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Posts Tagged ‘nbc 5 streetteam’

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

I always get asked about my favorite restaurant in the city.  My answer?  I don’t have a favorite restaurant, but I do have favorite dishes at certain places.  For example, my favorite BYOB sushi restaurant is Wakamono in Lakeview.  My favorite Sunday brunch spot is consistently the Bongo Room, and my new favorite doughnuts are served at the Powerhouse Restaurant.  Recently I think that I may have found my new favorite garlic bread dished out at Ristorante WE located in the W Hotel – City Center. 

I always make it a point to try the signature dish on the menu, just to see if it is something special.  The menu at Ristorante WE boldly lists as an appetizer item “Our Famous Garlic Bread”, therefore I had to try it.   The bread was nicely done with gorgonzola fonduta.  Fortunately it lived up to it’s billing, because the appetizers set the tone for the rest of the meal.  Other tasty menu items were their “Tuscan Spice Rubbed Tuna” and the “Warm Apple Crostata”, with caramel sauce and vanilla gelato.  Also check out their nice wine selection that we enjoyed by the glass.

Ristorante WE is open for breakfast, lunch, brunch and dinner.  It’s a great place for pre-theater dining and business dining.  They’re closed on Sunday for dinner, but you gotta try the garlic bread!

Ristorante WE, 172 W. Adams, Chicago, IL (312) 917-5608

www.ristorantewe.com

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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

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

The political scene has been at the forefront for Chicagoans the past 18 months.  My personal friend and Illinois Senator Barack Obama has taken the world by storm with his charisma and inspiring speeches that have won over hundreds of millions of people.  John McCain is experienced, but is trying to change his perception of being old and out of touch with typical Americans.  With the help of the media, You Tube and cyberspace nothing has been off limits when comparing and contrasting the Presidential candidates on policy, style, age, family, wealth, and now…um…sushi?

Yes folks, it’s true.  Now Obama and McCain will go “maki-to-maki” in a taste test at RA Sushi for the best maki roll.  You will have a chance to vote for either the Obama roll or the McCain roll as the best political roll conceived by the RA Sushi chef.

The “Blue” Barack Attack Roll is layered with smoked salmon, cream cheese, cucumber and artichoke rolled in rice and seaweed and topped with crunchy blue tempura bits, finished with a sweet eel sauce and wasabi mayo.

The “Red” McCain Terrain Roll consists of spicy tuna, crab mix and cucumber rolled in rice and seaweed and topped with crunchy red tempura bits, finished with a sweet eel sauce and spicy mayo.

In a non-biased taste test, I personally liked the McCain roll better, although I think that they could have come up with something better for Barack who represents more flavor than the roll that represents him.  Nonetheless it was an interesting and enjoyable taste test.

During both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions starting today thru Sept 5th, you can taste and vote for your favorite Presidential roll on the Campaign Platter at RA Sushi for $10.  A portion of the proceeds, $3 from every sale of the Campaign Platter, will benefit Rock The Vote.  The winning candidates roll will be inaugurated onto the menu at all three Illinois RA Sushi restaurants starting on Friday, September 12 through Friday, Oct 3.  Also diners will be able to register to vote at RA Sushi Chicago on Monday, Oct 6, as part of a Rock The Vote event that will be held there.

Check out RA Sushi at www.RAsushi.com for more information.

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

Acclaimed chef Marcus Sammuelson’s new restaurant, C-House, has a lot to offer their diners.  Just their seafood options and the raw bar alone deems this new hot spot a must try.  Recently I had a chance to go behind the scenes to check out the cuisine, cocktails and the vibe.  I also got to hang out in the kitchen with their Executive Chef Seth Siegel-Gardner and pastry Chef Toni Roberts, as they showcased their respective signature dishes and desserts.

Located on the ground floor in the new Affinia Hotel (166 E. Superior St.), C-House is just a block away from Michigan Ave.   Sammuelson steps outside of the Scandanavian restaurants that he is so well known for and offers up a new model for the American seafood and chop house.  Check out C-House below on our new Fete Select TV segment.  Also visit www.efete.net to check out more new restaurants on Fete Select TV.  

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

I’m always looking forward to trying hot new restaurants in the city and Chicago always has a lot to choose from, especially this summer. Therefore over the past week I set out to try four new hot spots that have been generating a lot of buzz since opening. My criteria for deciding whether a restaurant is worthy of a repeat visit boils down to the cuisine, service, vibe, cocktails, cost, and location. For the most part the four dining venues hit the mark on food, but service was a bit sketchy for at least one of them.

My first stop during my week long dining crusade was Ajasteak. Located at 660 N. State St. (in the new Dana Hotel and Spa), they boast on offering the artful precision of Asian cuisine coupled with the robust flavors of a modern steak house. Basically they serve sushi and a very high grade of beef (Kobe). My wife and I had lunch there and were surprised to see the dining room nearly empty. The lunch menu however, provided an interesting choice of sandwiches, although a little pricey. I ordered the Pulled Pork Sandwich, which our server touted as his favorite, and the steak fries deemed the best ever. My wife chose the Seared Tuna Sandwich and a side of their heaping Onion Rings. We both shared a Maki roll to compare to our favorite sushi joints. The sandwiches were tasty; the service not so much. The steak fries were not even close to being the best ever. The sushi was decent, but nothing better than our more affordable BYOB sushi spot in Lakeview. Be prepared to open your wallet for an expensive and tasty meal, but the service may not coincide with the price.

My second stop was at OTOM, the sister restaurant to futuristic cuisine MOTO. OTOM Executive Chef Daryl Nash prepares post modern cuisine without being futuristic.  They pride themselves on having stress free and fun food and I have to say that we had a lot of fun trying his creations. Cuisine such as Carbonated Watermelon to cleanse the palate and Butter-poached Shrimp appetizer were big hits. I’m not a huge fan of tofu, but their tofu poached in olive oil, corn puree and topped with freeze dried corn was savory. The Chicken ala King with oyster mushrooms and the Fried Short Rib Ravioli entrees were spectacular. After the Coconut-Pineapple Paradise dessert we were sold. The cocktails and service were great and the ambiance was low key. This is a great place to relax and chill with a significant other or a group of friends. OTOM is located at 951 W. Fulton Market St.

 
C-House was recently opened by acclaimed Chef Marcus Sammuelson. Sammuelson, out of New York City, is the youngest chef to receive two 3 star reviews from the NY Times. C-House is an American Seafood and Chop House restaurant. I taped a segment of Fête Select TV there recently and had a chance to enjoy some of Executive Chef Seth Siegel-Gardner’s specialty dishes, including Chili Crusted Fluke, Yellow Tail Fish Tacos, and Chorizo Mac & Cheese. C-Bar, their raw bar, offers standard seafood favorites and allows guests to sit and view the preparation of their meal. Executive Pastry Chef Toni Roberts created The Candy Bar- variety of bite size chocolates, confections and cookies. C-View is their upscale lounge located on the 29th floor and I became a fan of their Honeysuckle specialty cocktail. C-House is a few blocks off Michigan Ave in the new Affinia Hotel (166 E. Superior St.)

The final destination on my parade route of restaurants was Hub 51. Owners R.J. and Jerrod Melman, sons of Richard Melman (Lettuce Entertain You), recently opened this 10,000 square foot space with a 20 ft bar. Hub 51 has definitely attracted a big crowd early and appears to be the new place to see and to be seen. The food is American cuisine with different influences from California, Mexico, Australia and Asia that includes homemade tacos, seafood, signature sandwiches and sushi. We had a Sweet Potato Roll, Chicken Nachos, Halibut Tacos, and the Sea Bass. The dishes were all very good, but the winner was the Sea Bass flavored with horseradish broth. My very pregnant wife couldn’t enjoy the Hub Punch, which is their specialty cocktail concoction of Grey Goose le Citron, tequila, Lcor 43, and pomegranate. The kicker for the evening was Martha’s Carrot Cake; RJ & Jerrod’s mother’s own carrot cake recipe. I’ll be back just for the carrot cake alone. Hub 51 is not a quiet place to have a romantic dinner, however it does offer a lively atmosphere with a bar scene that revs up as the evening grows. Check it out at 51 W. Hubbard St. (Corner of Dearborn and Hubbard).

Now that you have four new spots to try, drop me a line and let me know what you think at dc@efete.net.

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