Honestly I feel like they were snubbed from the Album of the Year honors, but it’s still pretty sweet they got a nod for Daykeeper, the opening track to my favorite release of the qualifying year, Leave It All Behind. But they’re repping in what could be a pretty tough category of Best Urban/Alternative Performance. I’m totally pulling for them, though! You STILL haven’t heard the track? Even though I’ve been posting about them incessantly since I heard their sampler? Here’s the video!

Thanks to the lovely people at Reader Free Shit (@ReaderFreeShit), 312 Dining Diva (@Audarshia) and Epicurious.com (@Epicurious) for putting me on!

So what’s the deal? It seems the lovely people at Ketel One Vodka (incidentally my favorite vodka, perfect with a bit of soda water and a couple lime wedges, by the by) are promoting the concept of drinking responsibly during this holiday season. What’s their vehicle of choice? The Ketel One Canteen!

Seems three chefs at the top of their game, Rick Bayless (one of my culinary idols and the biggest face to authentic Mexican cuisine this side of the Rio Grande, maybe beyond… Follow him on Twitter @Rick_Bayless), Michael Psilakis (specializes in Greek cuisine in NYC) and Ilan Hall (of Top Chef Season Two Championship fame – @ilanhall) are pairing up with the Ketel One Canteen to serve some great late-night street eats in Chicago, NYC and LA, repsectively. And you might even score a free ride home! My only complaint? All this talk of Ketel One and not a single mention of free vodka! (I know, I know, it’s a promo for drinking responsibly, but a girl can hope, right?) Here are the deets for the promotion:

NYC: Corner of Gansevoort and 9th Ave (December 3-5)
Chicken Shish-Kebab Pita – Marinated and grilled chicken topped with fennel and onion salad and Tzatziki sauce, served in a warm pita
Lamb Burger – Grilled lamb burger topped with a roasted red pepper and feta sauce
Caponata & Couscous Wrap – Sautéed eggplant, roasted red peppers and goat cheese mixed with couscous and served in a whole wheat wrap

Chicago:  Rush St., between Bellevue Pl. and Cedar St. (December 10-12)
Pork Tinga Tacos – Shredded pork, guacamole and queso fresco cheese served in a soft taco
Roasted Poblano and Potato Tacos – Roasted poblano peppers, Yukon gold potatoes and roasted tomatillo salsa served in a soft taco
Black Bean and Chorizo Tortas – Chorizo sausage, black beans, avocado and salsa served on a crusty roll
Black Bean, Caramelized Onions and Beef Tortas – Black beans, caramelized onions, shredded beef and queso fresco cheese served on a crusty roll

Los Angeles: North Cahuenga, between Selma Ave and Hollywood Blvd. (December 17-19)
Bacon Wrapped Matzoth Balls – Bacon wrapped matzoth balls served with horseradish mayonnaise
Butternut Squash Latkes – Butternut squash pancakes served with sour cream
Gribenes, Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich – Crispy chicken skin, lettuce and tomato on homemade rye bread
Wine-braised Pork Ribs – Pork ribs marinated in a wine sauce

Brought to us from the lovely people at Thrillist:

Drink: Prohibition Repeal Party

Friday 7pm-2am at Faith and Whiskey: 1365 W Fullerton Ave, btw Southport and Wayne; Lincoln Park; 773.248.9119

Head to Faith & Whiskey Friday to fete the end of America’s darkest age with a two-hour gratis Knob Creek tasting, burlesque dancers, $100 cash for the best flapper and gangster costumes, and a free shoe shine booth, so just make sure you wear the nice Keds.

Get the rest of the lowdown, including their new whiskey-based specialty cocktails here

Free Scotch!


The lovely people at Macallan Whisky thought it nice to invite me to their lil scotch sampling event. Click the image below for more details.



If you’re a fan of the free tequila like I am, you’ll love the latest Hornitos event coming up this Tuesday at Soundbar. (Funny how I only go here for the free booze… lol) Props to the wonderful people at URChicago.com for putting me on. Click the image below and thank me later!

RSVP for HORNITOS Private Event at Soundbar

So I’ve been enjoying the culinary stylings of Executive Chef Rick Gresh since David Burke’s Primehouse opened its doors a few years ago. Being the beefatarian I can be, it’s kind of a dream environment. I even got the pleasure to tour their butcher shop and aging rooms (and I got to see the special pink Himalayan rock salt wall they use to impart the flavor to their wonderfully dry-aged cuts of cow). Seems Chef Rick has something else completely and totally awesome cooking up in his kitchen lately. BACON FAT CANDLES! He happened to tweet (follow him @RickGresh) tonight that he launched a spinach salad employing the candle’s wonderfully delicious “wax” as a vinaigrette. Check it out!

But my Groupie for Greshdom doesn’t end there. Seems there’ll be a nice special there starting this Monday called 5 Dollar Burger Week, featuring their 40-day dry aged Burker burger as well as other seemingly delicious sandwiches. Check the menu here and then go to one of my favorite websites, OpenTable.com and make a reso (as they’re going VERY quickly!) and thank me later. Hopefully I’ll get to experience the cool new food gadget and try the new spinach salad (that hasn’t seemed to hit any of their online menus yet…) when I go next week. I CAN’T WAIT! #nomnomnom

Like art. I remember reading a clip about this exhibition a couple months ago from one of the many Chicago-related twitter accounts I follow, and I retweeted the info and decided I’d want to check it out on my own. Turns out the opening for Amanda Williams’ show Chicago Works is wrapping up right about now (but lucky for us, the collection will be there until November 30!). Here’s a clip from the ever awesome and lovely Three Peas Art Lounge website (follow them on Twitter @ThreePeasArt) about the collection:

Inspired by Harold Washington’s campaign for a hardworking, functional city, Chicago’s South Side native Amanda Williams explores the blue collar mentality and work ethic and how it pervades racial and class lines.

There is a Past Tense

Williams also draws inspiration for the polychromie style in the red, white and blue municipal flag of Chicago with special attention being made to the color blue. The flag consisting of two horizontal blue stripes, representing the blue in Lake Michigan, the Chicago River and the Great Canal. Williams uses the concept of blue to also translate her interpretations of the blue collar and working class.

One of my more recent posts was anticipating the awesomeness that was The Foreign Exchange‘s Leave It All Behind. It quickly became my favorite release of 2008, hands down. You still haven’t heard it? Shame on you! You’d better find it via your favorite local purveyor of fine music or try to catch them on tour and cop it straight from the source.

That said, one of their collaborators on that album was none other than Zo! – a Detroit native and DMV resident, music teacher and most importantly, producer extraordinaire (peep his blog). He contributed to one of my favorite tracks on the album, If She Breaks Your Heart (feat. Zo! & Yahzarah). So I was excited to hear buzz about a follow-up to his solo project, Just Visiting, especially after seeing him groove on stage with the rest of the awesomely talented Foreign Exchange crew when they came to Chicago’s Double Door on that bitterly cold January night. His latest EP …just visiting too is a sonic treat. It was released via Zo’s twitter page (follow him @Zo3hree5ive) and the FE website ’round about midnight (for free.99 no less!) and I quickly downloaded and listened to it about four times before I made myself go to bed. The Foreign Exchange crew strikes again with another collection of mega-smooth grooves and Zo! proves he’s quite the talented dude. Haven’t heard it yet? Download it by clicking the EP’s cover art below. Enjoyez!

click here to download the EP

I shouldn’tve left you without a dope blog to step to. For that, I apologize profusely. Life got hectic, I got uninspired, I discovered Twitter (you can see my musings on the right side of this page, or click here to follow @chowbelle), and life got hectic again. Lather, rinse, repeat. Hope the dust didn’t get in your eyes when I just blew it off this here blog!

That said, I think it’s almost time for Turkey Day again. My two favorite college football teams are currently undefeated (GO HAWKS and ROLL TIDE!), the World Series is over again (too bad the Phils couldn’t pull it out again this year!), and the (not-so) baby Bulls just rocked the House That LeBron Built last night in a promising effort against the Cavs after a disappointing loss to the Celtics. We have one in ten of our nation’s workforce unemployed (this here blogger included) in the wake of one of the bigger recessions our country has seen, and there’s shooting rampages left and right (may all the victims rest in peace).

But that’s not why you take a peek at this here corner of cyberspace. You’ve come to read my musings on food and beverage, see what cool free shit is going on, and to laugh cuz I’m kinda funny sometimes. That said, I’ll finish up my Turkey Day series (sorry I left y’all hangin… what kinds of tips are you interested in reading about?), post up some autumnal recipes, give y’all my tips on the cool/free happenings I hear about, and links to good tunes (amongst other things you’ve come to expect to drip from my brain to the keyboard to the screen).

I promise I won’t leave you hanging like I did before. xoxoxo

She’s going, going, back, back to Cali, Cali… © Biggie Smalls But congrats to her new job. I’m sure she’ll do well out there. Bigger and better things and all that jazz.

What does any of this mean to you? It means you can come say goodbye (or if you’ve yet to meet her, hello!) to her as she begins her latest Chicago swan song AND get tipsy for free! How can you be down? It’s all happening this Friday night at Funk Groove Bar in the heart of the Viagra Triangle! Just say her name at the door and you’re welcomed to free cover from 8-10 and free well drinks (eh, they’re free… beggars can’t be choosy, right?) from 9-10. You can throw in an extra $10 for an extra hour of well open bar. Or $20 to keep the party going til midnight. But why would you want to do that when you’ve got ?uestlove spinning down in the West Loop for free? One’s got to make sacrifices, right?


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