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Posts Tagged ‘chicago restaurants’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Lindsay_small_2Lindsay Saewitz, NBC Chicago Street Team

Old Towners rejoiced as Old Town Social opened to the public in late August, adding a much-needed casual yet sophisticated spot to Old Town’s roster of pubs, dive bars, and fratty hang-outs. But the locals weren’t the only ones excited…North Siders and Downtowners alike came together to welcome the new bar to the neighborhood.

The first thing you’ll notice when you walk in to Old Town Social is the unique decor, combining turn of the century style with IMG_4298modern day chic. The bar is filled with rich mahogany wooden structures, draping red curtains, bold chandeliers, and even a reading room complete with books and a fireplace. The main bar area lives up to the “Social” part of its name by featuring long, communal tables, but tucked away you’ll find a handful of intimate table-for-twos embedded into the wall. Venture to the back of the bar up a few steps where you’ll find more intimate booths and an additional cocktail area with its own bar. Not only will you get a drink quicker in this spot, but you’ll also be in the perfect position for some people watching.

Old Town Social’s menu is quite impressive, featuring upscale bar food and small plates from a former Blackbird sous chef. You will also not be disappointed with the drink selection, which includes an extensive list of craft beers and seasonal specialty cocktails.

The classiness may start to dwindle as you party into the wee hours and suddenly notice you’re back in an overcrowded bar with 90’s hip hop blaring over the speakers. But fast-forward a few weeks to when the novelty dies down and the bar has solidified its identity, and I think you will find that Old Town Social is just the new thing that Old Town has been waiting for.

IMG_4293Old Town Social
455 W. North Avenue
Chicago, IL 60610
312-266-2277
http://www.oldtownsocial.com

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rebecca_1Rebecca Taras, NBC Chicago Street Team

 

If you want a sneak peak of Old Town Social before its grand opening (Street Team Leader Marcus Riley reported on Old Town’s soft opening here), then you’ll get a shot this Thursday. The best part? You’ll be at a “Party for a Reason.” The evening of fun and philanthropy is hosted by GiveForward, a Chicago-based social venture committed to helping individuals and non-profits raise money for good causes. The “Party for a Reason” is a kick-off to supporters and runners of the Chicago Half Marathon taking place this weekend, where they’ll be “running for a reason” and raising money for various charities. Guests will enjoy appetizers and two hours of open bar including specialty cocktails, vodka drinks and beer. Looks like you may have to get a jumpstart on your weekend – but don’t feel guilty. Ticket poceeds will go to various charity partners of GiveForward.

Old Town Social

455 W. North Avenue

September 10th- 7pm-10pm

Tickets: $25. Available at www.party4aReason.com

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

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

Salmon Dish

Salmon Dish

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

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

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

palmwrap[1]

Palm Wraps

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

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

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

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

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

Togarashi[1]

Togarashi Maguro Penne Pasta

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

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

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

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

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

Glencoe Golf Club

Glencoe Golf Club

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

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

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Lindsay_small_2Lindsay Saewitz, NBC Chicago Street Team

Five Guys at Clark and Fullerton opened to the public this past Monday, July 27th and it wasn’t long before the crowds were wrapped around stacks of peanut bags waiting to get their first taste of this East Coast classic.

Don't be fooled by two patties - this is just The Hamburger

Don't be fooled by two patties - this is just The Hamburger

The first thing that Five Guys newcomers should know is that the “Hamburger” is actually a double burger and the “Little Hamburger” is actually a regular-sized hamburger, not a slider. Also, you can add toppings at no additional cost, so you might as well go all out! The order process is a little frantic so it’s best to know what you want before you get up to the cash register.

While you wait for your food, you can sit back and relax with a basket of free peanuts and watch the cooks grilling your food fresh or the Lincoln Park Scene- your choice. The burgers come wrapped in foil and the fresh-cut fries- choose regular or Cajun- come stuffed in a Styrofoam cup overflowing into a paper bag. It’s glorious. The fries were pretty great

Fresh-cut Fries

Fresh-cut Fries

although some thought they were way too salty. The burgers were greasy and delicious, as expected.

The best part about Five Guys is that it’s open ’til 2am on the weekends, and it’s one large space ready and waiting for a party. No other late night restaurant comes to mind where you can get a giant burger and are free to frolic instead of being confined to a particular table or stuffed into a closet-sized space. Five Guys just might be the after-party that Lincoln Park’s been waiting for.

Still hungry after 2? Cross the street to Sarks and get your Loretta nightcap.

IMG_0083

Crowd at Five Guys

Five Guys
2368 N. Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60614
773-883-8930
http://www.fiveguys.com/home.aspx

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Lindsay_small_2Lindsay Saewitz, NBC Chicago Street Team

The long-awaited opening of Sarks in the Park finally came this past Friday, but the late night hours came sooner than expected. Sarks, now open ’til 3am on Friday and 4am on Saturday, was the destination of choice for nostalgic North Shorers and excited Lincoln Parkers all weekend long.

Sarks is famous for the Loretta, a sandwich consisting of grilled French bread, white brick cheese, diced

Disaster Before & After

Disaster Before & After

tomatos, onions, and green peppers, and your choice of bacon, ham, or homeade spicy sausage called “The Disaster”. If you’re extra-hungry,  try “The Animal” (or as a waiter referred to it, Pig on a Bun) which combines all three meats together. Although the Loretta didn’t sound particularly appetizing at first, the sandwich proved to be a deliciously satisfying late night snack (two nights in a row, actually….. ). Try your Loretta with a side of cheesy hash browns, but if you like your spuds well done make sure you specify extra-crispy, otherwise they may be a little under cooked for you.

As many didn’t know about the new late night hours, Sarks was slightly desolate at midnight, but when the sun came up the 40-seat patio at Sarks was hopping. Sarks controls the entire patio with exception of one table left for House of Hunan and is the perfect spot for catching some rays and people watching (warning: you may run into your highschool classmates).

The servers and staff at Sarks were friendly and laid-back, and the owners are truly passionate about making sure this Evanston-favorite succeeds in Lincoln Park. Although Sarks lacks some restaurant essentials that you may expect from a restaurant in Lincoln Park (like lemons for water and straws), it makes up for it with character, scene, and a sandwich you’ll be daydreaming about for weeks.

Patio at Sarks in the Park

Patio at Sarks in the Park

Sarks in the Park
444 W. Fullerton Pkwy
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 404-9000
httl://www.sarksinthepark.com
info@sarksinthepark.com

Mon-Thu. 6:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Fri. 6:00 a.m. – 3:00 a.m.
Sat. 6:00 a.m. – 4:00 a.m.
Sun. 6:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

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Lindsay_small_2Lindsay Saewitz, NBC Chicago Street Team

There’s a food revival on Clark and Fullerton, and next to the scene is burger joint Five Guys, which has moved in to the former Ritz Camera spot. What started as a family owned restaurant in Arlington, VA is now a cult-followed national chain with over 300 locations in 25 states. Currently there are four Five Guys locations in Illinois with locations also opening soon in Orland Park and Bloomingdale.

Five Guys is known for its fresh, made-to-order burgers, unlimited toppings such as grilled mushrooms and jalapeno peppers, and overflowing bags of fresh-cut french fries. As if that wasn’t enough, you can also snack on peanuts while you wait for your burger which is being made right in front of you.

Fun Facts about Five Guys:

  • There are no freezers in Five Guys restaurants – they only use fresh beef!

    Five Guys Clark and Fullerton

    Five Guys Clark and Fullerton

  • They only use peanut oil
  • According to a recent Wall Street Journal report, President Obama enjoys his Five Guys cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, jalapeno peppers and mustard

Five Guys in Lincoln Park is scheduled to open on Monday, July 27th.

Five Guys
2368 N. Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60614
773-883-8930
http://www.fiveguys.com

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Lindsay_small_2Lindsay Saewitz, NBC Chicago Street Team

Hey everyone! I’m SO excited to be part of the NBC Chicago Street Team! I’ll be writing about a few of my favorite things — bars, food, and maybe a snippet of reality TV. Today let’s get started with some food!

Since the 1950s, North Shore high schoolers have flocked to this Evanston hot spot, half for the Lorettas and half for the scene. With this winning combination, it makes perfect sense that the new Sarkis location, named Sarks in the Park, is located in the heart of Lincoln Park at the corner of Clark and Fullerton (in the former Sinbad’s spot).

Owners Josh Alomia and Danny Gallagher open Sarkis in Lincoln Park

Owners Josh Alomia and Danny Gallagher open Sarkis in Lincoln Park

The new Sarks, franchised by GBS and New Trier graduates Danny Gallagher and Josh Alomia, was scheduled to open yesterday but had to push back the opening until Saturday, July 18th. If you were one of the loyal Sarks followers who awaited the opening for weeks, you probably snagged a few free sandwich cards. If you happen to be walking by this week you might snag some as well!

This breakfast-all-day spot is best known for the “Loretta” sandwich, made of grilled french bread, white brick cheese, your choice of bacon, ham, turkey, or the spiced sausage coined the “Disaster”, plus all the fixins- mayo, green pepper, onion, tomato, and maybe some hot sauce if you’re in the mood for something spicy.

If you’re worried about your calorie count, this Sarks location will be offering a lower-fat Loretta made with wheat bread, low-fat cheese, and turkey. Still probably not the healthiest choice, but might save you an extra few minutes of cardio. Sarks also offers more traditional breakfast items like omelets, french toast, and pancakes.

With a hot location, large patio, outdoor speakers bumping, and late night hours (open ’til midnight on the weekends and possibly 4 am in the future), this new addition to the neighborhood is sure to satisfy both your party scene and food cravings. Prepare for a wait, but according to Alomia it will be well worth it after you try the “best breakfast in the world.”

Sarks in the Park
444 W. Fullerton Parkway at Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60614
Opening Satur
day, July 18th

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

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

Glen Prairie Interior

Glen Prairie Interior

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

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

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

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

Eivissa Cocktails

Eivissa Cocktails

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

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

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

  Everyone has a Mama, but not everyone has a “Mama” like Fernando’s Tequila Bar and Restaurant.  That’s because Executive Chef Carmen Gonzalez is the matriarch of the twenty-five year old Mexican joint and has been in the industry for forty-five years.  Carmen, affectionately known as “Mama” by the regulars and her kitchen staff, is married to husband Fernando and together have made their restaurant a mainstay for authentic Mexican regional cuisine.Fernandos

Like most Mexican restaurants, Fernando’s menu consists of traditional items such as burritos, tacos, quesadillas, enchiladas and fajitas.  Two dishes that are special to Fernando’s are the Chicken Oaxaca (a boneless chicken breast cooked in a paper bag) and Grilled Rainbow Trout (topped with garlic and cucumber).  The ceviche ixtapa appetizer stood out, but the queso fundido needs some work.  What really makes Fernando’s hop are their signature hand-blended margaritas specially prepared by Fernando himself.  Fresh fruits and their secret family recipe may have contributed to Fernando’s selling more than 3,400,000 margaritas over the past twenty-five years.  The atmosphere definitely feels like a friendly neighborhood spot and is great for families.

Fernando’s, located at 3450 N. Lincoln Ave in the Lakeview area, will celebrate 25 years on July 22nd.  Food samplings, a mariachi band, and tequlia samplings will highlight some of the festivities.  For more information call (773) 477-6930.  Also check out www.efete.net for more dining options and watch Fete Select TV to get an inside look at the newest and hottes restaurants in Chicago.

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

Perennial Chicago

Perennial Chicago

They say that three is a charm, but that’s not necessarily true for Chicago restaurateurs Rob Katz and Kevin Boehm.  That’s because the dynamic duo have already been successful opening two of the best and hottest restaurants in Lincoln Park, BOKA and Landmark Bar & Grill.  Both restaurants have received critical acclaim from local and national publications and continue to be considered two of the more popular spots for great cuisine, cocktails and atmosphere.  However, Katz and Boehm just weren’t satisfied with their two gems and decided to open a third restaurant about a year ago.  Perennial, has lived up to its name and Executive Chef Ryan Poli was added to bring a new casual dining experience to Chicago. 

Perennial’s menu boasts a plethora of approachable dishes such as the Soft Shell Crab” and the “Brown Butter Gnocchi” appetizers.  Both starters are prepared with flavors that are succulent and a presentation that differs from similar type dishes.   The entrees are a perfect mix of seafood, meat and pasta selections, which makes it a difficult task to choose.  However the “Grilled Salmon”, “Alaskan Halibut”, “Compart Duroc Porkbelly” and “Sea Scallops” are all popular dishes that won’t disappoint.  The “Perennial Mac and Cheese” side dish holds it own when compared to other mac and cheese dishes in the city.  An attractive array of desserts and cheeses complements the menu, but the standout is the warm chocolate brownie served with coffee ice cream.

Their specialty cocktail menu is also seasonal and the wine list is manageable.  The service was attentive, but not overbearing and the waiter was knowledgeable about the cuisine, cocktails and wine.  The vibe and crowd is casual elegance and atmosphere is loud enough to enjoy a dinner conversation.  As the summer weather heats up Chicago expect Perennial to be even hotter during the months to come. 

Coffee and Baileys Dessert

Coffee and Baileys Dessert

Perennial is located at 1800 N. Lincoln Ave in the Lincoln Park neighborhood.  For more information log onto www.perennialchicago.com.  Visit www.efete.net to check out more reviews and to get an inside look at the newest hottest restaurants on Fete Select TV.

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

Head to any neighborhood in Chicagoland and you’re bound to run into at least one or two sushi spots.  Eating sushi has become as common as grabbing a turkey burger or cobb salad.  It’s tasty, healthy and in most cases affordable.  However, not all sushi is made the same.  In-fact, Sushi Mon’s “pressed sushi” is the only sushi of its kind in Chicago.  Created by Bat, a certified sushi wizard, Sushi Mon has become a popular new hot spot known for great sushi, crazy combinations and an intimate atmosphere.pressed_sushi_banner[1]

Bat honed his sushi skills in LA and brought his creativity to Chicago three years ago.  His pressed sushi consists of compressed rice and ingredients topped off with avocado, slices of succulent fish and tasty sauces.  To experience the true flavors of the pressed sushi, Bat suggests that you try his creations without soy sauce.  Pressed sushi favorites include “Salmon Bliss” made with salmon, seaweed, masago, avocado, and sesame seeds, the “Chicago” consisting of crab, unagi, avocado, masago and spicy mayo, and the “Crazy” created with salmon, tuna, ebi, wasabi mayo, wasabi tobiko, avocado and seaweed.  The menu also allows sushi lovers to create their own pressed sushi.  Sushi Mon still has the usual Sushi Nigiri and Sashimi selections along with a number of appetizers and salads.  Expect to discover fresh sushi at an affordable price.  Average cost for pressed sushi rolls are $12, but other rolls range between $3.50 – $6.95 per roll.  If you’re in the mood for cocktails, be sure to bring your favorite bottle of sake or wine, because Sushi Mon is BYOB.

Sushi Mon is located near Lincoln Park at 2441 N. Clark Street.  Guests can dine-in, carry-out or have their favorite sushi delivered.  For more information log onto www.sushimonchicago.com.  Check out Fete Select TV on www.efete.net for an inside look into the newest and best Chicago restaurants.

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rebecca_1Rebecca Taras, NBC Chicago Street Team

 

You may have kicked off summer with Memorial Day weekend, but something about slipping into the month of June seems a bit more official. The term “endless summer” is far from the truth, so start the season off on the right by taking advantage of some of these offerings that are as time sensitive as the fabulous weather.

Face Offnbc-SpaParties

It’s tempting to lay in the sun like a baked potato, but your skin is susceptible to some serious damage that is bound to stick with you for many summers to come. Mitchell Dental Spa (Water Tower Place, 9th floor) would like to help you do something positive for your face, as well as your wallet. For the entire month of June, you can receive a 50% discount on their Cucumber Oxygen Skin Brightening Facial. Especially designed for sun damaged or uneven-toned complexions ( thanks to your  baby oil days), this oxygen infused treatment incorporates light microdermabrasion and a high dose of Vitamin C to ensure a brighter complexion after just one treatment. To schedule your appointment call 312.642.1014. www.MitchellDentalSpa.com.

Summer School

Erase the bad memories of summer calculus classes and replace them with a class at Chens (3506 N. Clark Street). Why settle sipping cocktails all summer when you can be the master mixologist? On June 10th, learn how to make some of Chen’s signature martinis for only $10 – practically the cost of a martini these days! Even better, the class includes samples of the cocktails, small bites and a $20 gift certificate good for your next visit. Why not consider Chens as an alternative nosh spot in Wrigleyville? They may serve up Asian fare in lieu of hot dogs, but you’ll find plasmas for your viewing pleasure and even beer if you so desire. www.chenschicago.com

Double Your Pleasure

NBC-Cosmo%20Crush[1]A three-tiered cone of your favorite flavor of ice cream on a hot day may take you back to your childhood days of summer, while kicking back with a cool cocktail is an adulthood guilty pleasure. Mix the best of both and take a spin by the Seasons Bar and Lounge (120 E. Delaware Place) and add a scoop of nostalgia to your favorite adult bevs. Choose from one of six frosty concoctions, each priced at $14. It’s doubtful that you”ll find  Strawberries ‘n’ Cream (made with strawberry ice cream, strawberry vodka, Chamboard, lemonade and 7-up) at your local ice cream shop. http://www.fourseasons.com

The Party Continues

In honor of their 10 year anniversary, BIN 36 (339 N. Dearborn Street)  has been counting down the remainder of 2009 by offering up some fab monthly specials.  Save yourself the trouble of firing up the grill, as the June special  is $7 burgers all day long. Stay tuned for July when a new deal will be announced for even less coin -$6. http://www.bin36.com

Password to Pamper

Psssst! Some secrets are too good to keep. Call or walk your stealth self over to Exhale Spa (945 N. State Street) and mention code inside5609 when booking a Magic, Power, or Lift facial and receive 25% off through the end of June. Visit website for all rules and regs and to print the “insider” certificate. www.exhalespa.com

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rebecca_1Rebecca Taras, NBC Chicago Street Team

There’s a doctor in the house – literally!  Located within a rehabbed pre-Victorian Hennesy House, Dr. Dominic Gaziano opened Salute’ Wine Bar (46 E. Superior) last week. The 130-year old building in the Gold Coast exudes both traditional and modern Italian touches. “We want people to feel like they’re being welcomed into a cozy Italian home,” says the good doctor.

The warm atmosphere pays homage to family traditions iNBC-SaluteFireplace Diningnspired by Gaziano’s upbringing. As a first generation Italian-American, Gaziano grew up learning Calabrian and Sicilian culinary traditions instilled by his mother, a gourmet cook and author. Inspired by mom and memories of preparing elaborate Sunday meals with his four brothers, Gaziano started entertaining at his Lincoln Park home in his adulthood. As an internal medicine doctor, author of “Feel Good Health,” and nationally syndicated health show, “Health and Lifestyles Weekly,” Gaziano wants to bring Chicago a genuine Italian experience combined with the health benefits of the Mediterranean culture, food and wine.

Who better to whip up such a “remedy” than an Italian native. Executive Chef James Caputo (formerly of Rosebud restaurants) grew up in a small neighborhood with family roots from the regions of Marche and Naples. The menu features items made with ingredients imported from Italy to re-create an authentic Italian Bistro. Look for a variety of small and large plates, salads, grilled and toasted sandwiches (panini and trammezzinis respectively), cheeses and of course, homemade desserts. Need more of a visual? Think the Salute Panini with proscuitto d’parma, aged gorgonzola and truffled fig butter, or a melt in your mouth Beetroot Hummus served with aged balsamic reduction and flatbread. Pair with a wine that will blow your taste buds away and not your budget. Bottles range from $30-$60 and glasses in the area of $6-$12.

You’ll love the fireplace on a crisp windy city winter and the secluded stone outdoor patio on a balmy summer evening. At Salute’, the prescription is a glass of vino and some Italian comfort fare. Isn’t it about time you got a refill?

Open Sunday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Private party packages and space available. Street parking or Valet ($9). For additional information please visit www.salutewinebars.com or call 312.664.0100.

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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, NBC5 Street Team

Springtime weather has gotten Chicagoans all in a tizzy.  Hibernation season is over, which is evident by the outside tables being set up at restaurants all over the city.  Sure the seventy degree weather is what’s popular these days, but the talk of the town has been Chicago’s hottest new restaurant, Sunda New Asian.  Brought to you by Billy Dec and Rockit Ranch productions, this hip and modern designed restaurant has been the place to be since its grand opening.  Check out Fete Select TV, as Bill Dec gives me an inside look at the cuisine, cocktails and vibe of Sunda.

 

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Itika Oldwine, NBC Chicago Street Team

In this tough job market, it’s more important than ever to make sure you put your best foot forward when you’re on the job search. For job seekers with limited economic resources, the appropriate attire for interviews and networking events can be hard to come by. And that’s why I love the not-for-profit organization Dress for Success! Dress for Success provides professional attire and an awesome support system to help promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women. Recently, Dress for Success partnered with Chicago Kimpton Hotels and Resorts (think Hotel Allegro, Hotel Burnham and Hotel Monaco Chicago) as they hosted The Dress For Success “Recover & Reinvest” fundraiser at Hotel Allegro’s 312 Chicago.

The event featured a local “style consultant” who was on hand to offer tips on how to be a “recessionista”, sage advice that we could all use if you ask me. Head2Toe Mobile Spa was there to pamper the guests with complimentary manicures that quite a few of the ladies in attendance seemed to enjoy.

Head2Toe Mobile

Head2Toe Mobile

There was a silent auction that included getaways at Kimpton properties and appetizers were served from Chicago 312’s new executive chef, Chef Luca Corrazzina. Chef Luca specializes in home-style Italian cooking and served such savory treats as zuchini fritters topped with herbed goat cheese and delicious antipasto trays with a variety of cured Italian meats and cheeses.

But it wasn’t all about the pampering and delicious food. A major initiative for Dress for Success is the collection of career clothing and accessories, and this year they are in need of pearl necklaces and earrings. Folks that attended “Recover & Reinvest” were encouraged to bring their pearl donations, and if you or anyone you know wants to contribute to this great organization by making career apparel or pearl donations please go to www.dressforsuccess.org.

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

There are three things that can make a restaurant shine.  Great food, excellent service and a good vibe.  Although many restaurants may have those characteristics, there are very few that truly exhibit an instant homey feel.  The neighborhood spot Rosal’s is all about food and family.  Walking into this family-owned restaurant instantly makes customers want to stay for a while.little20oscar-after1

Rosal’s, located in Chicago’s “Little Italy” neighborhood is named after the dream of  Roseanne and Salvatore Perry, hence Rosal’s.  The 19 year old Italian restaurant is about wonderful Sicilian food served in abundant portions.  The menu is extensive and is sectioned by Antipasti, Pasta & House Favorites, Vitello, Pesce, Pollo, and Carne dishes.  All of the dishes that came out of the kitchen looked absolutely scrumptious, but there are few favorites that may help to narrow the selection process.  The “Grilled Calamari” is a must start with dish.  The “Eggplant Parmigiano” and “Shrimp Alla Anival” are pasta entrees that are very popular among regulars.  Meat dishes such as the “Veal Steppanjohnno”,  “Chicken Scallopini with Prosciutto” and “Grilled Pork Chops” will satisfy any hearty appetite.    The bread on the table is warm when you sit down and the olive oil sprinkled with parmesan dipping sauce is perfecto!  The waitstaff will encourage substituting sauces or adding meatballs that will help make the perfect meal.  Don’t expect a prententious environment, but an intimate, cozy and family atmosphere that saw many tables chatting with one another.

The desserts are tradtional with “Tiramasu” and “Cannoli” on the menu, but the “Peanut Butter Pie” could do the trick as well.  The prices are very reasonable and bottles of wine are very affordable.  Rosal’s is located at 1154 W. Taylor Street.  For more information log onto www.rosals.com.  For more dining options and an inside look into Chicago’s newest and hottest restaurants log onto www.efete.net and watch Fete Select TV.

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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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