PLACES - David Burke's Primehouse - Chicago

A modern twist on the classic steakhouse, David Burke’s Primehouse is in the super stylish James Hotel and offers traditional steak cuts as well as innovative seafood dishes. The leather booths are the best seats in the house to enjoy a hearty piece of steak with Burke’s own three-pepper sauce. Don’t forget to order the cheesecake lollipops for dessert. The presentation alone is worth the order and the flavor is amazing as well.
David Burke's Primehouse website

PLACES - Charlie Trotter’s - Chicago

Celebrity chefs, in recent years have become something of a ubiquitous presence and we’re not sure that they are all living up to their celeb status. Charlie Trotter is one of the most notable Chicago celeb chefs and we thought we HAD to try his place.

The interior and overall décor of Charlie Trotter’s appears to be the same it was when they opened in 1987. Dishes seem a bit worn, bathrooms and hallways feature celebratory menus featuring Trotter from the early 90s and much of the crowd seems to be straight out of the 70s/80s classic soap opera “Dallas”—big hair, floor length mink coats, gaudy jewelry, etc.

As for the tasting menu, it’s sub par in comparison to other Chicago area tasting menus, with the Indonesian chocolate and beets being the only memorable course.

Trotter also owns "C" a fine-dining seafood focused restaurant at One & Only Palmilla in Los Cabos, Mexico. Upon learning that, we thought Trotter was cool in a Kristin Cavellari kind of way.
Charlie Trotter's website

PLACES - Tru - Chicago

Tru is modern elegance personified. High ceilings, great art, inventive cuisine and an impeccable wine list all add to the experience that is Tru. The Sashimi appetizer was a table favorite, as were the scallops with avocado dumplings and the cheese selection—brought to your table on a cart and presented and explained by the resident cheese expert (though we thought at $20 a person the three cheese selection was over priced).

With two sommeliers on the floor, all wine quandaries are easily answered and attended to. Overall, we can’t say enough good things about the dining experience we had at Tru. The crowd was also surprisingly eclectic ranging from museum/artist types to captains of industry to stylish urbanites.

**Diners that catch a chill at Tru are offered a Pashmina in the color of their choice out of a box that one might mistake for a cigar box. Pashminas are returned at the end of the meal.
Tru website

PLACES - Moto - Chicago

After literally eating our menus at Moto (parmesan flat bread), we weren’t sure exactly what we were getting into with the ten course-tasting menu and a kitchen that uses lasers and liquid nitrogen in their cooking. The First course had us eating something similar to dry ice and we all looked like dragons breathing steam. The dinner continued with more ultra contrived dishes—deconstructed macaroni and cheese, a conceptual pulled pork sandwich with an edible briquette (a freeze dried substance dyed with squid ink), dessert nachos (candied tortilla chips, shredded mango, chocolate that looked like ground beef). The dishes were starting to feel more gimmicky rather than innovative.

We weren’t sure if it was standard practice at Moto, but servers tended to raise their voices a few octaves higher when describing the molecular gastronomy inspired courses. The circus like experience of Moto was heightened on our kitchen tour where we had to wear goggles to protect our eyes from… lasers? The red disco light in the kitchen? We weren’t sure and at this point and the meal was becoming laughable, which at such high prices, isn’t a good thing.
Moto website

PLACES - Alinea - Chicago

The high concept culinary experience that Alinea provides is almost indescribable. At first entry to the hidden, unmarked building, doors slide open and give diners the feeling that they are walking into the future. Chef Grant Achatz spent years at Napa’s famous French Laundry and has elevated the level of innovative cooking at his Chicago eatery to that of pure science and elegance.

Food is presented in the most creative ways (a slice of bacon on a wire, a potato and truffle on a pin) thanks to Crucial Detail Design Studio (www.crucialdetail.com). Service is impeccable, with waiters wearing fine suits and having superb knowledge of daily offerings.

The twelve course tasting menu paired with their suggested wines adds to the whole dining experience and the Spanish Verdejo was the standout.
Alinea website

PLACES - Avec - Chicago

Avec adds a little bit of European flavor to Chicago with an eclectic, artsy crowd and a wine list only featuring European wines. The menu leans more towards small plates, but offers large portions as well. The light wood interior gives Avec a modern feeling, thought the lighting could be turned down a bit. Overall, this is a place you’d want to hit up with friends weekly for a bottle of wine and some conversation. The real standout at Avec is the bacon wrapped dates. You can’t go there without trying them.
Avec website

PLACES - Red Light - Chicago

The Asian alternative to the Cheesecake Factory, Red Light delivers in terms of hearty Pan-Asian dishes. If you’re looking to avoid a loud chain, this is a tad more expensive than a Houston’s, but service is great and the wine list is solid.
Red Light website


TECH - Slingbox for Mac...Finally!

Making waves...the Slingbox/SlingPlayer transmits video from your cable box or DVR to any networked device (laptop/Treo...), allowing TV buffs on-the-go to tune into their favorite shows, and control their cable boxes from just about anywhere they may be via internet. When we first looked into the product, the player was only available for PC-based systems...But Sling Media has finally brought smiles to Mac-heads, with an updated and more fluid Mac-based player. We've been keeping our eye on Slingbox, as it's the first consumer-level system that allows users to stream their actual television/DVR video online, bringing a new perspective to the portable video trend.

An exciting feature of the Slingplayer interface is the virtual remote control:
With a comprehensive interface and a remote control that matches yours at home, you can control your television in the same manner you would if you were plopped down on the couch.

Sling Media Official Website



EVENTS - Celebrating Repeal Day with Dewar's

Dewar's certainly knows how to party...Dewar's in conjunction with LVHRD.org hosted a brilliant party in honor of Repeal Day on Wednesday at The Players Club on Gramercy Park here in NYC. Burlesque dancers, arm wrestling, gambling (cheating was encouraged), excellent costumes...and a long list of delicious Dewar's cocktails. The beautiful space catered very well to the prohibition-era theme... Looking forward to Repeal Day '07!

-Zandl's very own Carla A. (right) claims victory over her opponent at the arm wrestling table.

Dewar's Repeal Day Website


ADS - Got Cookies?

ha! After 36 hours, scented strips were removed from 'Got Milk?' ads at five bus stops in San Francisco... The scent? Chocolate chip cookies!

Representatives from the California Milk Processor Board, which was behind the ads, said complaints were from groups that are trying to ban all public scents, anti-obesity organizations, diabetes organizations and homeless advocates who argued the smell would leave them hungry and unable to purchase food. [San Francisco Examiner]