Hotel Monaco Celebrates History and Hats
Steps from Michigan Avenue’s Mag Mile Shopping Festival, the hotel honors its retail past.
August 27, 2012
In Chicago, a story lies behind every downtown edifice, as exemplified by one Wabash Avenue building—what now houses the award-winning Hotel Monaco Chicago was once the home of famous hat factory D.B. Fisk. To mark the building’s 100-year anniversary and honor its storied past, Hotel Monaco is celebrating with a soiree of all things headwear this Wednesday night (August 29, 5-8 PM).
D.B. Fisk has long-since been defunct, but the 117-year-old San Francisco-based millinery Goorin Bros. has had no problem keeping the craft afloat. The brand—which has outposts in Wicker Park (1533 N. Milwaukee Ave., 773-384-4287) and Lakeview (3243 N. Broadway, 773-348-4287)—will present a pop-up trunk show as part of Hotel Monaco’s celebrations in the Paris Ballroom. An expert from Goorin Bros. will award a prize to the guest with the best topper, and a raffle benefits Dress for Success. Live music, hors d’oeuvres from South Water Kitchen, and cocktails (including a specialty drink dubbed the “D.B. Fisk”) round the evening out. RSVP to email@example.com. 225 N. Wabash Ave., 312-960-8500
Pomellato 67 Coming Mid-September
Iconic Italian jewelry company launches a collection in silver exclusively in the US.
August 27, 2012
In celebration of its 45 years as an esteemed jewelry house, Pomellato is going against its normal gilded grain with a collection set in silver. Pomellato 67, named for the Milanese brand’s founding year, is set for a mid-September release in its Oak Street (41 E. Oak St., 312-649-9720) boutique and at Saks Fifth Avenue (700 N. Michigan Ave., 312-944-6500).
The new collection makes other notable departures in addition to its switch to silver. In place of the elaborate and traditional—though the signature cabochon and usual chains are anything but absent—Pomellato 67 compromises five themes, all with a rocker-chic edge. Whimsical charms are offset by more sultry-sleek touches, and many pieces pay homage to yesteryear, with bold, exaggerated versions of favorites from the brand’s last four decades.
In keeping with this fresh feel, the gemstones deviate from the rainbow of pastels we’ve seen in Pomellato’s past. Grittier hydrothermal quartz and marcasite are the jewels of choice, fastened onto oversize rings, earrings, and pendants by silver prongs.
Brunch Plans: Storefront Company's Peach-Infused Menu
Wicker Park resto closes out August with an ode to the summertime fruit.
August 24, 2012
Cheers to National Peach Month with Storefront Company's Bellini.
This weekend only, Storefront Company’s chef Bryan Moscatello pays homage to peaches for National Peach Month with a special edition of the restaurant’s already outstanding Sunday brunch (10 AM–3 PM). In typical Moscatello style, the chef sources peaches semi-locally from Seedling Farm in nearby South Haven, Michigan.
The fruit-focused meal starts with a simple peach muffin and brown butter; but Storefront’s signature blintzes get a twist, too, combining cottage cheese, peach puree, and peach pickles in sage crepes. If you’re looking to satisfy a sweet tooth, sample Moscatello’s smokey peach French toast, comprised of a peach-thyme compote, and drizzled in maple syrup.
Cocktail enthusiasts will also benefit from the specials. Of course the Bellini gets top billing, with freshly juiced farm peaches and Cantine Maschio Brut sparkling white wine; but venture outside the typical brunch beverage for the Smash—a mix of peaches, Hennessy V.S., basil, and lemons. 1941 W. North Ave., 773-661-2609
Prost! Reopens in Lincoln Park
German-style beer hall brings Bavaria to Chicago.
August 23, 2012
Last month, after a three-year hiatus, the lights came back on at Prost!, illuminating a space three times the size of the former authentic German beer hall with a decidedly more elegant vibe and brand-new food program from chef Ian Flowers.
One thing hasn’t changed—in true German tradition, beer is still tops. And although other bars are looking to local breweries lately, Prost! owner Brian Reynolds fills the 24 rotating taps with historically proven ales from Germany and Austria. Some options like Hofbräu will sound familiar, but barley-and-hops enthusiasts should sample the lesser-known Weihenstephaner, a Bavarian beer from the world’s oldest brewery that's best enjoyed in a three-liter boot.
The food stays authentically German, too. An entire portion of the menu is devoted to different types of wurst, combinations of pork and veal seasoned with just the basics. A starter strudel has mushroom, asparagus, and gouda; and don’t miss the pretzel & obatzda, an oversized Bavarian pretzel accompanied by spicy mustard and Bavarian beer cheese for dipping. Other notables coming to Prost! in the near future include beer brunch, a menu of beer cocktails, a beer-tasting club, and—of course—Oktoberfest celebrations. 2566 N. Lincoln Ave., Lincoln Park, 773-880-9900
Weekend Recommender: August 23–26
Kick off the Mag Mile’s Shopping Festival, work out in the park, and more this weekend.
August 23, 2012
Celebrate Mag Mile's Shopping Festival at Water Tower Place's In Fashion lounge.
Wade’s World Weekend
Thursday, August 23–Sunday, August 26
Dwyane Wade is back in town for W3: Wade’s World Weekend, a series of events to benefit Wade’s World Foundation, an organization supporting educational, health, and family service programs to children in underserved communities. The weekend kicks off with a reception dinner tonight at the Intercontinental Hotel (505 N. Michigan Ave.) and includes a bowling tournament and other fundraising events hosted by the NBA All-Star. For a full schedule and tickets, visit wadesworldfoundation.org.
The Magnificent Mile Shopping Festival Kick-Off
Friday, August 24, 6-8 PM
As one of the Mile’s main spots, Water Tower Place is hosting a slew of programs to celebrate The Magnificent Mile Shopping Festival today through its Fashion’s Night Out finale on September 6. Tonight, The Working Wardrobe’s Kate Jacobsen and You & Me This Morning’s Jeanne Sparrow headline a kick-off fundraiser for Dress For Success at WTP’s In Fashion Lounge, the place to be for promotions and exclusive offers throughout the festival. RSVP at dfs15anniversary.eventbrite.com. Water Tower Place, Level 7, 845 N. Michigan Ave., 312-440-3166
On Your Mark Fitness Class
Saturday, August 25, 12 PM
On Your Mark, an innovative fitness center with locations in Bucktown and the West Loop, brings its Rope Burn class to the Nike Fuel House this weekend for a complimentary workout in the park. Rope Burn mixes short intervals of jump rope with a series of core exercises for a high-intensity workout with both strength and cardio benefits. 1800 N. Stockton Dr. (the renovated fieldhouse located by the softball fields), Lincoln Park
The Art of Fishing
Starts Sunday, August 26; Sundays through September 25, 2 PM
It’s rare to go fishing in the Loop, but this Sunday the Chicago Cultural Center and South Water Kitchen are making it happen. “Jim Zimpel: Angle” is an interactive exhibit made up of a 500-gallon fish tank filled with blue gill and an installation of artisan fishing rods and bait buckets. Five select attendees will have the opportunity to fish from the tank, then have their catch fried up at nearby South Water Kitchen (225 N. Wabash Ave., 312-236-9300) by executive chef Roger Waysok. 78 E. Washington St., 312-744-6630
Azeeza Khan's West Loop
Acclaimed designer lets us in on her favorite neighborhood spots.
August 22, 2012
Designer Azeeza Khan of Atelier AZZA has been a Chicago favorite since launching her line last year, but with her latest collection for spring/summer 2013, she’s going global. Her influences, however, have always stemmed from afar: the designer’s South Asian heritage inspires the bold, bright silks and elaborate embellishments that make each piece distinctly AZZA.
Khan’s new collection includes a bevy of short party frocks in classic black and punchy pink; structured jackets juxtaposed with layered skirts in white and gorgeous teal; and an ombre gown that can work for day or night. But no matter how far and wide she takes her aesthetic and her brand, this West Loop resident has a deep connection with her Chicago neighborhood.
What is your favorite thing about the West Loop?
AZEEZA KHAN: [It is] away from the urban hustle and chaos of Chicago, but still in the heart of the city. It is peaceful and there is always something new to try in terms of food and culture.
How would you describe the style of the people that live there?
AK: During the daytime, the only thing in sight is either Lululemon or business attire, and rightfully so. Evening gets fun with a very fashion-forward, creative flair—a relaxed, non-contrived mixing of high and low labels, which I personally also love to do.
Where are some of your favorite spots to eat in your neighborhood?
AK: I'd be stating the obvious in saying that the West Loop is an uber-foodie destination. I will call out Maude's (840 W. Randolph St., 312-243-9712) escargot, and Au Cheval's (800 W. Randolph St., 312-929-4580) fries—anything topped with a fried egg makes my list. I also love just roaming the French Market (131 N. Clinton St., 312-575-0306) for both groceries and casual eats. In terms of foodie forecasting, I am most excited about the highly anticipated Embeya (564 W. Randolph, 312-612-5640; expected opening later this month)—that is going to be the spot.
Even though you are a designer, do you have any favorite spots for shopping?
AK: Definitely the markets. From Randolph Street to the antiques, the street shopping is unique and unparalleled.
Are there any stores or restaurants you’ll always leave the West Loop for?
AK: NoMI Kitchen (800 N. Michigan Ave., 312-239-4030). The food is simple, honest, and fresh. The views alone make it a great restaurant to entertain for business. With a non-stop work schedule like mine, the opportunity to shop is far and few between, and I shop for accessories only as I prefer to wear my own garments to stay true to my aesthetic. That said, the Mag Mile and Gold Coast offer quick-hit convenience and a diverse, well-curated shopping experience.
Photography by Maria Ponce Berre
A Magnificent Taste Launches
Culinary event in conjunction with Magnificent Mile Shopping Festival.
August 22, 2012
Top Chef's Paul Qui headlines A Magnificent Taste.
Starting this weekend (August 24) until Fashion’s Night Out on September 6, The Magnificent Mile hosts its shopping festival presented by MasterCard. But this year’s event celebrates the city’s taste for fashion and philanthropy by adding a culinary aspect—A Magnificent Taste on August 28 at Pioneer Court (401 N. Michigan Ave., 6:30-9 PM). The event-within-an-event features chefs from around the city, and proceeds benefit Common Threads, an organization that educates children from low-income families about healthy eating.
VIP tickets ($200) include a meet-and-greet reception from 5:30-6:30 PM with headliner Paul Qui, winner of Top Chef Season 9. The other dozen-plus participants have just as much to offer, with local chefs like TRU’s Anthony Martin, RPM Italian’s Doug Psaltis, and David Burke’s Primehouse’s Rick Gresh, offering up seasonal samples. Bites from Bar Toma, La Colombe, The Signature Room at 95th, and desserts from Magnolia Bakery will also be featured.
To purchase tickets ($125 general admission), click here.
2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class Redefines Luxury SUVs
Luxury SUV line introduces the ultimate in family cars.
August 21, 2012
When we were invited to join Mercedes-Benz on a recent vehicle launch program, I was given the assignment and immediately let my imagination run wild with the possibilities of testing and reviewing a super-luxurious vehicle from the German lineup. I envisioned a sleek autobahn killer such as their SL550 Roadster. Then I discovered the invitation was for the international launch of the 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class SUV. Was I disappointed? Not in the least. Practically speaking, a luxury SUV with a third row was ideally suited for me. Who better to evaluate such a vehicle than the father of five kids involved in soccer, football, karate, gymnastics, and trumpet lessons?
The GL-Class comes in four levels including: the GL350 BlueTEC 4MATIC with its 3.0-liter single turbo diesel V6 producing a solid 240 horsepower and 455 pound-feet of torque; the GL450 with a 4.6-liter biturbo gasoline V8 capable of 362 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque; a GL550 with its direct-injection 4.6-liter biturbo V8 cranking out an impressive 429 horsepower along with 516 pound-feet of torque; and the GL63 AMG with its beastly direct-injection 5.5-liter biturbo V8 that pumps out 550 beastly horsepower and 560 pound-feet of torque—all of which will undoubtedly take care of getting the kids to practice and rehearsals in record-setting time.
But most intriguing of all was the GL’s third row seating. Yes, the famed "third" row seating that other manufacturers tout but fall short on. Was the GL's third row actually usable and, dare I say, comfortable? To answer this, I subjected myself to the third row in a GL350 while our driver hurriedly shuttled me to the airport—a drive filled with sudden braking, responsive acceleration, evasive highway maneuvers, and above-average speeds. Throughout this adventure, I experienced an unexpected level of comfort in the third row. The ride was so smooth that I failed to realize the actual speeds at which we were traveling. This was a true testament to the GL350’s performance and the very comfortable and enjoyable GL-Class third row.
The GL-Class does, however, suffer from what I would refer to as “multiple personality disorder.” The chiseled, aggressive front facade is bold, sporty, and athletic, while the flowing lines of the side profile comes across as sophisticated and modern. Its design will appeal to those sporty moms and dads who still want to ride in style for a date-night out on the town.
Out of the three GL categories experienced, I was most impressed with the GL350. The GL450 and GL550 are also absolutely solid performers, but often with an entry-level vehicle, you feel as through you're sacrificing or settling. This is absolutely not true with the GL350, especially when you factor in standard features such as the ATTENTION ASSIST, created to alert the driver and prepare the brakes for maximum stopping power, and mbrace2, which provides an array of vehicle diagnostics and concierge services. And with the estimated 600-700 mile range from the 26-gallon fuel tank, you may start to walk with a certain swagger thanks to the fuel saving provided by the smooth and uncharacteristically quiet diesel.
Additionally, there are a host of attractive features, such as the panorama sunroof, massaging driver and passenger seats, power outlets for your road-trip devices, optional electronic folding rear seats, Active Parking Assist, and Active Blind Spot Assist.
The 2013 GL-Class goes on sale this September, with the GL350 hitting showrooms with a beginning MSRP of $62,400, while the GL450 starts at $63,900, and the GL550 comes in with a starting sticker of $86,900. The wicked GL63 AMG version will become available during the first quarter of 2013 with pricing not yet available.
Karen Millen Autumn/Winter at 900 Shops
British designer takes her colder weather collection for a dark, menswear-inspired turn.
August 21, 2012
British brand Karen Millen took a decidedly darker turn for its autumn/winter collection, which debuted at the store’s 900 Shops locale last week. The pieces infuse masculine details with a feminine edge—for example, a biker jacket with a peplum waist—in a primarily black palette.
To offset all that onyx, bursts of autumnal orange and red intersperse the dense collection in the form of bright pants and bold coats—the orange pod coat is a standout piece for its unique shape alone. Prints also make an appearance on accessories and denim, the latter via covet-worthy black-lace print jeans
Back in black, however, are a few statement-making eveningwear pieces. The black taffeta long skirt is a layered confection that can be dressed dozens of different ways; and the lace sleeve long dress is perfect for a season that will be full of black tie events. 900 N. Michigan Ave., 312-867-1760
MCA's Artist Talk with Jimmy Robert
Curator Naomi Beckwith joins the artist in introducing his first solo exhibit at the MCA.
August 21, 2012
This weekend, the Museum of Contemporary Art introduces a new artist to the Chicago and national art scenes: “Jimmy Robert Vis-à-vis” is the first-ever solo exhibition and the premier showcase in the US for the Guadeloupe-born artist. To celebrate, Robert and the exhibit’s curator Naomi Beckwith will discuss the works at an in-gallery talk the afternoon of its opening (August 25, 3 PM).
For Robert, who grew up in the at-times turbulent 1980s and '90s Europe, the personal and the political collide in art. His pieces exhibit political undertones, but without being obvious—focusing more literally on cultural innovators from history. In form, Robert is especially known for his manipulation of photographs, both physically and digitally, but also works with film and sculpture. For “Jimmy Robert Vis-à-vis,” he will even create one piece live in the gallery as a type of performance art alongside choreographer Maria Hassabi. The show runs through November 25. 220 E. Chicago Ave., 312-280-2660
Photograph © Jimmy Robert, courtesy Galerie Diana Stigter, Amsterdam (Untitled); Photograph by Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago (Robert, Beckwith).
Michigan Avenue celebrates with cover star Harrison Ford at Chicago Cut Steakhouse.