Taking over the historic Carson Pirie Scott space on 44 S. Wabash Vapiano made a big splash with its grand opening recently. This is the second location for this Mediterranean hotspot in Chicago. The other one in Lincoln Park is already a hit on 2577 N. Clark Street.
Red is the signature color and it makes this place really pop. Underneath a dreary train track this seems like an unusual spot but the convenience for lunches downtown makes up for it. There’s a patio to enjoy and the modern light wood indoors keep things bright and clean.
One thing that is hip and modern is the use of a chip card where diners scan and purchase items on th
eir own time frame then check out at the end of their experience with no pressure to rush out.
The staff is friendly so feel free to talk directly to the chefs. They stir up dishes like sausage e verdure or pasta with sausage and spinach. Keep things simple like the marguerita pizza or go for more with the smoked gouda chicken barbeque pizza.
To wash things down you can never go wrong with a malbec and their Santa Julia Reserva is rich and full bodied from Argentina of course.
After relaxing in the afternoon finish things off with a death by chocolate dessert always great with a red wine.
With more than 120 locations Vapiano is taking over the world these days and we see why!
Visit www.vapianointernational.com for details and more information.
Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar continues to be at the top of their game running specials and providing excellent cuisine. There are two locations in Illinois one in Lincolnshire and one in Chicago. Downtowners hit the one on 25 E Ohio Street and with good reason. With one of the best happy hours in the city, this is the perfect spot to grab a quick $6 martini and woof down an appetizer such as the sweet chile calamari in the bar area until 7:00 p.m. The prime burger is a steal for the price seven nights a week. I’m glad to see the pomegranate martini is back in rotation but when is the margarita martini coming back? This heavy hitter said “adios” too soon!
With the seasons changing this will be the last chance to try the summer special menu with prix fixe price available at 40.95 per guest until August 31. There is a filet mignon and salmon duo along with a starter of chili lime prawns to give surf and turf a whole new meaning. Sip the last of summer for the Caribbean rum punch made with Mount Gay rum.
For Sundays bring in friends for $29.95 as each guest is treated to three salad options, prime rib second course featuring three different sauces, and a dessert choice. Plan on taking some home and finishing it the next day.
The wine list with 100 choices available by the glass can be overwhelming but their are flights to sample and a computer system right at your table to help pair things down to accompany your meal.
The open friendly flame broiled kitchen and dark wood ambiance make guests feel welcome and right at home. Take some time off from shopping on Michigan Avenue or relax after work at this hotspot in the heart of downtown.
Call (312) 329-9463 or visit www.flemingsteakhouse.com to make a reservation today.
With over 106 across the United States and Canada, DAVIDsTEA is the place to be for gourmet refreshments. There are over 150 types of tea to choose from with exotic infusions from all over the world.
While there are many traditional straight teas it can be more fun think outside of the box and try something new.
I spoke with co-founder David Segal about the company stating they have a tea of the month along with seasonal collections. “It is a never ending journey. One week you might like something spicy then the next maybe a dessert tea. We have citrus and chocolate teas. We are always bringing in spices from all over the world. We have a passion for it and we love showing people how much steep tea can be!”o think outside of the box and blend it up. There are plenty of tips the staff, called tea guides, can offer such as watch your steep time (about 3 to 5 minutes) and water temperature is important (boiling water can burn up the leaves).
For you health conscious people try The Skinny or stop in for many of the summer teas like The Sunburned Sling. There is even the Pink Flamingo with grapefruit and orange in it. Sounds like one to sip by the beach!
Many teas are exclusive to the company so they are constantly looking for new ones. It is about having a complete loose leaf experience. Check out a wall of accessories that will bring things to a whole new level.
Their first store was in Toronto. What a treat to see DAVIDsTEA in the middle of the gayborhood on Church and Wellesley in Toronto with a big rainbow painted on the window during Pride. We support those who support us!
Free smells with some samplings are offered so stop by one of the convenient locations today. Locate one near you from the website at www.davidstea.com.
We are lucky to live in a city where good restaurants are in walking distance to movie theaters. One of my friend’s favorite places is Fat Willy’s Rib Shack on Western and Schubert with a huge cineplex for a movie after.
How lucky to find another spot with the same opportunity on the other side of the city. El’s Kitchen & Bar opened three years ago and is located at 1450 W Webster Avenue. BBQ and Rock ‘N’ Roll makes a good combo. Not only can you have good food but be entertained at the same time. With the weather changing this is the perfect time to enjoy the patio.
There are daily specials to enjoy including $2 tacos and $5 margaritas on Wednesdays but the deal of the century is for $50 one app, two entrees and one dessert plus two movie tickets to the Webster movie theater across the street. You can even add two drinks on for $60. Now that is a bargain.
While listening to a band on the weekends there is lots to devour. Start off with some spinach dip. The homemade chips are irresistible. If you can’t decide for an entree then try a combo like the brisket, ribs, and chicken that is smoked for 12 hours. For an encore the Ghirardeli chocolate brownie will stuff you to the gills.
With the convenience of entertainment, good food and atmosphere these hot spots have you covered! Visit www.elskitch.com for more details.
Chicago’s very own magician Luis Carreon brings a special two night show entitled Bending Minds and Bending Dreams to the Magic, Inc. stage this week.
This new generation of magician hails straight from Mexico City combining mental feats as well as old school card tricks. He has appeared on Tengo Talento, the Spanish language equivalent of America’s Got Talent as well as an upcoming episode of Sabado Gigante. Carreon has performed for Shakira, Jim Carrey, and even the master himself Chris Angel.
We visited the illusionist at the magic store to see what tricks he has up his sleeve.
Jerry Nunn: Hi, Luis. Where are from originally?
LC: (Luis Carreon) I was born in Mexico City. I came to the United States around the age of nine. I am 23 now.
How long have you been making magic?
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With over 8,000 restaurants in Chicago to pick from it is rare that there are two of the same to try. The great thing about Viaggio is the locations are drastically different in terms of clientele. For the 1330 W. Madison Street location of Viaggio Ristorante & Lounge fans of the United Center get a chance to have some great cuisine while enjoying their favorite concert or sports event. When there is a huge Blackhawks game like the night I was hungry then head over to Viaggio at the Park, 401 W Fullerton Pkwy. This is a much quieter intimate setting to enjoy top notch comfort food. It was freezing on the night I arrived and the place was immediately warm and cozy. The service was excellent and our server went out of his way to make things great. He even had the chef put together a sampler of the meatballs with romaine salad and eggplant stack because I wanted to try both. I am glad I did. Diners can’t go wrong with either dish.
After head over to the main entrees with veal ragu with imported parmesan or “Penne in the Park” with artichoke hearts. There were so many chicken dishes that it was almost impossible to choose once again. I went with the chicken parmesan and that cheese tortellini was to die for! There is a nice sized seafood section along with steaks and a variety of veal dishes. There is just so much to pick from in this restaurant. From the drinks, apps, main dishes, and desserts this is the place to have a complete experience and a perfect spot to have a romantic date.
Viaggio translates to “journey” in English so make the trip to either location and get your taste of Italy today. Visit www.viaggiochicago.com for directions and to make a reservation.
Lifetime’s Project Runway begins season 11 with teams this time out and 16 new designers. One of them named Katelyn Pankoke makes wedding dresses in Chicago with a southern Florida style. The judges include Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia and newbie Zac Posen added into the mix.
Let’s find out how Katelyn makes it work in The Big Apple and the Windy City.
Jerry Nunn: Hi, Katelyn. I can’t believe we haven’t met before. Are you one of those designers that works all the time indoors?
Katelyn Pankoke: I never get out. Have you seen how pale I look in those pictures? [laughs]
JN: I saw you wearing the side pony with your hair.
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