Chicago’s nightlife reached new heights with last month’s debut of Drumbar. Sitting pretty atop the Raffaelo Hotel, the luxe lounge and rooftop terrace is the Gold Coast’s place to be “scene” this summer.
Take the elevator 200 feet up to enter Drumbar’s stunning speakeasy-style retreat. A sleek bar of thick cut marble will catch your eye, but don’t pause too long. Around the corner, the lounge invites you to cozy up in tufted leather chair and take in the surrounding rich wood, high ceilings, and beautiful people. The lounge’s fireplace makes Drumbar a destination for all Chicago’s seasons, but the rooftop terrace steals the show.
Don’t worry gents, I’m still on the market. Yet you don’t need to be a bride to blush at BHLDN, the dreamy new bridal boutique from the Anthropologie family. BHLDN recently celebrated its one-year anniversary by opening its second retail location, and Chicago was treated to a romantic reception.
The stunning 3,600 square-foot townhouse is a treasure trove of glamorous adornment. Between their place cards and pumps, garters and gowns, BHLDN’s attire and trimmings offer a multi-dimensional special occasion. The pastel swathed showroom of the first floor is bursting with lace, tulle, and chiffon that bridesmaids will be begging to re-wear. Glass cases display vintage-looking accessories with a curatorial air. It’s almost as if earrings and gloves were plucked from a flea market and showcased in a museum, begging to be bought.
Atop the winding staircase, angel wings hover over the whimsy of the second floor. Gorgeous headpieces, shoes, dresses, and baubles command attention, while the lingerie room lures you astray. Another nook allows brides to pull the perfect pinwheels and candlesticks to personalize their decor.
And then there are the gowns. About 45 luxe looks strike a pose in the bridal salon ranging from understated, to sweet, to seriously chic.
Over 300 guests attended BHLDN’s launch, which featured guest hostess Darcy Miller Nussbaum of Martha Stewart Weddings. Judging by Chicago’s response it’s a match made in happily ever after.
For Further Exploration
An Anthropologie Anniversary
Design*Sponge Book Signing in Chicago
Posted in chicago, events, exploring, gold coast, impressions, south loop
Tagged bhldn, bridal, chicago, events, exploring, impressions, near north side, oak street, shopping
Chicago is in the midst of Chef Week, and if you haven’t had the chance to dig in there’s still room to make a rezzie through this Friday, March 23. I’ve just barely had time to digest last month’s Chicago Restaurant Week, but here are my four favorite bites.
Drinks at Chicago q
Chicago q may have had the week’s best menu. Yet while the hominy, smoked corn and black bean salad and slab of St. Louis baby back were as mouth-watering as expected, it was a cocktail that ultimately won me over. Fusing rye, lemon, OJ, and cinnamon-infused simple syrup, the Orange Blossom Martini offers a spicy, citrusy way to enjoy whiskey that’s all-together too drinkable.
Apps at Bistrot Margot
Old Town’s Bistrot Margot is a mainstay of all classique French fare with charming décor and très generous portions. Simmered in garlic and butter, the satisfyingly briny escargot had me snatching every crumb off the table to soak it up even after the snails were inhaled.
Main at Blackbird
There’s no wrong way to do Blackbird, but the special five-course Restaurant Week tasting menu ($65 rather than the standard $33 or $44) seemed most fitting for my first visit. Choosing a favorite course at Paul Kahn’s gastronomic powerhouse is like choosing the most flavorful movement of an eloquent symphony (or mashup in a dubstep remix if that’s your thing). If you insist, I’ll favor the pekin duck breast. The savory fowl was aged for a week and its slight saltiness rounded out with fuyu persimmon, red wine braised radishes, black beans and sesame.
Dessert at Tapas Valencia
Tapas Valencia may have had somewhat nontraditional tapas service, but in addition to four-course menu the dessert was accompanied with a complimentary glass of cava. After devouring everything set in front of us, the decadent dessert platter of warm chocolate cake, cheesecake, almond pound cake with pear, strawberries, and ice cream drizzled in caramel seemed daunting. Thankfully we had that cava to wash it down.
For Further Exploration
Chicago Restaurant Week 2011 Recap
Posted in 4 favorite things, chicago, eating, events, exploring, gold coast, ohio city, south loop, west loop
Tagged bistrot margot, blackbird, chicago chef week, chicago q, chicago restaurant week, eating, events, gold coast, old town, south loop, tapas valencia, west loop
I’ve got nothing against eReaders. Encouraging people to read more is the goal, and I am all for whatever device accomplishes that. Friends of mine swear by their Kindles and maybe one day I will too, but for me there is something about the magic of ink, and paper, and binding. There’s a thrill in wandering through ceiling-high stacks, seeing books arranged on my shelves at home, and especially lending them to share with friends.
The Newberry Library Book Fair is an excellent opportunity to scour the stacks for gems to fill your shelves. Exploring the 120,000 used volumes on sale is akin to treasure hunting, and with 70 categories there is surely something for everyone just waiting to be found. Newbery’s annual book fair kicks off today at noon, and will run July 28-29 from 12pm – 8pm and July 30-31 from 10am – 6pm. Admission to the book fair is FREE.
If you’ve not visited the Newberry Library, this is a wonderful excuse to check out the unique Chicago landmark. Established in 1887, the research library specializes in humanities and social sciences of Western civilization. While the Newberry is a private, non-circulating collection, it is always free and open to the public. The library holds over 1.5 million books and historic documents, including a copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio.
At last year’s Newberry Library Book Fair, I managed to fill my arms with more books than I could carry in the first twenty minutes, including an author-signed biography of Virginia Woolf, visual history of fashion, a collection of poetry by Yeats, and a literary history of Chicago. Let me know what prizes you find and happy hunting!
Posted in arts, chicago, events, exploring, gold coast, reading, shopping
Tagged arts, books, chicago, events, exploring, newberry library book fair, reading, shopping
Ca Nuong at Le Colonial
Cutting into this salmon dish is like slicing butter; and like butter, the tender protein virtually melts in your mouth. Paired with vermicelli and a ginger-lime garlic sauce and served with greens, the flavors are delicately balanced and the portion is more than satisfying.
Le Colonial has just been added to my list of favorite dining spots in the city.
Goat Cheese Empanadas at Branch27
In my opinion, anything served with goat cheese is an instant favorite. The empanada is substantial and not flakey, and is served with a chipotle aioli and cilantro. Branch27 offers an interesting spin on a hands-on classic. The staff is more than accommodating to our large party, and I note some weeknight specials that will have me returning to this wood-lined restaurant.
Sautéed Rainbow Trout at Duchamp
Another winning fish dish, the trout packs great flavor served simply with lemony, buttery goodness. I must say that I am disappointed by Duchamp’s complete menu change, as well the inability to order from the restaurant’s regular menu. All is forgiven with my first pleasing bite, as Duchamp’s minimalist interior allows its food to be the focal point.
Lychee Martini at Le Colonial
Did I mention enjoying Le Colonial? The food, the service, the ambiance are all exceptional. I can list each element of our meals here, but that would be to overlook the delicious libations menu. Our favorite is the refreshing and flavorful lychee martini that goes down a little too well.
Pho at Le Colonial
Altovinium Evodia Garnacha at Branch27
Posted in 4 favorite things, bucktown, drinking, eating, events, exploring, gold coast, west town
Tagged branch27, bucktown, drinking, duchamp, eating, events, gold coast, le colonial, restaurant week, west town