Category Archives: Best Downtown Chicago

Best Inexpensive Places to eat Chicago


In a city as food-rich as Chicago, there’re always some places that ought to have lines running out the door, but don’t have lines running out the door… yet. These are some of those restaurants: 15 spots in 15 all-important categories — from donut shops to burger joints — none of which 1) have any Michelin stars, 2) are on any of the most recent Best Restaurants in Chicago lists from Chicagoist, Food & Wine, or Zagat, or 3) get nearly the amount of hype they deserve.  AND  REASONABLE!

Check them out HERE


Spring Fashion Brunch Benefit May 3rd


This event sells out every year – and there are only a few seats left!

The Chicago House annual

Spring Brunch & Fashion Show 2015!
Sunday, May 3 Noon – 3:30 PM

Winter Garden Ballroom

Harold Washington Library | 400 S State Street


This year’s Brunch event is all about celebrating Chicago House’s 30 Years of Service and the last three decades of fashion. In fact, all guests are invited to come dressed in his or her favorite fashion moment or trend from the past 30 years. The fashion certainly won’t be limited to the runway this year! EVERYONE dresses to impress!

Sip cocktails and mingle and browse the fantastic silent auction items.

After a lavish brunch by Jewell Events Catering, guests will turn to the runway and feast their eyes on elite fashions from Chicago’s best boutiques and most forward-thinking designers! Intermingled with the amazing displays of fashion will be thrilling musical and dance performances.


IMG_2726 IMG_2727IMG_2684


James Beard Awards in Chicago

james beard awards chicago

Foodies Rejoice. The 2015 James Beard Awards Come to Chicago #GotBuzz


For the first time in its 25 year history, the James Beard Awards, hosted by Alton Brown, are being held outside of New York. Chicago is the host city for the coveted May 4 event taking place at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Tickets are $500 for the general public and $450 for James Beard Foundation members.

For those unfamiliar with the awards, the James Beard Awards are to the restaurant industry as the Oscars are to the film industry.

Below are the finalists for the 2015 Restaurant and Chef Award categories, from Outstanding Restaurant to Rising Star Chef of the Year. Winners will be announced on May 4, 2015.

Richard Melman of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises will receive the 2015 James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award.

Chicago nominees include: Parachute (Best New Restaurant category); The Violet Hour, (Outstanding Bar Program category); Dana Cree, Blackbird (Outstanding Pastry Chef category); Donnie Madia, One Off Hospitality Group (Outstanding Restaurateur); Topolobampo (Outstanding Service); Tanya Baker, Boarding House (Rising Star Chef of the Year); Curtis Duffy, GracePaul Virant, VieErling Wu-Bower, Nico Osteria; and Andrew Zimmerman, Sepia (Best Chef: Great Lakes category)


Chicago Restaurant Week Deals


You’ve heard of Restaurant Row and celebrity chefs like Paul Kahan, Stephanie Izard and Rick Bayless. They’re culinary keystones that help make Chicago the world-class food city it is today. But with thousands upon thousands of restaurants in Chicagoland, there’s lots to explore beyond the famous and familiar.

In Chicago, we’re able to travel the world via the many ethnic restaurants that dot our city. It’s never too early to introduce your kids to the flavors of other cultures. Chicago Restaurant Week is the perfect time of year to check out some of our city’s world culinary delights.

From January 30 through February 12, you can take advantage of excellent prix fixe menus – starting at $22 for lunch and $33 and/or $44 for dinner (excluding beverages, tax and gratuity) – READ MORE


My Private Chef at Bloomingdales

private chef chicago chris tong

In special anticipation of Autumn, Bloomingdale’s Home & Furniture Store welcomes
Chef Christopher Tong from My Private Chef to demonstrate the preparation of an exciting menu
based on Fall favorite flavors.

The cooking demonstration will take place on Saturday, October 25, from 2-4 pm,
Bloomingdale’s Home & Furniture Store, 600 N. Wabash Avenue, Chicago, IL.

A favorite with Bloomingdale’s shoppers, Chef Tong will prepare a Fall menu featuring:
Butternut Squash, Ricotta, and Sage Crostini; Pan-Seared Duckbreast with Pumpkin Risotto; and Pumpkin Mousse with Ginger Snaps.

private chefs chicago bloomingdales

Chef Christopher Tong has been creating distinctive cuisine at fine restaurants and hotels in Chicago, Los Angeles and Florida for more than 25 years. Now, as the owner of My Private Chef,
a unique private chef and gourmet dining service, he’s getting rave reviews for offering that same world-class cuisine for special occasions from your own kitchen or chosen location.

For more information about this Bloomingdale’s event, contact at 312-324-7678

For more information about My Private Chef, contact Event Services at 773.370.8131
or visit :


World of Chocolate Holiday Gala

world of chocolate chicago

WORLD OF CHOCOLATE: The Sweetest Event of the Year
Annual Holiday Gala Benefit for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago


Indulge in a night of sweet and savory treats at the 13th annual World of Chocolate winter gala on Thursday, Dec. 4, presented by the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) returning again this year at the historic Chicago Union Station. Arouse your senses with tasty morsels from 30 of Chicago’s finest chocolatiers, chefs and caterers.


AFC hosts this one-of-a-kind gala to commemorate World AIDS Day and celebrate the progress the HIV/AIDS community has made in ending the epidemic. This is one of my favorite events of the year and the perfect way to kick off the holiday season!


From traditional truffles and white chocolate ganache to more savory delicacies like chicken in a chocolate mole sauce, guests will delight their taste buds with a wide array of chocolate-infused creations amid stylish decor. Celebrity judges will crown the night’s best creations. Attendees will also be treated to a light buffet, specialty cocktails, a raffle and punchboard with lavish prizes and music.

Funds raised through World of Chocolate support AFC’s policy, public education and community care programs.


World AIDS Day, observed on Dec. 1, is a worldwide effort to increase public awareness about the epidemic. It encourages support and programming to prevent the spread of HIV. The movement originated in 1988, when an international summit of health leaders called for a greater exchange of information on HIV/AIDS in every country around the globe.


WHEN: Thursday, Dec. 4, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.


WHERE: Chicago Union Station, 500 West Jackson Blvd.


TICKETS: For more information and to reserve tickets, call 312-334-0935 or visit



Bloomingdales April 19th Cooking Event with Chef Tong


Get a Taste of Spring with Chef Tong at Bloomingdale’s Home and Furniture Store

Bloomingdale’s Home & Furniture Store is celebrating the approaching warm weather.

In anticipation of Spring, Bloomingdale’s welcomes Chef Christopher Tong to demonstrate the preparation of a savory Spring menu.

A favorite with Bloomingdale’s shoppers, Chef Tong will prepare a Spring focused menu featuring:

Cold Cucumber Soup with fresh Dill
Herb-Marinated Chicken Breast, Orzo Pasta Primavera tossed with Arugula Pesto
Strawberries marinated with Balsamic Vinegar, fresh Mint and ground Pepper.

The demonstration will take place on Saturday, April 19, 2014 from 2-4 p.m. at the Bloomingdale’s Home & Furniture Store at Medinah Temple, 600 N. Wabash Avenue, Chicago.

For more information about this Bloomingdale’s event, contact 312.324.7678.

My Private Chef is enjoying popularity as one of Chicago’s favorite private gourmet dining services. Trained in European-style fine cuisine,Chef Tong established his reputation at fine restaurants and hotels in Florida, California, and Chicago. Now he has adapted his impressive skills to the world of private entertaining. My Private Chef offers enticing cuisine for a wide range of events, from intimate dinners to weddings to corporate parties.

Chef Chris says: “Every event is different and I’ve met some wonderful people including many celebrities. Being part of very special occasions makes my work worthwhile. I also love conducting cooking demonstrations where I get the feeling that audience members will go home and try some new dishes!”

For more information about My Private Chef, contact Event Services at 773.370.8131 or visit our web site:


Best Food Wine is a BESTY!




We were featured today  on  THE BESTY!



ZED451 – Best Gourmet Dinner Experience in Downtown Chicago

Last week we told you about an  amazing wine tasting experience we enjoyed downtown at ZED451.
We had to get back there for dinner!  So  a  few  nights ago we did just that.

WOW! What amazing food and what a fantastic dining experience! ZED 451, while based on the concept of the Brazilian Steak Houses, takes dining to a new level. They pay the utmost attention to their ever changing menu’s fresh and seasonal food flavors and ingredients, as well as customer care and comfort. When dining at ZED451, expect a relaxed atmosphere where you are not rushed through your meal at all, matter of fact, quite the opposite. This restaurant is not concerned about how many times it can turn a table in an evening. They are concerned, however, that you stay and have an amazingly good time! What other restaurant do you know of that does that?!  And if you make arrangements ahead of time, ZED451 will even drive to your Chicago location and pick you up in their private shuttle!  And take you to your final destination when you are finished! 


ZED451 started right here in Chicago two years ago. They opened in the suburbs first but the concept was not what suburbanites were looking for. So they brought the concept to downtown Chicago and the urban foodies  LOVE IT!  They have since opened in Boca Raton and are preparing a site in Boston for later this year.

ZED451 is a revolutionary restaurant concept featuring original cuisine and delivery, service intelligence and unprecedented design. The name, ZED451, is simply the end and the beginning. ZED, the last letter of the British alphabet, represents the culmination of all our restaurant experiences (the end) and 451, the degrees Fahrenheit that fire starts, represents the beginning.

Interior designer Julia Roth and Architect  Chris Smith from CMS Design in New York took the original restaurant space which  is over 125 years old (and actually still has a speakeasy window in it!), and kept much of the original steel and brick to keep an old, rustic Chicago look. Natural elements and lots of wood were used throughout the restaurant to provide a rich, organic, comfortable feel. From the design of the floors to the design of the menus, no detail has went overlooked.  Soaring ceilings, dark wooden floors, glass walls and an eclectic mix of  music give ZED451 a  relaxing lounge feel. Even the restrooms have state-of-the-art Dyson bladeless super-fast hand dryers!

Before the meal experience even starts, you may want to try a seasonal sangria or mojito on the secluded rooftop when open!   Or maybe a wine flight at the wine bar. Every juice used is fresh squeezed. If you order a  drink “up”, expect to get freshly chipped, triple-filtered ice in your drink. House-Infused Spirits are available.  Every detail is thought about here. Take your time and savor the comfortable surroundings! It’s all about dining in the same comfort you feel in a friend’s home. But with the full service, culinary offerings and ambiance of a fine dining restaurant.

THE CONCEPT is all about  FRESH and SEASONAL.  $44 for a full dinner. At the fresh harvest tables you find things like seasonal soups, well over 15 composed salads like Strawberry Rhubarb and Spinach Salad, Roasted Pineapple  “Madagascar” with Orange Yogurt Dressing, and Sautéed Wild Mushrooms with Feta Dressing. 


 Plus an assortment of hummus,cured meats, marinated vegetables, olives, peppers,  pepperoni, prosciutto,  various artisan cheeses  and breads. EVERYTHING is hand picked and hand selected by the staff.  And it changes all the time. Feel free to graze and try as much as you want…but don’t forget, dinner is still to come!

 Once you are ready to begin your main courses, the chefs are  alerted and start to bring you their nightly offerings. Modern upscale grilling of  fire grilled steaks, ribs, poultry, seafoods, wild game, served along your choice of comfort foods like smoked gouda mashed potatoes, creamed spinach, roasted corn with bacon or cheddar jalapeno potatoes.

Imagine being on the set of the Food Network and you want to try EVERYTHING!  Everything smells and looks amazing. So just take a taste, a bite of everything, so that you don’t find yourself overeating and can taste as many flavors as possible~then go back for more of your personal favorites!

Unlike many Brazilian steak houses, it’s not all about the meat at ZED451. There are plenty of seafoods and other things to try as well.  The evening we were dining, there was a delicious salmon entrée and a wonderful melt-in-your-mouth  Mahi-Mahi dish.

You MUST save room for dessert. FAMOUS for their Butterscotch Bread Pudding and  S’mores Pie.  WOW! Not to mention Chocolate Strawberry Soufflé Cake and  Vanilla Malted Creme Brulee’.

Tired of the same old brunch with Omelette’s and Eggs Benedict?  This is the BEST BRUNCH IN CHICAGO and only $24!  In typical Z fashion, a lavish gourmet brunch is presented every Sunday. Lavish abundance.

Chefs offer a variety of traditional and exotic dishes tableside while the Harvest Tables are transformed into a sea of fresh fruits, seasonal desserts and specialty items. Corned Beef Hash and Spinach and Egg, Italian Panettone French Toast with lemon curd, vanilla whipped cream and Vermont maple syrup. And of course, fresh fired meats and delicious fish. Their  Maple Cajun Bacon is THE BEST!  

This will be a fabulous place to spend  Easter  Sunday!  And what about  Mothers Day  May 9th.  MOM’s  DINE  FREE! That’s right! ZED451 believes mom should be treated like a queen  and therefore should not have to pay on her special day!

This restaurant has it all.  Whether you want to dine alone as a party of 1  or  bring a group of 101, the restaurant has many floor plans and options for everyone to create the most memorable gourmet dining experience.
Pre-theatre drinks and snacks (like amazing $6 beer batter pearl onions and Lumpy Crabmeat Cajun sliders you won’t believe!);   Rooftop  cocktails;  Romantic dinner for  2; After-Work networking event for 20; Sunday Wedding for  100. Tell them what you want and they will deliver. EVEN YOU!  I mentioned earlier, call ahead and they will even pick up and deliver you! How is that for service?

INSIDERS NOTE: For those foodies who want to be close to the grilling action, there is a chefs seating area / counter in the grilling area that accommodates about 8 people. Reserve ahead if you wish to sit there.

BONUS  TIP!    Mothers Day –  MOMS  EAT FREE!

* Best  Gourmet Dining Experience in downtown Chicago
* Best  Brunch in downtown Chicago
* Best  Pick up and Delivery Service in Chicago
* Best  Space to plan a party in downtown Chicago
* Best  Wine and Cheese Tastings in downtown Chicago

ZED451, 739 North Clark Street, Corner of Clark and Superior.
  Chicago, IL 60654  (312) 266-6691   We  pick up and  deliver!

Michael Snell and Derrick Sorles
Best of the Best Dining Chicago