Chicago Drinks You Can’t Live Without

I recently read an article titled  25 Drinks Every Chicagoan Should Try. It contained a list created by the staff of  RedEye Chicago with recommendations for drinks in the Windy City.  I am curious to know what you, a Chicago Urbanite follower with an international perspective of the city, would include in a list like that.  I would recommend the blackberry Cuban mojitos served at Argentinian Barra Ñ during Brazilian nights on Tuesdays or the Blood Orange Martini served at Dunlay’s in Logan Square. What about you? What are your favorite drinks in Chicago? Please leave your recommendation on the comments section below. Maybe we could all meet in the future and explore our choices together? Cheers! b7 Drinking in Chicago

Find romance and get a free appetizer at Cite Chicago

The other day, my friend Mila invited me to visit her at work. I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered  that she works for a restaurant that has one of the best views of the city: Cite Chicago. Located on the 70th floor of Lake Point Tower, right next to Navy Pier on Lake Michigan, Cite has breathtaking 360-degree panoramic views of the city and a circular dining area. This is a great place for a romantic date and a great alternative to avoid the crowds visiting the  Signature Room at  the John Hancock building. I would recommend having drink here to watch the fireworks at Navy Pier or just to enjoy the spectacular city’s skyline.

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Another thing that I find interesting about Cite is its cosmopolitan component: the cuisine is French American,  the General Manager Assyrian, the Executive Chef Chilean, and the publicist Ukranian. Cite certainly offers a cosmopolitan fine dining experience and would love to have cosmopolitan urbanites visit their restaurant. That is why Cite is offering a free appetizer with a purchase of two entrees to Chicago Urbanite followers during the month of February. Just mention this blog’s name to take advantage of this offer.  So go ahead, get romantic at Cite. Happy month of Love!

General Information

Happy Chinese New Year!

It is time to visit Chicago’s Chinatown to celebrate the 2012 Lunar New Year, the Year of the DRAGON 4710, with a parade that will include marching bands, floats, lions teams, a mystical dragon, and Miss Friendship Ambassador. This year’s parade also kicks off celebrations of the Chinatown Centennial 1912-2012.

Dates:

Jan 29, 2012

Hours:

Parade steps off at 1 pm, other activities start at 11:30 a.m.

Location:

Chinatown

24th St. & Wentworth Ave.

Chicago, IL 60616

Admission:

FREE

Website:

For additional information please visit www.chicagochinatown.org

Public Transportation:

For travel information, visit www.transitchicago.com 

Learn more about Chinese culture in Chicago:

Check out Chicago Chinese Cultural InstituteThey have events from showing you how to cook a Chinese New Year Family Dinner, to The Chopstick Dining Club, and even Chinese Kite Making and Paper-cutting Workshops.The following websites also offer Chinatown group tours:

Chinatown Tour Chicago

Chicago Food Planet

Christmas Day in Chicago

Merry Christmas everybody! Are you looking for ideas on how to spend this day in Chicago?  Most places are closed, but here are some suggestions on what to do in the city:

Go Ice Skating at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park

The rink, now in its eleventh season, draws more than 100,000 skaters annually and is free and open to the public. Skate rental is available for $10. The ice rink is located on Michigan Avenue between Washington and Madison streets. Today, the rink will be open today  from 10 a.m.  to 4 p.m.

See Christmas Lights at  The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival 

The festival continues along North Michigan Avenue. Call (312) 642-3570 for more information or visit www.themagnificentmile.com.


Visit the Lincoln Park Conservatory

The Conservatory has a Winter Flower and Train Show going on. The hours of operation today are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call (312) 742-7736 for more information visit http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/parks.detail/object_id/45aa3ed2-7c6f-4461-83b2-29cb991637e6.cfm

Watch the Bears vs Packers game at a bar

Go to Dublin’s and/or The Hunt Club on State St and Maple (at Mariano Park) for the game and a nosh on Christmas day. There is also a list of other bars that  are open for Christmas Day at this link: http://nowyouknowevents.com/2011/12/24/christmas-day-watch-the-bears-vs-packers-game/

Exploring Chicago’s Culinary Side with Chicago Food Planet

Have you ever taken a food tasting tour? If you want to try a great one, I would highly recommend taking it with the guys from Chicago Food Planet. This is a tour company that offers walking food tours in different areas of the city. I had the pleasure to join them in a 3-hour culinary journey through the Bucktown and Wicker Park neighborhoods. The selection of the restaurants for the tour is based on the quality, history, originality, and awards that the restaurant holds.

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For this tour in particular, we visited George’s Hot Dogs, a traditional hot dog stand established in 1948 that offers Chicago-style hot dogs prepared with  fresh, high-quality ingredients. Then we headed to Hot Chocolate, a restaurant and dessert bar whose owner and chef won the Jean Banchet award for Best Celebrity Pastry Chef in Chicago and was named Pastry Chef of the Year by Chicago Magazine. There we tasted a super yummy  iced chocolate and marshmallow. Our next stop was The Goddess and Grocer, a gourmet foods & catering store that carries products from around the world and where you can order deli sandwiches and salads. We had to walk a little bit more to get to Piece,  a pizzeria and brewery place, but it was well worth it. Piece has award-winning micro-brewed beers, and one of the best pizzas I have ever tried (and I am not a pizza lover). They call it New Haven thin-crust pizza. This is a perfect place to watch a sports event: Piece has a series of eleven 42” plasma TVs that span the length of the bar. Our last stops were Sultan’s Market, a Middle-Eastern Deli/Store that offers delicious vegan and vegetarian food, and ICream Cafe , an ice cream parlor that makes customized molecular ice cream, frozen yogurt or sorbet on the spot. In each of these places, you get to taste a sample of their food ,which were absolutely delicious.

 The tour was leaded by Liz, a graceful and knowledgeable tour guide who provided us with insightful commentaries, historical facts, and anecdotes of the restaurants we were visiting as well as of the neighborhoods we were walking through.  I recommend taking this tour not only to tourists but also to locals. You will surely have a great time discovering culinary treasures in our city and learning interesting facts about the neighborhoods you are visiting.

Pisco and Food Tasting at Between Lounge tomorrow!

If you are looking for an interesting event to attend tomorrow evening, you should go to Between (1324 N Milwaukee). This is a Peruvian Cafe and Lounge located in Wicker Park that boasts to  be the only Peruvian Pisco lounge in the city. If this is not enough reason for  you to check this place,  I must add the fabulous cuisine of its Chef  Jose Victorio, and the gracious hosting of its owner Carl Anderson.

Tomorrow at 8pm, Between will be offering a PERUVIAN PISCO TASTING / PAIRING. Taste (6) Piscos with Food Courses, learn about Pisco, pairing with food and creating cocktail recipes. Make your own Pisco Sour, the national cocktail of Peru. Ticket costs $30, BUT if you call and say you’re from Chicago Urbanite it’s $15 – limited seating – CALL FOR RESERVATIONS at (312) 493-9442

 

Look who I found….

….at the Andersonville Midsommarfest. This is an annual Summer festival located in the Andersonville neighborhood on Clark Street , between Foster and Catalpa, in which vendors from around the region sell their wares to passers-by while ethnic dance troupes and cutting-edge bands keep the party going. There is a significant number of Middle-Eastern businesses in this neighborhood, as well as a new influx of families with children, and a large lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-gender population. I came to the Festival to see the local Brazilian band  Chicago Samba perform. They gave a very entertaining show thanks to the dancers dressed in colorful and flashy outfits, but they paled in comparison to the outfit of this passer-by:

I took this picture during the performance of the 80s music band 16 Candles (who were a great discovery for me. Except for a few songs, their music selection and rendition was very engaging). Andersonville Midsommarfest is a definitely a good option to see great local bands perform and for seeing interesting outfits and beautiful men (who, unfortunately for me, happen to be gay. My friend said that she had never seen so many beautiful men in one place). By the way, this reminds me that I have to mark my calendar for the Chicago Gay Pride Parade on Sunday June 26 . I attended this parade a few years ago and had a great time. Let the fun begin: Summer in Chicago is just starting!

Walking down the streets of Chicago

…one may find pretty interesting sites. Can any of you guess where I took this picture and what it means?

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This graffiti of Charlie Chaplin marks a landmark from the silent movie era: the studios for the Essanay Film Manufacturing Company that operated in Chicago during the early part of the 20th century. It is best known today for its series of Charlie Chaplin comedies of 1915. The studios were located at 1345 W. Argyle St, in Uptown. The place is now part of St Augustine College campus. I had no idea that besides gangsters there were also movie stars in Chicago during that period.