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Posts Tagged ‘restaurants’

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

 

Life is full of firsts and while your first kiss may not be worth repeating, the first annual Common Threads World Cookout  taking place this Thursday will no doubt keep you coming back for more. Priced at $75 a ticket, the event was designed to be bit more fiscally approachable than the World Festival where tickets ran between $250-$500. Proceeds benefit Common Threads, which seeks to educate children on the importance of nutrition and physical well-being, and to foster an appreciation of cultural diversity through cooking. NBC-Fulton'sCommonThreads

Holding on to the last of the summer temps, the cookout will take place on Fulton’s on the River’s open-air veranda along the Chicago River and within their Riverfront Room. As with any Common Threads event, you can expect Chicago’s best culinary stars to be in attendance ready to feed you. Among those participating include Stephanie Izard, Top Chef Season 4; Paul Virant, Vie; Bill Kim, Urban Belly; Chris Pandel, The Bristol;  Rodelio Abilgot, Sunda; Radhika Desai, Top Chef Season 5; Gale Gand, TRU; James Gottwald, Rockit Bar & Grill; Giuseppe Tentori, Boka; Toni Roberts, C-House; Jonathan Fox, La Madia; Mark Mendez, Carnivale; Dominique Tougne, Bistro 110; Greg Biggers, Fulton’s on the River; Sarah Grueneberg, Cafe Spiaggia; Robert Andrea, Jake Melnick’s; Rick Gresh, David Burke’s Primehouse; and Suzanne Imaz and Martial Noguier, Café de Architectes.

While you can opt for the $75 general admission ticket, there are also a limited number of VIP Package tickets, which include a special VIP reception at 5:30 pm and an after party beginning at 9:30 pm at Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap (ending at Midnight) are also available for $150 per guest. Kicking off at 5:30 pm on Fulton On The River’s riverfront veranda, The Common Threads Associate Board hosts the VIP pre-party guests for an exclusive outdoor tasting (weather permitting) with Cafe Spiaggia Chef di Cucina Sarah Grueneberg. The VIP after-party commences at Jake Melnick’s (41 East Superior ) at 9:30 pm, featuring complimentary Stella Artois and Hoegaarden, as well as choice wines and specialty cocktails and yes, even more food, just in case you didn’t get your fill over at Fulton’s. 

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.commonthreads.org or call/email Jenny Pinto at 312-329-2501 x 207 or Jennifer@commonthreads.org.

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rebecca_1Rebecca Taras, NBC Chicago Street Team

  

It’s no secret that Chicago has an amazing restaurant scene full of new and established talent. You could literally pick a new place each week and still not cover everything, let alone come up for air.  While there are some fabulous events in this city dedicated to the art of the eats, the TOQUE Dining Gala: An Evening With Chicago’s Culinary Masters, is at an entirely different level. NBC -logo_toque09_sm

Taking place this Thursday, the event is an amalgamation of food stations and a formal sit-down dinner, all prepared by Chicago’s finest. But it’s not just an excuse to come eat. Philanthropic partygoers will feel good knowing that proceeds from the evening  (tickets and a live auction) will benefit Children’s Oncology Services, Inc. (COSI), which will help send children with cancer to camp with their One Step At A Time programs.

This year’s event is emceed by Bill Kurtis, journalist and founder of Tallgrass Beef Company, along with Michael Kornick of MK Restaurant who is returning as chef coordinator of the event. Along with four fine dining courses (prepared by Art Smith, Michael Kornick, Mindy Segal and others), guests will also enjoy wine pairings and a cocktail hour with chef inspired bites from several other top notch contributors.

Need some advice?  Skip lunch this Thursday.

The event takes place at the Harold Washington Library Winter Garden at 6:00 pm.

Visit www.onestepcamp.org for additional information and to purchase tickets.

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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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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

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, 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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