Friday, April 26, 2013

Ultra-Sexy "Reveal" Party at Vertigo Sky Lounge

Most facelifts require shacking up with a private nurse at the Four Seasons. Not Vertigo Sky Lounge. Chicago's coolest rooftop, which holds court nightly atop the dana hotel (2 W. Erie Street), recently completed a major rehaul of its year-round patio and tonight is the official "reveal" to the public.
Starting at 5:00 p.m., be amongst the first VIPs to experience iced glass firepits, ultraluxe cabanas, and a killer-cool outdoor bar space. Spoiler alert: score a coveted seat at the Bartender's Table, where six really lucky guests will enjoy facetime with top chefs and mixmasters while sampling off-menu cuisine and craft cocktails. Don't be tardy to this party. RSVP now at:

Friday, April 12, 2013

Paradise Found: A Glamorous Guide to Vacationing in Palm Beach

In 1893, oil tycoon Henry Morrison Flagler dubbed Palm Beach as a “veritable paradise”. Nearly two hundred and twenty years later, this intimate beach town has remained comfortably cocooned, preserving its reputation as the luxurious playground for old money East Coasters, wellborn trust funders, international jetsetters, and rich socialites.

In recent years, thanks in part to its high-profile residents like Vera Wang, Donald and Melania Trump, Aerin Lauder, and Rod Stewart, Palm Beach has become the go-to destination for savvy travelers, young moguls, and honeymooners seeking a luxe and laid back coastal retreat.

Palm Beach Royal: Aerin Lauder

If a trip to this magical destination is on your immediate To Do list, Luxe File Chicago is your Palm Beach ombudsman. Whether it’s learning to play the sport of kings with a handsome polo player, sipping historically-inspired cocktails at one of the island’s most elegant resorts, or shopping along Worth Avenue with a personal fashion consultant, we’ve listed some of the best places to stay, play, dine and drink, and most importantly: what to pack to look like an island insider.

Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach (2800 South Ocean Boulevard; 561-582-2800. Website) Sophisticated travel junkies and music industry icons return for the resort’s famed intuitive services and “anything-you-want-just-ask” requests.

Depending on your interests, or energy level, this award-winning retreat offers a plethora of must-do activities. 

Here, our 3 favorite daily agendas. Sun Worshipper: Spend the day in a private cabana by the fresh water pool and enjoy complimentary Evian spritzes and fresh fruit skewers. Toast your good fortune with a round of bottomless Shark Bites. Athletic Contender: Hit the tennis courts and work up a sweat with one of the resident pros or swap balls for the beach for a little hang ten action. Spa Star: Be nice and love your body back with a self-prescribed day of beauty at The Spa. Opt for one of the exotic treatments, such as the Indus Valley Ritual or an Asian Bamboo Massage, or book the Island Getaway package featuring the Ocean Bliss massage, an Ocean Breeze organic facial and a lavender-infused manicure. Watch the video for a visual tour of the Resort’s über-sophisticated spa.

Whatever you do, don’t miss: Polo. Super handsome players, high-suspension horses, and really, really long mallets. There’s a good reason why kings of old favored this sport – it’s so crazy-cool. 

For the ultimate bragging rights getaway, book Four Seasons Resort’s Polo in Paradise package. In addition to oceanfront accommodations, a bottle of welcome bubbly, and a La Martina jersey and polo bag (perfect for carrying your trophies!), guests can select from three customized polo-packed options:

It’s good to be the king! Learn to play polo right, like a royal. Stay & Play with the Best includes a personalized polo lesson with a top player at the famed International Polo Club, champagne, and round-trip transport to/from the Resort.

Dinner and a show. (Lunch, actually.) A Perfect Polo Picnicincludes an epicurean-inspired feast, creatively prepared by Four Seasons’ executive chef Darryl Moiles, lots of bubbly, a polo match, and a chance to meet and say “cheese!” with the players after the match.

You went camping? Let me tell you what I did last summer…cue angels singing. Ultra-VIP Sunday Brunch & Polo Experience includes a gluttonous buffet, VIP seating and polo match, get up and close during one of the polo ceremonies (coin toss/trophy presentation), meet the players, and complimentary after-party access.

Want to experience Palm Beach polo but don’t require overnight hotel accommodations? The International Polo Club offers a plethora of exciting options, from general admission to Sunday polo-and-brunch packages. For tickets and upcoming events, click HERE.

būccan (350 S. County Road; 561-833-3450. Website)
As one of South Florida’s most renowned restaurants, we weren’t surprised when our sources urged us to snag a reservation at būccan. Inspired by his travels to Europe and South America and while working in Tokyo, chef-owner Clay Conley’s jumbo-flavored small plates truly taste like they come from another world. 

Wondering what to order? Here’s our top picks: Hamachi Sashimi (pictured below) with Peruvian chilies, lotus root salad and yuzu vinaigrette; Spicy Pork Tacos packed with fresh avocado crema and salsa verde; and Florida Corn Ravioli with Hedgehog mushrooms and black truffle.

Chef Conley (pictured below), who many may remember as Todd English’s protégé/culinary director and then as the executive chef at Miami Mandarin Oriental Hotel’s Azul, also opened Imoto (“little sister”) in 2012, another one of Palm Beach’s must-try tables.

HMF (The Breakers, 1 S. County Road; 561-290-0104. Website)
Perhaps one of The Breakers greatest attributes (and there are many!) is its healthy appreciation for its glamorous beginnings and pedigreed guests. After completing an $80 million dollar renovation in 2011, the legendary resort went on to open HMF, a new lounge named after its founder, Henry M. Flagler. 

Formerly the Florentine Room, the art deco-inspired space boasts an ultra-innovative drinking and shared dining concept that beckons back a time when guests dressed up to dine and cocktail hour was, without question, the most civilized time of the day.

Modern and classic cocktails round out most of the menu but these signature sips are not to be missed: Chanel #6 blends vodka, Chambord, and pineapple juice; The “Original” Gin Fizz mixes up Beefeaters, fresh lemon and lime juice, cream, and egg white; and Railcar #91 (named after Henry M. Flagler’s private train car) combines Courvoisier VSOP, fresh lemon juice, honey, and orange foam.

Thirsty yet? Here’s a recipe for one of HMF’s most popular cocktails, Mojito Royale (pictured below).

Mojito Royale
1 ½ ounces Bacardi Silver Rum
1 ounce lemongrass/Kaffir lime simple syrup
5 mint leaves
3 lime wedges
2 ounces Piper Sonoma Champagne
Splash of club soda
Lemongrass stalk

Muddle the mint and lime with the rum and simple syrup. Add ice, shake and strain into a highball. Add Piper Sonoma, top with club soda and garnish with a lemongrass stalk.

Nicknamed the “Rodeo Drive of the East Coast,” Worth Avenue is a veritable feast of binge-worthy shopping and magical little vias. 

Who better to uncover its vintage-to-vogue gems than Glam Squad founder, Susan Palladino. The former CK public relations director-turned-fashion consultant with a rolodex of covetable clients takes us for an oh-so-glamorous stroll down the avenue.

High-octain beach chic is on display at Tomas Maier (38 Via Mzner; 561-650-1221. Website). Nestled in a Bougainvillea-covered courtyard, Bottega Veneta’s creative director likes to complement a bronze glow with edgy, metallic swimsuits, ethereal Shajar Al Durr tunics, and arm-candy python purses. Luxe File Loves: Antoni & Alison silk printed dresses are perfect for sipping cocktails at Café Boulud. 

A Palm Beach pit-stop, Barzina (66 Via Mizner; 561-833-5834) is “a place to lose yourself only to find yourself,” says Gretchen Bentley, owner and world traveler. The cozy 600-square-foot treasure box bursts with one-of-kind furniture, home goods, and fashions from across the globe. Luxe File Loves: Decorate the manse with an 18th-century wood-carved Buddha from Thailand, stock up on Blackamoors charming table linens (pictured below) or start your own zoo with quirky wire monkeys from London.

Parisians and Palm Beachers alike flock to Style Paris (337 Worth Avenue; 561-820-1525. Website), an ultra-French outpost which specializes in exquisite made-to-order silhouettes. Owner and designer, Susan Sutherland, customizes each piece, from pea coats to ball gowns, with the finest European fabrics from Loro Piana, Dormeuil, and Bucol. Luxe File Loves: Silk trenchcoats (pictured below) tease our ladylike sensibilities and Voltige Bis' off-the-shoulder linen dresses are equal parts gamine and femme fatale.

Whether boutique marathoning down Worth Avenue, or cocktail-hopping along South County Road, looking artfully chic is the name of the game. Here are few of our favorite must-pack, day-to-night essentials for a haute weekend in Palm Beach.

No Palm Beacher is worth her couture without a healthy dose of cashmere. A sorbet-kissed sweater paired with crisp white denim, suede platforms and oversized cheetahs are the perfect gear for McMansion sightseeing.

Sungoddessing isn’t a day at the beach unless you make a sizzling first impression. Make sure a barely-there bikini, oversized hat, mirrored sunglasses and an ultra-feminine carry-all top your fashion checklist. Suntan butler not included.

Lace and snakeskin make the perfect bedfellows for a non-stop night of elegant confab and genteel cocktails.

Photo Credits:
Polo photo courtesy of Andres Hernandez
Mojito Royale photo courtesy of Bill Ingram/Palm Beach Post
Barzina photo courtesy of Meghan McCarthy/Palm Beach Daily News

Written by Kerry and Sally Shorr

Sunday, April 7, 2013


Foodophiles and fashionites will feel right at home tonight when the city’s most acclaimed men’s clothier, haberdash, unites with BBQ king, chef Bill Kim of bellyQ, to host Fashion Rocks. The downright delicious charity event will feature hors d’oeuvres stations, beer and kegged cocktail tastings, a haberdash fashion show, live performances by DJ Sye Young & DJ Jem, and a silent auction. Proceeds benefit Common Threads educational programs and the West Loop Community Organization. 6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. $150 per person. bellyQ, 1400 W. Randolph Street.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Party Crasher: April 2-6, 2013

Welcome to a new month! As long as April is filled with Tweet-worthy parties and fashionable fêtes, our favorite Hermes slicker can withstand a few raindrops.

Here’s a list of our favorite Facebook check-in hotspots happening this week.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

What: Discovery Dinner Party Series with Ryan C. Gaudin, AS
Where: Storefront Company, 1941 W. North Avenue
Time: 6:30 p.m.
$$$: $79 per person. Reservations can be made by calling the restaurant at 773-661-2609.
411: Pack your culinary passport, we’re going on an oenophilic journey. Hungry travelers will enjoy an interactive evening of contemporary, farm-to-table fare expertly prepared by Storefront Company’s award-winning chef Bryan Moscatello and regional Spanish and Italian wine pairings hand selected by Advanced Sommelier Ryan Gaudin of Wirtz Beverage. The gastronomic getaway includes a reception of small bites and cocktail tastings followed by a 5-course feast complemented by whites and reds from Lis Neris and Vall Llach wineries.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

What: Stimulus Social Club 4 Year Anniversary Party
Where: Nellcôte, 833 W. Randolph Street
Time: 5:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
$$$: $20 donation at the door. Complimentary appetizers from 6:00 p.m. -7:00 p.m. and two drinks.
411: The Stimulus Social Club, a network of socially conscious professionals, are shaking up Hump Day to celebrate four successful years in the charity biz. Guests will enjoy complimentary cocktails and appetizers with monies benefitting Jennifer Hudson’s Julian D. King Gift Foundation.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

What: Chicago Latino Network Breakfast Series
Where: East Bank Club, 500 N. Kingsbury Street
Time: 7:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
$$$: $40. For more information and to purchase tickets, click HERE.
411: Power lunches are so five minutes ago. Enjoy the art of networking over breakfast while getting hip on the latest social media breakthroughs, from must-have measurement tools to key insights from top business executives.

What: Sarca’s “Shop the Pop!”
Where: Waldorf Astoria Chicago, 11 E. Walton, Gold Coast Suite
Time: 11:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
$$$: Free. RSVP to  
411: What's a fashion pop-up without a treasure trove of head-to-hoof must-haves? Trot over to the Waldorf Astoria Chicago and stock up on a delicious lineup of summery essentials from designers Karolyn Pho (and Shia LaBeouf’s leading lady), Sam & Lavi, Artelier Nicole Miller, Nieves Lavi (we heart the sorbet-kissed silk dresses), UKE, Risto, Love, Zooey (Emma Watson and Halle Berry are fans), and more.

Friday, April 5, 2013

What: Red or White Ball
Where: Venue One, 1044 W. Randolph Street
Time: 8:00 p.m.
$$$: $150. For more information and to purchase tickets, click HERE.
411: We prefer black, but when it comes to making a fashion statement, it’s important to have options. Steppenwolf Auxiliary Council raises the color bar two notches when it hosts its 10th Anniversary Red or White Ball. Mingle with Steppenwolf’s performing artists, enjoy whiskey and beer tastings, exciting prize drawings, and a VIP reception featuring sweet and savory tasting stations by top Chicago chefs including Thomas Elliott Bowman and Ben Roche (Baume and Brix), Puje Dorlig (Jellyfish), Rick Gresh (David Burke’s Primehouse), Mark Payne (Deca Restaurant + Bar), and Jean Tippenhauer (Fred's at Barneys New York). Afterward, head to Nellcôte for post-bash revelry.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

What: Eras of Hope
Where: Hubbard Inn, 110 West Hubbard
Time: 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
$$$: $50 (General Admission); $100 (VIP Admission). For more information and to purchase tickets, click HERE.
411: Celebrating its 118-year history of protecting children and strengthening families, One Hope United is honoring its past with an exclusive fashion event spotlighting some of the city’s notable fashion designers. Guests will enjoy a VIP Champagne reception, fashion show, delicious treats by the Hubbard Inn, and a chance to win exciting prizes like an all-inclusive trip for two to Las Vegas.

Photo credit: Fashion illustration by Hayden Williams

Written by Sally Shorr