Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Templeton Rye Cocktail Demonstration at Fizz Bar & Grill

Last night, the Templeton Rye team was at Fizz Bar & Grill (3220 N. Lincoln Ave.; 773-348-6000) as part of Chicago's Whiskey Week festivities. TR brand manager, Michael Killmer took center stage in front of Fizz's packed house. After showing a short film about the history of the rye whiskey, Killmer demonstrated how to make several classic cocktails using Templeton Rye, including the Sazerac, Old Fashioned and Manhattan. Guests were treated to mini samplings of the cocktails while watching a second short film about the Templeton Rye Distillerly, located in the small town of Templeton, Iowa.
Also on hand were Templeton Rye President and Founder, Scott Bush, along with Assistant Master Distiller, Keith Kerkoff. Bush's great grandfather, and Kerkoff's grandfather both made Templeton Rye whiskey decades ago. Bush and Kerkoff got together, using the Kerkoff family recipe, to create Templeton Rye as we know it today. Although TR is currently only available in Iowa and Illinois, expect a nation-wide launch in the next three to five years.

Miss last night's event? The TR team is back in action tonight, March 31, at Binny's Beverage Depot (1132 S. Jefferson St.; 312-768-4400) 5 p.m.-8 p.m. Meet the team and get an autographed bottle of Templeton Rye whiskey.

These Whiskey Week events are the kickoff to the 9th Annual WhiskyFest Chicago, put on by Malt Advocate magazine. WhiskyFest is this Wednesday, April 1 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago (151 E. Wacker Dr.), 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Visit http://www.whiskyfest.wordpress.com/ for more information.

To learn more about Templeton Rye, visit http://www.templetonrye.com/.
(Photos: Stephanie DeMeester, Kurman Communications, Inc.)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Earth Hour at Karma

Save the planet and save some cash this Saturday, March 28, when pan-Asian eatery Karma (510 E. Route 83, Mundelein; 847-970-6900) supports Earth Hour. To support Earth Hour, the restaurant will turn off any non-essential lighting, set the cooling system temperature at 72 degrees and make additional efforts wherever possible to create awareness behind their continued journey in sustainability.

Indulge in Karma's three course menu, available Friday, March 27 through Sunday, March 29. At just $25 per person, the menu is a dining deal and features some of the restaurant's most popular items: Peking Duck, Asian BBQ Salmon and Thai Chili Beef.
For reservations, call (847) 970-6900 or visit http://www.karmachicago.com/.

Local, Organic Dining Deals at Glen Prairie

This weekend only, join Glen Prairie (1250 Roosevelt Rd., Glen Ellyn; 630-613-1250) for Executive Chef Daniel Ovanin's weekend specials, offered in addition to the regular menu. Available Friday, March 27 through Sunday, March 29, these three dishes feature the freshest locally farmed and organic ingredients.

Specials include: Venison Tenderloin Carpaccio (from Iowa's Freedom Farm), brown butter-root vegetable puree, organic baby carrots, tomato and grape Port sauce, fried capers and smoked sea salt ($12); Poached Great Lakes Striped Bass, garden vegetable consomme, citrus and shaved fennel salad, and fresh herbs ($22); and Spiced Grilled Missouri Catfish, roasted potatoes and sweet peas, grilled tomatoes and remoulade ($18).

Wine pairings are also available. For reservations, called (630) 613-1250 or visit http://www.glenprairie.com/. Don't miss these weekend dining deals!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Templeton Rye wins Gold Medal at SF Spirits Competition Tasting

Templeton Rye Whiskey was awarded the Gold Medal at the San Francisco Spirits Competition, held March 21-22, 2009 at the Hotel Nikko. The competition was founded in 2000, and is the first comprehensive, international spirits judging ever held in the United States on an annual basis.

Want to try this award-winning rye whiskey for yourself? There are plenty of opportunities in the coming days as Chicago celebrates Whiskey Week as the kick-off to WhiskyFest Chicago, held next Wednesday, April 1 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago.

Saturday, March 28
5 p.m.-11 p.m. Classic Cocktail Bar and Junior League Poker Night at Germania Place (108 W. Germania Pl., 312-573-1968)

Sunday, March 29
Meet the Templeton Rye Team at Bar de Ville (701 N. Damen Ave., 312-929-2349)

Monday, March 30
5 p.m., Tasting Event at One North Kitchen and Bar (1 N. Wacker Dr., 312-750-9700)
6 p.m., Rye Education with Templeton Rye founders Scott Bush and Keith Kerkoff at Five-Star Bar (1424 W. Chicago Ave., 312-850-2555) RSVP info@fivestarbar.com
8 p.m., Classic Cocktail Demonstration with Templeton Rye representatives at Fizz Bar & Grill (3220 N. Lincoln Ave., 773-348-6088)
8 p.m. American Whiskey Night at Delilah's with $5 shots of Templeton Rye (2771 N. Lincoln Ave., 773-472-2771)

Tuesday, March 31
5 p.m.-8 p.m., Templeton Rye Bottle Signing at Binny's South Loop (1132 S. Jefferson St., 312-768-4400)

About Templeton Rye
When prohibition outlawed the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages in 1920, enterprising residents of tiny Templeton, Iowa, population 350, came together to create an American classic known as Templeton Rye Whiskey, or “The Good Stuff” to those in the know.

Over the course of its storied history, Templeton Rye became Al Capone’s whiskey of choice, quickly finding its way to the center of his bootlegging empire. Speakeasies in Chicago, New York and as far west as San Francisco, poured Templeton Rye as the "Best Whiskey in the House." Later legends suggest that a few bottles even found their way inside the walls of Alcatraz to the cell of prisoner AZ-85.

Available legally for the first time, the infamous small batch rye whiskey returns. Aged in charred new oak barrels and produced from the original Prohibition Era recipe, Templeton Rye provides a smooth finish and a clean getaway. Find out more at www.templetonrye.com.
About WhiskyFest Chicago
Malt Advocate’s 9th Annual WhiskyFest Chicago 2009 will be at the Hyatt Regency Chicago (151 E. Wacker Dr.), from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. April 1. General admission tickets are $95. Business or business casual attire is preferred. yFor more information, please call the hotel at (312) 565-1234 or visit WhiskyFest’s blog at www.whiskyfest.wordpress.com.

River North Business Association Announces "River North's Best" Awards Winners

Mark Kelly, president of the River North Business Association RNBA), is proud to announce the winners of the associations 2009 “River North’s Best” awards. Each year, the River North Business Association recognizes businesses and services in the area that have had positive impacts on the River North community and participates as members in good standing of the Association. “With close to 400 members, the RNBA finds this a difficult task. We have so many great businesses here. A few years ago, we opened the voting to the public. We feel strongly that our winners represent the “best of” River North,” said Kelly at the groups annual meeting “Spring Fling” held yesterday at the Embassy Suites Hotel on State St.

Taking first place for “Best Business or Service Award” was Point B Communications (750 N Orleans St., 312-867-7750), a creative and strategic agency specializing in advertising, branding and marketing services for more than 30 years, in River North for the past six. Accepting the award being presented by RNBA board member Bob Gottfred was Rob Grusin, president of Point B Communications.

RNBA board treasurer David Kover presented the River North “Best Entertainment or Hospitality Venue Award” to The James Hotel (55 E. Ontario St., 312-337-1000). The James, which opened three years ago in River North, was recognized for its contribution to tourism and to bringing business, specifically to River North. “Offering a stylish and engaging alternative for contemporary business or leisure travel, The James exemplifies responsibility, community and partnership,” said Kover. Accepting the award on behalf of The James was its direct of sales Vicki Poplin.

River North’s “Best Green Business Award” went to Greenheart
(746 N. LaSalle Dr., 312-264-1625), Chicago’s only nonprofit eco friendly and fair trade retail store. In his presentation, RNBA vice president Mayo C. Walcott said “Greenheart is a unique business in an ever growing important market segment. The store is fair to producers and good to the earth through its support of local, social enterprises and global fair trade partnerships.” Accepting the award was Claudia Curran, special projects director for Greenheart. In her acceptance, Curran was quick to point out the Greenheart offers complimentary meeting space for up to 30 people, inviting everyone to stop by.

Theory (9 W. Hubbard St., 312-644-0004) received the 2009 River North’s “Best New Restaurant Award,” as the city’s best new hot spot, presented by RNBA board member Bob Zimmerman. Bob commented “as a certified foodie, I enjoy the many great culinary delights that can be found in River North. Each year, all of us get to enjoy new ways to celebrate life with a good meal. Theory strives to be your home away from home, serving upscale yet casual American comfort food with Mexican and Southern BBQ influences, all with exemplary great flavors and soul. Theory is a cozy, upscale sports lounge with an emphasis on good food, and great service. Executive Chef/partner Brian Merel accepted the award on behalf of Theory.

RNBA board secretary, Cindy Kurman, presented the “Best Restaurant for 2009 Award” to Ai Japanese (358 W. Ontario, 312-335-9888). “Food, service and ambiance are just three of the criteria we looked for in selecting the Best Restaurant this year. It’s tough in an area that has so many good restaurants but Ai Japanese was a clear standout. Their unique menu of both sushi and traditional Japanese dishes with modern interpretations and their willingness to support the neighborhood and the association, gave Ai the winning advantage,” said Kurman. Accepting the award was Ai president Agnes Yoshikawa Chua.

The final award category for “Best Retailer, Showroom or Gallery Award,” was presented by RNBA vice president Art Bryan. “While the nominees in this category are as different as day and night, they exemplify the diversity of our River North neighborhood,” said Bryan. “The winner, Argo Tea, (222 Merchandise Mart Plaza, 312-553-1550) , is a growing Chicago company that brings natural and tasty signature drinks to all of those looking for a healthy beverage alternative and lifestyle experience. The group recognized Argo Tea for its sustainable initiatives, working with the best local and global artisans and for their contribution to the River North community. Accepting the award for Argo Tea was Annie Gibson, general manager of the Merchandise Mart location.

Presenting sponsors of the awards and annual meeting were North Bank and the Merchandise Mart. Gold sponsor was Erie-LaSalle Body Shop & Car Care Center. Food was provided by Zocalo, Theory, and Kitsch’n River North restaurants. Square One Productions provided audio visual support and Embassy Suites Hotel provided the location. Auction prizes were provided by So-Well Dental, Aniko Salon and Spa, Harry Caray’s Restaurant Group, Kitsch’n River North, Embassy Suites Chicago, and The Redhead Piano Bar.

Goody bags distributed to all attendees included hundreds of dollars worth of goods and services including: gift certificates from Erie-LaSalle Body Shop & Car Care Center, Scoozi, Theory, La Madia, Kitsch’n River North, Buca di Beppo, Ai Japanese, Embassy Suites Hotel, Artropolis, Fireplaces Plus, Cityscape Bar, and Kurman Communications. Other goodies included persimmon white tea from Argo Tea, VIA Starbucks coffee in an instant, and a variety of pens and premiums from North Bank, The Redhead Piano Bar, Erie-LaSalle, David M. Kover, CPF, and Park National Bank.

Changes taking place at the Westin Chicago North Shore

Osteria di Tramonto at the Westin Chicago North Shore in Wheeling has closed and is undergoing a concept change, according to Dan Egan, Director of Sales and Marketing at the Westin Chicago North Shore hotel (601 N. Milwaukee Ave., 847-777-6500). The new, yet-to-be-announced concept will be under new management, independent of Cenitare Restaurants, the restaurant’s former operators. A fall opening is expected.

During the transition, the Westin Chicago North Shore is operating Tramonto’s Steak & Seafood, the hotel’s popular steak and seafood restaurant, and the RT (sushi) Lounge. Tramonto’s is now open continuously beginning at 6:30 a.m., serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Tramonto’s Steak & Seafood dinner hours are 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday. RT Lounge is open from 5 p.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday, and from 5 p.m. until 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. It is closed on Sunday.

About Tramonto’s Breakfast
Chicago North Shore residents and travelers to the area have always appreciated the hearty American breakfast offered at the Westin. Voted among the top spots for business breakfast and lunch, the menu boasts an array of specialties including Belgian Waffles – simple, nutty or fruity ($6-$7), Steel Cut Oatmeal and Roasted Apples with raisins and brown sugar ($6.95), Gravlox ($8.95), and, of course, a variety of Egg Dishes served with home-style potatoes and a choice of breads ($9.95). Other favorites include Omelet Your Way with a choice of three ingredients ($9.95), a Breakfast Sandwich (9.95), Eggs Benedict with Canadian ham and hollandaise ($10.95) and Steak & Eggs with beef tenderloin medallions and two eggs as you like ($14.95).

About Tramonto’s Lunch
Variety is the keystone of the restaurant’s American menu. Starters include New England Clam Chowder ($5.95), Crispy Calamari ($9.95), French Onion Soup ($6.95), Steakhouse Chopped Salad ($9.95), Caesar Salad ($7.95) and Spinach Salad with goat cheese, red onion, candied pecan, and bacon vinaigrette ($7.95). Guests can add chicken for $2.95 or shrimp for $4.95 to the salads.

Popular priced lunch entrées include Midwestern favorites like Sautéed Lake Superior Whitefish with wood roasted carrots, mint and walnut agrodolce ($11.95); Pan-seared Scottish Salmon with beets, spinach and sherry vinaigrette ($14.95); Chicken Parmesan and Spaghetti with basil, provolone and Pomodoro sauce ($10.95); Chicken Scallopine with arugula and lemon vinaigrette ($12.95); and a 6 oz. center cut Filet Mignon with caramelized onion and arugula salad ($21.95). Several pasta dishes are featured including, Absolut Pennetti with diavolo sauce ($8.97) and Pappardelli with Meat Sauce of veal, port and beef ragu and fresh ricotta ($10.95).

The menu features seven sandwiches and burgers which are served with a choice of garlic fries, market vegetables or fresh fruits. Among the selection are Vegetable Panini, Tuna Salad, BLT and Chicken Parmesan, all for $8.95 each. The Pesto Grilled Chicken sandwich and Build Your Own Burger with choice of three toppings are both $9.95. The Steak Sandwich with chili aioli, escarole, Fontina cheese and crispy shallots is $11.95.

About Dinner
Dinner at Tramonto’s Steak & Seafood is an occasion that can be celebrated often. The restaurant gives new meaning to the term steak and seafood restaurant, as it offers a wide variety of selections rarely found at restaurants in the same category. Fresh shellfish and seafood platters for two guests or more are custom designed and filled with hand-picked daily specials representing the ocean’s bounty. Combination platters ranging from $16.95 to $34.95 per person are available, and include items such as jumbo shrimp, oysters, chilled mussels, cracked king crab and Maine lobster tail.

Appetizers range from RT Spicy Tuna Roll, Yellowfin tuna tartar, spicy mayo, scallions and shrimp tempura ($8.95); Sliced Hamachi Sashimi with miso-pineapple emulsion, chili aioli and fried shisho ($9.95); Wood Oven Roasted Escargot ($7.95); Grilled Kobe Beef Sliders ($9.95); Prime Beef Carpaccio ($10.95); Tuna Tartare ($11.95); Lobster Risotto ($15.95); Wood Oven Oysters Rockefeller ($10.95); Seared Jumbo Lump Crab Cake ($13.95) and more. Not to be missed are the signature Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras with candied beets, herb crepe and cherry gastrique, or the Whole Roasted Foie Gras serving six for $75.95 (seasonal preparation changes).

Meat of the matter
The menu offers five cuts of USDA Prime beef, both wet- and dry-aged, sourced from the Midwest. Whole prime ribs are seared in a wood-burning oven, while other cuts are seared on a 1,200-degree high-speed broiler; most of the steaks are finished in the wood-burning oven. Toppers for the steaks include sliced bone marrow, truffled poached eggs and seared foie gras.

Choose from the signature Filet Mignon, 6 oz. and 8 oz. center cuts ($26.95/$29.95); Prime New York Strip, 12 oz. Midwestern corn-fed ($34.95); Wood Oven Bone-in Rib-eye, 20 oz. Midwestern grain-fed ($40.95); Prime Porterhouse, 25 oz. Midwestern grain-fed ($54.95); and the Wood Oven Dry-Aged “Tomahawk,” 40 oz. bone-in rib-eye for two ($79.95).

Other steak specialties include Skirt Steak Frites with caramelized onions and frites ($21.95); Horseradish-Crusted Filet, 8 oz. center cut ($30.95); Filet Oscar, 8 oz. with crabmeat and béarnaise sauce ($35.95); Prime New York Strip Al Forno, 12 oz. with parmesan and garlic crust ($36.95); and Wood Oven Bone-In Filet, 16 oz. with seasonal forest mushrooms and natural jus ($53.95). Au Poive, Béarnaise, Red Wine, Bordelaise and Horseradish Cream steak sauces can be added for an additional $1.95 each.

Seafood selections include Maine Lobster Tail, 6 oz. ($27.95), Lobster and RT-Style Spicy Tuna Roll ($36.95), Lobster and 6 oz. Filet ($53.95) and Lobster and Sautéed Foie Gras ($45.95). Twin Sixes, two-6 oz. Tails ($55.95), Alaskan King Crab Legs by the pound ($37.95), Crab and 6 oz. Filet ($63.95), Crab and 6 oz. Lobster Tail ($65.95) and Crab and Sautéed Foie Gras ($55.95) are also featured.

Fish and seafood specialties include house favorites Miso Glazed Chilean Sea Bass with five grain wild rice and baby bok choy ($27.95), and Seared Spice-rubbed Yellowfin Tuna with fennel puree, orange segments and citrus emulsion ($27.95).
Other house favorites include Wood Oven Amish Chicken with braised fennel, bacon, apple and haystack potato ($19.95), Braised Short Rib with roasted garlic mash, braising jus and baby greens ($25.95), and Grilled Double-Cut Lamb Chops with Dijon bordelaise sauce ($35.95). The menu offers a variety of soups and salads as well as vegetables and side dishes.
Liquid assetsThe 3,000-bottle international wine list includes 25 choices by the glass. Flights of four 3-ounce glasses chosen by the sommelier are offered for $24. Traditional cocktails are updated with fresh juices and chipped ice.

Enjoy half-priced bottles of wine every Sunday at Tramonto’s Steak & Seafood. Choose from the expansive wine over more than 1,500 varietals, including a Silver Lake Chardonnay ($30), to a 2004 Silver Oak Cabernet ($300). The entire wine list is discounted each Sunday.
Architectural features at Tramonto’sA two-story water wall, a two-story enclosed glass wall for storing and displaying 10,000 wine bottles, a glassed-in kitchen with red tiles and a 3,000-pound glass chandelier.

Tramonto’s Steak & Seafood in the Westin Chicago North Shore Hotel, 601 N. Milwaukee Ave., Wheeling, Ill. 847-777-6575. Hours: Breakfast: 6:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., Lunch: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Limited Lunch: 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Dinner: 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday.

RT Lounge is open from 5 p.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday, and from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. It is closed on Sunday.

Earth Hour at Birch River Grill

Save the planet and enjoy local fare at Birch River Grill (75 W. Algonquin Rd., Arlington Heights; 847-427-4242) this Saturday, March 28 during Earth Hour from 8:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. At only $20 per person, you'll be saving cash along with the planet.

Birch River Grill's local-food focused EarthHour Dinner begins with Organic Field Greens Salad, shredded Michigan carrots and radishes. Then, a choice of either Grilled Organic Pork Tenderloin, glazed Michigan carrots and radishes, roasted Wisconsin Yukon gold potatoes and Michigan kiln diced cherries and red applace sauce, or Rushing Waters Rainbow River Trout, mashed Yukon gold potatoes, cumin scented Michigan carrot broth, Illinois daikon, radish sprouts.

This dinner is perfectly accompanied with Goose Island Brewery's 312 Urban Wheat Ale, available for $3. Bar specials include: Buffalo Hot Wings, with carrot and celery sticks and Wisconsin Blue Cheese dipping sauce ($4.50)Bud Light ($3).

From 8:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m., the restaurant will turn off overhead lights in the dining area in it's observation of EarthHour. Candles will be available for each table. The restaurant will also turn off any non-essential lighting, set the cooling system temperature in public areas at 72 degrees and make additional efforts wherever possible with the staff to create awareness behind the restaurant's continued journey in sustainability.

Reservations are recommended. Call (847) 427-4242.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Enjoy Templeton Rye at WhiskyFest Chicago, April 1

Templeton Rye, a rye whiskey company based in Templeton, Iowa, will be part of Malt Advocate’s 9th Annual WhiskyFest Chicago 2009, April 1 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago (151 E. Wacker Dr., 312-565-1234), from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. VIP tickets for WhiskyFest are sold out, but a limited number of general admission tickets for $95 remain.

“Chicago WhiskyFest is on par for the best event of its kind in the country,” says Templeton Rye Founder and President Scott Bush, whose company will be making its fourth appearance at WhiskyFest Chicago. “The city has a lot of whiskey expertise. Being in the same room with many other notable whiskey brands gives people to chance to see how a rye whiskey compares to other brands.”

WhiskyFest Chicago features more than 200 of the world's finest, rarest and most expensive, single malt and blended Scotch, Irish, bourbon, Tennessee, Japanese, Welsh, Canadian and other whiskies from around the world to sample in one Grand Ballroom. High-end rums, tequilas, beer and other spirits are represented as well.

The focus is on education, and various distillery representatives are at the pouring booths to explain how the whiskies are made. Seminars, many featuring their own tastings, run throughout the evening. Guests meet distinguished members of the whiskey community, and learn first-hand how their brands are made.

The father and son team of Meryl Kerkoff and Keith Kerkoff, Master and Assistant Master Distillers at Templeton Rye, respectively, will also be at WhiskyFest pouring Templeton Rye and telling Templeton Rye stories at the rye whiskey’s event booth, number 13. Meryl Kerkoff learned how to make the rye whiskey from his father, Alphons, and Keith is meticulous about keeping up the quality production started by his grandfather.

Bush, a noted craft distiller, will be part of a six-person panel discussing the practice from 8:30 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. at WhiskyFest.

About Templeton Rye
When prohibition outlawed the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages in 1920, enterprising residents of tiny Templeton, Iowa, population 350, came together to create an American classic known as Templeton Rye Whiskey, or “The Good Stuff” to those in the know.

Over the course of its storied history, Templeton Rye became Al Capone’s whiskey of choice, quickly finding its way to the center of his bootlegging empire. Speakeasies in Chicago, New York and as far west as San Francisco, poured Templeton Rye as the "Best Whiskey in the House." Later legends suggest that a few bottles even found their way inside the walls of Alcatraz to the cell of prisoner AZ-85.

Available legally for the first time, the infamous small batch rye whiskey returns. Aged in charred new oak barrels and produced from the original Prohibition Era recipe, Templeton Rye provides a smooth finish and a clean getaway. Find out more at www.templetonrye.com.

About WhiskyFest Chicago
Malt Advocate’s 9th Annual WhiskyFest Chicago 2009 will be at the Hyatt Regency Chicago (151 E. Wacker Dr.), from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. April 1. General admission tickets are $95. Business or business casual attire is preferred. yFor more information, please call the hotel at (312) 565-1234 or visit WhiskyFest’s blog at www.whiskyfest.wordpress.com.
Templeton Rye Event, March 25
Can't wait to get your hands on Templeton Rye? Don't forget In Fine Spirits (5418 N. Clark St., Chicago) is hosting a "Behind the Scenes at Templeton Rye" event today, March 25, 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Learn more details about the event here.

James Beard Foundation nominees announced

In case you missed the announcement (from Chicago's own Frontera Grill) earlier this week, the James Beard Foundation, the nation's most prestigious recognition program honoring professionals in the food and beverage industries, announced the nominees for the 2009 James Beard Foundation Awards. Susan Ungaro, James Beard Foundation President, hosted an invitation-only breakfast at JBF Award-winning chef Rick Bayless' and JBF Trustee Deann Bayless' highly-acclaimed Frontera Grill, where nominees in 52 categories were announced in the Foundation's various awards programs -- Restaurant and Chef, Book, Journalism, Design and Graphics, and Broadcast Media. Honorees in a number of special achievement awards, including Who's Who of Food & Beverage in America, Lifetime Achievement, Humanitarian of the Year, and America's Classics, were announced as well. For the complete list of nominees, please visit www.JBFAwards.com.

Highlights from this year's list of nominees include:

Outstanding Restaurant: Babbo (Chef/Owner: Mario Batali, Owner: Joe Bastianich, New York, NY); Boulevard (Chef/Owner: Nancy Oakes, Owner: Pat Kuleto, San Francisco, CA); Fore Street (Chef/Owner: Sam Hayward, Owners: Victor Leon and Dana Street, Portland, ME); Highlands Bar & Grill (Chef/Owner: Frank Stitt, Birmingham, AL); Jean Georges (Chef/Owner: Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Owner: Phil Suarez, New York, NY); Everest (Chef/Owner: Jean Joho/Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises)

Outstanding Chef: Jose Andres (Minibar, Washington, D.C.); Dan Barber (Blue Hill, New York, NY); Tom Colicchio (Craft, New York, NY); Suzanne Goin (Lucques, Los Angeles, CA); Paul Kahan (Blackbird, Chicago, IL) and Jean Joho (Everest, Chicago, IL)

Rising Star Chef: Nate Appleman (A16, San Francisco, CA); Sean Brock (McCrady's, Charleston, SC); Johnny Monis (Komi, Washington, D.C.); Gabriel Rucker (Le Pigeon, Portland, OR); Michael Solomonov (Zahav, Philadelphia, PA); Sue Zemanick (Gautreau's, New Orleans, LA)

Best New Restaurant: The Bazaar by Jose Andres at SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills (Chef/Owner: Jose Andres, Owners: Sam Narian and Philippe Starck, Los Angeles, CA); Corton (Chef/Owner: Paul Liebrandt, Owner: Drew Nieporent, New York, NY); L2O (Chef: Laurent Gras, Owner: Richard Melman, Chicago, IL); Momofuku Ko (Chef/Owner: David Chang, New York, NY); Scarpetta (Chef/Owner: Scott Conant, New York, NY)

In addition, some of the special achievement award recipients include:

Who's Who of Food & Beverage in America: David Burke (Chef, Entrepreneur, New York, NY); John T. Edge (Journalist, Director, Southern Foodways Alliance, Oxford, MS); Betty Fussell (Author, Culinary Historian, New York, NY); Dorothy Cann Hamilton (Founder, The French Culinary Institute, New York, NY); Clark Wolf (Clark Wolf Company, New York, NY)

America's Classics: Breitbach's Country Dining (Owner: Mike Breitbach, Sherrill, IA); Totonno's (Owner: Lawrence Ciminieri, Brooklyn, NY); Mustache Bill's Diner (Owner: Bill Smith, Barnegat Light, NJ); Yank Sing (Owner: Vera Chan-Waller, San Francisco, CA); Arnold's Country Kitchen (Owners: Jack and Rose Arnold, Nashville, TN)

Other Chicago area nominees include:
Outstanding Restaurateur: Rich Melman, Lettuce Entertain You
Outstanding Pastry Chef: Jimmy MacMillan, Avenues at the Peninsula Chicago and Mindy Segal, Mindy's HotChocolate Chicago
Outstanding Wine Service: Avenues at the Peninsula Chicago and Bin 36
Outstanding Service: Courtright's and Spiaggia
Best Chef-Great Lakes: Suzy Crofton, Crofton on Wells; Christophe David, Nomi at the Park Hyatt; Curtis Duffy, Avenues at the Peninsula Chicago; Kendal Duque, Sepia; Koren Grieveson, Avec; Michael Maddox, Le Titi De Paris; Martial Noguier, Cafe des Architectes; Arun Sampanthavivat, Arun's; Bruce Sherman, North Pond; Giuseppe Tentori, Boka; and Paul Virant, Vie

Winners of the Restaurant and Chef, Book, Design and Graphics, and special achievement awards will be celebrated at the highly-anticipated annual Awards Ceremony and Gala Reception, taking place on Monday, May 4, 2009 at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall. The Awards Ceremony and Gala Reception are open to the general public, and tickets can be purchased by calling the Awards Box Office at 212.925.0054 or by visiting www.JBFAwards.com. General public tickets are $450, but the James Beard Foundation is offering an "Early Bird Special" $50 ticket buyer discount from March 23rd - April 4th. The Journalism and Broadcast Media Awards will be presented at the invitation-only Media Awards Dinner on Sunday, May 3, 2009 at the Hudson Theatre in midtown Manhattan. All award winners will receive a certificate and a bronze medallion engraved with the James Beard Foundation Awards insignia. There are no cash awards.

Established in 1990, the James Beard Foundation Awards recognize culinary professionals for excellence and achievement in their fields and continue to emphasize the Foundation's mission: to celebrate, preserve, and nurture America's culinary heritage and diversity. The 2009 James Beard Foundation Awards will celebrate Women in Food. A highlight of the May 4th festivities will be the Gala Reception, which will take place following the Awards Ceremony at Avery Fisher Hall, featuring a line-up of some of America's most noteworthy female chefs, sommeliers, mixologists and artisanal producers. Lidia Matticchio Bastianich, acclaimed chef, restaurateur, television personality, cookbook author and multiple James Beard Foundation Award-winner, will serve as the honorary Gala Chair. As Gala Chair, Ms. Bastianich will work with the Awards Committee in the menu selection of the culinary talents featured at the Gala Reception.

The 2009 James Beard Foundation Awards are presented in association with All-Clad Metalcrafters and American Express(R) (the official card of the James Beard Foundation); Premier Sponsors: Green & Black's(R) Organic Chocolate, Lexus, Viking Range Corporation; Supporting Sponsors: Delta Air Lines, illy caffe North America, Inc., Southern Wine & Spirits of New York, Stella Artois; Gala Reception Sponsors: Acqua Panna(R) Natural Spring Water, Ecolab, Pernod Ricard USA, Rums of Puerto Rico, S.Pellegrino(R) Sparkling Natural Mineral Water; and with additional support from Chefwear and Pommery Champagne.

Want to attend the party?

The fabulous James Beard Award celebration on May 4 carries at hefty ticket price of $400 but if you act fast, you can take advantage of the Foundation's $50 discount for tickets purchased by April 4, go to http://www.jbfawards.com/JBFform.html for information and reservations.

About the James Beard Foundation

The James Beard Foundation is dedicated to celebrating, preserving, and nurturing America's culinary heritage and diversity in order to elevate the appreciation of our culinary excellence. A cookbook author and teacher with an encyclopedic knowledge about food, James Beard, who died in 1985, was a champion of American cuisine. He helped educate and mentor generations of professional chefs and food enthusiasts. Today, the Beard Foundation continues in the same spirit by administering a number of diverse programs that include educational initiatives, food industry awards, scholarships to culinary schools, and publications, and by maintaining the historic James Beard House in New York City's Greenwich Village as a performance space for visiting chefs. For more information, please visit www.jamesbeard.org.

SOURCE The James Beard Foundation

Friday, March 20, 2009

Weekend Dining Deals

Head to environmentally-conscious, local-focused restaurant Glen Prairie (1250 Roosevelt Rd., Glen Ellyn; 630-613-1250) for Executive Chef Daniel Ovanin's three featured specials, offered March 20, 21 and 22 in addition to the seasonal regular menu:

Lake Superior White Fish, braised red cabbage, sweet peas, carrot and potato ($19)
Seared Diver Scallops, sweet corn polenta with Nueske's Applewood Smoked Bacon, slow roasted organic grap tomatoes and red pepper coulis ($22)
Dietzler Farms Wisconsin Strip Steak, pommes anna, boursin creamed organic spinach, roasted shallot and truffle butter ($28)

Wine pairings are also available, and reservations are recommended.

For city dwellers, check out the West Loop's retro-themed Dine (733 W. Madison St., Chicago; 312-602-2100), which offers Trio Dinners, available Friday, March 20 through Sunday, March 22, and starting at just $20.

Trio I
Select One
House salad of baby greens, organic radish, cherry tomatoes and balsamic vinaigrette
Soup du Jour
Select One
Angus Meatloaf with whipped potatoes and organic spinach
Buttermilk Fried Chicken with sour cream potatoes and cole slaw
Beef Bolognese with penne pasta
Finishing Touch
House Made Ice Cream du Jour
$20 per person

Trio II
Select One
House salad of baby greens, organic radish, cherry tomatoes and balsamic vinaigrette
Soup du Jour
Select One
Grilled Norwegian Salmon, warm fingerling potato salad and dijon creme
Roasted Amish Chicken Breast, thyme roasted turnips and melted leeks
Finishing Touch
Lemon Pound Cake, blood orange frozen parfait and vanilla bean creme Anglaise
$26 per person

Prices exclude tax and gratuity. Reservations are recommended.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Spend A Nite at the Net this Saturday, March 21

Last call to buy tickets for the 4th annual Nite at the Net! Don't miss your chance to meet and mingle with NBC5 personalities and the Chicago Blackhawks, 7 p.m. until 1 a.m. Saturday, March 21 at the Hinsdale Racquet Club (5730 S. Grant St., Hinsdale; 630-325-6066). Proceeds from the event benefit A Silver Lining Foundation and the Foundation Fighting Blindness.

Enjoy food, beer, martinis and wine, while bidding on silent auction items under a heated tent. Hang out with Blackhawks defenseman Brent Sopel, and play air hockey and table tennis while a DJ spins tunes. Scotch and cigar lovers can take advantage of the private area allotted to them, and for tennis fans, the Hinsdale Racquet Club will have open courts available for nonstop tennis. The club's pros will even be there for swing advice and other tips.

Tickets to the event are $100, and can be purchased at http://www.asilverliningfoundation.org/; http://www.niteatthenet.org/ or by calling the Hinsdale Racquet Club.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

McGowan Durpetti & Associates produced Green Tie Ball makes BizBash's Top 100 Events List

Chicago Gateway Green's annual Green Tie Ball, produced for the past two years by Denise McGowan and Michelle Durpetti of McGowan Durpetti & Associates (MD&A), was named the top "Benefit" as part of BizBash's "Chicago's Top 100 Events" roundup. See the full article on page 68 of the March/April issue, or download here.

This isn't the first time the year-old company has been recognized for its efforts. The 2008 Green Tie Ball was listed as the number one event in the 'Top 100 Events in Chicago' list last year in BizBash. More recently, the Chicago Sun-Times named Green Tie Ball as one of the top three charity events to attend in Chicago.

The MD&A team has a combined 45 years experience in entertainment, events and marketing and specializes in event production and management for many corporations, associations and non-profit organization, including Chicago Gateway Green.

For more information about MD&A, or to see how they can help with your next event, call (312) 994-2620 or visit http://www.mcgowandurpetti.com/.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

"Behind the Scenes at Templeton Rye" Event March 25

At 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 25, In Fine Spirits and Templeton Rye will host a seminar and tasting, featuring Templeton Rye Prohibition Era Whiskey, a small batch rye whiskey made in the tiny town of Templeton, Iowa (population 350).

Scott Bush, president of Templeton Rye, and Michael Killmer, brand manager, will lead guests through a virtual distillery tour, and provide tastes of the product itself and cocktails based on Templeton Rye. Chef Marianne Sundquist will also pair food with the Templeton cocktails. The event will last approximately ninety minutes, in a casual format with plenty of time to interact with the Templeton Rye representatives.

“We are very pleased to host Templeton Rye, a very high quality, small batch whiskey,” said Shane Kissack of In Fine Spirits. “Templeton’s is truly a part of the history of Prohibition in Chicago, and a great ingredient in classic and modern cocktails.”

In Fine Spirits offers its wine and spirits classes, events and special tastings in its second floor event facility. With 1,600 square feet of space accommodating small and large groups, this venue is also ideal to plan private parties and receptions.

Space for this event is limited: to RSVP, call In Fine Spirits at (773) 334-9463, or purchase tickets online on our website, http://www.infinespirits.com/.

About Templeton Rye Whiskey
When prohibition outlawed the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages in 1920, many enterprising residents of tiny Templeton, Iowa, population 350, came together to create an American classic known as Templeton Rye Whiskey, or "The Good Stuff" to those in the know. Over the course of its storied history, Templeton Rye became Al Capone’s whiskey of choice, quickly finding its way to the center of his bootlegging empire. Speakeasies in Chicago, New York and as far west as San Francisco poured Templeton Rye as the "Best Whiskey in the House". Later legends suggest that a few bottles even found their way inside the walls of Alcatraz to the cell of prisoner AZ-85. Available legally for the first time, the infamous small batch rye whiskey returns. Aged in charred new oak barrels and produced from the original Prohibition Era recipe, Templeton Rye provides a smooth finish and a clean getaway. Find out more at http://www.templetonrye.com/.

About In Fine Spirits
In Fine Spirits offers Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood a destination to discover affordable, high quality wine and spirits in an educational format. Engaging classes, special tasting events and a friendly and knowledgeable staff in the retail store and bar can guide you in your exploration. For more information, visit our website: http://www.infinespirits.com/.

In Fine Spirits
5420 North Clark Street, Chicago, Illinois 60640
T: 773 334 9463

Friday, March 13, 2009

Dine offers three-course specials this weekend starting at $20

Dining deal of the weekend... Dine, 733 W. Madison at Halsted, just announced special three course dinners for this weekend, March 13-15. Prices start at $20, enjoy:

Dine Trio I

Please Select One

House Salad of Baby Greens, Organic Radish, Cherry Tomatoes& Balsamic Vinaigrette
Soup Du Jour

Please Select One

Angus Meatloaf with Whipped Potatoes & Organic Spinach
Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Sour Cream Potatoes and Cole Slaw
Beef Bolognaise with Penne Pasta

Finishing Touch
House made Ice Cream Du Jour

$20 per person

Dine Trio II

Please Select One

House Salad of Baby Greens, Organic Radish, Cherry Tomatoes & Balsamic Vinaigrette
Soup Du Jour

Please Select One

Grilled Norwegian Salmon, Warm Fingerling Potato Salad, Dijon Crème
Roasted Amish Chicken Breast, Thyme Roasted Turnips, Melted Leeks

Finishing Touch
Lemon Pound Cake, Blood Orange Frozen Parfait, Vanilla Bean Crème Anglaise

$26 per person

Add A Glass of House Red or White Wine

$6 per glass

** Prices exclude tax and gratuity. No substitutions.

Please mention seeing this on Got Buzz @ Kurman when making your reservation by calling:

* 312-602-2100 or at dinerestaurant.com *

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Restaurant Michael Introduces Prix-Fixe Dinner and Easter Sunday Menu

To kick off spring, Restaurant Michael (64 Green Bay Rd., Winnetka; 847-441-3100) is offering a special prix-fixe three-course dinner during the months of March and April. Beginning today, Thursday, March 12, this “French Silver Service” menu is a three-course selection from Michael’s a la carte menu. The entire table chooses from three appetizer selections, three entrée selections and two dessert selections. Each course is served tableside, and includes seasonal vegetable selections as well as creamy pomme purée and sauces. The meal kicks off with warm Gougeres (cheese puffs), and ends with Grand Marnier Chocolate Truffles. The prix-fixe deal is just $29.50 per person plus tax and gratuity, offered Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday.

Join Michael for Easter Sunday brunch, offered 11 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Sunday, April 12. The special three-course menu is $39 for adults, $19 for children under 12, and children three and under eat at no cost. Later in the day, celebrate Easter dinner from 4:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. at Restaurant Michael. The special three-course dinner menu is $49 for adults, $25 for children 12 and under, and children three and under eat at no cost. Tax and gratuity is not included.

For wine lovers, Michael will be featuring a special wine list, highlighting bottles under $35 and wines by the glass at $8 or less, the perfect way to try new wines without breaking the bank.

Restaurant Michael, the North Shore’s source of true French cuisine at a remarkable value, understands the importance of offering high-quality cuisine at an affordable price. Chef Michael Lachowicz, executive chef and proprietor of Restaurant Michael, has been enthralled with cooking since the age of three. While attending the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, Michael was introduced to the kitchen of Maxim Ribera, a member of the Maitre Cusinier de France. Michael studied under Chef Ribera for two years before returning to Chicago for a three-year stay at Le Francais in Wheeling, Ill. Michael also opened the highly-regarded, four star restaurant Les Deux Gros in Glen Ellyn, Ill. The restaurant received countless awards and accolades, including Restaurant of the Year in 2002 from the Chicago Sun-Times. They received three and a half stars and “Chef to Watch” from the Chicago Tribune, three stars and ranking of number 11 of 20 in the top restaurants from Chicago Magazine in 2002.

For more information, visit http://www.restaurantmichael.com/ or call (847) 441-3100.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Weekend Specials at Birch River Grill

Looking for a dining deal this weekend? Birch River Grill (75 W. Algonquin Rd., Arlington Heights; 847-427-4242) offers a special three-course menu this weekend, just $20 per person.

For the first course, choose either the Birch River Grill House Salad or Soup of the Day. Entree selections include a choice of either Pan Seared Chicken Breast, spring vegetable ragout, oven roasted gold potatoes and natural jus; Rushing Waters Rainbow Trout, teardrop tomato relish, sauteed spinach and Yukon Gold mashed potatoes; or Meatloaf Tower, ground beef, veal and pork, with crispy haystack onions, Yukon Gold mashed potatoes and roasted tomato glaze. Finally, indulge in Berry Sorbet, served with fresh berries, for dessert.

This special dining deal is offered only March 13, 14 and 15, in addition to Birch River Grill's regular menu and St. Patrick's Day specials. Press here for all of our client's St. Patrick's Day and Easter specials.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Mambo Grill to Temporarily Close on March 31

Mambo Grill, the 14-year-old popular Pan-Latin restaurant, currently located in River North at 412 North Clark, will temporarily close on March 31. Mambo Grill will reopen just two blocks away at 410 N. Wells St. this summer.

"This is not ideal," said Susan Frasca, president of Frasca Hospitality Group, owners of Mambo Grill. "I had hoped to extend my current lease for 90 days, but the building owner and landlord, Dr. Shahid Sarwar, would not give us a lease extension," said Frasca. "We have no other choice than to close our doors and temporarily layoff employees."

Mambo Grill has been around for fourteen years and Frasca has owned it for more than ten years. It boasts a long-term dedicated clientele. Frasca says "Restaurants are closing right and left and Mambo's sales are up 5% from last year. We are rocking and now we have to temporally close until the new space at 410 N. Wells is complete and operational."

She adds, "It makes me sick to my stomach to have to tell my employees in these economic times that they have to find work elsewhere during the transition."

Frasca also owns Kinzie Chophouse at 400 N. Wells Street just two doors south of the new Mambo Grill location. "I will take about 25% of the employees from Mambo with me over to Kinzie Chophouse but that is about all we can absorb." Says Frasca.

Mambo fans don't worry, Frasca says, "the new location will be a breath of fresh air. While the menu will remain the same with a few new exciting additions, the physical plant will be 50% larger to accommodate the big groups who enjoy dining and celebrating at Mambo. She has designed the digs herself and has a huge smile on her face when she talks about the new layout.
Frasca isn't budging to give away any details about the new space. She says it will be a big surprise but she will be posting updates, changes and a timeline for the grand opening on the restaurant's website.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Deadline nears to take advantage of tax credits for high-efficiency HVAC systems

Chicago based woman-owned HVAC firm Premium Mechanical empathizes with budget-conscious homeowners; urges them to take advantage of substantial cost savings

“Home owners who have been waiting to replace their furnaces and central air conditioning systems with new high efficiency products now have a good financial incentive to take the plunge,” according to Betty Pendley, owner of Premium Mechanical, Inc., one of only a few Chicago based woman-owned full service heating and air conditioning firms. furnaceThe American Recovery and Revitalization Act of 2009, which was passed into law on February 17, gives homeowners significant incentives to install high efficiency units.

It’s a great time to go green with your heating system,” said Pendley, whose 8-year old company has earned a zero-complaint status from the Better Business Bureau. “Not only are there substantial tax credits from the new federal stimulus bill, but at least two local gas companies, People’s Gas and North Shore Gas, are adding to the deal by offering their own rebates on gas furnaces.”

The new federal law enables home owners who purchase qualifying heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems (HVAC) for their primary residence to receive a tax credit equal to 30 percent of the cost of qualifying equipment, including installation—with a maximum of $1,500 per tax credit.

“The new legislation covers purchases through December 31, 2010, but right now there is an even greater incentive for people to upgrade or replace their system sooner rather than later,” says Pendley. “North Shore Utility and Peoples Gas are offering rebates to customers who purchase these qualifying systems by April 30.” Energy star rated water heaters can earn from $75 to $400 in rebates, depending on their efficiency; boilers, from $350 to $600 depending on efficiency; furnaces,from $350 to $450 depending on efficiency.

“We are an authorized dealer of many different types of qualifying systems,” said Pendley,“and installation usually takes only one day.” Premium Mechanical receives many calls from homeowners because, increasingly, they are concerned about their utility costs. “We are working with a wide range of homeowners throughout the Chicago metro area and at all price points. People are astute about the cost of energy and want to find ways to cut back on their utility bills,” observes Pendley. “What many of them don’t realize, until they call us, is that new HVAC systems can significantly reduce energy usage, even if the current systems are not really that old. They also don’t often recognize that, in most cases, installation is straight forward and quick.

hvac 2 roofThe new tax legislation covers a number of different HVAC systems. Split system air conditioning systems must achieve both a 16 seasonal energy efficiency rating (seer) and a 13 energy efficiency rating (eer). Split system heat pumps must reach 15 seer, 12.5 eer and a heating seasonal performance factor rating (HSPF) of at least 8.5. Gas furnaces qualify if theyattain an annual fuel utilization efficiency rating (AFUE) of 95%. Packaged air conditioning, heat pump or dual fuel systems must reach ratings of 14 seer, 12eer and 8 HSPF.

“We are an authorized dealer of systems from several major manufacturers and so we can recommend the right system at the right price,” says Pendley. “In addition to factory warranties on all products, we offer five years of free warranty labor.We want to help Chicagoans go green and save money—and there is truly no better time than now. But we do recommend that homeowners womancheck with their tax advisors to get expert advice on how to get the most from these new tax benefits.”

Pendley also advises homeowners who aren’t ready for a new system to be sure and have their system checked and cleaned annually. They can save money on their utility bills while preventing costly repairs.

Premium Mechanical, Inc. is located at 5550 N. Kimball in Chicago. The company’s highly regarded installation,maintenance and repair team has more than 100 combined years of experience and has earned an impeccable reputation for quality and service. Premium Mechanical’s friendly team of professional consultants are happy to review homeowners’ HVAC systems, recommend the optimal solution and answer questionsabout how they can improve the energy efficiency of their homes.

Betty Pendley has been in the HVAC business for nearly 20 years. She and her company have been featured on WIND-AM radio for providing free installation services for Habitat for Humanity. For more information, please contact Premium Mechanical at (773) 267-4477, or send an email to premiumheatair@aol.com. Visit the website at www.premiummechanicalinc.com.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Sweet Baby Ray's Introduces New Regional and International BBQ Specials

Lunch or dinner at Sweet Baby Ray’s is a celebration of barbecue. With the introduction of its new American regional and international barbecue menus, that is true now more than ever. Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Restaurant (249 E. Irving Park Rd., Wood Dale; 630-238-8261) is already well known for authentic barbecue, and high quality food at affordable prices.

Sunday: International BBQ
Sweet Baby Ray’s spectacular International Barbecue Sundays feature a different style of barbecue every week, 52 different styles throughout 2009. Sweet Baby Ray’s also offers this unique international menu during lunch every Wednesday. Customers have already enjoyed entrées such as the Moroccan Barbecue Chicken, grilled chicken spiced with lemon, garlic and paprika, served with toasted pita hummus and carrot salad.

On March 8, Korean style barbecue will be offered with Bul Kogi, barbecue beef grilled and flavored with garlic and ginger, served with rice and vegetables. The Chimichurri Chicken Sandwich, an Argentinean specialty, will be available March 15. The sandwich is a grilled chicken breast topped with chimichurri sauce served on a toasted roll with Argentinean potato salad.

Patrons can look forward to March 22 when the Thai inspired special is Chicken Satay with peanut sauce, sheared chicken marinated in soy, ginger and garlic served with Sweet Baby Ray’s sweet and savory peanut sauce. Sweet Baby Ray’s will also offer a Polish barbecue meal, Maple Kielbasa Skewers, skewered kielbasa grilled and glazed with maple syrup reduction and served with sauerkraut on March 29.

Monday: Carolina BBQ
Inspired by the way Eastern North Carolina uses the whole hog for its barbecue, Sweet Baby Ray’s offers the Chopped Pork Sandwich. The chopped pork sandwich is made from a whole smoked pig, including flavors of the shoulder, butt, tenderloin, ham, ribs, belly and hocks, served on a bun with a side of Carolina coleslaw, hush puppies and Eastern Carolina’s unique vinegar based barbecue sauce (no tomato or sugar) on the side ($7.49). Rib lovers can add a one-third slab of ribs for just $4.

Tuesday: Memphis BBQ
Memphis is known for serving ribs either “wet or dry,” basted with sauce, or hand rubbed with Sweet Baby Ray’s own spice blend served “dry,” without sauce. Sweet Baby Ray’s offers the Mini Duce Sandwich, a unique signature sandwich with pulled pork, grilled beef bologna and coleslaw, with one-third slab of Memphis ribs (wet or dry) served with barbecue beans and collard greens ($8.49). The Tuesday special also offers a half slab of Memphis style St. Louis ribs smoked over hickory wood and charcoal, wet or dry, served with cornbread, barbecue beans and collard greens flavored with hocks, onions and ham. ($12.99/half slab, $18.99/full slab).

Wednesday: International BBQ and All-You-Can-Eat Ribs
Every Wednesday, the restaurant features an a la carte lunch special, full slab Baby Back Ribs ($12.99). For All-You-Can-Eat Baby Back Ribs ($16.99/person), come after 4 p.m. to enjoy Sweet Baby Ray’s award winning ribs. In 2008, Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Restaurant was awarded first place for Best Ribs and the second place award for Best Sauce at the Naperville Ribfest. Additionally on Wednesday, lunch patrons can savor the International BBQ that’s featured every Sunday.

Thursday: Kansas City BBQ
Since Kansas City is thought by many to be the ‘barbecue capital of America,’ the Sweet Baby Ray’s team is excited to add the city’s barbecue style to its all-star lineup. The restaurant’s rendition of Kansas City style barbecue is the Quarter Smoked Chicken with Burnt Ends, kind of like a brisket reduction, served with the Original Sweet Baby Ray’s Stovetop Recipe BBQ Sauce; a side of Kansas City style barbecue beans; Kansas City coleslaw; and white bread ($8.49). Guests can add 1/3 slab of Baby Back or St. Louis ribs for only $4.

Friday: Texas BBQ
Sweet Baby Ray’s introduces its version of Texas Brisket offered lean or “with flavor,” served with the rich flavors from the fatty part, or deckle, of the brisket. The special Texas menu includes a trio of Texas flavors with smoked brisket, smoked sausage (imported from Southside Market in Elgin, Texas) and pork spareribs, all served Texas style with Sweet Baby Ray’s own Texas barbecue sauce, barbecue beans and potato salad, complimented with all-you-care-to-eat pickles, onions, jalapeño peppers, saltines and white bread ($9.49).

Saturday: Chicago BBQ
Over the years, the Sweet Baby Ray’s team has learned the barbecue preferences of the Windy City patrons. North Side Chicagoans love baby back ribs while South and West Siders have a penchant for rib tips, the bottom of the spare rib that is separated from the rib when creating the St. Louis style rib cut; and Hot Links, a smoked sausage with a flavor and texture similar to the combined flavors of Italian sausage and breakfast sausage, with a spicy profile. The high quality of the baby back ribs is something for which Sweet Baby Ray’s prides itself, and is one of the restaurant’s most popular items.

Come in on Saturdays for the comfort of Chicago style barbecue. Customers can treat themselves to their favorite Rib Tips and Hot Links topped with fries, Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue sauce, served with white bread and coleslaw ($7.99). True Chicago barbecue fans will enjoy adding a one-third slab of Baby Back Ribs for an additional $4.

For chicken lovers, Sweet Baby Ray’s offers a Chicago-style value meal, 1/3 Slab Baby Back Ribs & ¼ Chicken (fried, jerk or barbecue; white or dark), with fries and coleslaw ($12.99).

Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Restaurant is located at 249 E. Irving Park Rd., Wood Dale, Ill., (630) 238-8261. The restaurant is open daily 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sweet Baby Ray’s also features promotions, an e-BBQ e-mail club, weekly specials and offers extensive off-premise catering services and event planning services. To learn more about Sweet Baby Ray’s, call (630) 238-8261, or visit online on Facebook, at http://www.sbrbbq.com/, http://www.sbrcatering.com/, or visit their blog at http://goodfromthewood.com/.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Glen Prairie in Glen Ellyn - Weekend Specials

We just got wind of specials being offered at the new Glen Prairie restaurant (1250 Roosevelt Rd., 630-613-1250) in Glen Ellyn this weekend, March 6, 7 and 8. If you've had the chance to visit Glen Prairie since its opening a few months ago, you'll know that Chef Daniel Ovanin works hard at showcasing local flavors, featuring artisan foods from area farms and suppliers. Glen Prairie is pleased to announce that joining Chef Ovanin in the kitchen is sous chef Byron Kuhn, formerly of Nomi! You can also see Chef Ovanin at the Garden Gourmet Stage at the Chicago Flower & Garden Show at Navy Pier, Tuesday, March 10 at 11:30 a.m.

Glen Prairie's is busy working on their upcoming Spring menu. In the meantime, this weekend specials include:

Thyme and Meyer Lemon Roasted Wisconsin Trout, Garlic Wilted Organic Spinach, Confit Fingerling Potatoes - $18.00

Pan Roasted Northern Lake Sturgeon, Wild Mushrooms, Dried Apricots and Hazelnuts - $22.00

Maple Leaf Farms Duck Breast, White Bean Cassoulet, Organic Sage, Maple Gastrique - $20.00