What We're Reading
Three Chicago companies join forces for an innovative planter, Brian Urlacher retires, more.
May 24, 2013
INDO, Optimo, and Sprout Home team up for these stylish and functional planters.
Brian Urlacher retired from the NFL this week, having played his entire career with the Bears. Chicago Magazine looks back on his memorable moments. [Chicagomag.com]
NBC’s Today Show broadcast live from the Windy City this week, and local-lebrity Kelli Zink gave the nation a look at Chicago nightlife. [Kelli Zink]
Ever wonder about the mysterious object sticking out of Lake Michigan at 49th Street? Chicagoist takes us underwater to look at the remnants of the Silver Spray, a ship that wrecked nearly 100 years ago. [Chicagoist]
Meanwhile, the designers at INDO, hatmakers at Optimo, and green thumbs at Sprout Home combined their talents to make these unique, Chicago-centric planters. [Dovetail Chicago]
Since this weekend marks the unofficial start of summer, the style mavens behind eDrop-Off make a summer dress work for all occasions. [eDrop-Off]
Photography by Dovetail
Brunch Plans: Howells & Hood
Take in blues music while you indulge in a variety of gourmet brunch stations.
May 24, 2013
Early this month, recently opened Mag Mile restaurant Howells & Hood unveiled its weekend brunch menu, a gourmet buffet-style meal served up with a side of Chicago blues music. As summer approaches, H&H is sure to be a go-to with its expansive outdoor patio spilling out into Pioneer Court.
The brunch consists of a series of stations dreamed up by executive chef Scott Walton and chef Paul Katz. To start, we’re headed right for the station devoted to all things benedict, and tasting the lobster and arugula with truffle Americana hollandaise. Carving and charcuterie stations offer hearty servings of dry-aged Painted Hills New York strip, house-cured salamis, and country-style pâtés.
Meanwhile, traditional breakfast lovers will enjoy the hot foods station, where they’ll find epicurean upgrades to classic dishes. The buttermilk lavender biscuits with sausage gravy are delicious, as is the Miller Farms Corn Flake fried chicken and buttermilk waffles. Stations comprising cold foods, cheese and fruit, pastries, and even an omelet station manned by chefs round out the brunch offerings.
There’s no question about what to wash it all down with here: Howells & Hood is a beer-lovers brunch. The restaurant offers 114 craft beers on draft—the most in the city—with at least 20 percent of those being Chicago brews. If you don’t find yourself craving a dark beer in the morning, though, opt for something light and fruity like the Raspberry Ale from Michigan’s Dark Horse Brewing Company, or any of the ciders. Brunch is offered on Saturdays and Sundays, 10 am-2 pm. $29 adults/$14 children. 435 N. Michigan Ave., 312-262-5310
Weekend Recommender: May 23-27
Kick off two local markets, support the troops on Memorial Day, and get a hair makeover.
May 23, 2013
Service members can enjoy exclusively priced fare at The Local Chicago's Barbecue for the Troops on Memorial Day.
Meet the Market Kickoff at bellyQ
Thursday, May 23, 6-8 pm
Having opened its outdoor market just this month, the Green City Market’s Junior Board hosts an official complimentary admission kickoff tonight at bellyQ. The fare will combine seasonal produce from Green Acres Farm (a regular GCM vendor) with bellyQ chef Bill Kim’s modern Asian dishes. Cocktails created by beverage director Peter Vestinos will be for sale ($6-8) to benefit the GCM, and the board will share information about its educational programs. 1400 W. Randolph St.
Makeovers by Aussie’s Sarah Potempa in Pioneer Court
Friday, May 24-Saturday, May 25; 10 am-6 pm
Have your hair styled by Sarah Potempa, an Aussie brand ambassador who has styled celebrities such as Emmy Rossum, Channing Tatum, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, Jake Gyllenhaal, and more. Potempa will be providing touch-ups and consultations all weekend in Pioneer Court—a perfect stop-in after a windy riverfront stroll. 401 N. Michigan Ave.
Vienna From a Different Angle
Saturday, May 25, 1-8:30 pm
Near the entrance to Navy Pier, Viennese dancers will be performing sky high: led by Jochen Schweizer, the company will dance on a 69-foot vertical stage. Between shows, adventurous viewers are invited to try the gravity-defying walk out themselves. 600 E. Grand Ave.
Randolph Street Market Garden Party
Saturday, May 25-Sunday, May 26; 10 am-5 pm
The famous Randolph Street Market kicks off its tenth anniversary summer season with a garden party-themed market this weekend. More than 250 vendors present vintage, antique, and even modern wares, ranging in scope from clothing and jewelry to home decor and furniture. Plus, market founder Sally Schwartz will welcome guests into her Buckingham Interiors + Design-made VIP Cabana. Tickets start at $8 in advance on randolphstreetmarket.com. Beaux Arts Plumber’s Hall, 1340 W. Washington St., 312-666-1200
Barbecue for the Troops at The Local Chicago
Monday, May 27, 6 am-2 am
The Local Chicago kicks off the United Service Organization’s summer-long campaign dubbed “Barbecue for the Troops” by matching all donations restaurant goers make on Memorial Day (up to $1,000). Plus, service members in uniform or with military credentials will receive a special discount all day at the upscale American restaurant. 198 E. Delaware Pl., 312-280-8887
Summer Imbibing at Estate Ultra Bar
With a rooftop deck and chilled cocktails, this riverside spot is the place to be when it's warm.
May 23, 2013
The ultimate spot for alfresco drinking this summer is Estate Ultra Bar, where guests can choose from the terrace overlooking the Chicago River, the sprawling rooftop StarDeck, or—though it hasn’t been unveiled just yet—the three-season gazebo. With summer in the air, we’re enjoying our cocktails on the 4,000-square-foot StarDeck while taking in music from a custom-made sound system and unbeatable views of the skyline and river.
Vibrant orange cushions make the deck furniture sizzle, but the bar’s array of cooling cocktails are truly refreshing. Debuting this weekend, the summer drinks menu features everything from flavored ice spheres to frozen beverages from a slushy machine. We’re especially intrigued by the Toucan Party cocktail, in which Three Olives’ Loopy vodka is poured over three ice spheres—one each of cranberry, orange juice, and Midori and pineapple. Sangria is always a great summer sipper, especially when mixed with bubbly as in Estate’s Sparkler Acai Sangria with VeeV Acai spirit, St. Germain, orange juice, Prosecco, and fresh fruit. And finally, the hottest days call for the coldest drinks, like the Cabana Colada, a frozen mix of 10 Cane Rum, pineapple juice, coconut water, and cream.
Dubbing itself a “social dining and drinking destination,” Estate’s food menu emphasizes sharing with dishes large enough to split. The dinner options and flatbreads are delicious, but for an evening on the roof, we opt for appetizers like the deviled eggs with house-smoked bacon, chive, crème fraiche, and Tabasco, or the lobster mac with a Goldfish-cracker crust. 1177 N. Elston Ave., 312-582-4777
Jacqueline Rezak's Chicago
The LA-based, Chicago-native Rad & Refined stylist tells us where she heads when she's home.
May 22, 2013
Stylist Jacqueline Rezak may reside out West now, but she still calls the Windy City home.
Jacqueline Rezak is a Chicago native—though there’s no one neighborhood in particular that she calls home. She grew up on the North Side and in Highland Park and then lived in Lincoln Park, Gold Coast, and River North while attending Columbia College.
Now, she resides and works in Los Angeles, where she is a stylist and owner of Rad & Refined, an e-boutique with appointment-only showrooms in LA and Chicago. Rezak will be back in town this summer to style some of the artists performing at Lollapalooza; she let us in on her musts while she’s here.
Do you have a go-to hotel for when you are in Chicago?
JACQUELINE REZAK: I love to stay at the Waldorf Astoria (11 E. Walton St., 312-646-1300)—I feel like I am in a fairy tale when I am there. Otherwise, The Drake Hotel (140 E. Walton St., 312-787-2200) will always have my heart for its stunning classic elegance.
What are some favorite spots of yours for dining?
JR: Whenever someone asks me what I miss the most about Chicago, there is no question that [it’s] the delicious food. My list of favorite restaurants could go on forever, but my top picks [are] Michael’s Red Hots (1879 2nd St., 847-432-3338), Gibsons (1028 N. Rush St., 312-266-8999), Rosebud (1500 W. Taylor St., 312-942-1117), Sunda (110 W. Illinois St., 312-644-0500), Greek Islands (200 S. Halsted St., 312-782-9855), RJ Grunts (2056 N. Lincoln Park West, 773-929-5363), and Wildfire (159 W. Erie St., 312-787-9000).
Besides Rad & Refined, do you do a lot of shopping when you’re in town?
JR: I love to shop in Chicago, especially in the summer when I can walk from shop to shop—[but] don’t get me wrong, this Chi Town girl has not lost her will to fight the snow and wind for some good shopping in the winter, too! I normally end up shopping by neighborhood when I [visit]: Armitage Avenue in Lincoln Park, Damen Avenue in Wicker Park, Walton Street in the Gold Coast, and Belmont Avenue for some really rad pieces. A few of my favorite spots are eDrop-Off (2117 N. Halsted St., 773-525-7467), Sarca (temporarily closed; online shopping only), and Lori’s Shoes (824 W. Armitage Ave., 773-281-5655). I never leave these stores disappointed.
Living in LA, you are in a major fashion hub. What stands out about Chicago’s style?
JR: I have kept a close eye on fashion in Chicago ever since I was studying at Columbia. I have been able to watch the fashion community grow into what it is today: new, exciting, and on point. A lot of influential designers, bloggers, business owners, models, hair stylists, makeup artists, photographers, and stylists have raised the bar for Chicago fashion.
What’s the biggest difference between LA and Chicago fashion?
JR: When it’s 60 degrees in LA, people will dress the way they would if it was 30 degrees in Chicago—it’s one of those things about growing up in the Windy City that stood out to me immediately.
'Plant Green Ideas' Sprouts Up in Chicago
The eco-friendly initiative debuts decorative planters on the Cultural Mile.
May 22, 2013
Plant Green Ideas’ sculptural heads will sprout foliage hairdos and share green ideas on the Cultural Mile this summer.
The not-for-profit organization Plant Green Ideas—in partnership with the Chicago Cultural Mile Association—is getting ready to unveil an eponymous, eco-friendly art installation soon. The open-air exhibit will take over a multi-block stretch from Randolph Street to Roosevelt Road with a series of enormous sculptural heads sprouting foliage “hairdos.”
A sort of larger-than-life Chia pet, each head stands six-and-a-half feet tall and weighs more than a ton. The sculptures were crafted locally and sustainably at SVI Themed Construction Solutions, using recycled concrete product. But the installation is much more than just public art. For PGI co-founders Pamella Capitanini and Robin Malpass, it is a vision—and mission—realized.
Intended to support the city’s Sustainable Chicago 2015 initiative, each planter gives passers-by a “green” idea. Actions as simple as “choose to walk,” “fix water leaks,” and “insulate the home,” will encourage viewers toward a more eco-friendly lifestyle. Interactive QR codes will give even more information for those intrigued by specific green ideas.
Of course, the planters themselves contribute to a more sustainable environment as well. They will help reduce the urban heat island effect throughout the summer, and retain storm water—all part of making Chicago a leader in sustainable innovation.
“Plant Green Ideas” will be on display through August 31.
Poag Mahone's Crosstown Classic Burgers
Northside and Southside burgers celebrate National Burger Month and the Crosstown Classic.
May 21, 2013
Poag Mahone’s ‘Northside’ variation is a grassfed cheeseburger with a hot dog, sweet relish, mustard, sport peppers, lettuce, tomato, and celery salt on a pretzel roll.
On May 27, the Cubs and the White Sox face off for the season’s first Crosstown Classic series, but the rivalry is about more than just baseball. The true Northside/Southside battle is over food, and throughout the month of May, Loop restaurant Poag Mahone’s attempts to settle the debate with two burgers playing to the tastes of each neighborhood. The best part: a portion of the proceeds from the Chicago sandwiches goes to two local charities.
For Cubs concession fans, the Northside Cure for the Curse Burger features a 100% grassfed cheeseburger and a hotdog. It’s piled high Chicago style, with sweet relish, yellow mustard, sport peppers, lettuce, tomato, and celery salt between a pretzel bun. A dill pickle spear and side of nachos accompany the stacked sandwich. In support of recently retired Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood, some of the Northside burger’s proceeds will be put toward the Wood Family Foundation. Southsiders, on the other hand, will want to sample the Put it on the Board Burger, a cheese-stuffed grassfed burger with Polish sausage, beer onions, and spicy brown mustard. It benefits the Bring Me Home Children’s Home and Aid Foundation.
No matter where their loyalty lies, though, Chicagoans can always agree that beer is the best accompaniment to a hearty burger (and hot dog). Poag Mahone’s offers an expansive selection of seasonally rotating craft ales, and right now we love the locally brewed 5 Rabbit American Blonde golden ale. 333 S. Wells St., 312-566-9100
Chicago-Made Wine Accessories
A locally-crafted cooling sleeve, wine rack, and bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.
May 21, 2013
Shelby Steiner Debuts at Dovetail
The young Chicago designer launches her Spring/Summer collection at the West Town shop.
May 20, 2013
Steiner cites her Midwest upbringing and eclectic family as major influences to her overall design style, but the latest collection has an additional influence. The dark aesthetic is a result of Steiner’s anger about the rhino-poaching problem in South Africa. As somber as the inspiration may be, though, the pieces are ultra-chic. Steiner’s Green Inverse Top ($132) is a standout with its unique pattern, while the Black Coated Cotton Crop Top ($128) is perfect for summer when paired with a high-waisted maxi skirt and lots of jewelry. Other items include canvas circle skirts and handmade leather bracelets.
The best part? You can feel good about wearing Steiner’s clothes, since she uses ethical best practices to make sustainable pieces. In fact, most everything you’ll find at Dovetail is considerate of the environment and its inhabitants. “I’m very excited to have my line carried at Dovetail alongside numerous other talented Chicago designers’,” Steiner says. “Each of us is creating a high-quality product made ethically, while creating a supportive community within the fashion industry.”
Though this is the first time Shelby Steiner pieces are available in a store, the designer first launched her collection late last year at the Chicago Fashion Focus runway show. She is currently one of six designers-in-residence at the Macy’s Fashion Incubator. 1452 W. Chicago Ave., West Town, 312-508-3398
PHOTOGRAPHY BY CASSIE DOUMAS
The Updated Odyssey Sets Sail
The renovated Navy Pier yacht debuts just in time for summer cruises around Lake Michigan.
May 20, 2013
The renovated roofdeck on the Odyssey yacht offers unbeatable skyline views.
This season, Chicago’s summertime tradition of taking a skyline cruise on Lake Michigan gets even better with Navy Pier’s largest yacht, the Odyssey, boasting $2 million renovations. A top-to-bottom remodel, the upgrades include technology—flat-screen TVs, hi-def sound systems—chic modernized décor, and an ultra-luxe roof deck.
Each of the ship’s lower decks is climate-controlled and spacious, but the real coup is the upper observation deck, which boasts breathtaking views of the skyline to one side and lake to the other. The deck has been outfitted with modern leather seating, plush pillows, high and low tables, and pretty planters that make you forget you’re on a moving ship. Indoors, the two lower levels feature three bars and dance floors lit from below with starry lighting.
Even the kitchen got a revamp: Eric LeVine, the winner of Food Network’s Chopped, collaborated with Odyssey executive chef Leonel Martinez to put together elevated menus offered on board. Our pick is the Champagne Dinner cruise, which begins with a chef’s tasting of cauliflower puree, tapenade, crudite snap vegetables, and a glass of Champagne. All menus feature locally-sourced produce and ingredients, and every meal ends with selections from the desserts table. Though the ship is available for large events, we think it makes the perfect romantic dinner for two on a midsummer night. Reservations are $60 and up and can be made at odysseycruises.com or by calling 888-957-2320. Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave., 866-305-2469
Michigan Avenue celebrates with cover star Harrison Ford at Chicago Cut Steakhouse.