Archive for category Food and Wine

ST. PATRICK’S DAY 2012 IN CHICAGO

Lake Michigan will be Green on March 17th!

Sláinte! No city in the world does St. Patrick’s Day quite like Chicago. With its green river, green beer, and week long schedule of festivities, you won’t find a richer, greener celebration of St. Patrick’s Day this side of Ireland. Chicago’s St. Paddy’s Week kicks off Sunday, March 11th, 7:00 p.m. at the Chicago Irish American Heritage Center with Irish Dance Chicago. Over 150 local step dancers will hoof it Riverdance-style. Or check out Gaelic Storm Friday & Saturday, March 11th & 13th at the House of Blues. Made famous as the Celtic party band in the film Titanic, Gaelic Storm returns to Chicago with their lively medley of Irish drinking songs.

In a singular tradition, the Chicago River will be dyed Kelly Green on Saturday March 17, starting at 10:00 A.M. The best place to view this year will be between Columbus and Wabash. The Parade begins at noon on Saturday, March 17th. Head to the Buckingham Fountain Viewing Stand to see floats, bands, bagpipers, dancers and this year’s Irish Queen and her court. Post-parade, the Irish American Heritage Center puts on a family-oriented festival featuring Irish dance, music and food, as well as children’s activities. This year’s lineup includes Ireland’s Tim O’Shea & Patrick Buckley. And later that day don’t miss the St. Patrick’s Day Fireworks,a 10-minute pyrotechnic show on theChicagolakefront, synchronized to traditional Celtic tunes and modern Irish music.

On Wednesday, March 16th, 7:30 p.m. Chicago’s Symphony Center hosts “Make Them Hear You,” Celtic entertainment with a narration by actor, Martin Sheen, and stirring performances by Metropolis Symphony Orchestra, Old St. Patrick’s Concert Choir and Trinity Irish Dancers & Vocalists.

Of course, when St. Patrick’s Day finally arrives you’ll want to check out Chicago’s brilliant pubs. You’re likely to find a legit Irish pub on just about any corner. But for the best in corned beef, cabbage and beer, try one of these:

Avondale: Chief O’Neill’s Pub & Restaurant, 3471 N. Elston.

Beverly: Keegan’s Pub, 10618 S. Western.

Gold Coast: Butch McGuires Tavern, 20 W. Division.

Lincoln Park: Halsted Harp, 2138 N. Halsted.

River North: Celtic Crossings, 751 N. Clark.

River North: Fado Irish Pub,100 W. Grand.

Streeterville: Lizzie McNeill’s 400 N. McClurg.

And to nurse your hangover next morning, Chicago has a superabundance of superb breakfast and brunch joints, coffee shops and quiet, dimly lit cafés. So let ‘er rip.

WHERE TO STAY: Towering above the Chicago skyline lies the Trump International Chicago Hotel. As North America’s 2nd tallest building, the 5 star hotel will make you feel luxurious during any stay. With floor to ceiling windows, many of which face Michigan River, it is the only hotel with unprecendented views of the St. Patrick’s Day river event! Book with us now for complimentary upgrades.

The Hotel Palomar, a Kimpton Hotel is only a few blocks from the River event and is a favorite among our clients. Enjoy creative cocktails on-site at Sable Bar and Restaurant, made famous by their in-house mixologists. This 4.5 star hotel includes a heated indoor pool and sundeck and fitness center, and is eco and pet-friendly.

Hotel Sax Chicago is a 4 star hotel is located on State Street and the Chicago River, one block from the Chicago Loop and next to the world-famous House of Blues. Visit their Crimson Lounge for enchanting nightlife offering bottle service, DJ-driven music beats, and a diverse cocktail menu.

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ST. PATRICK’S DAY NEW YORK CITY 2012

March 17th, 2012

Kids at New York City St. Patrick's Day

On St. Patrick’s Day the streets of Manhattan fill up with green-clad revelers from near and far. The St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and a visit to the nearest Irish pub works for most traditionalists. Others know that St. Patrick’s Day in New York means more than parades and green beer. But first, the parade. This yearly tradition of bagpipes, clan tartans and green hats began on the streets of Manhattan in 1762 and has not relented since. The 2012 parade kicks off at 11 a.m. at 44th Street and Fifth Avenue.

After the parade, stop at St. Patrick’s Cathedral for a traditional mass, or scope out the architecture before hitting one of New York’s fine pubs. For an old-school experience, start with McSorley’s (15 E 7th Street), New York’s longest running saloon. Take in the history, the sawdust-covered floors, and the ghosts of Prohibition. Choose from two kinds of beer—McSorley’s Light or McSorley’s Dark—and belly up. There are no stools.

For a cozier experience, try Molly’s Pub & Restaurant (287 3rd Avenue), a traditional Irish pub with plush chairs and a log-burning fireplace, famous for its Shepherd’s Pie and well-foamed pints of Guinness. The Swift Bar (34 East 4th Street) offers one of the city’s finest draft selections. Named after Irish author Jonathan Swift, the pub has church-pew booths and a mural that pays homage to its namesake. Paddy Maguire’s Ale House (237 3rd Avenue) boasts the largest pint of Guinness below 20th Street. Original doors from Ireland authenticate the experience.

More serious imbibers might enjoy Saint Paddy’s Pub Crawl Saturday, March 17, when thousands of sudsers hit more than 100 pubs across five miles in three days. Tickets: $15 per day of crawling. For a brief reprieve from drinking, an evening with The Pogues, that most Irish of groups, is the ticket. The Pogues return to New York for an all-ages show that will include drunken sing-a-longs and non-traditional Irish dancing. Terminal 5, 610 West 56th Street. 7 p.m.

If you’re seeking a more refined St. Patrick’s Day celebration visit the Irish Arts Center on Sunday March 18 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. for a free, family-friendly afternoon of authentic Irish music, dance, song, language and crafts. Join the workshops or take in the performances and activities. Reserve through irishartscenter.org.

And if you want to forgo the green beer and Celtic arts for good Irish cooking, Gourmet St. Patrick’s Day at 9 (800 9th Avenue) features reinterpreted Irish classics like corned beef & potato ravioli with corned beef consommé, and green potato risotto with asparagus.

WHERE TO STAY: The 4 star Waldorf-Astoria hotel is near the parade route, and is known as one of the quintessential New York hotels. World-renowned for over a century, Waldorf Astoria’s grace and elegance is enhanced by its deep-rooted history. From Waldorf Salad to countless depictions in film, engulf yourself in Old World New York atmosphere. Book with us for a complimentary upgrade before March 31st, 2012.

For a more luxurious experience, located on the top floors of Waldorf Astoria, Waldorf Towers are the crème de la crème of the Waldorf experience. This 4.5 star hotel within a hotel offers guests unsurpassed service, dedicated staff, and a truly gracious New York experience. Enjoy an upgrade on us during select dates this spring.

The 4.5 star Loews Regency Hotel is located on the cusp of both Midtown East and the Upper East Side, guests have access to two of Manhattan’s most desirable neighborhoods. Both new and returning guests feel that they are coming home to Park Avenue and appreciate the consistency they experience at this 4.5 star Upper East Side/Midtown East hotel.

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SCARPETTA AT THE MONTAGE HOTEL

Located in a neighborhood known worldwide for its mansions and superb restaurants, Montage Beverly Hills defines hotel luxury in Los Angeles with its balanced blend of Spanish, Italian and Moroccan aesthetics. And its restaurant, Scarpetta, defines exquisite dining, with modern takes on soulful Italian cuisine. Acclaimed Chef Scott Conant has assembled a menu that brings together adaptions of classical Italian dishes with the finest seasonal ingredients.

A graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, Chef Conant (who cut his teeth at L’Impero in New York) has appeared on The Today Show, Martha, and Bravo’s Top Chef. Under his guidance, Scarpetta has garnered glowing reviews, named one of the “Best New Restaurants in America” by Esquire magazine and nominated for “Best New Restaurant” by the James Beard Foundation. Los Angeles Magazine also listed it as one of the “Best New Restaurants” of 2010.

Adjacent to the picturesque Beverly Canon Gardens, and facing the Bouchon Bistro across a pocket park, Scarpetta’s al fresco setting augments the Mediterranean-inspired dining experience. Featuring specialities like duck & foie gras ravioli in marsala reduction, creamy polenta with fricassee of truffled mushrooms, and branzino with leeks & manila clams, Scarpetta strikes a perfect balance between earthy and refined. And, as you’d expect with any Italian kitchen, Scarpetta excels at pasta, offering elegant takes on regional classics.

Brunch at Scarpetta—which includes a shellfish station, cured meats, a pasta station, an egg station, waffles and pancakes from the griddle, a carving station, and a fruit station—is an eating experience not be missed. The ricotta lemon pancakes deserve to be memorialized. The compulsion to overindulge will test you. Award-winning Executive Pastry Chef Richard Ruskell (of Last Cake Standing fame) adds a dessert buffet presentation nothing short of genius—yuzu meringue tarts, coconut panna cotta, blueberry rice pudding, vanilla caramel budino . . .

The Montage •  Beverly Hills 225 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

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SATISFY YOUR SWEET TOOTH AT NEW YORK CHOCOLATE WEEK

February 13th -19th 2012

In its most recent issue, Scientific American reports that the cacao tree, the source of cocoa, chocolate’s defining ingredient, is under threat. Pests, climate change, and farmers’ limited access to fertilizers have put the cocoa tree in peril. If this continues, the demand for chocolate may soon outstrip supply.

Is it possible that this “food of the gods,” as the ancient Mayans called it, will eventually become a luxury item reserved for the fabulously rich, or even a mere memory? Well, despair not. Scientists are working hard to fix the problem. And if no one knows what the future holds for chocolate, supplies will at least last for this Valentine’s Day, when most folks go on a chocolate bender, and for Chocolate Week in New York City, where true chocoholics can and will find nirvana.

Final preparations are underway for Chocolate Week, being staged at twelve New York City restaurants from February 13 through 19. Created in 2011, Chocolate Week is the first NYC event dedicated to the art of cooking chocolate. Modern cuisine has embraced chocolate as an elemental ingredient. Chefs will showcase its dynamic nature through food and wine pairings, and offer complementary desserts to patrons. Participating restaurants include Opia, DBGB Kitchen & Bar, DB Bistro Moderne, Orsay, Cercle Rouge, Serge Bistro, Gascogne, Bistro Vendôme, Jean-Louis and both locations of the Ayza Chocolate & Wine Bar.

City Bakery also announced its lineup of flavors for its 20th annual Hot Chocolate Festival taking place throughout February. Highlights include an ambrosial “Love Potion” on Valentine’s Day. City Bakery is located at 3 W. 18th St. One, 7th Avenue South, New York.

Conceived by the MPB Agency, Chocolate Week’s sponsors include Cacao Noel. Action Against Hunger is the charitable partner. Prices vary at each restaurant; some require reservation in advance. The Chocolate Week special is not available on Valentine’s Day.

Our hotel experts recommend The New York Palace, a midtown jewel and a customer favorite for exceptional service and great rates, along with their GILT restaurant and bar for notable cocktails and desserts. For chocolate lovers, stay at the City Club, for their DB Bistro Moderne is participating in the event and the room upgrade is on us.

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