2014 Chicago Michelin Guide Picks

2014 Chicago Michelin Guide Picks

The Michelin Man was very good to Chicago on Tuesday, bestowing stars on 25 restaurants, the largest number in the four-year history of the Chicago Michelin guide.

“It was a great year in Chicago,” said Michael Ellis, Michelin’s international director in charge of the guides. “There are a lot of really interesting things going on; there are great chefs out there, and the audience is out there; they really like innovation in Chicago.”

Twenty Chicago restaurants earned a coveted Michelin star, including five first-time recipients: EL Ideas, the highly creative restaurant in Pilsen; Elizabeth, the Lincoln Square restaurant owned by master forager Iliana Regan; The Lobby, the fine-dining room inside the Peninsula Chicago hotel; North Pond, the Lincoln Park restaurant whose absence from previous Michelin lists has been particularly conspicuous; and Senza, the gluten-free fine-dining restaurant in Lakeview.

All the one-star restaurants from the 2013 list retained their standing, with one exception — Sixteen, in the Trump International Hotel Tower, was promoted to the two-level.

In all, four restaurants received two stars, double the number of 2013 winners. In addition to Sixteen and repeat two-star winners L2O and Graham Elliot (which announced that it will close after its New Year’s Eve dinner), two stars went to Grace, Curtis Duffy’s fine-dining restaurant, in its first year of consideration.

And once again, Alinea, considered one of the best restaurants in the world, received Michelin’s maximum three-star designation.

“Look at who’s behind these restaurants; look at Curtis Duffy,” Ellis said. “He’s worked with Grant (Achatz), Charlie (Trotter), Thomas Keller; he has great technique. I got to eat at Grace in September, and it was a beautiful meal. He does amazing things. The same with Thomas Lents (of Sixteen), who worked with Jean Joho and Joel Robuchon. His technical skills are well known. I don’t think (their high rating) will be a surprise to anybody.”

Ellis expressed admiration for several one-star recipients, including North Pond (“Bruce Sherman is a really interesting guy, who has really interesting takes on food”) and Senza (“Our first gluten-free starred restaurant”).

On the downside, a few restaurants with arguably realistic Michelin-star aspirations were passed over. New restaurants Brindille and Masaki went unrecognized, and Michelin continued to snub mk, Les Nomades and Perennial Virant.

As was the case in 2013, no suburban restaurants received stars. Courtright’s (Willow Springs) and Vie (Western Springs) were one-star recipients in the 2012 Chicago Michelin Guide, but lost them in 2013.

The 2014 Chicago Michelin Guide, which lists more than 400 city and suburban restaurants, is available in bookstores today.

Three Stars


Two Stars

Grace *
Graham Elliot
Sixteen **

One Star

EL Ideas *
Elizabeth *
The Lobby *
Longman & Eagle
North Pond *
Senza *

* New to 2014 Michelin guide
** Elevated from last year’s one-star rating

From Richard Milz via Chicago Tribune


Rich Milz with Chicago’s 2014 Michelin Bib Gourmands!

Rich Milz with Chicago’s 2014 Michelin Bib Gourmands!

While the Michelin Guide is unleashing the 2014 star ratings on November 12 (a day prior to the on sale date), today marks the reveal of the Bib Gourmands. The restaurants included in the Bib Gourmands are meant for those looking to dine on a tighter budget, which the guide defines as two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for $40 or less. Michelin also says that the inspectors personally frequent these restaurants.

This year’s Bib Gourmand list sees a total increase from 2013, from 64 to 69. 21 newcomers are on it, including Lula Cafe, which fell off the list and have returned. A few newer openings made the cut, including Juno, Fat Rice, Found, and Mott Street. Other additions include Arami and Mercat a la Planxa.

16 restaurants fell off the list this year, with The Bristol, Untitled, Storefront Company, Bistronomic, Savoy, Ann Sather, and City Tavern among them. It’s possible that some of them made the jump to full Michelin stars. Closed restaurants that fell off by default include Maison, Urban Union, and West Town Tavern.

Read through the full Bib Gourmand list below.

Chicago 2014 Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand Restaurants:

Ada St. Antique Taco *Arami *ATK Au Cheval *Autre Monde Avec Balena Belly Shack *bellyQ Browntrout Ceres’ Table Chilam Balam *County Cumin Deca DeCOLORES *Fat Rice *Found Frontera Grill *Gather Gemini Bistro Gilt Bar Girl & The Goat Green Zebra GT Fish & Oyster Han 202 *Homestyle Taste *Hopleaf Jaipur Jam Jin Thai *Juno Kabul House Kai Zan *Kama Indian Bistro *Kurah Lao Hunan Lao Sze Chuan *Libertad *Lula Café *Mana Food Bar Marion Street Cheese Market Maude’s Liquor Bar *Mercat a la Planxa Mixteco Grill *Mott St. *Nabuki Nana Nightwood Opart Thai House Owen & Engine Paramount Room The Publican Pump Room The Purple Pig Q BBQ Riccardo Trattoria Sen Slurping Turtle Smak-Tak Smoque BBQ Sol de Mexico Spacca Napoli *Sushi Dokku *TAC Quick Urban Belly Wood Yolo

From Rich Milz via Eater Chicago!


Ok I have to hand it to Aaron Rogers on this one…

Ok I have to hand it to Aaron Rogers on this one…

Packer QB Aaron Rogers Gives Girl Surprise of a Lifetime

By  Good News NetworkWednesday, November 06, 2013


Recreation Celebrities

Aaron Rogers-ItsAaron.comQuarterback superstar Aaron Rogers surprised a young lady, who is a big Packers fan, bringing her onstage at The Pabst Theater in Milwaukee to produce some music. He also wanted to raise awareness for Independence First, an organization she works with  that is run by and for the benefit of people who have disabilities.

Aaron and David Gruber host an online series of videos where they surprise guests and invest time into helping them achieve their goals and ambitions. You can find more of them at www.ItsAaron.com.

(WATCH the fun video below or READ the story from Wisconsin Free)

Thanks to Fritz Schantz who shared the link on our Facebook page!

DA Coach as President! Ditka regrets not challenging Obama

DA Coach as President! Ditka regrets not challenging Obama

President Mike Ditka? That would be an interesting alternate timeline to visit.

Ditka, the former Chicago Bears coach, was speaking at an oil company event last week in Watford City, N.D., when he recalled his decision not to run against Barack Obama in the 2004 Illinois Senate race.

“Biggest mistake I’ve ever made,” Ditka said, according to the Dickinson Press newspaper. “Not that I would have won, but I probably would have and he wouldn’t be in the White House.”

Ditka’s name came up in 2004 as a potential candidate for the U.S. Senate after the Republican nominee, Jack Ryan, stepped down amid allegations by his ex-wife involving sex clubs.

Various Republican politicians as well as Ditka were offered the unappealing opportunity to run against the popular Obama. Ditka and the others said no, and the nod went to a candidate who wasn’t even from Illinois — Maryland political activist Alan Keyes, who lost to Obama with only 27 percent of the vote.

Four years later, Ditka backed Republican John McCain for president against Obama.

When Obama won and Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested on charges of trying to sell Obama’s Senate seat, Ditka was again urged to seek major office. A Burr Ridge man started a website calling for Blagojevich to be impeached and replaced with Da Coach. Blagojevich was indeed bounced, but second-stringer Pat Quinn got the governor’s job, not Ditka.

From the Chicago Tribine via Richard Milz

Chicago Police Officers get top honors for bravery

Chicago Police Officers get top honors for bravery

From Detective Richard Milz via the Chicago Sun Times:

When the phone rang at 10:30 p.m. on July 18, 2011, Jeff Friedlieb was afraid to pick it up for fear that something terrible had happened to his son, who had followed his dad into the Chicago Police Department.

“I was sitting at home and I got a call….He says, `Come to the County [Hospital]. I’ve got a bullet in my head,’ ” the elder Friedlieb recalled.

“Most parents would get that call and they’d be in the alley picking up his brains…You have to thank God when you take a bullet in the back of your head and have the audacity to fire back and shoot the guy.”

On Tuesday, the elder Jeff Friedlieb was in the City Council chambers to watch his son and namesake receive the Carter Harrison Award, this year’s highest honor for police bravery, along with his partner, Officer Ruben Del Valle.

Both plainclothes officers were shot while attempting to arrest a man they had observed allegedly engaging in a drug deal in a West Side alley.

During the struggle, the suspect allegedly pulled out a handgun and fired several shots. Del Valle was hit in the arm and head. Friedlieb was shot in the head. The bullet remains lodged behind his left ear.

Somehow, the wounded Friedlieb managed to return fire, striking the fleeing suspect. Charges were subsequently dropped against one suspect, but another is awaiting trial.

“I went down. Luckily, I was still conscious. I was able to fight back and wound the offender,” said the younger Friedlieb, who still suffers sometimes from severe headaches.

“It was pretty much will and training, dedication to the job….You don’t really think about the injury. You think more about catching the offender. Your adrenalin takes over…[Afterwards], you look at life differently. It is a second chance.”

The partners credited their military training with carrying them through on that fateful day.

“I realized my partner was shot. I was shot. The first thing on my mind was, `Okay, we’re still moving. We’re still able to get up on our feet and chase this guy.’ That will [to live] is just survival. Your body just takes over. You get that feeling of, `I’ve got to make it out of here. I’ve got to make it home,’ ” Del Valle said.

Nearly a half-dozen of the police officers honored during Tuesday’s ceremony had been shot by criminals they were trying to apprehend.

The elder Friedlieb, who was shot at, but never hit during 42 years on the streets of Chicago, couldn’t help but take notice.

“They’re getting bolder….It’s a lot harder for the officers today,” the father said.

The Lambert Tree Award, this year’s highest honor for fire bravery, went to Lieutenant/EMT John Majka and firefighter/paramedic Anthony Licato.

Together, they rescued a bedridden, 94-year-old woman from the second floor of a burning house on the Far South Side.

Despite intense heat and blinding smoke, Majka didn’t wait for water lines to be hooked up before beginning the search. He charged up the stairs, found the woman and was attempting to carry her out unconscious just as Licato arrived with a hose line to help him.

“I saw her ankle hanging off the bed right near the floor and just crawled up to her face. I could see she was burned. But she did take a breath, so that led me to believe she had a chance to survive. So, I kicked it into higher gear and got her out of there,” Majka recalled.

Pressed on what went through his mind on that day, Majka said, “You do have to choke down that uncertainty and that fear and push forward. It’s only human to do that. But that’s what we do.”

For Licato, being called a hero wasn’t easy. He said he would “much rather be at the firehouse.”

The best part of Tuesday’s ceremony was bringing his sons, ages 2 and 4, to the fire academy.

“They’re very excited to be here…They love the Fire Department. This was a big day for them,” he said, to the squeals of his delighted children.

Honoring the First Responders of Edison Park

Honoring the First Responders of Edison Park

Honoring the First Responders of Edison Park

The Edison Park Chamber of Commerce has purchased a five foot fire hydrant which will be on display at the Edison Park Metra Station.  This hydrant will be designed and  painted by a local artist.  The Great Chicago Fire Hydrant program is benefiting the 100 Club. 
The 100 Club of Chicago is the civilian organization that provides for the families of police officers, firefighters and paramedics who have lost their lives in the line-of-duty. The Club helps families ease the financial burden associated with the tragic event, including immediate financial assistance and the ongoing cost of higher education.  Click HERE to learn more about this organization!

If you are an active or retired Chicago Police Officer, Chicago Firefighter, or Chicago Paramedic, you can purchase name space for $50.00.  You must be an Edison Park resident.  Edison Park boundaries: Harlem to Canfield/Ozanam and Howard to Higgins.  Space can also be purchased in memory of a Chicago Police Officer, Chicago Firefighter, or Chicago Paramedic who was an Edison Park resident.

The fire hydrant will be on display in Edison Park for approximately six weeks and then will be auctioned off.  ALL PROCEEDS WILL BENEFIT THE 100 CLUB.

The deadline to purchase name space in October 21st.  Click HERE to reserve space.  

Below is a photo of another fire hydrant on display in Chicago!  Click HERE to learn more about the Great Chicago Fire Hydrant Program!

For more information: 
email info@edisonpark.com 

Hangover cure?

Hangover cure?

Foxtrot delivery service carries booze and its recourse: Advil, sports drinks and other tried-and-true remedies to blunt the pain of the morning after. This week, after repeated requests from customers, they’ll add another hangover cure to their inventory — Pedialyte.

The dextrose-based treatment for infant diarrhea, produced by Abbott Laboratories in North Chicago, has become a go-to remedy for young people suffering from pounding headaches and stomachs pitched on tenterhooks.

“When I came to [University of Chicago’s] Booth to start business school, I noticed that everybody talked about it, or had it in their fridge,” says Foxtrot co-founder Brian Jaffee. “It’s super prevalent. I’ve noticed that it’s really gotten even more popular over the last twelve months. It went from like a funny thing to talk about to the norm. Almost everybody uses it.”

Domestic sales for the pediatric nutritional drink jumped almost 16 percent in August from the same month a year ago, according to market research firm IRI. The increase is notable not just for its magnitude, but because sales had been nearly flat for years. In 2012, they grew just 2.9 percent, barely keeping pace with inflation; in 2011, year-over-year sales for Pedialyte actually dropped.

Such growth is rare in an established product line, when sales tend to keep pace with GDP — around three percent growth annually, says Debbie Wang, an analyst for Morningstar who covers Abbott,.

“That’s a pretty noteworthy increase for a category that tends to be fairly mature,” Wang says.

Wang says that such jumps normally happen when a competitor has a crisis, such as a product recall. But Pedialyte’s only major competitor, Mead Johnson, has suffered no such setback. Nor is the market for pediatric nutritionals expanding — according to the Centers for Disease Control, the U.S. birthrate is at its lowest level since tracking began in 1909.

Abbott refused to comment for this story, saying that it does not endorse any off-label uses of its products. And it’s hard to conceive of a use that’s more wildly off-label for a drink designed to hydrate infants — Pedialyte is a portmanteau of pediatrics and electrolytes — than as a hangover remedy for adults.

While the extra revenue may be welcome in the short-term, Mike Santoro, president of public relations firm Walker Sands, says Abbott is unlikely to embrace Pedialyte’s new demographic any time soon. “Take the sales, but don’t associate yourself with any of the off-brand use,” says Santoro, who likens the situation to Red Bull’s studied silence on the energy drink’s popular pairing with vodka. “Until marginal sales overtake your core sales, you should continue to focus on what your core audience is.”

But Abbott may not have much say in how its product gets cast. “Welcome to the age of consumer empowerment,” says Jean-Pierre Dube, a professor of marketing at the University of Chicago. “When you think about all the different ways brands can be hijacked now, a lot of them have to do with the fact that people can talk about brands and communicate about brands online in a very mass-reaching kind of way, and there isn’t a whole lot a company can do about that.”

The annals of branding history are full of such hijackings. In the 1970s, Doc Martens, a work boot that had been around since the end of World War II, became popular with skinheads and punk rockers. The ensuing association with violence tarnished the brand, and sales dropped precipitously. Other brands have chosen to embrace unlikely audiences. After rapper Busta Rhymes’ “Pass the Courvoisier Part Two” climbed to to fourth on Billboard’s hip-hop and R&B charts in 2002, Courvoisier parent company Allied Domecq began marketing the French cognac aggressively toward what it called the “urban market.” According to Beverage Network Publications, an industry trade magazine, sales for Courvoisier jumped 20 percent in 2002.

No comprehensive studies have yet been performed on the effect of Pedialyte on hangovers, but pediatricians say there’s good reason why it’s catching on. While nobody argues that Pedialyte is a silver bullet, many doctors say that its high electrolyte content will get the walking wounded back on their feet faster than water, which doesn’t have sufficient electrolytes to replace imbalances caused by alcohol’s diuretic disposition. In laymen’s terms, Pedialyte makes your head hurt less after you’ve been peeing too much.

“After a big drinking binge, you haven’t taken any fluids,” says Dr. Mark Corkins, a pediatric gastroenterologist and professor of pediatrics at the University of Tennessee. For his patients, Corkins prefers Pedialyte to other electrolyte-rich drinks like Gatorade because it has a lower sugar content. “The Pedialyte will make you feel better because it will help you get rehydrated faster.”

Patrick Comer is the director of operations for Stout Barrel House and Galley, a 5,000-square-foot bar and restaurant in River North. He cracks open Pedialyte about a dozen times a year for severe hangovers, and he’s recently started seeing customers coming in on Sunday morning with a bottle in hand. But he’s not about to put it on the drink menu or use it to mix cocktails. “Pedialyte is a little odd to serve to adults in a bar setting,” he says.