Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Foodies Rejoice. The 2015 James Beard Awards Come to Chicago

For the first time in its 25 year history, the James Beard Awards, hosted by Alton Brown, are being
held outside of New York. Chicago is the host city for the coveted May 4 event taking place at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Tickets are $500 for the general public and $450 for James Beard Foundation members.

For those unfamiliar with the awards, the James Beard Awards are to the restaurant industry as the Oscars are to the film industry.

Below are the finalists for the 2015 Restaurant and Chef Award categories, from Outstanding Restaurant to Rising Star Chef of the Year. Winners will be announced on May 4, 2015.

Richard Melman of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises will receive the 2015 James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award.

Chicago nominees include: Parachute (Best New Restaurant category); The Violet Hour, (Outstanding Bar Program category); Dana Cree, Blackbird (Outstanding Pastry Chef category); Donnie Madia, One Off Hospitality Group (Outstanding Restaurateur); Topolobampo (Outstanding Service); Tanya Baker, Boarding House (Rising Star Chef of the Year); Curtis Duffy, GracePaul Virant, VieErling Wu-Bower, Nico Osteria; and Andrew Zimmerman, Sepia (Best Chef: Great Lakes category)

Best New Restaurant
Presented by True Refrigeration®

Bâtard, NYC
Central Provisions, Portland, ME
Cosme, NYC
Parachute, Chicago
Petit Trois, Los Angeles
The Progress, San Francisco
Spoon and Stable, Minneapolis

Outstanding Baker

Joanne Chang, Flour Bakery + Cafe, Boston
Mark Furstenberg, Bread Furst, Washington, D.C.
Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery, NYC
Belinda Leong and Michel Suas, B. Patisserie, San Francisco
William Werner, Craftsman and Wolves, San Francisco

Outstanding Bar Program
Presented by Tanqueray No. TEN®

Arnaud's French 75 Bar, New Orleans
Bar Agricole, San Francisco
Maison Premiere, Brooklyn, NY
Trick Dog, San Francisco
The Violet Hour, Chicago

Outstanding Chef
Presented by All-Clad Metalcrafters

Michael Anthony, Gramercy Tavern, NYC
Sean Brock, Husk, Charleston, SC
Suzanne Goin, Lucques, Los Angeles
Donald Link, Herbsaint, New Orleans
Marc Vetri, Vetri, Philadelphia

Outstanding Pastry Chef

Dana Cree, Blackbird, Chicago
Maura Kilpatrick, Oleana, Cambridge, MA
Dahlia Narvaez, Osteria Mozza, Los Angeles
Ghaya Oliveira, Daniel, NYC
Christina Tosi, Momofuku, NYC

Outstanding Restaurant
Presented by Acqua Panna® Natural Spring Water

Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Pocantico Hills, NY
Highlands Bar and Grill, Birmingham, AL
Momofuku Noodle Bar, NYC
Per Se, NYC
The Spotted Pig, NYC

Outstanding Restaurateur

JoAnn Clevenger, Upperline, New Orleans
Donnie Madia, One Off Hospitality Group, Chicago (Blackbird, Avec, The Publican, and others)
Michael Mina, Mina Group, San Francisco (Michael Mina, RN74, Bourbon Steak, and others)
Cindy Pawlcyn, Napa, CA (Mustards Grill, Cindy's Back Street Kitchen, and Cindy's Waterfront at the Monterey Bay Aquarium)
Stephen Starr, Starr Restaurants, Philadelphia (The Dandelion, Talula's Garden, Serpico, and others);  

Outstanding Service
Presented by Goose Island Beer Company

The Barn at Blackberry Farm, Walland, TN
Marea, NYC
Quince, San Francisco
Restaurant August, New Orleans
Topolobampo, Chicago

Outstanding Wine Program

A16, San Francisco
Bern's Steak House, Tampa, FL
FIG, Charleston, SC
McCrady's, Charleston, SC
Spago, Beverly Hills, CA

Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional

Sam Calagione, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, DE
Ron Cooper, Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal, Ranchos de Taos, NM
Ted Lemon, Littorai Wines, Sebastopol, CA
Rajat Parr, Mina Group, San Francisco
Harlen Wheatley, Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort, KY

Rising Star Chef of the Year
Presented by S.Pellegrino® Sparkling Natural Mineral Water

Tanya Baker, Boarding House, Chicago
Alex Bois, High Street on Market, Philadelphia
Erik Bruner-Yang, Toki Underground, Washington, D.C.
Jessica Largey, Manresa, Los Gatos, CA
Cara Stadler, Tao Yuan, Brunswick, ME
Ari Taymor, Alma, Los Angeles

Best Chef: Great Lakes

Curtis Duffy, Grace, Chicago
Jonathon Sawyer, The Greenhouse Tavern, Cleveland
Paul Virant, Vie, Western Springs, IL
Erling Wu-Bower, Nico Osteria, Chicago
Andrew Zimmerman, Sepia, Chicago

Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic

Joe Cicala, Le Virtù, Philadelphia
Spike Gjerde, Woodberry Kitchen, Baltimore
Rich Landau, Vedge, Philadelphia
Greg Vernick, Vernick Food & Drink, Philadelphia
Cindy Wolf, Charleston, Baltimore

Best Chef: Midwest

Paul Berglund, The Bachelor Farmer, Minneapolis
Justin Carlisle, Ardent, Milwaukee
Gerard Craft, Niche, Clayton, MO
Michelle Gayer, Salty Tart, Minneapolis
Lenny Russo, Heartland Restaurant & Farm Direct Market, St. Paul, MN

Best Chef: Northeast

Karen Akunowicz, Myers + Chang, Boston
Barry Maiden, Hungry Mother, Cambridge, MA
Masa Miyake, Miyake, Portland, ME
Cassie Piuma, Sarma, Somerville, MA
Andrew Taylor and Mike Wiley, Eventide Oyster Co., Portland, ME

Best Chef: Northwest

Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton, Ox, Portland, OR
Renee Erickson, The Whale Wins, Seattle
Blaine Wetzel, The Willows Inn on Lummi Island, Lummi Island, WA
Justin Woodward, Castagna, Portland, OR
Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi, Joule, Seattle

Best Chef: NYC

Marco Canora, Hearth
Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi, Carbone
Mark Ladner, Del Posto
Anita Lo, Annisa
Ignacio Mattos, Estela
Jonathan Waxman, Barbuto

Best Chef: South

Vishwesh Bhatt, Snackbar, Oxford, MS
Justin Devillier, La Petite Grocery, New Orleans
Jose Enrique, Jose Enrique, San Juan, PR
Slade Rushing, Brennan's, New Orleans
Alon Shaya, Domenica, New Orleans

Best Chef: Southeast

John Fleer, Rhubarb, Asheville, NC
Edward Lee, 610 Magnolia, Louisville, KY
Steven Satterfield, Miller Union, Atlanta
Jason Stanhope, FIG, Charleston, SC
Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman, Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen, Memphis
Tandy Wilson, City House, Nashville

Best Chef: Southwest

Kevin Binkley, Binkley’s, Cave Creek, AZ
Aaron Franklin, Franklin Barbecue, Austin
Bryce Gilmore, Barley Swine, Austin
Hugo Ortega, Hugo’s, Houston
Martín Rios, Restaurant Martín, Santa Fe
Justin Yu, Oxheart, Houston

Best Chef: West

Matthew Accarrino, SPQR, San Francisco
Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski, State Bird Provisions, San Francisco
Michael Cimarusti, Providence, Los Angeles
Corey Lee, Benu, San Francisco
Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, Animal, Los Angeles

2015 James Beard Foundation America’s Classics
Presented by Brand USA

Archie’s Waeside, Le Mars, IA
Owner: Robert Rand

Beaumont Inn, Harrodsburg, KY
Owners: Elizabeth and Dixon Dedman, Helen and
Chuck Dedman

Guelaguetza, Los Angeles
Owners: The Lopez Family

Sally Bell’s Kitchen, Richmond, VA
Owners: Martha Crowe Jones and Scott Jones

Sevilla Restaurant, NYC
Owners: Jose Lloves and Bienvenido Alvarez

2015 James Beard Foundation Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America

Allan Benton
Pork Producer and Purveyor
Madisonville, TN

Dale DeGroff

Wylie Dufresne
Chef and Restaurateur

Nathalie Dupree
Cookbook Author and Television Personality
Charleston, SC

Maricel Presilla
Chef, Restaurateur, and Cookbook Author
Hoboken, NJ

2015 James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year

Michel Nischan
CEO, President and Co-Founder of Wholesome Wave
Westport, CT

2015 James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award

Richard Melman
Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises

Book, Broadcast and Journalism Awards
Carla Hall will host our Book, Broadcast, and Journalism Awards Dinner, taking place at New York City's Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers on Friday, April 24. Tickets to the main gala go on sale April 1, while BBJ ceremony tickets are now available online.

The Feed Podcast with hosts: Rick Bayless and Steve Dolinsky; producers: Matt Cunningham and Steve Dolinsky which airs on: was also nominated under the category podcast.

The Hungry Hound, host Steve Dolinsky and producer Irit Nayden which airs on: ABC 7 Chicago were nominated under the television segment category.

Additionally, the Chicago Reader's Mike Sula has been nominated for a Food and Culture Journalism Award for his feature “What Happens When All-Star Chefs Get in Bed with Big Food? and Brindille's design team of James Gorski and Tom Nahabedian, Bureau of Architecture and Design have been nominated for the 2015 James Beard Foundation Outstanding Restaurant Design Awards
75 Seats and Under (for the best restaurant design or renovation in North America since January 1, 2012).

Monday, March 16, 2015

Great Suggestions for Celebrating St. Patrick's Day Around Chicagoland Tomorrow

While the parade is over and the Chicago river is no longer green, many Chicagoans will be enjoying St. Patrick's day on its official day, tomorrow. Here are a few suggestions on where you can enjoy a special St. Patrick's day meal.
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Prairie Grass Cafe to serve traditional St. Patrick's Day fare
Corned Beef 300 pixels w borderThis year, Prairie Grass Cafe, located at 601 N. Skokie Blvd. in Northbrook, IL (847-205-4433), keeps its delicious annual St. Patrick's Day tradition alive. On Tuesday, March 17, the Poached Eggs and Corned Beef Hash also will be served, along with expertly prepared traditional Irish Corned Beef and Cabbage, served with house-baked Soda Bread ($21). Don't forget to order your Guinness on tap to accompany the feast. The regular menu also will be available on these days.
Prairie Grass Café also has some new specialty cocktails to enjoy this spring. The Blazing Cadillac Margarita ($11) features Reposado tequila, Grand Marnier, citrus habanero syrup, pink salt and sugar rim. The Lakeshore Martini ($13) is prepared with Grey Goose vodka, shaken and served extra cold with blue cheese olives, and the 1845 Martini ($13) is made with Ketel One vodka, orange, grapefruit, St. Germain and orange bitters. 
About Prairie Grass Cafe
Prairie Grass Cafe (601 Skokie Blvd.; Northbrook, IL) supports Chicago's Green City Market and local sustainable farms, selecting the freshest ingredients to reflect the season. Prairie Grass Cafe currently serves lunch Monday - Friday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner Sunday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Prairie Grass Cafe also serves breakfast Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sundays 9:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. Light fare is available in the bar Monday through Friday 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. For more information or to make a reservation, please call (847) 205-4433 or visit
Corned Beef and Cabbage Prairie Grass Cafe Photo courtesy of Northbrook Tower

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Celebrate an Authentic Southern St. Patrick's Day Tuesday through Friday, March 17-20, at Luella's Southern Kitchen
Dublin Lawyer KCI_5069 300 pixels w border.jpgWhen most of us think of St. Patrick's Day, visions of traditional Irish food and drink are what come to mind. But leave your preconceived notions about St. Patrick's Day behind, because history tells us that a large number of Irish immigrants found their way to the Southern states, where they had significant influence over the culture and the food.
That's why Luella's Southern Kitchen (4609 N. Lincoln Ave., Lincoln Square; 773-961-8196;, one of Chicago's hottest new restaurants, is going to celebrate St. Patrick's Day Tuesday, March 17 through Friday, March 20 with some delicious and authentic Irish-based Southern dishes. Dublin's Lawyer ($18) is an Irish lobster stew with Creole seasoned lobster, roasted mushrooms, Carolina Gold rice and whiskey cream that has become a traditional Darnell Reed 2 330 pixels w border.jpgSouthern favorite. Chef/Owner Darnell Reed also will prepare a savory Potato Leek Soup with Smoked Braised Ham Hock ($6). For dessert, you'll enjoy the luscious Calas, Southern rice beignet served with Irish oatmeal cookie ice cream ($5). The regular dinner menu also will be available.
So on Tuesday, March 17 through Friday, March 20, bring your favorite Irish whiskey or craft beer to Luella's (Luella's is BYOB) and enjoy a spectacular Southern Irish celebration with outstanding and unique taste treats.
About Luella's Southern Kitchen
Luella's Southern Kitchen, located at 4609 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago's Lincoln Square, is a casual independent restaurant owned by Chef Darnell Reed. The restaurant opened February 3, 2015. Luella's serves lunch and dinner Tuesday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Weekend brunch is served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday; dinner is served until 10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. All major cards are accepted. Luella's is a BYOB establishment; no corkage fee is charged. Takeout and delivery service are available. For more information, call the restaurant at (773) 961-8196 or visit the website at

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Maxwell's at the Club Serves Up the Luck of the Irish with a Delicious Corned Beef and Cabbage with all the Fixings on St. Patrick's Day
Maxwells room shot 300 pixels w borderMaxwell's at the Club, located in the East Bank Club at 500 N. Kingsbury St., Chicago (telephone: 312-527-5800, ext. 301), is always open to the public. St. Patrick's Day is a great time to check out this highly praised contemporary American restaurant, which is one of River North's best neighborhood spots. Headed by Maxwell's Executive Sous Chef Richard Hall, on Tuesday, March 17 Maxwell's kitchen will serve delicious Corned Beef and Cabbage with steamed potatoes and carrots and creamy horseradish sauce ($18). Don't forget to enjoy the Guinness and Harp Beer ($5.75).

Maxwell's, which is open for lunch weekdays from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and for dinner from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., serves a wide menu of impeccably prepared dishes, from delicious appetizers and small plates to pizza, sandwiches, homemade soups and wonderfully presented entrees, produced with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Many dishes are heart healthy and/or gluten free. The adjacent bar and lounge, which opens at 11:30 a.m., is a high-spirited gathering place featuring live music Tuesday through Friday from 5:30-9:30 p.m. A bountiful Sunday Brunch is served from 10 a.m. to 2 pm. every Sunday.

About Maxwell's at the Club
Maxwell's at the Club, always open to the public, is located in Chicago's East Bank Club (500 N. Kingsbury St., 312-527-5800, Ext. 301). It is open weekdays for lunch 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., and 5:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. for dinner. The bar/lounge area is open 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Maxwell's serves brunch every Sunday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Valet parking is available across the street. For more information, please visit