Thursday, December 22, 2011

Judy A. Saslow Gallery presents Far Out: 2012

Outsider and contemporary art collectors and enthusiasts won’t want to miss the upcoming show at The Judy A. Saslow Gallery -- Far Out: 2012 -- opening 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., January 6, Judy A. Saslow Gallery Presents Far Out 2012 and running through February 18.

This exhibition features artists from all over the world with a special addition of 40-some pieces from Saslow’s highly regarded personal collection.

"This is a rare opportunity for many collectors. I’ve been collecting for a long time; unfortunately, I’m moving my home and the new space has more windows than wall space so I’m making some cherished pieces available," said Saslow.

A longtime collector of outsider art and pieces by self-taught artists, this is a rare opportunity to view and purchase some unique and coveted pieces from her carefully cultivated personal collection.

By presenting this exhibit the gallery’s aim is to expose their viewers to the multifaceted and talented array of both outsider and contemporary artists the gallery represents. Artists being shown include: Bill Traylor, Henry Darger, Tony Fitzpatrick, David Lee Csicsko, Michael Noland, Lee Godie, François Burland, Ed Paschke, Nancy Paschke, Matt Lamb, Michel Nedjar, Purvis Young, Clyde Angel, Edmond Engel, Gérard Cambon, Christine Sefolosha, Valerie Potter, Marco Raugei, Charles Steffen, Jaber, Stanislav Holas, Giordano Gelli, Ed Beebe, Oscar Haus, Guido Boni, Johann Fischer, Franz Kamlander, Franz Kernbeis, Johann Garber, Umberto Ammannati, Jean Crawford Adams, Damian LeBas, Jacob Manguno, Vittorio Carlesi, Angela Fidilio, Claudio Monsignori, Montet, Attilio Scarpa, Claudio Ulivieri, Nancy Josephson, Andrew Hall, Winnifred Birts, and Kenneth Williams.

Judy Saslow has been passionate about art since she was a child taking classes at the Art Institute of Chicago. She is a respected art collector throughout the art world. Her intent for her gallery is to be unintimidating and homelike—a place where people can feel free to linger, to learn more about the art while envisioning how each piece might fit into their own personal collections.

The Judy A. Saslow Gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. It is located at 300 W. Superior St., Ste. 103 in Chicago. For more information about Judy Saslow and her gallery, please visit or call 312-943-0530.
Here is a partial list of artists featured in the Far Out 2012 exhibit:
Clyde Angel CA3851Clyde Angel (1920-2006), born Vernon Clyde Willits, was a welder in Clinton, Iowa, for 40 years. A World War II veteran, he was a self-taught artist who found art as an outlet for his free time. After his retirement in the early 1990’s, Angel began to make powerful works from found objects. He used drawings, writings, wall reliefs and sculpture objects to reference his past, present and future. He was very hesitant to have his face attached to his work in his lifetime, which made things difficult for his admirers and those who represented him in his lifetime. "If you want to know me, know me by my art", he would say.
Winnifred Birts birts_america_modelWinnifred Birts mostly uses markers and paint pens on a variety of surfaces. Most of her work focuses on scenes that express the contemporary African-American urban experience and captures the essence of Chicago neighborhood life. Winnifred Birts is sponsored by the Nathan and Kiyoko Lerner Foundation, an art program for artists with disabilities from all over Chicago.
Francois Burland fb_131Francois Burland (b. 1958), a Switzerland native began painting after entering psychotherapy as a young adult. Burland is inspired by mythological legends, rituals, mysticism and the ancient world. His work is instinctive, spontaneous and reminiscent of archaic nomadic expression. His work is showcased all over the world in places like the Museum de Stadshof, the Musee de L’art Brut, the Du Mong Kunsthalle, the Rosa Eastmann Gallery and the Los Angeles County Museum.
Gerald Cambon GC3604Gerard Cambon (b.1960) is a self-taught artist living and working in Paris creating art work composed primarily of found materials. He started collecting and using found materials in his work in 1992. He started creating "locomobiles" and bas-reliefs and presented them at La June Peinture, a Parisian art fair. He has described his process as peaceful and private. He only begins to introduce the figure once the private worlds have been created.
David Csicsko csicsko_forest_princessDavid Lee Csicsko is a Chicago artist who brings out things other eyes may not see with his art. An Indiana native, David was influenced by the art of a local church which celebrated the art of labor. He is marked by a strong work ethic and a refusal to judge people. The stories of outsiders come through honestly in his work.
Edmond EngelEdmond Engel (b. 1937) grew up in Switzerland where he began teaching himself how to draw after his mother’s death. He is now a prolific and passionate artist. Aside from his drawings, Engel has also published poetry. His work has been displayed internationally, including at Baltimore's American Visionary Art Museum and Jean Dubuffet's Collection de l'Art Brut in Lausanne.
Johann Garber Fischer jfi_2586Johann Fischer (b. 1919) is from Austria, where he worked as a baker and a member of the military. He later suffered from hallucinations and was hospitalized. He joined the Gugging house of artists in 1981, where he was inspired to draw. Most of his work includes his own text and tells stories of farming, life, politics and winemaking. His work has been displayed at the Museum of American Folk Art and the Chicago Cultural Center.
Tony Fitzpatrick tf_3671Tony Fitzpatrick (b. 1958) began drawing with pastels in a storefront in Villa Park, Illinois. He began putting on gallery shows in the late 1980s in Chicago and New York, which led him to be a successful artist. Tony is also a published poet. Tony gets inspiration for his work from the city of Chicago, especially the underbelly of society and the Chicago White Sox.
Johann Garberjg_123Johann Garber (b. 1947) has lived in the Gugging House of Artists since 1981 and has been creating art since the late 1970s. His characteristic technique is fine line drawing in black ink on paper, showing fine details. He takes inspiration from old calendars, photos and ornamental figures. He also produces colorful, flatly painted pictures and has created pieces on found objects.
Giordano Gelli gg_24Giordano Gelli (b. 1928) began his life as a weaver in a textiles plant during World War II. The plant was often bombed during the war, leaving Gelli severely wounded and igniting mental illness. After he was hospitalized, he filled his time by attending workshops at "La Tinaia," where he began to develop a distinct style and his own body of work. His work is a part of many important collections, including Dubuffet's Collection de l'Art Brut in Switzerland.
Lee Godie lg_3939Lee Godie (1908-1995) lived on the streets of Chicago by choice, considering herself to be a great French Impressionist. She sold her paintings on the steps of the Art Institute of Chicago. Godie painted on found objects like paper and discarded window shades. She has become an icon in the Chicago art world after multiple gallery exhibitions, museum shows and thousands of paintings.
Stanislav Holis sh_ resize2Stanislav Holas (1905-1989) was born in Southern Moravia. He started drawing as a youth, but became more active after his retirement from police work and the death of his wife. He started showing his work in 1937. His early works are more figure-based, but as his work progressed it became more abstract with rounded shapes and finely modulated warm colors or shading. His work is currently part of the exhibition L’Art Brut Tchéque in Paris.
Jaber jab209 resizeJaber (b. 1938), originally from Tunisia, started artistic work drawing with charcoal on the walls of the bakery where he worked as a teenager. After he moved to France in the 1950’s, he became a street actor and singer. After his first Parisian art exhibition, he married an American girl and won his first art award. His work is recognized able by its bright colors and vigorous energy. He has been painting and exhibiting his work worldwide for twenty years.
Matt Lamb lamb_1987Matt Lamb (b. 1932), a Chicago native, began his career overseeing a chain of funeral homes. After he survived a life threatening illness, he devoted his life to creating art. A self-taught artist, his work is a reflection of his own philosophies and religious beliefs. He calls his painting technique generational, where multiple paintings are layered on the same canvas, giving his work its unique look. Matt Lamb has exhibited his work throughout the world, from the Vatican to the Mall of America.
Damian Lebas dlb3Damian Le Bas (b. 1963) had an emotionally troubled childhood in England, and he found refuge in his imagination. His work began by drawing crowds at soccer matches. While a friend encouraged him to attend art school, this did not last very long as he was not interested in performing assignments. He began exhibiting his work in the Outsider Archives in London. Le Bas does not plan out his work, but starts with a little face and an eye and lets it grow from there. His work generally uses bright primary colors to convey his sense of design.
Michel Nedjar mn_528Michel Nedjar (b. 1947) is a Parisian native who grew up as the son of a tailor. His father’s business taught him how to make dolls out of cast-off fabrics and tree roots. After traveling in the 1970s, he became fascinated by dolls sold in marketplaces around the world. He began making his own dolls out of found objects and began drawing. His dolls are a permanent part of the Collection d’Art Brut in Switzerland. Nedjar is a co-founder of the L’Aracine Collection of Art Brut. His work often features animal and bird figures and the human face in an owl-like mask. His mature work embodies dignity and authority and is often compared to ancient religious art.
Michael Noland MNO3827 resizeMichael Noland's rich surrealistic imagery stems from his childhood in Oklahoma, where he realized that truth was often stranger than fiction. Noland's animals dwell in a realm wherein ethereal beauty and cruelty of survival are two sides of the same coin. Whether responding to the serpent seeking eggs for sustenance or the mother bird desperate to save her flock, we find ourselves intractably taken by the riptide of Noland's emotive scenes-riveted by creatures that are only thinly veiled representations of ourselves. (Kohler Art Center)
Nancy Paschke np_113 resizeNancy Paschke (1939-2005) is an Illinois native who met and married Ed Paschke while they were both students at the Art Institute of Chicago in the late 1950's. In 1972, she developed Parkinson’s disease, but this did not stop her from creating art. The last three years of her life were extremely prolific. Most of her subject matter is still life and portraiture, objects in her room and images from magazines and her imagination. Style variations in her work are the effects of Parkinson’s disease.
Marco Raugei mr3949Marco Raugei (1958-2006) was born in Florence, Italy, and was diagnosed with schizophrenia as a child. In 1986, he began attending La Tinaia, an artists workshop, to develop his drawing skills. Around 1988, he discovered the idea of repetition in his work. Raugei draws a single image and then repeats it in horizontal rows until the page is full. He works from the bottom left corner to the top. His work has been displayed in the traveling exhibition “ABCD: a Collection of Art Brut” at the Museum of American Folk Art and at the Chicago Cultural Center.
Attilio Scarpa as_9Attilio Scarpa was born in Marradi (Florence). In 1989, he began working in the farming community of San Salvi Psychiatric Hospital. As the farming project drew to completion, he joined La Tinaia in hopes of furthering his creative output. After growing comfortable in his surroundings, Scarpa began roaming the halls, copying the posters on the walls, and sketching the other patients. Today, Scarpa has ventured away from La Tinaia and has taken a break from painting.
Christine Sofolosha csb_3786 resizeChristine Sefolosha (b. 1955) is originally from Montreaux, France, but moved to South Africa after marrying a white South African. She began drawing and painting there and began to move among the black South Africans. She divorced her husband to marry a black musician, but was forced out of the country by apartheid. After returning to France, she began creating art again, inspired by her time in Africa. Sefolosha mixes her paints with dirt and tar, creating a mix of sophistication and crudity. Most of her figures are wild animals. More recently, she has begun applying watercolors to Japanese paper, creating a different style. Her work is a part of many public and private collections, include the Collection de L’Art Brut and the Musée de Cite de Creation.
Bill Traylor bt3682Bill Traylor (1854-1949) was born a slave on a plantation in Alabama, where he stayed through emancipation in the mid-1930s. In 1939, he moved into Montgomery and began drawing on scraps of cardboard and met some young white artists who offered him materials and financial support. His first exhibition took place in 1940. A year later, he had an exhibition at the Fieldston School in New York City. An exhibition in 1982 at the Corcoran Museum brought him to the attention of a wide audience, and a story about his life, "He Lost 10,000 Years," was published in Collier's magazine.
Kenneth Williams kew_1699 resizeKenneth Williams is in his late twenties or early thirties, and is a lifelong Chicago resident. Using only colorful magic-markers with no preparatory drawing, the artist will look at an existing vacant lot and draw it as he envisions its development with various chain stores and their signage. Each street corner identified in his pictures is a real Chicago location. Kenneth Williams has been making these drawings for as long as anyone can remember and hopes to have a long career.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Celebrate National Hamburger Day Today (and everyday)

The burger, America’s quintessential comfort food, can be enjoyed in an impossibly endless number of ways. So, we don’t find it unusual that some say December 21 is National Hamburger Day. Others say National Hamburger Day is July 28 and the burger also gets a whole month of celebration in May.

Regardless, hamburgers are a national past time enjoyed by everyone in the US and we’re lucky to have so many great venues to savor these juicy treats in Chicagoland.

Here are our picks for some of the area’s finest:

Prairie Grass Cafe's incredible sirloin burger
Chicago Magazine’s #1 Sirloin Burger ($15) at Prairie Grass Cafe (601 Skokie Blvd., Northbrook, IL 60062; 847205-4433) is one of our favorites. This thick, juicy burger is made with delicious Tallgrass sirloin beef charbroiled with Amish blue cheese topping. This burger is served without a bun so you can focus all your attention on the incredible burger (though you can ask for one if you desire). There’s a reason it was named Chicago Magazine’s favorite burger in 2009. It’s simply incredible!

The delicious Chorizo Burger at Everest Burger
If you’re looking for variety and healthfulness with your burgers or you’re dining with someone with specific food needs, Everest Burger (91 Green Bay Rd., Glencoe, IL 60022; 847-242-0909) is the place for you. While they serve traditional hamburgers—made from all-natural prairie grass beef—they also offer a little something for everyone with burgers made of chicken, Portobello mushrooms, salmon, turkey, black beans or walnut. Everything at Everest Burger is hormone free, chemical free and steroid free. Everest Burger features homemade buns in several varieties including gluten-free buns for those with food allergies as well as traditional white and wheat. From the spicy delights of the Chorizo Burger (chorizo, tomato, ketchup and cilantro - $12.95) to the simplicity of their Base Camp Burger (lettuce, tomato, onions, blue cheese, avocado and kalamata olives - $9.25), there is an opportunity for everyone to find something they love at Everest Burger.

Fleming's amazing Prime Burger
Fleming’s PrimeSteakhouse and Wine Bar (25 E. Ohio St., Chicago IL 60611; 312-329-9463 and 960 Milwaukee Ave., Lincolnshire, IL 60069) offers a Prime Burger Bar, featuring 5 variations of excellence in burgers made with the highest quality ingredients. Their flavor combinations are unique and offer you the chance to try something new and delicious on a bun. Fleming’s Burger is $6 before 7 p.m. as part of their 5 for $6 till 7 menu and $12 after 7 p.m. These incredible burgers pair perfectly with wine from Fleming’s extensive wine offerings or one of their specialty cocktails.

If you’re looking for something smaller in the realm of burgers, we suggest the Mini Burgers ($9.25) from the Maxwell’s at the Club at the East Bank Club (500 N. Kingsbury St., Chicago, IL 60610). These delicious burgers are made with the same prime beef and served with the same toppings as the normally sized burgers, but they offer you the option of sharing or eating something a little smaller. These small burgers are served three at a time with regular French fries or sweet potato fries.

Take time to celebrate National Hamburger Day today! Whichever option you choose, we think you’ll be glad you did.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Start the New Year with Urban Acupuncture

The New Year is just around the corner, and everyone is trying to use the same old methods to improve themselves: a new diet, joining a gym, a different exercise plans. But sometimes these things just don’t work.  If you’re looking to try a brand new method to get yourself healthy this year, Urban Acupuncture has something new for you to try.

Kyla Boles of Urban Acupuncture is setting out to help you do just that. By focusing on getting healthy from the inside out, her 21-Day Purification Program is designed to help you look and feel your best.

From environmental pollutants to processed foods, we are exposed to a staggering number of harmful toxins that can greatly disrupt the body’s endocrine, immune, nervous and reproductive systems on a daily basis. While the human body can rid itself of some toxins naturally, eventually the burden becomes too much.

This is where Urban Acupuncture’s 21-day purification program comes in. This program is designed to help the body get rid of toxins to maintain health. Developed by whole food supplement manufacturer Standard Process, Inc., the program uses whole, organic and unprocessed foods with whole food supplements to help cleanse the body.

The purification program takes place at her Urban Acupuncture studio (3166 N. Lincoln Ave. Suite 405, Chicago, IL 60657; 773-727-5042) and is designed to help the body process toxins, improve digestion and maintain a healthy weight.

Although the program has not yet been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, clients have found the process to be very effective.

“Kyla is amazing. She has helped me with manage back pain, anxiety and weight loss. She is very supportive and encouraging. I recently completed a detox cleanse with her assistance, and I have lost 22 lbs. and feel better than I have in a very long time!” says one of her clients.

There isn’t a better way to start the year than by feeling great, and during December and January the 21-Day Purification Program is $50 off!

For additional information about Kyla Boles and Urban Acupuncture, visit

Friday, December 16, 2011

What are you doing for brunch this weekend?

Head on over to Mia Francesa’s  (3311 North Clark,  Chicago, 773-281-3310) to enjoy their fabulous new brunch Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Don’t miss trying our favorites, Pollo e Uovo (Crispy chicken and bacon hash with two eggs any style) $10.99; Melanzane Parmigiano (Eggplant parmesan benedict with hollandaise)  $9.99 and the to die for Pancakes al Ricotta (Mocha ricotta pancakes, cinnamon whipped cream, drizzled with honey) $8.99. They have a lovely a la carte  brunch menu and special selections from the popular Mia Francesca dinner menu. Bon appetit!

Mimosas at Mia Francesca

Wicker Park’s hot spot Francesca’s Forno (1576 N Milwaukee Ave., 773-770-0184) popular for its small plates traditional Italian with a contemporary twist, is now open for lunch 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday-Friday and brunch , 10 am – 3 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. They also boast a terrific late night menu available 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

Our hot picks on the Forno brunch menu include the Bourbon-Soaked French Toast (Challah with bourbon vanilla bean batter, maple crème fraiche and candied pecans) $9, Savory Pancakes (Polenta, bacon, sweet corn pancakes with maple butter) $9, and the Breakfast Monte Cristo (English muffin, Fontina, crispy pancetta, fried egg with spicy tomato jam and hash browns) $10. Of course, you can build your own omelet, $12 and enjoy a fabulous Forno Bloody Mary (Vodka, spicy tomato juice, shot of beer) $6.

 Happy Brunching!

Food Network's Sandwich King visits the French Market

Did you know that one of the Food Network’s newest stars is from right here in Chicago?

Jeff Mauro, also known as the Sandwich King, stopped by his hometown and the Chicago French Market to film for the second season of his show. Kurman staff was lucky enough to be able to be in on some of the taping.

Mauro and his crew stopped by Freitkoten for Belgian fries and beer, City Fresh Market to take in some great sandwich ingredients and Saigon Sisters for their twist on the hot dog. And this isn’t even the main event! The crew is stopping by again in the next month to film some of the French Market’s greatest sandwich offerings to feature on the show.

The Kurman staff attending the shoot had a great time, and we can’t wait to see the Sandwich King and crew back at the French Market!

Karen Woods and Cindy Kurman with the Sandwich King himself, Jeff Mauro
If you’re looking for a great sandwich at the Market to tide you over until this episode of Sandwich King airs, check out the amazing pastrami sandwich from Fumare!

Fumare's incredible pastrami sandwich

This sandwich has gotten great reviews recently from TimeOut Chicago, Serious Eats and food personality Steve Dolinsky.

But make sure to stop by early…these sandwiches don’t last all day!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Maxwell's features Italian Night - Every Friday

Enjoy exquisite Italian cuisine every Friday night at Maxwell's at the Club (East Bank Club, 500 N. Kinsbury, 312-547-5800). Choose your favorites from an extensive buffet of antipasto, salads and entrées. Build your own blend of pasta, sauce and add-on ingredients. End with a dessert from a special menu, $28 per person; $12 children 10 and under. For reservations, call (312) 527-5800, extension 301.

Italian Night Menu
Antipasto Table: Artesian Greens with Green Beans, Onion, and Bacon with Herb Vinaigrette, Caprese Salad. Marinated Olives, Grilled Marinated Portabella Mushrooms, Roasted Red and Yellow Peppers, Grano Salad, Roasted Carrot Salad, Roasted Garlic, Provolone, Parmigiano Reggiano, Fontina, Assorted Salumi

Pasta Bar:Spinach Linguine, Angel Hair, Rigatoni, Pumpkin Ravioli
Sauces: Marinara, Lamb and Sausage Bolognese, Alfredo, Basil Pesto, Chicken Bolognese

Entrees: Tuscan Style Braised Beef, Polenta, Planked Norwegian Organic Salmon, Pan Roasted Skate Wing with Capers

Dessert: Sorbet, Chocolate Amaretto Tart, Gelato

Enjoy live entertainment a Maxwell's at the Club

Did you know that you can enjoy live music at Maxwell's at the Club (East Bank Club, 500 N. Kingsbury, 312-527-5800 x301) every Tuesday through Friday from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Wednesday evenings
Gypsy Influence
Hear Gypsy Influence's unique brand of Flamenco music, incorporating Spanish classical guitar and percussion, every Wednesday.

Thursday evenings
Robert Solone with guest vocalist

Robert Solone’s sets feature a richly-textured selection of show tunes, pop songs, original compositions, classical works, jazz and blues.

Friday evenings
The Joe Hurt Trio, featuring Ramsey Lewis Trio veteran Redd Holt on drums
The Joe Hurt Trio (pictured above) play a unique style of Chicago jazz that interweaves modern modal harmony with an old-school smooth style.

Note: Tuesday evening's entertainment changes weekly; call Maxwell's to find out who's playing.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Healthy Fare for Kids Launches in Chicago's 43rd Ward

Worried about teaching your kids healthy eating habits? You’re not the only one. Luckily, now Chicago chefs have made parents’ jobs a little easier with the Healthy Fare for Kids initiative, which has launched in Chicago’s 43rd Ward this week.

From left: Diane Schmidt, Michelle Smith,
Sarah Stegner and Carol Wagner
Diane Schmidt, a concerned parent and health educator, was concerned about children’s menus in Chicago restaurants and wanted to do something about it. She spoke to Michelle Smith, Alderman of the 43rd Ward, about an idea to challenge restaurants to provide at least one healthy meal for children on their menu. Smith guided her to Sarah Stegner, Green City Market board member and co-chef and co-owner of Prairie Fire Restaurant and Prairie Grass Cafe. Together with holistic nutrition consultant Carol Wagner, the group came up with a list of guidelines for chefs to follow in creating healthy meals.

Roasted vegetables from
Prairie Fire's healthy kids meal
These guidelines include substituting bread at the table with fresh vegetables, ensuring some lean protein with the meal, serving whole grain breads and pasta, using cooking methods that are lower in fat while still retaining flavors, keeping ingredients local and seasonal, using simple portion sizes and keeping beverages high in sugar off the table.

By getting kids to think differently about food when they eat out, parents can help teach their children to make healthy choices that still taste great. The initiative is currently active in the 43rd Ward, but there are plans to take it city-wide early next year and eventually nation-wide.
“If you put healthy and delicious food in front of kids, they will eat it!” says Stegner.

For now, you can check out Healthy Fare for Kids at one their many participating restaurants. More are being added every day, so be sure to check back on our blog and with your favorite restaurants to see who is participating!

Old Town Social's locally grown, chemical-free cold cuts,
a selection from their healthy kids meals


Participating restaurants:
Café Ba Ba Reeba (2024 N. Halsted, Chicago, IL 60614; 773-935-5000)
Franks ‘n Dawgs (1863 N Clybourn Ave., Chicago, IL 60614; 312-281-5187)
Goose Island Clybourn (1800 North Clybourn, Chicago, IL 60614, 312- 915.0071)
Mon Ami Gabi (2300 N. Lincoln Park West  Chicago, IL 60614; 773-348-8886)
Mörso (340 W. Armitage Ave. Chicago, IL 60614; 773-880-9280)
Nookies (1746 N. Wells St. Chicago, IL 60614; 312-337-2454)
North Pond (2610 North Cannon Drive  Chicago, IL 60614; 773-477 -5845)
Old Town Social (455 West North Avenue  Chicago, IL 60610; 312-266-2277)
Perennial Virant (1800 North Lincoln Avenue Chicago, IL 60614; 312-981-7070)
Vie (4471 Lawn Ave., Western Springs, IL 60558; 708-246-2082)
Prairie Fire Restaurant (215 N. Clinton, Chicago, IL 60661; 312-382-8300)
Prairie Grass Cafe (601 Skokie Blvd., Northbrook, IL 60062; 847-205-4433)
RJ Grunts (2056 Lincoln Park West, Chicago, IL 60614; 773-929-5363)
Stanley’s Kitchen & Tap (1970 North Lincoln Avenue  Chicago, IL 60614-5404; 312-642-0007).
Note: Restaurants and chefs wishing to participate in the program should contact Sarah Stegner at 312-382-8300 or via e-mail at

Sarah Stegner serving up a healthy and delicious meal from
her restaurants

A selection from Café Ba Ba Reeba's healthy meal for kids

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Celebrate the Holidays with Kurman clients!

Feeling uninspired with your holiday plans this year? Let Kurman clients step in to deliver some holiday cheer! From visits with Santa to delectable and exciting New Year's Eve menus, everyone can find something to enjoy.

Fleming's Prime Ribeye Steak & King Crab,
of their New Year's Eve Nights entrées
Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar (25 E. Ohio St., Chicago,IL 60611; 312-329-9463 and 960 Milwaukee Ave., Lincolnshire, IL 60069;847-793-0333) is hosting New Year’s Nights December 29, 30 and 31. In conjunction with their regular menu, Fleming’s is offering a special New Year’s Nights menu. Their New Year’s Nights Entrees are $69.95 per person (excluding tax and gratuity). This menu includes Filet Mignon & Prawns, Filet mignon on a bed of sautéed portobello mushrooms and smoky bacon, paired with crab-stuffed prawns and a lemon garlic butter sauce; Prime Ribeye Steak & King Crab, Broiled ribeye Oscar-style, topped with butter-poached king crab, grilled asparagus and champagne béarnaise sauce, served with a sweet potato quenelle; and Lobster & Lobster, Colossal North Atlantic lobster tail with drawn butter, served with lobster mac & cheese

Fleming's Sparkling Star cocktail
Fleming’s is also offering Moët & Chandon Impérial Champagne (rated 91 pts. in Wine Spectator) by the glass ($20) and by the magnum ($200). Fleming’s champagne cocktail for the evening is the Sparkling Star, developed by wine director Maeve Pesquera. Maeve developed a sparkling wine cocktail that will tickle your nose and put a twinkle in your eye. Since she’s pouring a California sparkler, Chandon étoile Brut, and the word "étoile" is French for "star," she calls the cocktail, Sparkling Star. This cocktail is available for $10.95 a glass.

Santa Visits Francesca’s
Santa Claus is coming to Francesca’s. Francesca’s Tavola (208 S. Arlington Heights Rd., Arlington Heights, IL 60005; 847-394-3950) hosts a Santa Breakfast Saturday, December 10 from 9 to 11 a.m. There will be arts and crafts projects at the restaurant that morning and a coloring contest while Santa walks through and visits tables. Sunday, December 11th from 4-6 p.m., Santa will visit Francesca’s Fortunato (40 Kansas St., Frankfort, IL 60423; 815-464-1890). Santa will sit on a big chair next to the tree and listen to your kids’ wish list. Then, enjoy a great holiday family meal at Francesca’s.  La Sorella di Francesca (18 W. Jefferson Ave., Naperville, IL 60540; 630-961-2706) hosts Santa Sunday, December 18 from 5-7 p.m. Kids will have the opportunity to visit Santa during their dinner.

Francesca’s Fiore (7407 W. Madison St., Forest Park, IL 60130; 708-771-3063) features live Christmas carols by Jim Guter's Duo on Wednesday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m. through December 21. Their delightful holiday serenading is a great addition to your dinner!

Francesca’s Fortunato (40 Kansas St., Frankfort, IL 60423; 815-464-1890) is participating in Frankfort’s Midnight Madness Friday, December, 16. Local downtown shops will be open late for holiday shopping. After you get something for everyone on your list, come into Francesca’s and enjoy a bottle of wine for 20% off. 

Toys for Tots
You can help children in your community have a great Christmas and on your next visit to Francesca’s this holiday season. Francesca’s Campagna (127 W. Main St. West Dundee, IL 60118; 847-844-7099) is spreading good will this holiday season by participating in Toys for Tots. Donate a new toy December 5 through 24 and get a $10 gift certificate redeemable during the month of January 2012. Francesca’s at the Promenade (641 E. Boughton Rd., Bolingbrook, IL 60440; 630-739-6300) is also participating in Toys for Tots this season. When you bring a new, unwrapped toy to the restaurant, the restaurant will give you a free appetizer.

All Francesca’s restaurants locations and Davanti Enoteca (1359 W. Taylor St., Chicago, IL 60607; 312-226-5550) will be open on New Year’s Eve.

Guanajuato (73 Green Bay Road, Glencoe, IL 60022; 847-205-4433) is offering a family-friendly a la carte menu on New Year’s Eve and is open until midnight. They are also featuring a prickly pear margarita for the holiday.

Both Prairie Fire Restaurant (215 N. Clinton, Chicago, IL 60661; 312-382-8300) and Prairie Grass Cafe (601 Skokie Blvd., Northbrook, IL 60062) will both be open on New Year’s Eve with their a la carte menu. Kids are welcome.. New Year's Eve hours are 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.