Monday, November 19, 2012

Thankfully Yours: Thanksgiving in Chicago

Harry Truman, 33rd President of the United States, famously noted, "If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen." Well, if the idea of playing executive chef this Thanksgiving has you feeling less-than-thankful, consider a visit to one of these feasting hotspots instead and leave the cooking (and cleanup) to the pros.

Luxe File Chicago also caught up with several top executive and pastry chefs to see what they were serving up and what they were grateful for. Bon appétit!

Café des Architectes
Sofitel Chicago Water Tower
20 E. Chestnut Street
Chicago, IL
(312) 324-4000
Thanksgiving menu: $62 per person and $15.95 for children.

Luxe File’s Favs: Venison Carpaccio with candied pancetta, deviled egg, and blood orange; Roasted Organic Turkey Breast with brioche stuffing, green beans, and cranberry-sage jus; and Chocolate Mint Gateau featuring dark chocolate mousse, whipped mint ganache, and chocolate crunch.

Greg Biggers, Executive Chef

What is your favorite item on the holiday menu? Roasted Organic Turkey. It wouldn't be Thanksgiving without some great turkey.

What are you most thankful for this Thanksgiving? My family, but I'm also grateful for leftovers! I'm looking forward to making a leftover turkey sandwich on toasted challah bread with sage gravy and cranberries.

Leigh Omilinsky, Pastry Chef

What is your favorite item on the holiday menu? The Pumpkin Coupe with malt caramel, milk chocolate cream and candied pumpkin seeds. It's the perfect blend nostalgia and indulgence.

What are you most thankful for this Thanksgiving? My family and a great support system.

Filini Bar & Restaurant
221 N. Columbus Drive
Chicago, IL
(312) 477-0234
Thanksgiving hours: 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Thanksgiving menu: $45 per person.

Luxe File’s Favs: Butternut Squash Soup; Pan Roasted Whitefish with artichokes, fingerling potatoes, soppressata, and herb salad; and Sweet Potato Pie with nutmeg and cinnamon-scented sweet potatoes, maple syrup, and toasted marshmallow.

Fulton’s on the River
315 N. LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL
(312) 822-0100
Thanksgiving hours: 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Thanksgiving menu: $49.95 per person, $15.95 for children ages 4 to 12, and free for children ages 3 and under.

Luxe File’s Favs: Seared Atlantic Salmon and brioche stuffing; Roasted Pork Shoulder; Banana Cream Pie; and a Mayflower Martini made with Plymouth Gin and fall spices.

Kevin Schulz, Executive Chef

What is your favorite item on the holiday menu? I love the Atlantic Shrimp and Blue Crab Cakes. It's a great way to update a Thanksgiving menu with something a little bit different.

What are you most thankful for this Thanksgiving? Good family, good friends, good food and the occasional cocktail.

Hash House A Go Go
1212 N. State Parkway
Chicago, IL
(312) 202-0994
Thanksgiving hours: 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
A la carte Thanksgiving menu

Luxe File’s Favs: Stuffed Turkey Meatloaf with griddled smoked mozzarella, grilled onions, spinach, charred tomato, and barbeque cream sauce; Maple-Glazed Pork Tenderloin with fresh nutmeg apple sauce, wild boar bacon mashed potatoes, corn on the cobb, and crispy leaks; and Roasted Turkey Breast with rosemary gravy, mashed potatoes, “old school” stuffing, carrots, and green beans.

Anthony Vidal, Executive Chef

What is your favorite item on the holiday menu? Roasted Turkey. This dish brings all the holiday flavors together. It comes with pumpkin mashed potatoes, rosemary stuffing and cranberry chutney.

What are you most thankful for this Thanksgiving? The health of my family, my amazing job, but most of all I am grateful to know that no matter how hard things seem, my glass is always half full.

Kit Kat Lounge & Supper Club
3700 N. Halsted Street
Chicago, IL
(773) 525-1111
Thanksgiving hours: 5:30 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.
Thanksgiving menu: $20 per person with canned good donation or $40 without donation.

Luxe File’s Favs: Sliced Turkey Breast with green beans sautéed with olive oil and sea salt; Pumpkin Tart; and a Pumpkin Vodka Martini.

JoAnn Witherell, Consulting Chef

What is your favorite item on the holiday menu? Picking a favorite item on this menu is tough because it really all works together to make that perfect meal. I love mushroom gravy to complement the turkey, the stuffing and the mashed potatoes.

What are you most thankful for this Thanksgiving? My family and friends. I truly believe in life the only place we are irreplaceable is with our friends and family.

Lockwood Restaurant
The Palmer House Hilton
17 E. Monroe Street
(312) 917-3404
Thanksgiving hours: 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Thanksgiving menu: $65 for adults, $55 for seniors, and $30 for children.

Luxe File’s Favs: Honey Molasses Roasted Turkey with rhubarb compote, chestnuts, pistachio stuffing, and gravy; Sweet Potato Marshmallow Gratin; and Strip Loin with corn succotash and Pinot Noir reduction.

Joseph Rose, Executive Chef

What is your favorite item on the holiday menu? The Stone Ground Anson Mills Polenta with slow cooked Slagel Farm egg, hen of the wood mushrooms, and Banyuls jus.

What are you most thankful for this Thanksgiving? My wife, Heather, and our one-year-old daughter, Addison.

Markethouse Restaurant & Bar
611 N. Fairbanks Court
Chicago, IL
(312) 224-2200
Thanksgiving hours: 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Thanksgiving menu: $32 per person and $16 for children ages 12 and under.

Luxe File’s Favs: Maple Thyme-Mopped Young Turkey and Arkansas sweet potato purée with shagbark hickory marshmallow fluff; Baked Heirloom Apple Gratin with squash butter and granola; and Salted Butterscotch Sauce with praline ice cream.

Scott Walton, Executive Chef

What is your favorite item on the holiday menu? The cassoulet. The wonderful aromatics that fill the room remind me of warmth, comfort, and family.

What are you most thankful for this Thanksgiving? The time that I get to spend with my team who have been together for four years, and the joy we can bring families on Thanksgiving.

Mercat a la Planxa
638 S. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL
(312) 765-0524
Thanksgiving hours: 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Thanksgiving Suckling Pig Package: $220 for 6-8 ppl, $440 for 6-12 ppl (must be pre-ordered 48 hours in advance). Chef’s luxury tasting menu: $85 per person ($125 with wine pairings).
Luxe File’s Favs: Suckling Pig with grilled green onions, herb-roasted fingerling potatoes, espinacas a la catalane, and rosemary white beans; and Short Ribs and Bay Scallops with butternut squash, crispy brussels sprouts, and beluga lentils.
Cory Morris, Chef de Cuisine

What is your favorite item on the holiday menu? Coles de Bruselas. It’s a warm brussels sprout salad with candied walnuts, cranberry glaze, french feta cheese and shaved red onion.

What are you most thankful for this Thanksgiving? Living and working in one of the best cities in the world. Chicago is full of amazing, talented and passionate people and I feel honored to be part of the culinary community here.

Mity Nice Bar & Grill
Water Tower Place
835 N. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL
(312) 335-4745
Thanksgiving hours: 12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Thanksgiving buffet: $45 per person and $16 for children ages 12 and under.

Luxe File’s Favs: Shrimp and Crab Bisque; Maryland Crab Cakes, Rosemary-Crusted Prime Rib and brown sugar-glazed sweet potatoes; Pineapple-Glazed Ham and “classic” stuffing; Butternut Squash Ravioli and green bean casserole; and Pumpkin Chiffon Pie.

John Chiakulas, Chef Partner

What is your favorite item on the holiday menu? Stuffing scooped right out of the bird. I can’t resist tasting it immediately. So moist and delicious. I prefer a stuffing without too many fancy add-ins like nuts, oysters, and bacon.

What are you most thankful for this Thanksgiving? My family waiting for me at home. It is an amazing feeling coming home to a holiday party already in progress. It goes without saying that having a large happy family that lives in this town is plenty to be thankful for.

NoMI Kitchen
Park Hyatt Chicago
800 N. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois
(312) 239-4030
Thanksgiving hours: 10:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Chefs’ tables and a la carte offerings: $115 per person and $40 for children ages 5 to 12.

Luxe File's Favs: Steamed Crab Claws with mustard; Octopus Poki Salad featuring steamed octopus, ogo seawood, and sesame oil; Wild Mushroom Panzanella with butternut squash, marinated artichokes, and black truffle; Spiced Skate Wing with braised savoy cabbage, caramelized turnips, and truffled chicken broth; Chai Spice Cheesecake with speculoos cookie crust; and Chocolate Gingerbread Cake with milk chocolate chunks and dark chocolate glaze.

Ryan LaRoche, Executive Chef

What is your favorite item on the holiday menu? Pumpkin pie, surprisingly enough. I love all the amazing savory stuff but ever since I can remember I have always been a sucker for pumpkin pie.

What are you most thankful for this Thanksgiving? When all the pilgrims and Indians put aside their differences for one day and created a national holiday so I can see my family over turkey.

Meg Galus, Pastry Chef

What is your favorite item on the holiday menu? We have a selection of macaroons on the menu and for Thanksgiving, we are doing Pumpkin-Caramel, Milk Chocolate-Pecan, and Cornmeal-Fig. Macs are one of my favorite things to make because they require a lot of skill and creativity. There are infinite ways to change up the flavors. They are also one of my favorite things to eat, and since they are small you can eat a bunch without feeling guilty!

What are you most thankful for this Thanksgiving? My husband. He not only puts up with my crazy schedule, but is also my biggest supporter and keeps me sane! We’ve been married almost nine years and I feel so, so lucky.

Park Grill
11 N. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois
(312) 521-7275
Thanksgiving hours: 11:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
A la carte Thanksgiving menu

Luxe File’s Favs: Spiced Pumpkin Soup with caramelized pears, chives, and ginger cookie; Oven Roasted Turkey with cornbread sausage stuffing, cranberry orange compote, and giblet gravy; Fall Risotto featuring chantrelles, leeks, pumpkin, basil, and manchego cheese; and Southern Pecan Pie with vanilla ice cream.

Michael Wallach, Executive Chef

What is your favorite item on the holiday menu? Roasted turkey dinner. It always reminds me of the past. Growing up and enjoying the whole process of Thanksgiving which is about being together with people who are important to us.

What are you most thankful for this Thanksgiving? For everything and everyone who have helped get me to this point in my life – from my new marriage to my dog, Lola.

David Burke’s Primehouse
616 N. Rush Street
Chicago, Illinois
(312) 660-6000
Thanksgiving hours: 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Thanksgiving menu: $58 per person, $19 for children ages 6 to 12, and free for children ages 5 and under.

Luxe File’s Favs: Pan Roasted Scallops with parsnip puree, wild rice and ginger vinaigrette; Cider Brined Pork Chop; Sweet Potato Mac 'n' Cheese; and Dark Chocolate Pot d’ Crème with coffee marshmallow, biscotti, and white chocolate crème parisienne.

Rick Gresh, Executive Chef

What is your favorite item on the holiday menu? Surf & Turf featuring short rib dumplings with garlicky escarole and crab fritters.

What are you most thankful for this Thanksgiving? My fiancé, Stephanie. She is a wonderful woman who has supported me constantly all year with all of my endeavors, traveling and crazy work schedule.

504 N. Wells Street
Chicago, Illinois
(312) 595-2300
Thanksgiving hours: 12:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.
A la carte Thanksgiving menu

Luxe File’s Favs: Braised Short Rib Gyoza with kabocha purée, red shiso leaf, and smoked ginger soy; Mojo Roasted Organic Turkey with linguiça quinoa stuffing and crispy Brussels sprouts; and Kabocha Cheesecake with candied cashews, bourbon caramel sauce, and milk chocolate whipped cream.

739 North Clark Street
Chicago, Illinois
(312) 266-6691
Thanksgiving hours: 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Thanksgiving menu: $48 per person, $24 for children ages 6 to 12, and free for children ages 5 and under.
Note: Complimentary shuttle service offered. Call restaurant to arrange pick-up.

Luxe File’s Favs: Autumn Harvest Tables laden with salads, artisan cheeses and house-made breads; Maple Bourbon Glazed Ham with green bean casserole, cranberries, and sweet potatoes with homemade marshmallows; and S’more Pie with homemade peanut butter and banana ice cream.

Curtis Hawk, Executive Chef

What is your favorite item on the holiday menu? Butternut Squash Salad. It brings together all of my favorite things about fall with squash, cherries, bacon, and pecans.

What are you most thankful for this Thanksgiving? My family and their support. I am also thankful for all of the soldiers and the sacrifice they make to keep America free.

Kate Milashus, Corporate Pastry Chef

What is your favorite item on the holiday menu? Pumpkin pie and the jellied cranberry sauce out of the can. I can seriously eat an entire pumpkin pie myself and I've made cranberry sauce from scratch before, and can't really tell the difference between that and the canned!

What are you most thankful for this Thanksgiving? I get to make sweets for people for a living. I'm still in awe of this even after nine years!

Photo Credit:
Thanksgiving illustration courtesy of Alex Eben Meyer
Photos of NoMI's chefs Ryan LaRoche and Meg Galus courtesy of Jorge Gera Photography

Monday, November 12, 2012

STYLE FILE: Nate Berkus' "The Things That Matter" Book Giveaway

Nate Berkus is a history-lovers' design darling. Ever since his first makeover on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2002, when he transformed a 319-square-foot, Boston-based studio into an intimate sanctuary featuring customized cabinetry and multifunctional furniture (click HERE to watch video), his message for creating great interiors was clear. 

Throughout our lives, the collection of treasures we amass define who we are and offers a portal to our past. When we adorn our homes with our most precious possessions, Berkus believes it's then we create truly inspired, one-of-a-kind spaces.

In his new tome, The Things That Matter, Nate shares masterful design tips, reflects on the people and personal events that helped to transform his own life, asks some of the nation's most notable residents to name which possession they would save if their home went "towering inferno", and even offers an inside peek into twelve stylish homes, including his own, each one reverberating with their owners' colorful pasts.

Guess which item Nate would save if 
his Manhattan apartment caught fire.
(*Answer at bottom)

As designer and HGTV star Candice Olson says, "Now that's divine!"

Clean Palette: A peak inside The Glamourai 
Kelly Framel's smartly-decorated digs

In honor of great design, and special thanks to our good friends at Nate Berkus Associates and Entertainment and Random House, Luxe File Chicago is giving away a complimentary, hardcover copy of The Things That Matter

Entering is easy: 
Twitter: Describe a favorite or cherished memento, using the hashtag #TheThingsThatMatter.
Facebook: Under our giveaway post(s), describe your favorite or cherished memento.

Terms & Conditions:
1. Introduction: Luxe File Chicago is offering "The Things That Matter" Book Giveaway. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.

2. Eligibility: The Giveaway is open to both Chicago residents and non-residents.

3. Giveaway Period: The Giveaway begins at 12:00 p.m. Central Standard Time (“CST”) on Monday, November 12, 2012, and ends at 3:00 p.m. CST on Friday, November 16, 2012.

4. Winning: After 3:00 p.m. CST on Friday, November 16, 2012, one (1) winner will be randomly selected by Luxe File Chicago. Winner will be notified by Luxe File Chicago (via Twitter or Facebook). If a potential winner is unreachable for twenty-four (24) hours after the first attempt to contact such winner, Luxe File Chicago may award the Prize to an alternate entrant. Winner will be required to provide name, email address, and telephone number. Prize confirmation will be emailed to the Winner and book will be mailed.

5. Prize: One (1) winner will be awarded a complimentary hardcover copy of "The Things That Matter" by Nate Berkus and published by Spiegel & Grau, a division of Random House, Inc. Luxe File Chicago will not be responsible for any loss, liability or damage arising out of the winner’s acceptance or use of the prize. Prizes are not transferable. No cash or substitutions of prizes may be made. No alternative prize or other substitution is permitted.

For a book synopsis or to purchase a copy online, click HERE. The Things that Matter may also be purchased at Target stores.

*Did you guess which possession Nate would save if his home was on fire? Answer: pair of woven Joshua Tree photographs crafted by his late partner, Fernando Bengoechea.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Giddy for Libby: A Fashion Interview with Libby Edelman

When Yves Saint-Laurent said, "The most beautiful clothes that can dress a woman are the arms of the man she loves", he might as well been referring to Sam and Libby Edelman, the First Couple of fashionable footwear. 

While we’ve been sporting the eponymously-named Sam & Libby ballet flats since our private, all-girls high school days, the editors of Luxe File Chicago fell in love with the alluring couple when their glamorous personal life was splashed across the pages of Harper’s Bazaar in 2011. We salivated over their ultra-chic retreat – a celebration of relaxed and rustic living - in Sherman, Connecticut, Libby’s fête-ready wardrobe and her fierce collection of equestrian riding boots.

Stable Girl: Libby with her horse in Connecticut

During a recent interview with Sam Edelman, who was in town to promote the launch of his new fall and holiday collections at Nordstrom in Chicago, we had the unexpected pleasure of meeting our favorite style icon, who looked every inch the former fashion editor clad in body-confident black slacks, the perfect white top and signature Edelman booties. 

We sat down with the fashion glamazon, who shared a few of her favorite things with Luxe File Chicago readers.

Tell us about the new collection(s) and what inspired you about it. I’m sure Sam told you – you can be inspired by ANYTHING. With Sam, he is always looking at handbags and jewelry to see how he can put that into the shoes and boots. That’s where we get a lot of our inspiration.

Getting inspiration from jewelry designer great, Jennifer Fisher

Do you have a favorite piece from the collection(s). I’m wearing one of my favorites, the “Kit” boot. I like it because it’s simple and it features the new banana heel boot. Sam doesn’t like me to be too high (Libby is 5’8”) but I’m wearing them anyway. I don’t care. It has a platform so it’s very comfortable.

How did you and Sam meet. We met through shoes. I was working at Seventeen magazine and had to cover the shoe market. He was in business with his dad and I went to his showroom. He asked me out but it didn’t quite work out right away. Eventually, it was a very fast, whirlwind romance.

Sam and Libby at their New York office

What do you love most about shoe designing and creating shoes for women. Whether we’re shopping for jewelry, handbags or clothing, or we’re on the websites, I take what strikes me on an emotional level and then I throw it at Sam. For a guy, Sam has this great feminine instinct. He knows what we all want to wear and he’s a great shopper, too.

What is important to you when you’re designing a shoe. Sam really does all the designing, I’m only trying to give him some inspiration. We put our all into everything we do, whether it’s marketing or design. We’re always thinking about what women really need. Because it’s easy so overdesign, we have to pull ourselves back and say "OK, this is what we love but how will women wear it?"

All Tied Up 

Give us a quick “Day in the Life of Libby” snapshot. We get up and try to workout (I do say “try”). When we get to the office, there’s always a lot of meetings – design, marketing, business development. Every hour of every single day is different.

Which charities or causes do you support. We’ve always supported breast cancer research and as the shoe business has been so wonderful to us, we established a scholarship endowment at the Two Ten Footwear Foundation (an organization that provides financial, social, and educational services to members of the shoe industry).

Since you’ve been in Chicago, what’s something you like about the town. We didn’t stay near the store (Nordstrom) but in a more neighborhood-y kind of place. We like it because it gives us the feeling of what it would be like to live here. I love the beautiful architecture. It reminds me of being in London. I’ve never seen that side of Chicago.

Score: Love-Love

What’re you doing when you’re not being Sam’s muse and collaborator. I do photography, that’s my creative outlet. Sam and I do so much together. We’re learning golf and we play tennis. We also have three older children and are trying to get them to spend more time with us.

In an age where divorce is skyrocketing, it’s lovely to see a couple who spends so much time together and has a lot in common. Is that yours and Sam’s secret for a successful marriage. For sure. We do have so much in common. We have the same passions and we say and think the same things. We’re like twins!

Mottos matter

Your fashion mottos. Whether it’s my career or the way I dress, my motto is: "Have fun in life".

What’s next for Sam & Libby Edelman. So much. It’s whatever we come up with. We’re working on a lot of things. 

Photo Credits
Lead photo of Libby courtesy of Melanie Acevedo

Written by Kerry & Sally Shorr