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Baseball season in the Chi doesn’t start for another 27 days, 4 hours and 21 minutes so you have absolutely no excuse for not attending this dazzling event brought to you by the Chicago Lions Rugby Super League.

The Chicago Lions RSL team will be opening their season with a spectacular display of elite rugby competition by taking on their cross-town rival, the Chicago Griffins, at Hope Field (2431 W. Roosevelt Rd. Chicago, IL) on March 20th at 1 PM.

 The Chicago Hope Academy, the Lions community partner in Lions for Hope, will start the day with a high school match against DeKalb HS @ 10:30 AM. The Lions RSL B side will follow the A side match @ 3PM. The 3 games will be followed by a post-match party on the Lions field. In addition to high level rugby, USA Eagles (USA Rugby’s National Team) Head Coach Eddie O’Sullivan, will be present to scout for the national team and available for meet-and-greet throughout the day.

 The Chicago Lions rugby match against the Griffins on March 20th has all the makings of a great day for the Lions and all of our supporters. Rugby is growing rapidly in popularity, especially with the recent release of Invictus and the addition of rugby 7s to the 2016 Olympics, and this is our opportunity to display rugby in its preeminent form to the people of Chicago. Together with the unique partnership of the Chicago Hope Academy, and the introduction of rugby to high school students, it will be memorable sporting event.

 For more information about this event, please visit the website at www.chicagolions.com or contact Chicago Lions RFC President Keith Brown at 312.952.1028. If you have any questions or seek more information about the Lions for Hope partnership, please contact Chicago Hope Academy President Bob Muzikowski at 312.781.2139 or visit their website www.chicagohopeacademy.com.

Hope to see you there!

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

The Sea was angry, my friend. That was my first thought getting into Lake Michigan to begin my portion of the Chicago Triathlon Relay. My second thought, as I entered the cold 63 degree water (still an upgrade from the ridiculously unseasonable 58 degree air temperature) “Why the hell did I sign on for this again?” And why did I not seriously train for this? Well, it is the world’s largest triathlon, with 9,000 participants, and a couple of them are looking about as wide as they are tall; so if they can do it, I can do it. Besides it will make for a good story when the Olympics arrive in 2016.

I had three goals for my first ever organized swim race/triathlon.

1.) Finish – Do not drown.

2.) No hanging on the safety rope alongside the Monroe Harbor course. No doggy paddling or loafer stroke either. The only time I will break from forward stroke progressive motion to tread water is when I have to recognize and deal with any unforeseen hazard which will inevitably cross my path.

3.) Don’t worry about competing or time – but finish ahead of somebody at least. It’s .93 miles (1.5 km) from Balbo to the Shedd Aquarium and back to Randolph street. And I didn’t want to be like Bill Murray’s character in “Stripes.”dsc02810

“I noticed something, Soldier, you’re always last.”

“I’m pacing myself, Sir.”

To found out how I did click here.

To read the Chicago Tribune Local version of my Triathlon story click here

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

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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

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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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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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aprillawsonsmallApril Lawson, NBC Chicago Street Team

Spend a night out next week with Chicago’s OTHER basket ball league, the Sky. The Swish Dreams Celebrity Allstar Game takes place Tuesday June 2nd, at 7:00 p.m. at the UIC Pavilion. It’s the first-ever basketball battle of the sexes. The WNBA Chicago Sky will take on an all-male team. No mercy will be spared on the fellas-this game will be played complete with WNBA official rules, including WNBA referees, three-point line, shot clock, and an official WNBA basketball. So, go get ‘em girls!
Chicago Sky

The E -league roster includes Chicago natives Michael Clark Duncan, Larenz Tate, grammy nominated artists Brian Mcknight and Nelly, actors Donald Faison, Frankie Muniz and comedian Bill Bellamy. To purchase tickets go to http://www.chicagosky.net and enter the promotional code “swish.”

The Swish Dreams Fundraiser, now in its third year, is a mentorship program that integrates reading & math with basketball.

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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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Maureen Vana, NBC Chicago Street Team

Last Saturday night Crobar Chicago hosted the 1st Annual Dance for Alliance presented by Aveda Northbrook Courtaveda_dfa2The event aimed to raise funds and awareness for the Alliance for the Great Lakes.  The organization strives to restore and protect the Great Lakes region through a variety of methods including education, volunteering, and events.  Attendees on Saturday showed support by purchasing tickets, making donations at the door, and wearing blue to promote the clean water cause.

See Photos From The Performances

Performances by local dance and martial arts groups kicked off the party at 10pm.  Breakdancers Boogie Knights opened the set and were followed by The Defensor Method Kali-Eskrima, Gingarte Capoeira, and Extreme Kung Fu/Wushu.  After the wowing display of flips, tricks, and sticks the party continued with dancing until dawn.

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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

The word “authentic” is often overused in restaurants when referencing cuisine.

If you’ve ever traveled to Europe, especially Italy, then you probably have a good idea of what authentic food is all about. Chefs that specialize in Italian cuisine don’t always have the luxury of having grown up in the mother country, so they have to draw on their childhood kitchen experiences for inspiration and influence.
Such is the case with 200 East Supper Club‘s executive chef Tony Navarro.

The 200 East Supper Club is located on the main level of the historic Seneca Hotel. It’s a moderately-priced, business-casual spot that features live entertainment Tuesday through Saturday. The ambiance feels somewhat old school, with a splashes of elegant touches sprinkled throughout the main dining room.

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

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Paul M. Banks a.k.a. The Sports Bank, NBC5 Street Team

Check it out! I’ll be guest hosting the Morning Break sports talk radio show on Friday, February 27th from 10am-noon AM 1240. Listen online, at work, or in your car and maybe call-in too 773 792 1240 http://www.morningbreak1240.com/.

We’ll be discussing Chicago sports, the beginning of baseball, the coming of March Madness, thesportsbank.net, maybe the Soxman and much more. Part of the reason we sports fans love watching our teams play is because we have plenty of people out there to discuss and debate the players and games that we find so compelling. So NBC and Sports Bank commenters, be sure to come on out and partake in the discussion on Friday!

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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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Reggie Brown, NBC5 Street Team

In these uneasy and unpredictable times, I find comfort and release in one of America’s favorite pastimes. Do you know how good it feels to be able to launch a 12 lb ball 17 mph down a slick waxed lane to hear the sound of those 10 pins crash together? By the time the clamor ends, you’re staring down a naked alley devoid of pins and teaming with accomplishment. Yes my ‘friendsh’ (Remember McCain?) I’m talking about bowling. 

I found the perfect spot with the best bowling special in the city that’s easy on the wallet, fun and in a way, therapeutic. So here’s the deal, on Mondays from noon to 5, head over to Diversey River Bowl and take advantage of the $1 shoe rental and $1 per game special. Over at the bar you’ll find $2 PBRs and if  you’re a wing eater, there’s also a  15-cent wing special in the restaurant. Tip: Never eat wings and bowl at the same time. That’s disgusting. 

Diversey River Bowl is home to some of the best bowling technology in the city. You walk in and head over to the photobooth to take your picture upon entering — the goofier the better — and the pic pops up on the screen every time it’s your turn. Depending on how you bowl,the animations are entertaining as well. There’s even a Matrix-themed animation showing the pins dodging your ball in slow-mo if you wiff. With automatic scoring, radar measuring the speed of the ball, and the well-manicured lanes, this place is set up for pure, effortless fun.

If you have a Monday afternoon free, head on over and take advantage of the great deals or stop on by anytime and get your bowl on!

Diversey River Bowl:  2211 W Diversey

Click Here for weekly specials

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

The weather outside is frightful.  Everyone, including me, are day dreaming about an island vacation far away from the Windy City.  Hawaii, Mexico, or somewhere in the Caribbean are all acceptable destinations.  However, after a reality check, the best that we may be able to do is to indulge in cuisine that takes us to the place where we want to be.  Former Chicago Bears and All-Pro defensive back Jerry Azumah knows exactly where to find such a spot.  He introduces us to Ja Grill, the newest and hottest restaurant that brings Jamaican flavors to Lincoln Park.  Check out Jerry and Ja Grill on Fete Select TV below.  Also, watch Fete Select TV on www.efete.net for a review of the newest and best restaurants in Chicago.

 

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Laura Lodewyck, NBC5 Street Team

As a female non-sports fanatic (probably the only student at Notre Dame who loved football games solely because it meant that I could sleep in silence while everyone was at the game), I admit to not knowing much about basketball.

I also must admit that although they’ve played over 25,000 games around the world, my recent visit to the Harlem Globetrotters‘s game was my first. I’ve actually only been to one other basketball game in my entire life, and like most sports, was not been the most thrilling experience for me.

Click here to read the rest of this story and video on nbcchicago.com.

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JenChicago, NBC5 Street Team

Thursday, October 2nd, marked that one year remains until the IOC’s Host City decision for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Copenhagen. And you know what that means for us Chicagoans…

That’s right… Parrrr-tay!

The party at Rockit Bar and Grill had hors d’ouerves, cocktails and Olympic spirit in spades! And I had the opportunity to speak with Olympic and Paralympic peeps, Anjali Forber-Pratt, Matt Grevers, and Bill Scherr.

Keep rooting for the home team, Chicago! Go 2016!

Find more fun videos at JenChicago.com!

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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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Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team (video)

Ain’t no party like a Flirty Girl party cuz a Flirty Girl party … well, you know the rest.

I’m not a big fan of watching football in public settings other than the stadium itself. It’s kind of hard to pay attention with so much going on around you, the seats are usually uncomfortable, and quite frankly, I’d rather walk to the fridge for a cold one instead of saddling up to the bar and paying for an overpriced one.

I may have to change my philosophy this Sunday when the Bears square off against the Eagles on the Sunday Night Football game on NBC. That’s because the gals over at Flirty Girl Fitness are throwing a huge viewing party and an after-party to boot. If you haven’t been over to their West Loop location — and guys, those opportunities can be few and far between — this is a pretty good excuse to get over there.

Tickets are $20 ($25 at the door), and they’re offering free beer between 6 and 7 p.m. According to the Web site, there’ll be lots of oversized screens, a “super sexy Flirty Girl Halftime Show full of pole dancing and coyote ugly, five cash bars, outdoor patio and valet parking.

The after-party takes place across the street at Bon V with current and retired players. All in all, another example of why I love football season!

Click here for more information.

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Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team (video)

Nobody would deny that the Chicago Blackhawks are on a roll. After years of mediocrity and irrelevancy, the organization is making all the right moves — hiring former Cubs marketing genius John McDonough, holding the Winter Classic at Wrigley Field on New Year’s Day, putting the games back on TV and drafting new young stars or paying for proven veterans.

But when I eagerly looked at the season schedule this morning, I was disappointed to see that two of the most important teams in NHL history — the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens — will not be coming to the United Center this year. The NHL has more history than any other professional league, and started with what’s know as the Original Six — Chicago, Montreal, Toronto, Boston (Bruins), NY (Rangers) and Detroit (Red Wings).

In the NFL, a 16-game season makes it impossible to see every team every year, and it can’t happen in baseball because of the two leagues, but the NHL and the NBA are almost identical in the amount of games played and the timing of their seasons. In the NBA, you’re guaranteed to see the Lakers or the Celtics at least once a season in your home arena, no matter what conference you’re in.

OK, so maybe I’m biased because I’m from Canada and would like to see my home team play here (plus, it’s next to impossible to get a ticket to see the Leafs in Toronto). But as the Blackhawks keep making all the right moves by appealing to that great hockey tradition, take it from a lifetime fan from the greatest hockey nation on earth — there’s still a little work to be done.

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