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Eric Smith, NBC5Chicago Street Team

 On location at Binny’s Beverage Depot with Bianca Berger of TY KU-a premium Asian Wine and Spirits Company.

How did you become State Manager for TY KU?

Bianca Berger(c) TY KU-State Manager

Well, I have worked in the Adult Beverage Industry for over 7 years here in the Chicago area.  About a year ago I was approached by representatives of the brand and then came on board to use my expertise to help launch the beverage in Illinois.  It has been a lot of fun working for this new company and breaking it in this market.  TY KU has given us the freedom and flexibility to try new things in order to build the brand.

What are the most popular types of TY KU in this market?

TY KU LIQUEUR is the most popular type selling in the Chicago area.  It comes in a very uniquely shaped bottle with a bright green citrus tasting liquor inside-that people like.  TY KU LIQUEUR is made up of super fruits found only in Asia-including a combination of mangosteen and gogi berri-natural ingredients packed high in antioxidants and vitamins.

How does the brand differentiate itself?

The New Skin of TY KU

Currently, there is no clear leader in Asian Spirits in this market and this is where we’ve found our niche.  In addition, we are bringing to market a healthier alternative to most adult beverages due to the natural super fruit ingredients.   The TY KU LIQUEUR is packaged in a unique bottle that lights up at the bottom and this is another great selling point.  And our TY KU SAKE is poised for huge growth with it’s unique flavor-offering the same health benefits as wine.

Does TY KU have a target demographic?

No not really.  But we find that we are developing a customer base that is 21-30 looking to experience new flavors-willing to try something different.  And it is very popular among women.  (And this couldn’t be more true-new TY KU Fan-Alicia Tiffany stated, “Personally I liked the fruity sweet taste of the green one…the colors of the drink and the shape of the bottle really stood out.”)

What’s next for TY KU?

At the top of the year we introduced the new TY KU SOJU and have a major push behind this campaign.  And we have just launched the TY KU NINJAGETAWAY Sweepstakes because even Ninjas need a vacation! We are offering TY KU fans a chance to win a kick a$$ vacation to Paradise Island, Bahamas or Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The prize includes 4 days & 3 nights at the luxurious Riu Hotel & Resort, round trip airfare, spa treatments, water sports, beachwear, skincare products & much more! Enter daily to increase your chances of winning. Sweepstakes ends on April 30th, 2010

TY KU NinjaGetaway

Prime Rib and Bowling!

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

Glenn Murray, NBC5 Street Team

 

 
On Friday February 19th 2010 Ven Sherrod Photography and LAD4 Creative Video Productions will feature an artist tribute entitled “Celebrating the Black Wedding”. An exhibition showing how photography and video have captured the beauty of the black wedding through an artistic and creative approach.

The exhibit will be held at the Ven Sherrod image gallery located at 1906 S Halsted Chicago IL 60608 from 6-10pm This is a free event and refreshments will be served with live entertainment. RSVP at events@vsphoto.com

Eric Smith, NBC5Chicago Street Team

On Location at  The Shrine with Soul Songstress Aniba Hotep.

Who is Aniba Hotep-please explain for the world to know.

I am a Messenger of Peace-the person who sees the happy ending to the path of life.  Consider me a combination my unique life’s experience and applied knowledge-from mentors who have gone before me.  Living through these experiences-this is who I am.  Where it all began was in my hometown, performing in talent shows and composing my own music in an academic honors programs, which lead to a chance to perform at the famed Apollo theater as a young child.

Aniba Hotep

How do you define your style…is it Soul Music or is it R&B?

My style is absolutely Soul Music.  Originally from small town in Virginia, my musical roots were being established in the Church from age 11.  My sound is influenced by my religious upbringing-infused with the blues.  Listening to me perform-you can hear Southern based Soul a kind of Soul Blues-akin to many of the greats like Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Johnny Taylor, Al Green and Billie Holiday.

When I first heard you play you reminded me of some of the great disco classics from the days of Salsoul Records.  How do you feel about disco and house music?

Where I’m from-house is GoGo music.  And when I first moved here-I fell in love with the older stuff like First Choice and Loleatta Holloway-and you can hear some of these songs incorporated in my live sets.  However, I would not have labeled what I heard and listened to at that time as house music.

How does fashion play a role in your music?

Fashion is very much intertwined with my music.  When first arriving in Chicago-I started first expressing myself on the poetry scene and then transitioned into the music.  Even then, I wanted to leave a mark in all facets of this are.  When people see a show they deserve a visual-and fashion would never not be a factor.

What do you enjoy most about your art and performing?

Aniba Hotep-Live

I enjoy the songwriting aspect of my art.  I write most of my material and music.  Building a song that people appreciate-pleases me.  Once an audience is engaged in my art-that’s when I am most comfortable and closer to finding a love for the stage.

What about the city of Chicago influences you?

I became an adult in the city of Chicago.  It has always influenced me musically.  Before arriving I was always in record stores listening to and looking for records from Chaka Khan, Ramsey Lewis and Booker-T-the Chicago taste in music was similar to what I was listening to and what I like to give in my shows.

What’s in store for your fans in 2010?

I plan to continue with the“All Souled Out” concert series-we already have a growing fan base.  The next time you can come to see me play will be at The Morseland-Friday, February 26 at 9pm. We plan to perform at the upcoming Chicago Soul Music Festival and will look to book an overseas tour.

Come on out an see the most soulful band out of Chicago since Earth, Wind and Fire-Aniba Hotep and The Sol Collective!

The Fold Rocks

Cara Carriveau, NBC Chicago Street Team

The Fold will play at The Bottom Lounge in Chicago tomorrow (Friday, February 12) night.  They The Foldwill be also at the Apple Store in Michigan Avenue  on March 21, 2010.  Bring your iPhone and be part of their new video!  Hear more about that during my conversation with Dan Castady, lead singer of The Fold in Cara’s Basement.

Listen here:

The video they made for “Every Band In The U.S.A.” is amazing and is burning up on youtube:
Get more from The Fold here:

The Pasta Bowl

Hungry Z, NBCChicago Street Team 


Most home cooks have a signature dish. You know that dish you make when you want to impress family, friends, or even that special someone. This dish is so good; everyone tells you it should be on a menu somewhere! What if you got that chance? Does your dish have what it takes?

The folks at Carlucci’s in Downers Grove had an open call out for people to submit their best pasta dishes with a chance to be featured on their menu. With nearly 50 entries submitted, executive Chef Kevin Provenzano whittled them down to six finalists. Dishes were scored on taste, appearance, originality, and difficulty to prepare.

The finalists each brought a guest to help judge each others dish. What they didn’t know was that Chef Pravenzano, Joe Carlucci, Suburban Life Publications assistant managing editor Jonathan Schuler, and yours truly were on hand as guest judges.

The finalists and their dishes were:

  • Dan Peloza — linguini misto
  • Colleen O’Leary — rigatoni with portabello bolognese
  • Joan Cerny-Cimaglia — tuna rotini pasta
  • Karen Price — crab bisque ricotta shells
  • James Griseto — rigatoni carbonara
  • Karen Whalen — farfalle with sausage

Coming in third were Karen Whalen’s savory farfalle & sausage. The runner up was Karen Price’s rich and creamy crab bisque riccotta shells. And the grand champion was Dan Peloza’s shrimp and sun dried tomato linguini misto.

Dan’s winnings include his dish being featured on the Carlucci menu for a month, a $200 gift card to the restaurant, and one night stay at the Doubletree. I want to thank the folks at Carlucci’s for asking me to be a guest judge and I would like to offer my congratulations to all the finalists for filling my belly with you terrific pasta creations!

Carlucci Restaurant is at 1801 Butterfield Road in Downers Grove, (630) 512-0990, www.carluccirestaurant.com

 Read more from Hungry Z at HungryZ.com

A City Wish For Prasino

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

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

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

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

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

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