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rebecca_1Rebecca Taras, NBC Chicago Street Team

 

Yesterday was Father’s Day, so chances are you spent some time with good ol’ dad feasting on brunch, or firing up the grill. You may not have realized that yesterday also marked the Summer Solstice, a celestial event that prompts longer, light-filled days. NBC-panepatio

Pane Caldo is celebrating this astronomical occurrence with a special “White Nights”  lunch and dinner experience, available through June 27. Executive chef Maurice Bonhomme got creative in the kitchen and came up with special dishes featuring light and white-colored foods, such as steamed white asparagus with morel mushrooms and truffle dressing, and grilled halibut fillet with with golden beets and a grain mustard sauce. Pastry chef David Same’ didn’t forget about your sweet tooth, so save room for the ice cream bar of white chocolate, muscatel and white cherries.  Wash it all down with (what else) a crisp white wine.

If you’ve never been to Pane Caldo (or need to revisit how fabulous it is), Bonhomme only uses the freshest ingredients, seasonal herbs, organic meats and wild seafood in his preparations. Of course, as the restaurant name suggests, fresh-baked bread is an accompaniment to every table. Another way you can celebrate the warm temps is by dining alfresco on Pane Caldo’s newly expanded outdoor seating area, which has doubled in size this season. If you’re watching you wallet but still want to experience a little of  “la dolce vita,” then dine early from 5 p.m.-6:30 p.m. and take advantage of the 3 course prix fixe dinner menu for only $34. It’s cheaper than a trip to Italy, but tastes just as good.

For more information and reservations, diners can visit www.pane-caldo.com or call 312.649.0055.

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

Sometimes you just know when you know.  I’m talking about an instance where you experience something and it just feels right.  For example, meeting a spouse or significant other for the first time, selecting a college, interviewing for a job or…umm… tasting a cupcake?  I didn’t know that eating a cupcake could be a life changing experience until recently.  That’s because the newly launched Naperville based Foiled Inc. has the most moist, most fresh and best tasting cupcakes that I’ve tasted.   Hands down!Foiled Cupcakes

 There has been a trend of specialty cupcake shops that have recently opened, but none of them can compare to Foiled Cupcakes.  Owner Mari Luangrath started her company Foiled Inc. to help people enjoy memorable experiences through her cupcakes.   She called a childhood friend that is an Executive  Pastry Chef about her idea and voila they were in business.  Unlike other bakeries, Foiled doesn’t use a storefront, but differentiates itself as being Chicagoland’s first and only exclusive on-line designer cupcake delivery service.  The cupcakes are handmade using only the finest all-natural ingredients, such as traditional foil cupcake wrappers, real butter cream frosting, handmade fillings, and European Garnishes.  They offer twenty standard flavors every day, as well as additional monthly flavor offerings that are available for a limited time.  A few of the unique standard cupcakes offered are:

Ooey Gooey – Chocolate cake, caramel filling, caramel buttercream, ganache topping, and a pinch of sea salt.

Pinkalicious So Delicious – Chocolate cake, raspeberry jam filling, raspberry buttercream, and a dainty raspberry garnish.

The Cinnful Apple – Vanilla cake, baked apple filling, cinnamon buttercream, and sweet cinnamon sugar sprinkles.

Foiled also sets themselves apart from the competition by adding a little humor with each cupcake.  Their signature “Quippies” are little tag lines of humor inserted into the cupcakes themselves for an extra special surprise..  They also offer customized “Quippies” for special occasions.  Cupcakes retail for $38 per dozen and delivery is included.  They can whip up designer cupcakes by the dozen with as little as 12 hours notice.  Foiled delivers in Chicago and the West Suburbs and pride themselves on customer service.  Orders can be made on-line, by phone or fax.  For more information log onto www.foiledcupcakes.com.

Check out www.eFete.net and watch Fete Select TV  for an inside look into the newest and hottest restaurants in Chicago.

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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

It’s essential to make sure you have the right menu and libations to fit this special occasion. With a distinct menu steeped in tradition, the Kentucky Derby cuisine consists of southern flavors and plenty of bourbon. From Hot Browns to burgoo Chef Bobby Flay has recipes suitable for an elegant brunch or backyard BBQ.

Click here to check out “Bringing Home the Derby Recipes”.

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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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JenChicago, NBC5 Street Team

So Sarah invites Staci and me to go with her, and some friends, to Zanies, for a showcase. It was my first time at the Chicago laugh stop and we had a great time! Those guys and gals on stage should get big props for getting out of their comfort zone in pursuit of their dream.

Stand-up is hard. Trust me. I’ve tried it.

So we go to the packed show and then we skipped on down to Fireplace Inn where I enjoyed some great food, a cold beer and a fun chat with K-von. He’s fun and funny!

PS: Kvon just likes to go by Kvon. You know, no last name. Which is fine by me. (Although, I DO get him to spill it in the video.)

For more funny videos, check out JenChicago.com!
Find me on Facebook! (Search: JenChicago)

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

There are so many choices to enjoy a great meal in the city that a lot of restaurants simply get looked over or don’t make the cut.  Some places that are decent, but won’t blow your socks off, still have a place for foodies.  Dine, located in the West Loop, is such a place that could be added to your dining options. d706648w240h1591

Executive Chef Chris Turano uses unpretentious ingredients and escalates them.  His menu consists of American cuisine that has a lot of options.  Some of the more memorable items were from the starter side of the menu, which included “Braised Veal Cheek, Caramelized Cauliflower Puree, and Mustard Seed Consomme”.  The “Cast Iron Seared Wild Alaskan Scallops, Soft Porcini Polenta, Parmesan, and Baby Arugula” also received high marks.  Although I sampled their “Bone in Ribeye” and “Braised Domestic Lamb Shank” entrees, I preferred the “Block Island Monkfish, Wild Mushroom Broth, Beluga Lentils and Shellfish Mushrooms”.  The best dish of the evening came via the “Finishing Touches” dessert menu.  I indulged in the “Red Velvet Cake” that had me licking the cream cheese frosting from my fingers.

Dine is a 1940’s – style eatery and design essentials include vintage elements such as antiqued glass, terrazzo flooring, and over-sized printed art.  It doesn’t have that contemporary feel of other popular West Loop restaurants, but could be a good alternative to the contrary.

Dine is located at 733 W. Madison St. and is connected to the Crowne Plaza Hotel.  For more information check out www.dinerestaurant.com.  Also watch Fete Select TV on www.efete.net to get an inside look to the newest and hottest restaurants in Chicago.

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