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Archive for the ‘sports bars’ Category

Hungry Z, NBC Chicago Street Team

So you’re out bowling with your buddies and suddenly your stomach starts growling. What do you do? You go to the snack bar and get some nachos or an overpriced bad piece of pizza, right? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy chips and manufactured cheese as much as the next guy, but what if there was something better? What if there was a place that offered bowling, bocce, real food, and didn’t smell like a bowling alley? This place does exist and it’s called Pinstripes.

Upon arrival you make a choice if you want to sit in the dining room and eat, bowl and eat, or play bocce and eat. Yup, they will serve you anything off the menu even if you’re bowling. I decided to sit down and eat before knocking down a few pins. My guest and I decided we were going to enjoy simple comfort food, so we started off with the fried mozzarella. It’s simple but satisfying.

For main courses we decide on the baby back ribs and the prime rib dip.
The full slab of ribs are tender and features a tangy barbeque sauce with just a hint of citrus behind it. The Prime rib dip is like a French dip, but better! Tender sliced prime rib is served on an awesome pretzel roll with a side of au jus and is sooo much better than that stale slice of pizza you get at your local bowling alley.

Desserts were admittedly a disappointment. The warm cookies and milk look amazing, smell great, but only taste ok. Reason being that they are not fresh baked cookies, but rather warmed up cookies that start soft and eventually end up hard. The other disappointment was the lemon and orange sorbet. Served inside their own shells, these normally refreshing treats had the distinct flavor of freezer burn.

After dinner it was time to partake in some of the swankiest bowling around. Flat screen TV’s replace the old boob tubes, leather couches replace hard plastic chairs, and smooth R&B replaces the usual top 40 playing at most alleys. This is almost too nice to bring your buddies to!

Dinner for two will run about $40-50 depending on your choices and bowling runs $7 a game in the evenings. A bit pricey if you’re with your with pals but not too bad if you’re on a date. Food alone warrants ** and ¼ but factor in the ultra cool music, bocce, and bowling and Pinstripes deserves *** out of ****.

Locations
100 West Higgins
South Barrington, IL 60010
847-844-9300

1150 Willow Rd
Northbrook, IL 60062
847-480-2323

Check out more  reviews at HungryZ.com

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by April Lawson

Let’s face it. The typical a la carte fashion show in the Windy city is really more club promotion/publicity stunt to get folks drinking at some of the most notable swanky digs.  The models aren’t real and the fashion is barely believable.  The only thing you can count on is the buzz from the alcohol. That is just what I expected Sunday night at Cubby Bear for the Bryan K. Osburn Collection of Holiday evening wear.  But I must say wholeheartedly that I was pleasantly shocked. What the audience got was high-end couture worn by professional runway models at the most surprising venue.

Brian K. Osburn & Models

Osburne presented evening gowns with clean classic lines and party dresses with bold distinctive prints. He is far from a neophyte, having studied with Vera Wang, and being featured in French Vogue.

Songstress, Diana Ross

This man of the ‘cloth’ has styled a roster of Hollywood divas including the Grand Dame Diana Ross, actress Lynne Whitfield and singer Natalie Cole. More than a rising star, Bryan K. Osburn is perched firmly atop the fashion food chain. Not half bad when you’re a block away from the beer guzzling bleachers of Wrigley Field.

Kim Kardashian look-alike, Model Annie Mendez in a bold flower print gown

Dream Team Stylists, Cindy, Sue, Lillian & Linda

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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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rebecca_1Rebecca Taras, NBC Chicago Street Team

Black-tie event season is starting to pick up, but let’s face it; not everyone can spring for the $500+ ticket – no matter how big your charitable heart is! Well it seems as though many organizations are becoming savvy to the fact that many folks (and large corporations) are having to tighten their financial purse strings lately. Here’s a roundup of some fun events happening this weekend that support and celebrate a variety of causes while showing you a good time in the process.

Skyline Soiree – June 5th

The American Cancer Society’s inaugural Skyline Soiree will be held on Friday at the Harris Theatre Rooftop at Millennium Park. The event was created to balance out their annual grandiose black-tie affair, providing a lower priced event that still provides a high level of fun and entertainment. Hosted by the Associate Board of Ambassadors, the whimsical carnival theme will help guests get into the summer spirit.  Festivities begin at 7:00 p.m. with cocktails and hors d’ oeuvres and will include a silent auction, raffle and (of course) carnival games. Tickets are $75 in advance and $95 night-of-event. For more information, please call 312.279.7213 or visit www.skylinesoiree.org.

Lumen

Lumen

“Let’s Hear it For the Girls” Summer Solstice Fashion Show – June 5th

OK, so this event isn’t exactly charity related, but something should be said for supporting young up and coming Chicago designers, right? Chicago hotspot, Lumen (839 W. Fulton Market) and Outfit Events will present the launch of its monthly female-focused event, “Let’s Hear it for the Girls Party” with a  Summer Solstice Fashion Show featuring summer collections by designers Miriam Carlson, Tiffany Albert, Caroline Borucki and Britney Devaris. If you like what you see in the show, it could very well be your lucky day. Sometime after 11 p.m.,  one piece from each designer’s line will be raffled off! All ladies can enjoy complimentary cover all night long and complimentary champagne cocktailsfrom 9 to 11 p.m.  Remember if you already have plans, this is a new monthly event that you should definitely pencil in your social calendar.  RSVP  required to  info@lumen-chicago.com.

Guiness Book of World Records Bar Crawl – June 6th

This may be the very first bar crawl you’ll ever participate in – or think about joining. Thirsty crawlers from around Chicago are lining up to take part in a once in a lifetime event: The World’s Biggest Bar Crawl. Never mind your liver, at least a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Children’s Heart Foundation. This Saturday, Chicago will strive to break a Guinness World Record originally set by 3, 163 bar crawlers in New York City . In order to break the record, all crawlers must visit at least eight bars on the course, with the opportunity to celebrate their accomplishment with an event after party at Stone Lotus Lounge. On crawl day, beginning at 10:00 a.m., participants will earn a participating bar discount card to enjoy $2 drafts, $1 soft drinks, great food and other specials along the way.  Any participants that reach the 8 pub goal will also receive discount cards to use at each sponsor’s establishment, at a later date. NBC-Krawlinweb[1]

The itinerary involves stops at several food and bev hotspots. Some of the participants include: Bull & Bear, Glascott Saloon, Prost!, State Restaurant & Lounge, Uncle Fatty’s Rum Resort, Mad River Bar & Grille, The Coach House, Toasted Ox and more.

The event is expected to have more than 5,000 crawlers on board. A portion of each $15 ticket will be donated to benefit the Children’s Heart Foundation. And, an official judge from the Guinness Book of World Records will be present to make sure that all abide by the official record-breaking rules. For more information please visit http://thebiggestbarcrawl.com/.

Blondes VS. Brunettes Powder Puff Flag Football – June 6th

The longstanding rivalry between hair colors continues with a new fundraiser to Chicago, Blondes vs. Brunettes (BvB). As the name suggests, 22 blondes and 26 brunettes take the competition to the football field in a fundraiser on behalf of The Alzheimer’s Association presented by the Gold Coast Wellness Center. The national organization, began in Washington D.C. over four years ago, brings talented, bright and beautiful women together locally for the ultimate powder puff football game in the hopes of raising funds for patients with the disease.

Game day starts at 1p.m. this Saturday at Diversey Harbor (2601 N. Cannon). A $25 donation will also provide access to the BvB After Party. Fans and patrons can also anticipate halftime entertainment as well as live music from local band Morley Shertz.  After the game, everyone will head over to Sheffield’s (3258 N. Sheffield) for the official Blondes vs. Brunettes After Party, from  3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Expect barbecue, beer and cocktails, as well as $3 Bud Light and Miller Lite bottles in honor of the festivities (those who donated $25 at the game will receive two free beers compliments of Sheffield’s). For more information, please visit http://www.blondesvsbrunettes.com.

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Itika Oldwine, NBC Chicago Street Team
When most folks hear the words “Fight Club” the late 90s cult classic film starring Edward Norton and Brad Pitt (before the latter was a part of the infamous moniker “Brangelina”) comes to mind. Maybe it’s because, for most of us, the movie was our first real introduction to the flesh pummeling activity known as Fight Club. Fast forward 10 years later and I have found myself ringside at Fight Club Chicago at Joe’s Bar on Weed St. Now, I’m the first to cringe when I see a drop of blood oozing from the smallest flesh wound, so being in the midst of potential blackened eyes and busted lips had me ready to take flight to the nearest exit, but alas, I prepared myself for the worst and stayed put.

Chicago Fight Club, hosted by Jabb Boxing Gym on Grand Ave. near Ukrainian Village, happens four times a year and is organized by Michael Garcia and Dominic Pesoli of Jabb. The duo came up with the idea to put together the Chicago Fight Club events after noticing that many of the patrons at Jabb are “white collar guys that are totally into sparring.”

The first bout of the night was an exhibition between Duayne Richardson and his trainer Carlos Castaneda.

Richardson v. Castaneda

Richardson v. Castaneda

After the two went toe-to-toe, it quickly became obvious that this Fight Club was a little different than the movie’s secret society of men acting out their aggressions and beating their opponents to a pulp. Nope, this Fight Club showcases 24 guys from the Chicago area who put on their gloves, step in the ring, throw a few punches (and take a few too) while their pals cheer them on. Now that’s the kinda Fight Club a gal like me can appreciate.

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

Three weeks a go the buzz was humming about Market, the new West Loop sports bar that was opening on Randolph Street.  Chicago White Sox GM Kenny Williams is supposedly part owner of the new venue along with two other Chicago restaurateurs.  Unfortunately, on opening night the restaurant was serving food, but not beer, wine or cocktails, due to the lack of a liquor license.   However, last week Market received the green light from the city and is making up for time lost by serving great cocktails to complement their terrific food.

Market is a multi-faceted restaurant and sports bar that offers guests traditional American classics with an aesthetic flair by Chef Joe Rosetti.  The menu boasts a variety of appetizers, salads, specialty sandwiches, pizza, burgers and main dishes.  Chef Rosetti’s cuisine is definitely above average  compared to other recently opened luxury sports bar in the city.  The “Mac and Cheese Muffins” and “Popcorn Shrimp” are must have starters.  Their braised beef and BBQ pulled pork “Sliders” are not only very tasty, but plentiful.  Sanwedges to try are “The Body Builder”, piled high with oven roasted turkey  and “The Strip Club”, consisting of Chile rubbed chicken and peppered bacon.  If you like turkey burgers, then try “The Herky”, served with avocado and thick cut turkey bacon and truffled fries.  Folks are raving about the “Mustard and Maple Glazed Salmon” main dish and the giant chocolate chip dessert served warm a la mode style.  There really isn’t a dish that is not worth trying at Market and you will forget that it’s supposed to be bar food.

Market’s main dining room is sports bar chic and has a casual vibe.  The first floor features 20 42′ inch flat screen televisions and one 92′ inch projection screen.  They have three outdoor places to eat and drink, including the Beer Garden, Rooftop Lounge and Sidewalk Cafe.  The summer months should make this a great place to hang and enjoy great weather and food.

Market is located at 1113 W. Randolph in the West Loop.  The restaurant opens for lunch at 11 am.  Log onto www.marketbarchicago.com for more information.  Watch Fete Select TV on www.efete.net for an inside look into the newest and hottest restaurants in Chicago.

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D.C. “Fete Select TV” Crenshaw, NBC Chicago Street Team
Chicago’s South Loop has experienced a gradual makeover within the past 10 years. South Wabash has its own restaurant row with hot spots lining both sides of the street.

A new restaurant, Tapas Valencia (1530 S. State St.), once housed a restaurant and nightspot called SoLo, but the venue recently changed hands and is hoping to attract local customers to taste their version of Spanish cuisine.

Like most tapas places, Tapas Valencia boasts a full menu of hot and cold dishes, including soups and salads. However, the satisfaction factor is hit or miss.

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

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

Finding a good place to watch the big game can sometimes be a challenge.  The challenge is finding a place that has a good crowd, plenty of televisions, but most importantly great food and drinks.  Chicago has a lot of those places to choose from, but if you just head a little north of downtown, O’Donovan’s Pub & Restaurant is the place to be.xmas-20081

O’Donovan’s, located in the North Center neighborhood, can attract a large crowd.  However, the venue is spacious enough for everyone to get a table or a seat.  The food tastes much better than the average pub in town and the cocktail specials are just what you’re looking for in this economy.  Their menu consists of burgers, sandwiches, paninis, wraps, soups, salads and a variety of appetizers.  But they also have hearty entrees such as “Prime Rib”, “BBQ Baby Back Ribs”, “Brick Chicken” and “Chicken Marsala”.  The mashed, baked and au gratin potato side dishes alone will have you salivating.  O’Donovan’s has weekly drink specials.  Depending on the day, you can enjoy five dollar martinis, five dollar champagne cocktails, or half off a bottle of wine.  There is also a thirty cent wing and two dollar burger and fries night.  Their Sunday brunch features an all you can eat buffet for $13.95 that includes an omelette and waffle station.  O’Donovan’s Easter brunch will increase to $15.95 per adult and $7.95 per kid.

A nice touch that also adds a little entertainment to O’Donovan’s is Al James the magician.  Al provides ‘table-side” magic for guests that includes card, coin and rope tricks.  He creates images with balloons for kids, which makes the restaurant family friendly.   O’Donovan’s outside cafe and beer garden makes it the perfect hangout place during the summer months, which keeps north-siders coming back again and again.

 O”Donovan’s is located at 2100 W. Irving Park Road.  For more information or to make brunch reservations call (773) 478-2100 or log onto www.odonovansbar.com.  For more restuarant reviews and to get an inside look at the newest and best Chicago restaurants, watch Fete Select TV on www.efete.net.

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

Upscale tends to be the trend in sports bars these days.  Or at least the hope is to attract a more sophisticated and trendy crowd that would typically choose a hipper environment to spend their Thursday, Friday or Saturday nights.    The new River North sports bar, Bull and Bear, not only lures the hipsters, but attracts businessmen and women during the lunch hour.91101

The name Bull and Bear obviously recognizes two of Chicago’s major sports teams, but also refers to the financial world and appeals to the CBOT crowd.  The restaurant has a nice layout and designs, but can get a little too close for comfort when crowded.  After talking with a few friends about the menu, I wanted to see if their food matched the upscale vibe.  Well, let’s just say that it didn’t measure up.

The Bull and Bear menu has a ton of starters, salads, main courses, sides and short order options.  There are a plethera of burgers and sandwiches to choose from as well as a few non bar food entrees.  The “Onion Tower” and “Sweet Potato Fries” were typical.  Nothing great, but nothing bad about either dish.  The “Lobster Bisque” was deemed to be a signature item and would have been if it wasn’t served luke warm.    The “Double Cut Grilled Pork Chop” was a little dry and didn’t live up to the waitresses billing,  but my dining guest really enjoyed his “Pulled Hammy” pork sliders.  We were graciously served with a sampling of all of their desserts, which consisted of a chocolate chip cookie draped in vanilla ice cream, cinnamon doughnut holes with three different dipping sauces, peanut butter bread pudding, and a “Thrilla in Vanilla” shake with Filandia Vodka and Godiva Dark Vanilla Royale.  They were all savory, but I wouldn’t necessarily have paired peanut butter and bread pudding together.  The service started off sketchy, due to a mishap with my reservation, but the owner and waitress attempted to make up for it.  Don’t expect upscale service during crowded nights though, because it is still, however, a sports bar.

A unique feature to Bull and Bear are their 5 premiere booths with Personal Table Taps.  Each booth has two taps (1 domestic, 1 import) that dispenses beer, which is recorded on a meter at the table.  The goal is to allow guests to pay-as-they-pour and enjoy a no-wait standard of service.  This feature should be a big hit for beer lovers.

Bull and Bear has only been open for about 3 weeks, so they may still be working out the kinks.  Although they didn’t meet my dining experience expectations for what they deem as an “exclusive luxury sports bar”, I may give them another shot once the madd rush dies down.

Bull and Bear is located 431 N. Wells St.  For more information log onto www.bullbearbar.com.  Also watch Fete Select TV on www.efete.net to check out the newest and hottest restaurants in Chicago.

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Justin Allen, NBC5 Street Team

“You’ve got to be f’ing kidding me.”

My friend Todd looked up from his beer and stared at the TV. The Dodger bench had emptied and the entire team was celebrating on the field. Joyous fans celebrated in the stands, while shots of dejected Cubs fans and players peppered the broadcast.

“Why would anyone want to be a fan of this team?” he asked. Even the faith of the most obsessive fans can be shaken after a 100 year drought.

Here come the man-tears.

Here come the man-tears.

“Seriously, why do we subject ourselves to this crap?” he continued. “It doesn’t matter what team they put on the field next year or the year after or ten years from now; it’s never going to happen. Never.”

My God.  What a thought.  There we sat, a table of the most strident fans the Cubs could have and we’re questioning why we do it.  And as we sat there debating the logistics of swearing off the Cubs forever, it dawned on me: we’re not going to give up the Cubs. Ever. Why? Because we’re fans. Not just any fans…CUBS fans.  More than any other fan in any other sport, we hold on to the notion that, regardless of how bleak the chances might be, there’s always still a chance the Cubs can do it.  There’s always next year.  And the year after that and the year after that and…

So for all my fellow Cubs fans out there, this song’s for you. It’s by the late Steve Goodman, a great American singer/songwriter and, just like you and me, a true, Cubbie blue, Cubs fan. I’m sure you’ll agree this pretty much sums up what being a Cubs fan is all about. Click here to check it out.

Until next year…or the year after that…

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Justin Allen, NBC5 Street Team

I’ve never seen a bar crowd lose hope faster than they did last night at Murphy’s Bleachers during Game 2 of the Cubs/Dodgers NLDS series. Watching the game with a few friends (all of whom are die-hard and weathered Cubs fans), we were amazed at lack of faith in the Boys in Blue displayed by even the most ardent and naive of bandwagoners. I’m sorry, but isn’t that the bandwagoner’s sole job? To cling to the idea of a miraculous 9th inning, come-from-behind victory despite all odds and evidence to the contrary?

So what? So let's dance!

So what? So let's dance!

Anyway, this got me to thinking…when it comes to watching the Cubs (or any other Chicago sports team, for that matter), your sanity depends on one thing: expectations. For example: you order a hot dog and demand that it tastes like a steak.  You silly goose.  That’s like asking any white male with a pulse not to dance to a Huey Lewis and the News song…it’s just not going to happen.

The same can be said for watching the Cubs in the postseason.  When they’re down 5-0 in the second inning with their ace on the mound, it’s a little unrealistic to scream at the TV when they can’t mount a comeback, then swear off the Cubs until next season.  But what’s a Cubs fan to do?  It a tough and depressing world out there for us, right?  Hell, this video (written and produced by yours truly after last year’s postseason sweep) is a testament to that fact:

Well here’s a tip I picked up from my father-in-law (a lifelong southsider and, get this, a White Sox fan) on how to deal with the heartache and stress that comes with being a Chicago sports fan: lower your expectations and lesson your anguish. Don’t demand that hot dog you’re mealing down on start tasting like a filet, and don’t think for one second that goofy white dude’s going to stop cutting a mean rug to “The Heart of Rock n’ Roll”, and for the love of all that is holy in this world, don’t think the Cubs are going to win it all this year.

Instead, base your expectations on a pitch-by-pitch, hit-by-hit and inning-by-inning basis, and you might make it through this postseason with some sanity…and you just might see a hell of a comeback while you’re at it!

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

The Mrs. and I like hanging out in the Wicker Park area often for breakfast, brunch or lunch. That area has been bustling since the revitalization period started to take place when I arrived in Chicago about nine years ago.  We have some favorites on West Division Street such as Milk and Honey, Crust, and Smoke Daddy BBQ.  But now I can add a new spot to our list of Wicker Park places that I had never tried before — Moonshine! 

Moonshine, surprisingly has a cool and hip vibe that makes it a nice place to dine or watch the game. The menu consists of specialty thin-crust pizzas, sandwiches, appetizers and several hearty entrees.  While searching for a better brew to pair with its upscale bar cuisine, Moonshine decided to make beer in-house instead of looking elsewhere. 
They tapped brew master Reverend Bob Kitrell, a former Goose Island brewer, to handcraft quality beers with spirit and soul.  Although I’m not much of a beer drinker, I thoroughly enjoyed the two brews that I gulped down, while watching the thrashing of Ohio State at the hands of USC. 

Moonshine’s current brews on tap are Sin City, Chronic, and Alpha Dog.  The Alpha Dog went nicely with my mahi-mahi tacos.  Reverend Bob brews his beers primarily in the American tradition, using ingredients from the Midwest whenever possible.  Drawing from his own experiences is what made him an award-winning Brew Master.

But what makes Moonshine a great place to hang out is their music. There’s nothing like kicking back a few while listening to the DJ spin a mix of classic R&B, house and current hits.  Good food, great brews and jammin music…nuff said! 

Check out Moonshine at www.moonshinechicago.com
1824 W. Division St., Chicago, IL (773) 862-8686

As always, check out Fete Select TV for an inside look at the newest and best restaurants around the globe.  Or check out www.efete.net for more restaurant tips.

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

Longevity in any industry is rare nowadays, but especially within the restaurant industry.  A combination of great food, service, location and price is what every restaurant owner desires, in order to make their venue last.  Chicago restaurant veteran Jimmy Alexander has been doing it for years, and now has another winner with his new restaurant Powerhouse.Elizabeth Taylor and Conrad "Nicky" Hilton flew in Alexander's dressing for their wedding recpetion in 1950.

Built in a historic landmark in Chicago’s Fulton River District, Powerhouse gets its name from the Western Railway power plant.  The main dining room vibe reminds me where powerful business meetings take place, but the separate bar area is much more casual and contemporary.  The menu, by Executive Chef Jeff Mauro, is packed with an array of traditional American dishes with a powerful twist.  One of my favorites was the Tartare of Hawaiian Ono, an appetizer item.  The Lemon Risotto and Wild Boar Rack and Loin were also very tasty and enjoyable.  One of the highlights of the menu was the famous Alexander salad dressing on their Romaine Hearts salad.  

Mr. Alexander explained that the salad dressing has been on the menu at all of his restaurants since the 1950’s.  In-fact, Conrad “Nicky” Hilton enjoyed the dressing so much, that he had it shipped to his 1950 wedding with Elizabeth Taylor, for their dinner reception.  Now that’s a history lesson for you.  The desserts are plentiful with a selection of cheescake, cake and sorbet, but the winner hands down were the Sweet Potato Doughnuts!  Being a doughnut connoisseur, I have to say that these were the best doughnuts that I’ve ever had.  Period!  Gotta try the doughnuts folks.

Powerhouse is located at 215 Clinton Street between Randolph and Fulton.  It’s open for lunch and dinner and their casual bar is a great place to watch the game.  You can check out their web site at www.powerhouserestaurant.com or call (312) 928-0800 for reservations.  As always, check out Fete Select TV for an inside look at the newest and best restaurants in the city.

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Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank

Welcome to the Scout Seats/Lounge!

“White Sox fans are very blue-collar” says Chicago Tribune White Sox beat writer Mark Gonzales in an annoyingly inaccurate commercial. Perhaps you’ve seen this Tribune spot where they showcase the beat writers for both local teams. Gonzales, and those who stereotype Sox fans this way are dead wrong.  I’ve profiled three places at U.S. Cellular Field where the congregating Sox fans have plenty of income. Or coin, moolah, bread, cheese, cheddah, scrilla, paper, bills, jack, c.r.e.a.m.,or dinero. Now I’ll bring you inside the most exclusive place in the park and the seats that are closest to the action, the Scout Seats,
which opened during the World Series year of 2005.

Amenities include
• Private lounge for entertaining clients and guests
• Premium buffet in private lounge with all beverages included
• Private access to best seat locations in the park
• Invitations to exclusive White Sox events

The heavenly decadent extravagance of the chef’s table buffet equals the gourmet spread you get upstairs in the Bards’ Room. (Where the credentialed media eats) Being a White Sox history geek, I know the dining hall is named after the Woodland Bards club, basically the Southside’s answer to the West Side Rooters Social Club (Cubs) or the Royal Rooters (Red Sox). 

Getting back to the gentlemen of this day, the Scout Lounge regulars tell me this is where Owner Jerry Reinsdorf and GM Kenny Williams eat.  I believe them too because I saw Manager Ozzie Guillen come in an hour before the lounge opens to get his coffee. (No cream, 2 Equals is how he took it) There’s a lot of juice in this club, and I’m not talking about the beverages. John Malevitis is an attorney who attended 79 of the 81 home games last season. When he missed two games in a row, the bartender called him to see if he’s sick or not. (Yes, I do plan on making this guy an interview subject for a future story) Baseball nerds like us also appreciate the Club’s most memorable feature: a behind-the-glass collection of prized White Sox memorabilia that is shown during the White Sox pre-game introduction on the scoreboard.

The scout seats are sold out. Click here for the waiting list

For the full and more detailed version of this story go here

For more Chicago Sports Discussion and Fun go here 

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Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank

Welcome to the Jim Beam Club!

“White Sox fans are blue-collar” says Chicago Tribune White Sox beat writer Mark Gonzales in an annoyingly inaccurate commercial. Perhaps you’ve seen this irritating Tribune spot where they showcase the beat writers for both local teams. Gonzales, and those who stereotype Sox fans as lacking in class are dead wrong. I’ve profiled a couple places at U.S. Cellular Field where the congregating Sox fans have plenty of income. Or coin, moolah, chips, wad, cash, bread, cheese, cheddah, scrilla, paper, bills, jack, c.r.e.a.m., lucre, coin, or dinero. I’ll introduce you to the place with the best overall views in the park, the Jim Beam Club. It opened last season in the spot where the press box used to be. This royal experience starts at $265 per seat, per game and is only sold on a full season basis. Sometimes a Multi-year commitment required for certain locations. (You can often find single game passes on Ebay and Craig’s List too.) However, once you get past that initial sticker shock, it’s a pretty good deal. Think of how much tickets cost. Add in parking, food and booze. If you splurge on any of these things, the total sum gets you in the ballpark of the Beam Club which includes Premium Levy Restaurant Buffet, Open bar till the 7th inning and In-seat menu and wait service (padded 22” open-air seats).

“This is our premier seating area and restaurant, but we also have the standard ballpark fare (nachos, hot dogs, burgers etc.) that people will always be looking for,” said Club coordinator Maribeth Reese.

Jim Beam Club Amenities

-Premium reserved parking in Lot D
-Concierge service
-Access to private lounge
-Flat-screen televisions (some showing other games) throughout the club and seating area
-Invitations to private on-field events and member parties
-Former player appearances in the Jim Beam Club lounge

That last was one I find the most interesting because Maribeth told me all about the celebrities that have visited the Club including John Cusack, D.B. Sweeney, Bernie Mac, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Derrick Rose and Jerry Springer. Yep, the people in this club have juice that’s 100% pure, no pulp. Check back soon and I’ll take you inside the Scout Seats and private lounge.

For more pictures and further detail on the club click here.

For more Chicago sports information and discussion click here.

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Cara CarriveauCara “Cara’s Basement” Carriveau, NBC5 Street Team

I lost my father to cancer.  I know far too many relatives and friends diagnosed with cancer.  While it’s no long the “c” word whispered secretly, cancer affects a staggering amount of people and it’s imperative to raise money to help find a cure. 

This Sunday night I’ll be the emcee of a night of music benefiting the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. The Chicago Music Guide presents Live Life is at Joe’s Bar in Chicago. Come experience live music from Live Life Benefit From The Chicago Music GuideParis Delane’s Tye Dye Skye, Jennifer Peterson Band, Ellen Rosner, Tracylynn & 55 South, Gina Gonzalez, White Buffalo Is Born and Twin Ray (Desiree Irwin). Doors open at 5:30, the live music begins at 6:30pm. Tickets are only $20 plus there is an awesome silent auction. You can bid on autographed items from Bon Jovi, Counting Crowes, John Hiatt, Steve Vai and more – CLICK HERE for the full list.

I had an enlightening conversation with Paris Delane on my podcast Cara’s Basement.  He’s passionate about his involvement with this cause – in fact, he radiates passion about life.  His adoration for his mother is especially touching as we approach Mothers Day.  Listen:

(Type my name in the search bar to see/hear more of my posts including interviews with The Bravery, Lovehammers, Triumph’s Rik Emmett, Shooting Star, Mike Tafoya comedian Lee Camp & more)

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Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team (video)

Everybody has their passion. I have a friend who’s so passionate about March Madness, that she took a couple days off last week to watch the games. And she has about 12 brackets going on various pools.

I enjoy college hoops, although I’m not exactly that hard-core. I will, however, be watching my West Virginia Mountaineers handle Xavier tonight in the Sweet 16. And I’ll be checking out the game at Stretch Run Sports Club & Grille in River North.

I first came across this spot to pick up a gift certificate they gladly offered to donate as a prize for our DanceOFF competition at the Healthy Living Expo a couple of weekends ago. A 12-year-old kid was the lucky recipient of a $75 gift certificate to a sports and betting bar. Nice move Marcus. At least his dad was happy.

The bar has more than 200 TV monitors spread over two floors, so there’s no chance you’ll miss the game. But it’s the off-track betting that makes this place different than your typical sports bar. The opportunity to wager on horse races across the country definitely makes that night out a tad bit more interesting. And if betting isn’t your thing, indulge in the food, which includes stapes such as steaks, Kobe beef sliders and other classic American food. Just make sure you don’t bet all your money before the bill arrives.

Stretch Run Sporting Club & Grille
544 N LaSalle
(312)644-4477

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