Eivissa are attempting to bring that same type of energy to Old Town.  The concept sounds cool, but can the new kid on the block pull it off?  Maybe for partying, but not so much for the cuisine.

Eivissa Cocktails

Eivissa Cocktails

The best thing about Eivissa are their “Islas Baleares” cocktails and “Chupitos” (infused shots).  Their standard red sangria is infused with vanilla beans and Ceylon cinnamon for a warm, spicy taste.   But after the alcoholic beverages nothing else is memorable, except for their Pinxtos, a unique mixture of morsels on toasted bread.  The “Salpicon Aioli”, consisting of different seafood was the winner in this category.  Their classical tapas are just average and be sure to order more cocktails to help wash down the  dry “Croquetas De Jamon”.  The “Carnes-Meats” section featured a duck and asparagus dish.  My advice is to take the asparagus and leave the duck.  The dessert menu featured a tart, rice pudding, and a chocolate churro, but I was too disappointed with the service to move on to the next  course.  Oh, did I mention service?  Two words sum up the service.  Not good.  The communication or lack there of with the server was frustrating.  There was no explanation of the menu and dishes were slower than normal to arrive at the table, despite a sparse lunch crowd.  The restaurant is nicely designed, but a return visit is necessary to determine the vibe.  Eivissa is not a first choice for tapas, but their fabulous drinks may have the Old Town folks sipping libations on their patio throughout the summer.

Eivissa is located at 1531 N. Wells St.  Log onto www.eivissachicago.com for more information.  Check out www.efete.net for more restaurant reviews and an inside look into Chicago’s newest and hottest restaurants.

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