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Posts Tagged ‘fete’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A month before my second wedding anniversary I was trying to decide what I would do for my wife.  Of course our first year anniversary was special, but my goal was to make our second year just as memorable.  My new Facebook friend, Pam Spritz, is a sassy, cute, and energetic mother and grandmother.  Our connection came through the birth of my son Tru on August 5th and her granddaughter Sunney Lou on August 6th.  Pam also has a son, Jordan, the founder and Executive Chef of Jordan’s Food of Distinction (JFOD).  He asked to cook for my wife and I on our anniversary and what followed was the best dining experience ever!

JFOD is in an unassuming location on Thomas St. near Ashland and W. Division St.  The dining room and kitchen are open and connected.  The room is intimate, homey, quaint and exudes food.  I never imagined upon my arrival that such a modest spot would leave us with an incredible experience.   We were their special guests for the evening.  A table set for two complete with candles and a flower arrangement created by Pam that reflected my wife’s wedding bouquet.  Cocktails, wine, and champagne flowed steadily.  A dining scene that heightened all of our senses.  The eight courses prepared for us were stunning and included “Marinated Hawaiian Black Fin Tuna and Japanese Day Boat Hamachi”, “Pan Roasted Diver Caught Scallops with Slow Poached Fresh Water Baby Rock Shrimp”, “Crispy Soft Shell East Coast Whole Crab” and “Extra Virgin Oil Poached Artic Salmon”.  The dessert, “Candied Fresh Ginger and Warm Brazilian Mango”, was ridiculously good.

Jordan customizes his cuisine to individuals.  He actually interrogates his clients about their likes, dislikes, lifestyle etc.  He wanted to know who we were, which allowed him to create and produce a menu that evening that hit home and provided a unique dining experience.   His inspiration came from two famous Chefs, Charlie Trotter and Rocco Dispirito.  Trotter taught him quality vs. quickness and Dispirito helped him to respect ingredients that come from farms.

JFOD is non traditional in their approach to dining.  Although we had many courses, they don’t matter here.  It all depends on what the customer wants and likes.   The more pickier the customer and the more challenging the task, the more excited Jordan becomes.  For example, he once prepared a meal for a Japanese company that wanted 15 different dishes that represented the flavors of 15 different countries where they were located.  The client has been a repeat customer ever since.

JFOD, on any given week, has artistic chefs from top Chicago restaurants such as Alinea, Trotter’s, Moto, and NoMi that help out in the kitchen .  Jordan wants his clients to feel that they had the perfect meal, at the perfect time, in the perfect place, during the perfect season.  He wants his cuisine to reflect everything about life and the bubble that surrounds them at that moment.  Everything that represents that meal.

JFOD can host up to 75 people for a cocktail party and 2 – 40 people for a sit down dinner.  If you want a dining experience customized to your palate, then JFOD is a must try.

Jordan’s Food of Distinction, 1551 Thomas Street, Chicago, IL. www.jfod.com (773) 278-8111

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

Brunch is arguably my favorite meal on the weekends.  My selection criteria for the perfect brunch spot is pretty particular when it comes to my Sunday afternoon feast.  I must have good food, an extensive menu with a nice selection of breakfast and lunch items, and great cocktails.  The vibe must be appealing, and of course, cost is always a factor.  Next to New York City, Chicago has some of the best hidden gems for brunch when it comes to major cities.  I found one such gem, maybe not as hidden as most, in the South Loop.

Cuatro Cocina Nuevo Latino has it all when it comes to my criteria.  Their Bossa Novo Brunch was delectable.  The food was bangin’, the cocktails were slammin’, and the vibe was on point.  In a nutshell, I liked it a lot.  Executive Chef Edie Jimenez’ menu consists of soulful flavors of Latin America, Caribbean and Mexican cuisine.  Brunch standouts include the Tropical Pancakes, Chilaquiles, and Pan Frances (thick french toast with vanilla roasted sweet plaintains and farmers cheese).  Cuatro’s 10 cane rum cocktails flowed nicely and were a perfect complement to my meal.   Great music adds to any brunch vibe and Cuatro has it with the lively Brazilian sounds of “Bossa Tres”.

Cuatro’s brunch is served Sundays 10:00 am – 3:00 pm.  “Bossa Tres” performs 11:00 am – 2:00 pm.  Dinner is served Monday – Saturday 5:30 pm – 10:00 pm and Sundays 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm.

Cuatro is located at 2030 South Wabash Ave. (312) 842-8856  www.cuatro-chicago.com.

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

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

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

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

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

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

There’s nothing like taking to the streets to find a new place that can tempt my taste buds with incredible food.  Chicago offers a lot of hidden gems that don’t necessiarly make the popularity dining circuit, mostly due to location.  I love to share my hidden gems with everyone, especially when it comes to food done right, regardless of location.  Recently, I made a trek away from my normal dining circuit in the city and headed to the ‘burbs to try a new food concept created by another foodie.  I didn’t really know what to expect, but after I took my first bite I knew that the 30-minute Sunday ride was worth it.

The concept is prepared gourmet foods.  The place is AOK Gourmet, a new caterer and gourmet food shop in Skokie, IL.  Owner Andrew Kalish prides himself in providing the finest homemade foods using only the freshest ingredients.  From gourmet sandwiches to herb-marinated whole beef tenderloin, everything is made fresh right from their kitchen.  I had the pleasure of establishing some of my favorites during my outing.  The BBQ Chicken Panini and Mediterranean Chicken sandwiches were ridiculously good.  I also enjoyed their Chicken Florentine wrap with a side of Cavatappi Pasta Salad.  Some of the more popular side items are their Herb Garden Tuna Salad, Classic Chicken Salad and Rustic Roasted Sweet Potato Salad.  For you vegetarians, the homemade Veggie Burger and Israeli Couscous w/Veggies are very tasty as well.

AOK Gourmet prepared foods change daily for optimal freshness and they have quickly become the caterer of choice on the North Shore.  However, corporations and and other folks in the city are calling on them more these days.  AOK Gourmet caters breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner or simply call for take out or delivery.  Not a bad idea for the upcoming holidays.

Visit AOK Gourmet at 4950 Dempster Street, Skokie, IL. (847) 329-3800.  www.aokgourmet.com.  For more info on the hottest new restaurants in the city check out Fete Select TV at www.efete.net.

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

The first time that I had tea was at the Ritz Carlton here in Chicago.  My wife treated me on my birthday afternoon to little sandwiches, cookies, tarts, champagne and of course tea.  It was a really nice and we both enjoyed ourselves, but I probably wouldn’t go back unless it is with her.  The idea of “tea”, especially among guys, is perceived as girly, quite stuffy and pretentious, and for the most part it is.  However, WAVE Restaurant in the W Lakeshore Hotel, is attempting to change that perception and make “tea” time sexy and unisex.

WAVE Executive Chef Kristine Subido created the uni-tea experience.  No white gloves or a full room of ladies here, but feminini-tea and masculini-tea are encouraged.  Along with a selection of loose leaf teas you’ll find tea-infused vodka elixirs (mar-tea-nis), bubbly and a selection of hand-crafted beers.  The menu prepared by Chef Kristine appeals to both men and women.

Mar-tea-ni selections include Raspberry Nectar and White Ginger Pear.  The Masculini-tea (beer choices) includes Goose Island, Pere Jacques and Chimay, Red.  The Tea-ni-bites are tailored to Guys and Gals selections.  The Guys menu include grilled beef tenderloin, beef tartare and mini Angus beef sliders.  The Gals savory treats consists of chilled shrimp and cucumber salad, smoked salmon cannolli, and curried deviled eggs.  Their Sweet Bites are scones, tarts, tea cakes, and macaroons.  The cuisine, cocktails and vibe at unitea is a place where friends can go hang out on a fall afternoon.  In-fact, unitea is a place where the fellas can go hang without having the “girly” stigma that surrounds tea time.  Unitea is available at WAVE Restaurant in the W Lakeshore Hotel Wednesday – Sunday from 2:30 pm – 6:30 pm.  For more information log onto www.waverestaurant.com.

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

We’ve heard and seen it several times this year.  A food recall that caused unwelcoming health problems and a major scare amongst consumers from around the world.  There was spinach, beef, tomatoes, jalapenos, mussels, tuna salad and even popcorn that hit the news wire at some point.  It’s great when the FDA finds the source of an E. coli breakout, but it’s very hard to a pinpoint the food origin.

Worry no more, well at least when you eat the cuisine catered by Cleetus Friedman of City Provisions.  Founder and Executive Chef, Cleetus lets his clients know exactly where their food comes from.  Therefore, he actually connects his customers to the food that they eat, by using local ingredients from local farms.  Imagine knowing the exact farm that your ham sandwich or tomato salad came from.  How great to have dinner at a farm that provides you with everything on your plate?  Everything is fresh, organic and good.  They have a suggested catering menu and specialize in custom menu planning.   

CleetusFriedman was recently selected as one of the Chicago Sun-Times 50 people changing Chicago.  He is definitely doing his part by using products that are easily recyclable or biodegradable.  City Provisions is doing everything possible to be Eco-Friendly.  They introduce a lot of their customers to their cuisine via Supper Club events.  I will partake in their five-course vegetarian Supper Club tonight where cuisine and beer, donated by Great Lakes Brewery, will be paired.  The theme is “Sustainability with Food and Drink” and their September 20th Supper Club theme is “The Farm Dinner” at Dietzler Farms.  For more information about reserving a spot at the table log onto www.cityprovisions.com.  City provisions is located at 1043 N. California Ave.

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