Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My Golden Birthday with Kurman at Topolobampo

Tuesday was my 25th birthday, and lucky for me, the Kurman gang treated me to lunch at one of my favorite spots—Topolobampo! The best part? We got a special visit from none other than culinary extraordinaire and proprietor Rick Bayless.

Bayless’s recent win on Top Chef Masters meant that Topolobampo and sister restaurant Frontera Grill were packed with eager diners excitedly anticipating Bayless’s famed Mexican cuisine. The beautiful dining room was impressively packed on a Tuesday afternoon.

We each ordered an appetizer, a main course and a dessert, which is not something I usually do. But I really wanted to try as much as I could. Everything on the menu had my mouth watering.

Our appetizers arrived, and Cindy’s Sabana de Jitomates, thin slices of locally grown heirloom tomatoes from Topolobampo’s rooftop garden, was one of the most colorful dishes I’ve ever seen. She said that it tasted even better than it looked, and it looked darn good.

We moved on to our main course, and Stephanie’s Tacos de Pescado, Baja-style fish tacos with mahi mahi prepared two ways with homemade lime mayo, fresh tortillas, pea tendril salad, avocado-tomatillo salsa, pickled vegetables and lime-Corona “air” looked too delicious not to snap a quick photo.

Lee’s main course, Barbacoa de Pato, featured Gunthorp duck two ways: seared breast and slow-braised leg barbacoa, with braised garbanzos, tomatillo-avocado salsa, verdolagas salad, and topped off with pan juices. Yum!

As for my main course, I was completely saciated with my order of Cuatro Cositas Oaxaqueas, the Oaxacan sampler, featuring an empanada with chicken and yellow mole, grilled Oaxacan chorizo, grilled red chile shrimp and cochinita pibil.

Cindy ordered Chilaquiles de Guajillo y Frijo Negro, a vegetarian option, a torta of shiitake-filled chilaquiles, served with black bean sauce, homemade crema, crispy white onion and cilantro. She was concerned that the dish would be too hot, and our excellent server assured her that it was spicy, not too hot. Attentive, she stopped by to make sure that everything was in order and to our liking. It was, and so much more.

I'm glad that we took so many photos of the food. We were all soon members of the "clean plate club."

The food was great; don't get me wrong. But for me, the highlight of the meal was when Rick Bayless himself stopped by our table after we finished our main course to say hello! He even wished me a happy birthday, and after talking Twitter and social networking with us, he graciously posed for several photos.

My friends and family have asked me if he’s just as nice as he appears on television, and everyone at Kurman can wholeheartedly declare, yes! He's the real deal.

It was a birthday I won’t soon forget.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Weekend Deals at Glen Prairie and Unbeatable Lounge Eats from Birch River Grill

Kick off the weekend with farm-fresh, organic specials from executive chef Daniel Ovanin at Glen Prairie (1250 W. Roosevelt Rd., Glen Ellyn; 630-613-1250), highlighting ingredients from area farmers and ranchers. Available after 5 p.m. Friday, August 21 and Saturday, August 22, in addition to the regular menu, these specials feature produce from KAP Farms in Troy, Ill., and from The Farm, in Westmont, Ill.

The salad special includes The Farm of Westmont Fresh Village Salad, fresh tomatoes, Mattawan Artisan Creamery feta cheese, red onions, bell peppers, kalamata olives, fresh oregano and extra virgin olive oil ($7).

Try the entree special, Grilled Herb Marinated Center Cut Pork Chop, the Farm of Westmont's pan-roasted potatoes, and local green and wax beans ($20). End the meal with the dessert special, Vanilla Rice Pudding, southern Illinois peach and Michigan blueberry compote with crispy sugar crust ($6).

Looking for more dining deals available daily? Head to the lounge for $1.99 appetizers at Birch River Grill (75 W. Algonquin Rd., Arlington Heights; 847-427-4242) for the End of Summer Special, offered 4:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Choices include Buffalo Hot Wings, Mozzarella Cheese Sticks, Cheese Quesadillas, Beer Battered Onion Rings, Popcorn Shrimp, Potato Skins and Boursin Stuffed Mushrooms.

Bud Light Draft is served all day Monday through Friday for just $1.99. Get to Birch River Grill before these specials end!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Life of an Intern at Kurman Communications

by Trisha Trinco

The Kurman staff really knows how to show their interns a true public relations experience. I’ve had a wonderful journey which comes to an end as I write this blog entry. Spending close to four months in the trenches, I worked side-by-side with great individuals who mentored me and helped me to better understand the public relations industry. With their guidance, I got hands-on experience with interesting clients and media that, in the end, provided me with real life PR experience.

While 15 weeks may not sound like a lot of time, I have no complaints. I couldn't have paid a university any amount of money to teach me what I learned here. Let's talk about skills... oh my.

Write right
The benefits of doing an internship at a small firm are endless. Feedback is key. I received it with every piece I wrote, rewrote and wrote again. I learned a lot about my strengths and weaknesses as a writer, along with finding the spell check button in record time. There's always another way to express a thought and in the process, I learned what to do, and often, what not to do. If learning how to effectively communicate, at any level, was my goal, then my experience with my supervisors and, even the company president, Cindy, Kurman clients and the media, taught me how to think, re-think, create and re-create.

The Master Plan.
What should one hope to achieve by doing an internship? Kurman emphasizes learning behavior that will "follow me the rest of my life." Sounds scary for a 22-year-old. Beyond the massive improvement in my writing, seemingly simple things like being organized, creating and following a plan, staying on a time schedule and actively reporting EVERYTHING that we do, is part of the Kurman master plan for interns (and everyone else, for that matter). Being accountable and, of course, getting results for our clients. Bottom line. Work hard. Do your best. Do what you say you're going to do. And, have fun.

What does it mean to be part of the "team."
I really like my colleagues at Kurman. While, this may sound simple, I understand that having chemistry with whom the people you work isn't always a given, it's a luxury. There isn't a lot of division between responsibilities at Kurman. No task is too small. Nothing is unimportant.

Remember, they are just people.
Corresponding with media is a definite learning experience all on its own. Jump in with both feet and hope all goes well. My first call to the media was quite frightening. I had absolutely no idea what to expect. Was I going to get hung up on? Screamed at? Or was I going to faint? Once I had a couple phone calls under my belt, I realized that it was nothing to stress about. As long as I kept my facts straight, took the advice of my superior, Catherine, and thought of the call as a conversation rather than a pitch, the rest followed suit. The fun part came shortly after I started when the reporter with whom I was talking, actually was engaged, interested in what I had to say, and I secured my first real placement.

Friend me, tweet me.
Social media plays a huge role here at Kurman. I learned a lot about how to take advantage of new media, Web sites like Facebook and Twitter, where large amounts of people visit obsessively. Let me tell you, research rocks. I don't know what people did without the internet and I'm glad that I'm of the generation that affords me this luxury.

Creating buzz about clients is the goal of public relations, and social media has had a huge impact on how Kurman goes about doing it. I posted and updated information on Facebook, Twitter and the KCI Got Buzz blog. Although I have used these sites in the past, I didn't know as much about them as I do now. For example, I have had a personal Facebook account for years and never knew that fan pages existed or how to update them. I've had a personal Twitter account for about a year, and never before thought about how a business could use it to their advantage. Bottom line. Social media may well be the new wave of the future, and thanks to Kurman, I know how to contribute to it.

Free food!
Ok. Let's get real. If you follow or read Kurman's Got Buzz blog regularly, you know that among our specialties are food and restaurant marketing and public relations. You have to know that one BIG advantage of working here is FOOD. Dining is Kurman's mantra.

All work and all play.
I don't know if interns elsewhere get to plan, attend and work events, but at Kurman, we're thrown into it all. Early on at Kurman, I was offered the opportunity to attend the National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show. We were scouting and networking. Oh. And did I mention -- eating free food! Have you ever been to the NRA. I highly recommend it. OMG. If it's a food product or equipment to make food products, it's there. Miles of exhibits. Thousands of people. I had no idea of what went into making a restaurant. Hell. All I had ever done was order. Needless-to-say, between Kurman U and my Kurman field trips, this wide-eyed girl was in awe.

Bedazzle your dog.
The second event that I helped plan was the BARQUE fashion show. This client introduced me to the fashion world. Oh. Did I mention, dog fashion? Who knew that there were people who would plop down a Benjamin Franklin for the most gorgeous designer dog cloths, ever. And, adorable...the clothes and the dogs. Thanks to our hard work (and my persistent follow-up calls), there was immense media exposure, in print, online, and TV. At the show, I helped WGN’s Marcus Leshock with his interview of Gay Roberts, owner of BARQUE. Schmoozed with Bill Zwecker, the show's emcee, and watched CBS shoot b-roll. Needless to say, I was in heaven. It was gratifying to see all of the media exposure that the event had gained due to our dedication here at Kurman (and my hard work!)

Poker face.
The third event I attended was incidentally on the same day as the BARQUE event. (If you think pr is a 9-5 job, think again.) Chicago Gateway Green hosted its 4th Annual Texas Hold ‘Em charity tournament at Galleria Marchetti which had more than 300 attendees and raised nearly $35,000. This event was many months in the making and it was exciting to be a major contributor. This event received a lot of attention from local media and was, without a doubt, a huge success, in part due to Kurman's great media exposure. We secured more than 40 media placements with a combined 58 million impressions.

How I got here.
Up until now, I haven't mentioned how I got here. Since there may be future intern wannabee's reading this, I think that it's worth mentioning. My intro to Kurman was during a "field trip" organized during my senior year at Western Michigan. A large group of us ventured to the "big" city to tour a couple agencies. Our first experience was a visit to Edelman. You can't help but be swept away by the "bigness" of the world's largest pr agency. The 15 of us were herded into their massive conference room and promptly given a briefing by their HR person who explained their internship program. She was followed by a panel of employees representing the many areas they cover. Don't get me wrong. It was awesome. But, by contrast, Cindy Kurman and her entire team greeted us with Gino's East Pizza. The afternoon was so intimate and relaxed. The company, so approachable. It was an eye opener. The Kurman team talked about what they did, showed us examples and fed us. What a great combination! They were genuinely interested in what we had to say and asked each of us what we wanted or thought we wanted to do with our life (and if we were doing an internship). This is where it got really interesting for me. Not one to mix words, I promptly raised my hand and said that "I was going to do an internship at Kurman." The rest is history.

One door closes, another one opens.
In my interview with Kurman, I stated that my goal was to find an internship that would give me the chance to learn the ins and outs of the public relations industry. I am sure there is a lot more for me to learn, but it is safe to say that my time with Kurman was a home run. My experience at Kurman is one that I will never forget and will be sure to take with me as I begin my career in public relations.

Friday, August 14, 2009

StreetWise Hosts Rooftop Gala to Honor Heroes and Champions of the Chicago Community August 21

StreetWise, the magazine that provides an income to Chicagoans who are homeless or at risk of being homeless, is celebrating its heroes and champions at a rooftop gala from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday, August 21 at the Rooftop Sculpture Garden (117 N. Jefferson, fourth floor). Guests can purchase individual tickets for $100, or a block of 6 tickets for $500. "Good Karma" donations are welcome at $50 each.

Come experience the sophisticated side of StreetWise and enjoy high-end cuisine, catered by Hot Chocolate, Santorini, Bluebird, Frontera Grill, Whole Foods and Map Room; spirits and live jazz entertainment by the TVK Orchestra, who are regularly featured at Green Dolphin Street. A silent auction will be held with items including art by Tony Fitzpatrick, art from Caste, travel packages, a Chicago Bulls VIP package and local artisanal jewelry.

Just as StreetWise encourages its vendors to grow, the organization continues to mold its mission. StreetWise has launched a new workforce training and education mission. The event will recognize individuals who have made a tremendous positive impact on the StreetWise community through the commencement of a Workforce Training and Education Program offering mentoring, higher-education, job training and life skills programs.

Featured guests of honor include Kevin Ward, a volunteer coordinating the one-on-one mentorship program that was a major factor in the success of this pilot project; John Reinsdorf, chairman of the Workforce Training and Education Committee and pioneer of the program and its partnership with Local Economic and Employment Development (LEED); and Alderman Manny Flores, a strong supporter and advocate of the StreetWise cause, who brought unparalleled attention to the importance of StreetWise to the Chicago community. The top five champion StreetWise vendors will also be present including Glen Hughes, Cloceal Holman, Roger Jacobson, Craig Barrow and Patricia Tillman who are all top LEED graduates.

The LEED Council higher education initiative offers mentoring, job training and life skills programs. The $100 contribution enrolls a StreetWise vendor in computer labs, career counseling and interview coaching. With the help of donations, StreetWise can continue to provide people displaced in the tough economy with the means to beat the streets and reach for the stars.

StreetWise sells for $2 per issue. Vendors purchase the magazine for 75 cents and the remaining $1.25 goes directly to the licensed StreetWise vendor. People are urged to make a financial contribution to help support StreetWise and the important mission it carries out. For more information or to make a contribution, please contact Bruce Crane at (312) 829-2526 ext. 13.

StreetWise is a 501(c)3 charitable organization. Contributions are tax deductable. For more information regarding the gala, or to donate, please visit

Farm-Fresh Weekend Specials from Glen Prairie

Head to Glen Prairie (1250 Roosevelt Rd., Glen Ellyn; 630-613-1250) this weekend for farm-fresh specials crafted by executive chef Daniel Ovanin, featuring ingredients sourced from area farmers and ranchers. Offered in addition to Glen Prairie's seasonal-focused regular menu after 5 p.m. August 14 and 15, this menu highlights produce from KAP Farms in Troy, Ill., and Twin Garden Farms in Harvard, Ill.

Start with the salad, KAP Farms Fresh Cucumber Salad, with grape tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, KAP Farms green onions and fresh herb vinaigrette ($7). For the entree, indulge in Grilled Herb Marinated Miller Farms Chicken, pan roasted Twin Garden Farms potatoes and Harvard sweet corn ($18), with the suggested wine pairing of Chateau St. Michelle Columbia Valley Sauvignon Blanc.

For dessert, try the Grilled Marinated Southern Illinois Peaches, vanilla bean gelato and brown sugar crumb ($6).

Also try Glen Prairie's new gluten-free menu! Make a reservation at Glen Prairie this weekend by calling (630) 613-1250, or visit for more information.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Silver Lining Foundation Teams Up with the Chicago Sky

A Silver Lining Foundation (ASLF) is pairing up with the groundbreaking WNBA team, the Chicago Sky, to raise awareness about breast cancer. Join ASLF at 7:30 p.m. Friday, August 28 and watch the Chicago Sky take on the New York Liberty at the UIC Pavilion (1150 West Harrison, Chicago, Ill.).

Enjoy the thrilling basketball, family fun, and inspiring female athletes. Tickets start at just $15 and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to ASLF. Children under the age of 2 enter for free.

To order tickets, or for more information about the event, visit and enter the promo code ASLF; call Stanley Coleman at (312) 994-5999; or e-mail at

In order to participate in this event and assure proceeds go to ASLF, a form must be filled out and faxed to (312) 828-9979. To download the form, click here:

To learn more about A Silver Lining Foundation, visit

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen's David Jarvis Featured on WGN-TV

August 13 is National Filet Mignon Day, and in honor of the event, chef David Jarvis of Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen stopped by WGN-TV's outdoor patio to demonstrate how to make Pappadeaux's Filet Mignon Sandwich. With the help of Midday News anchor Marcella Raymond, Jarvis showed how to grill the filet, and place it on the toasted roll, along with the preparation of the sliced tomatoes, sauteed onions, horseradish mayonnaise and arugula.

In case you missed the segment, press here or watch it below.

Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen has two Chicago area locations, at 921 Pasquinelli Dr. in Westmont (630-455-9846), and at 798 W. Algonquin Rd. in Arlington Heights (847-228-9551). For more information, visit

August Specials from Kurman Clients

As the summer begins to wind down, Kurman clients are still going strong as they offer great deals throughout the month of August. Take a look at what they are featuring:

Max’s on the Green
621 Westley Rd., Glencoe, Ill.
(847) 835-3686

As of June 15, Max’s on the Green opened at Glencoe Golf Club providing tasty food for both golfers and non-golfers alike. What used to be a typical golf course food concession has now transformed into a casual full-service restaurant for dinner, with fresh, prepared-to-order counter-side service for breakfast and lunch.

For dinner, Max’s on the Green offers a more expansive menu including appetizers and entrées. Appetizer selections include Shrimp in red pepper sauce ($5.50); Crab Cakes ($7.50); Chicken & vegetable pot stickers ($4.95); or Flat Bread Pizza ($5.95).

Max’s on the Green has delicious burgers like the Greg Norman Kobe Burger, the Greg “Shark” Norman’s 8-ounce beef burger grilled to perfection and served on a pretzel bun with lettuce and tomato, complimented with a choice of tobacco onion strings or crispy fries ($13.95). Add cheddar, American, bleu or Swiss cheese for an additional charge.

Entrées include Salmon Filet, pan seared with Chef’s special spice rub ($15.95); Tilapia, dredged in corn flour and lightly fried to golden brown ($13.95); 8-ounce Skirt Steak, seasoned and grilled, finished with compound butter ($16.95); or Ravioli, delicate pasta squares filled with spinach served with marinara sauce, ($12.95), or filled with lobster and served with a brown butter sauce ($16.95). All entrées are served with a starch and vegetables that change daily based on market fresh availability and Chef Ed’s preference. Entrées can be served with a choice of garden or Caesar salad for an additional charge.

Max’s on the Green will only remain open through October 31, so act quickly before the golfing season comes to an end.

About Max’s on the Green
Max’s on the Green is located 621 Westley Rd., Glencoe, Ill. and open for spring and summer, seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. through October 31. Reservations are not required, but are recommended for large parties and can be made at (847) 835-3686. For more information, please visit

921 Pasquinelli Dr. Westmont, Ill.
(630) 455-9846
798 W. Algonquin Rd., Arlington Heights, Ill.
(847) 228-9551

Now is the time to experience Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen’s delicious seafood at a bargain price. Pappadeaux offers seven lunch menu items for less than $10.

Try the Louisiana Gumbo & Garden Salad, a choice of a steaming bowl of gumbo or crawfish bisque and fresh garden salad ($7.95); Pappadeaux Steak Sandwich; grilled steak served on French bread bun with horseradish, mayonnaise, grilled onions, tomato and arugula, served with hand cut French fries ($9.95); Louisiana Gumbo & PoBoy, choice of half blackened catfish, fried shrimp or fried oyster poboy and a cup of gumbo or crawfish bisque ($8.95); PoBoys, choice of catfish, oyster, shrimp or shrimp and oyster on a freshly baked hoagie bun with coleslaw in a creamy rémoulade dressing, served with French fries ($9.95); Fried Shrimp, served with French fries ($9.95); Pan Grilled Tilapia, topped with toasted hazelnuts and brown butter, served with green beans and potatoes ($9.95); or Chicken Linguine Picayune; grilled chicken breast, mushrooms, spinach, broccoli, garlic and extra virgin olive oil ($9.95).

Happy hour at Pappadeaux features more than 10 appetizers for less than $5 with a $2.50 minimum beverage purchase per person in the bar area. From 3-7 p.m. Monday through Friday snack on Green Bean Frit, with lemon aioli ($1.95); Beer Battered Pickles, with ranch dressing ($1.95); Catfish Beignets, with shoestring potatoes ($2.95); Crispy Orange Shrimp, tempura fried shrimp with a sweet and spicy sauce ($2.95); Blackened Boudin, with grilled toast points ($2.95); Petite PoBoy, choice of blackened catfish, fried shrimp or oyster ($3.95); King Crab Maki Roll, Alaskan king crab with cilantro, lime juice and a sweet and tangy teriyaki sauce ($4.95); Tandoori Seared Salmon Sticks, with a pineapple glaze ($4.95); Mini Fondeaux, with blackened shrimp and crawfish with garlic bread ($4.95); and the Chef Selection Oysters, on the half shell-half dozen.

About Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen
Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen is located in Chicago’s western suburbs (921 Pasquinelli Dr., Westmont, Ill.; 630-455-9846) and northwest suburbs (798 W. Algonquin Rd., Arlington Heights, Ill.; 847-228-9551). Pappadeaux’s Arlington Heights location is open for lunch 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, and noon to 3 p.m. Sunday. For dinner, Pappadeaux is open 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. Pappadeaux in Arlington Heights serves brunch from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. every Sunday. Pappadeaux’s Westmont location is open for lunch 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Sunday. For dinner, Pappadeaux is open 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information or to join Pappadeaux’s e-mail club, visit

Sweet Baby Ray’s
800 E. Higgins Rd., Elk Grove Village, Ill.
(847) 437-9555

August: Texas BBQ
During the hot month of August, Sweet Baby Ray’s introduces its version of Texas Brisket slow smoked and carved to order, offered lean or “with flavor,” served with the rich flavors from the deckle of the brisket. The special 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 ($11.49). Come in and experience a taste of Texas.

All-You-Can-Eat Pig Roast and End of Summer Barbecue Spectacular (August 23)
From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. August 23 come in to Sweet Baby Ray’s and enjoy an all-you-can-eat pig roast. For just $19.99 for adults and $8.99 for children, feast on freshly made Bratwurst, Hot Dogs, Jalapeño Dogs, and Cheddar Brats hand crafted at Elburn Meat Market. The pig roast and end of summer barbecue are in addition to Sweet Baby Ray’s house specialties, Baby Back Ribs, Smoked Chicken, Beef Brisket and Roasted Corn on the Cob.

Taste Sweet Baby Ray’s homemade sides including deviled eggs, Cajun style potato salad, grilled vegetables, jalapeños, onions and fruit, along with fresh cornbread and more.

For the kids, check out the IBC root beer floats and Sweet Baby Ray’s novelty ice cream station.

Drinks are just $3.50 and include ice cold Shiner Bock beer, Shiner Black lager and Shiner Smokehaus.

Summer Take-Out Specials
On the go? Sweet Baby Ray’s offers take-out specials Monday through Friday, including its Full Slab Dinner, with two sides and cornbread for only $15 (only available until August 31). Monday special includes Sweet Baby Ray’s best selling Pork Sandwich, served with fries and a drink ($5.99); and on Tuesday, take home Jambalaya, served with a cup of gumbo and a drink ($8.99). Wednesday features ¼ Chicken, one side, cornbread and a drink ($6.99), along with All-You-Can-Eat Ribs for $16.99, which includes au gratin potatoes, coleslaw and cornbread; Thursday, enjoy a Boneless Rib Sandwich, with fries and a drink ($5.99); and celebrate Friday and taste Sweet Baby Ray’s Rib Tips Plate, served with fries, cornbread and a drink ($7.99).

Chicago BBQ Everyday
For years, Sweet Baby Ray’s has exceeded the expectations of its Chicago customers. Each Windy City patron has their favorite dish, from baby back ribs, to rib tips and hot links, but the high quality of food is what Sweet Baby Ray’s prides itself.

In addition to the specials during these summer months, customers can order the signature dishes from the original menu. A restaurant favorite and a top selling item is the Pulled Pork Sandwich, seasoned with Sweet Baby Ray’s special rub, smoked low and slow for up to 12 hours, hand pulled with love, and infused with The Boss for $8.99. True Sweet Baby Ray’s fans can enjoy A Full Slab of Baby Back Ribs for $19.99

Labor Day
Don’t forget Sweet Baby Ray’s is open for Labor Day. Pick up a special catering package that starts at $99.99, or stop in the restaurant to enjoy our Monday Buffet for just $10.99 that includes Rib Tips, Pulled Pork and Jerk Chicken.

About Sweet Baby Ray’s
Summer is coming to an end, so don’t forget to take advantage of the outdoor patio while it is still open. Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Restaurant is located at 800 E. Higgins Rd., Elk Grove Village, Ill. (847) 437-9555. The restaurant is open Monday and Tuesday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday Noon to 11 p.m. and Sunday Noon to 9 p.m. Sweet Baby Ray’s also offers a private room for special occasions. To learn more about Sweet Baby Ray’s, call (847) 437-9555 or visit online at

Trattoria Isabella
217 N. Jefferson St., Chicago, Ill.
(312) 207-1900

Keep an eye out for Trattoria Isabella’s authentic, 12-inch homemade pizzas for lunch and dinner, baked in a brick-oven that comes straight from Italy. These pizzas are currently on the menu, but will be baked in the new oven come the end of August. Taste the difference and try the Margharita, mozzarella, tomato sauce and basil ($10.95); Isabella, bufala mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, arugula ($11.95); Pizza alla Paolo, prosciutto di Parma, fresh arugula ($12.95); Pizza Siciliana, cozze, shrimp, calamari, tomato sauce ($13.95 lunch/$14.95 dinner); Quattro Formaggi, Gorgonzola, mozzarella, parmigiano, Bel Paese ($12.95); Pizza Vegetable, zucchini, tomatoes, mushrooms and asparagus ($11.95); Pizza Genovese, anchovies, mozzarella, tomato sauce and oregano ($12.95); and Pizza alla Mamma, Italian sausage, peppers and capricola ($11.95 lunch/$12.95 dinner).

About Trattoria Isabella
Trattoria Isabella is open for lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday; for dinner from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday; and 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. Complimentary Parking is available in the lot at Fulton and Jefferson after 5 p.m. weekdays and all day on weekends. For reservations at Trattoria Isabella or for more information, please call (312) 207-1900 or visit

Monday, August 10, 2009

Find Love at Glen Prairie and Enjoy Art at Karma

Glen Prairie
1250 Roosevelt Rd., Glen Ellyn, Ill.
(630) 613-1250

Find romance this August at Glen Prairie, with Speed Dating at 8 p.m. Wednesday, August 12. Get to know other singles while enjoying complimentary appetizers and beverages.

If interested in attending, please register at if ages 22 to 32 or if ages 33-43.

510 E. Route 83, Mundelein, Ill.
(847) 970-6900

Join Karma 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. August 27 for a sake tasting and art show. The sake tasting paired with hors d’oeuvres, chosen by executive chef Robert Packer, will also include photography by Gallery 41 in Schaumburg. All artwork will be available for purchase. Prices range from $50-$2,500. RSVP by August 25 with your name and number of people attending to

Photo credit: Getty Images

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Fleet Foxes tells Lollapalooza crowd: Chicago Diner is the best in the world

Many bands performing at Lollapalooza in Chicago this weekend have been eating at The Chicago Diner. Thanks for the "shout out" by Josh Noel in the Metromix blog for reporting that Fleet Foxes's singer Robin Pecknold plugged the Chicago Diner "the best vegan place in the world."

Here's the actual Metromix mention and link.

Josh Noel on 08.07.09
5 p.m. PlayStation Stage Fleet Foxes are one of the few bands that work on any stage, from dim clubs to Friday's venue -- a sprawling festival. The Foxes' hour-long set was familiar to anyone who has seen them before, drawing largely from their "Sun Giant" EP and self-titled debut LP. As always, they sounded pristine -- broad, majestic and beautiful, the kind of soundtrack you'd want at the top of the Rockies, but which sounds equally perfect in a soggy Grant Park. Their four-part harmonies and rustic jangle filled the space flawlessly. And a note to non-meat eaters: singer Robin Pecknold plugged the Chicago Diner, in Boys Town, as "the best vegan place in the world." So there.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Dine Big, Pay Little in the Month of August

Check out what Kurman Clients are offering for the month of August. Prix-fixe menus ranging from $20 to $23 are sure to satisfy anyone’s appetite on a small budget.

Birch River Grill
75 W. Algonquin Rd., Arlington Heights, Ill.
(847) 427-4242

For just $20, come in to Birch River grill and receive a three-course prix-fixe lunch or dinner with your choice of an appetizer, entrée and dessert.

For starters, pick either the BRG Salad, baby greens, shredded Michigan carrots, beefsteak tomato wedges, seedless cucumber slices; Granny Apple Onion Soup, paprika Parmesan croutons, Wisconsin Swiss and provolone cheese; or the Soup of the Day.

Choose an entrée such as the Blackened and Grilled Top Sirloin, Yukon gold buttermilk gold smashed potatoes, steamed Broccolini and chipotle rémoulade sauce; Roasted Herb Cod Filet, sundried tomatoes and lentil ragout, grilled asparagus and tomato broth; or the Herb Grilled Chicken Breast, wild and saffron rice pilaf, green bean and mushroom ragout and roasted chicken jus.

For dessert, refresh with Berry Sorbet, served with fresh berries.

About Birch River Grill
Birch River Grill serves rustic American gourmet comfort food. Hours for the restaurant are 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, and 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. The lounge stays open one hour later. All major credit cards are accepted. Complimentary parking is available. For reservations or more information, please contact Birch River Grill at (847) 427-4242.

733 W. Madison St., Chicago, Ill.
(312) 602-2100

Join Dine during the month of August and enjoy a prix-fixe dinner for just $23. Take advantage of summer weather before it comes to an end, and dine al fresco style out on the patio.

For starters, cool off with the Dine Summer Salad, baby greens tossed in raspberry vinaigrette with assorted berries and a goat cheese disc. For the main course, take pleasure in a summer classic, Beer Can Chicken, spiced with chef’s special blend, roasted and served with natural au jus, whipped potatoes and wilted spinach; or try the Ratatouille Rollatini, grilled eggplant wrapped with squash, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes and onions, served with a chipotle tomato sauce. Finish up with dessert, the House-Made Cinnamon Apple Pie, served with vanilla ice cream.

About Dine

Dine, the west loop’s 1940's inspired retro supper club and martini bar, serves American classics revived with a contemporary flair. Dine is open Sunday through Thursday, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. The martini lounge hours are noon to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and noon to midnight Friday and Saturday.

Glen Prairie
1250 Roosevelt Rd., Glen Ellyn, Ill.
(630) 613-1250

The eco-minded Glen Prairie offers a three-course prix-fixe meal featuring an appetizer, choice of entrée and dessert, made from local ingredients. This prix-fixe menu is available daily throughout the entire month of August after 5 p.m. for just $20.

Begin dinner with the Farmers Garden Salad, baby greens, grilled sweet corn, green onions, tomatoes, cucumbers and champagne-cider vinaigrette. For the entrée, choose either the Grilled Duroc Pork Tenderloin, caramelized fig and port sauce, Minnesota wild rice and baby vegetables; or Simply Grilled Atlantic Salmon, grilled market vegetables with slow roasted vinaigrette. Top it all off with a choice of the Daily Sorbets.

About Glen Prairie
Glen Prairie serves contemporary American cuisine, with a strong emphasis on local Midwest flavors and products. Glen Prairie is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, and 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. The lounge remains open one hour later than the restaurant each day. For more details, contact the restaurant at (630) 613-1250 or


510 E. Route 83, Mundelein, Ill.
(847) 970-6900

Karma offers a special three-course prix-fixe dinner for just $20 throughout the entire month of August. Experience Karma’s delicious Pan Asian cuisine and indulge in an appetizer, entrée and dessert.

For an appetizer, choose from the Miso Soup, tofu, sautéed shiitake mushrooms, scallions and roasted nori; or the Karma House Salad, crisp lettuce, napa cabbage, cucumber, daikon and carrot ginger dressing.

Try out one of these entrées, like the Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna Salad, mixed greens, orange segments, red onion, shredded carrot, crispy wonton and sesame ginger vinaigrette; Yellow Mango Vegetable Curry, spring vegetables tossed with coconut yellow curry, jasmine rice and kimchi; or the Thai Chili Beef, stir fried spiced beef tenderloin with Chinese noodles and baby bok choy, in mirin-miso beef broth (may be substituted for shrimp or chicken).

Enjoy the daily selection of Sorbets or Ice Cream, served with fresh berries, for dessert.

About Karma
Karma is a sophisticated restaurant with a zen-laced atmosphere that serves Pan-Asian cuisine. Dinner hours for Karma are 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The lounge stays open one extra hour each night. Karma is located adjacent to the Crowne Plaza Chicago North Shore at 510 East Route 83, Mundelein, Ill. 60060. For reservations, call Karma at (847) 970-6900.