Valentine’s Day Rescue Ideas

12 02 2014

Valentine’s Day. Sometimes that phrase can bring out good memories, thoughts of love, passion, and lust. On the contrary, it can bring out anxiety, frustration, and panic. Celebrating Valentine’s Day does not need to be dedicated to a significant other, but more so, your friends, family, co-workers, or the ones you hold dear to your heart. Celebrate with them, whether it is relaxing at home or painting the town red. We have a few suggestions for a variety types of Valentine’s Day celebrations around Chicago. As always, think of us, the Fairfield Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown, this weekend for a quick staycation, http://www.marriott.com/chifd.

Family Friendly

Take a trip to Navy Pier to view the snow sculptures from this year’s Snow Days, ride on the famed ferris wheel, cruise on Lake Michigan, or enjoy dinner at one of the inviting restaurants; Harry Caray’s Tavern or Jimmy Buffet’s Margaretville. The IMAX Theatre is located inside Navy Pier, which is always an exhilarating experience. Currently, IMAX is playing Robocop, Shark 3d, Stalingrad, and Journey to the South Pacific. Also, Chicago Children’s Museum is open all weekend for the kids to play with interactive exhibits, such as, Forts. Who doesn’t like to build forts on a winter day?

Fun with Friends

Are you looking for a fun location that is not filled with couples from wall to wall? Consider dinner and drinks at SushiSamba? It is fun, lively and the cocktails are fantastic. Are you in the mood to laugh the night away? The Bruised Orange Theater Company’s interpretation of “I Saw You” is performing at the Logan Square Auditorium and the Cupid Players Improv comedy troupe is performing Valentine’s Day Skits, entitled “Cupid in Your Pants”, at Stage 773. Do you feeling like bashing an Ex while singing and dancing? Howl at the Moon will be playing Anti-Valentine’s games, promoting themed drinks, while playing your requested hits on their dueling pianos.

Love is in the Air

Have you been thinking about this day for weeks as an excuse to kiss you main squeeze or enjoy time alone without the kids? A cozy, romantic evening may be on your itinerary. Carriage rides down Michigan Avenue, Cocktails at the 95th Floor Signature overlooking Chicago, dinner at one for many cozy locations, are just a few suggestions. Geja’s, in Lincoln Park, is known to be Chicago’s Most Romantic Restaurant, where couples go for a quiet, cozy fondue dinner. Many restaurants, like Atwood Café, Cicchetti, and Embeya are offering prix fixe menus, some with wine pairings.
No matter how you celebrate your Valentine’s Day, have fun, be safe, and create new memories.

Here are more insights from the Chicago Reader:
http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/valentines-day-2014-events restaurants/Content?oid=12456420

Written by:
Stefanie Rowe





The Inside Scoop – Downtown Chicago

17 05 2013

Downtown_Night

I am a lifelong Chicagoan. I grew up in the suburbs and finally moved to the city 4 years ago. I remember as a kid coming downtown Chicago and becoming overwhelmed by the tall buildings and beauty of the lakefront skyline. Now that I live downtown, I take for granted the beauty and excitement that the city provides. Summer and fall are best seasons to admire Chicago on an enjoyable walking tour. You can see so much more by taking a stroll down the city streets or people watch. Downtown Chicago, I have a few favorite spots I love to hit. Some may even be “secret spots” to the average tourist.

In the summer, I have two favorite spots to relax, people watch, and admire the city. My first is spot is walking to Cityfront Plaza, toward NBC Tower and the University of Chicago Gleacher Center. In this pathway, there is a huge fountain and pass it is a garden full of benches. If feels like you are in a hidden garden in the middle of Michigan Avenue. To the left of NBC Tower leads to stairs that reach the ground level along the Chicago River. Cruise boats and tourist constantly float by in the summer. I can’t tell you how many times I have taken a lunch break by the river, read a good book, or just listened to the music watching the people. My second spot is along the lakefront by Chicago Avenue. Did you know there is an underground pathway, beneath Lake Shore Drive at Chicago Avenue that takes you to the lake? It is a great spot to watch the lake as well as all the bikers and runners pass by. There is not any sand at this lakefront spot but you can sit on the cement steps leading to the path.

Because I work at the hotel 5 days a week, it is impossible to not to have a list of favorite local businesses to quickly run a few errands or pick up a bite to eat. You name the type of business, I can give you my favorite. My top choices are based on proximity to the hotel, service, and quality. You may or may not have heard of them, but take my word for it, you will be happy with the results.

Nails: Nail Perfection – 207 E Ohio St.
Frozen Yogurt: FreshBerry Frozen Yogurt Cafe – 211 E Ontario St.
Coffee House: Lavazza Coffee Café – 162 E Ohio St.
Bakery: Crumbs Bakery – Water Tower Mall, 160 E Pearson St.
Sushi: Friends Sushi – 710 N Rush St.
Italian: Volare – 201 E Grand Ave.
BBQ: Jack Melnick’s Corner Tap – 41 E Superior St.
Roof Top: Rock Bottom Brewery – 1 W. Grand Ave.
Gelato: Gold Coast, Rush and Division outdoor stand
Farmers Market: Tuesday’s at the Contemporary Art Museum courtyard

Take a walk, enjoy the scenery. You will be amazed at what you will see in Chicago.

By: Stefanie Killey





Taco Joint

7 05 2013

taco joint logo
Chicago is known for many things; one of which is their food. You are guaranteed to find an excellent restaurant featuring your favorite cuisine.

My favorite type of food is Mexican, so you can imagine I have been to my fair share of restaurants and have set high expectations. Knowing my love, my friends and I went to Taco Joint which is located at 158 W. Ontario St., just a few blocks from the Fairfield Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown. I may not be able to give Taco Joint the true justice it deserves, so I recommend to check out their menu at http://www.tacojoint.com.

Taco Joint was hip yet possessed a Mexican restaurant feel. The waiters and waitresses were very attentative and polite. They were able to help us with our meal decisions which was important because we wanted to make sure we were picking exactly what we wanted. Their menu is beyond affordable. Certainly not pricing you would see in the city. They could easily get away with charging much more but let’s be thankful they have not made the change.

We started our meals with delicious margaritas and sangria’s. Both were refreshing yet not to filling on the stomach. Accompanying our cocktails were three different choices of homemade guacamole. I am a huge fan of guacamole and have had a lot of it in my day but Taco Joint’s concoction is like no other. We had their traditional, rojo, and grapefruit guacamole. They were all wonderful but out of the three I would have to say the grapefruit was my favorite. Very refreshing and honestly the first time I have had grapefruit in guacamole. In my book, it is a huge success. The rojo had a little heat to it which I enjoy and adds a little something extra to the traditional guacamole. Although the traditional guacamole is just that, traditional, this was the best I’ve ever had; very fresh, light, and most importantly, delicious.

For my main dish I went with the Flautitas which was a new dish for me. If I had to compare them to something I would say they are similar to Taquitos. Although I enjoy Taquitos the Flautias were much better. It’s almost like you take the best taste from every dish and combine it within the fried shell. Their portion size was wonderful however when I finished I certainly found myself wanting more. Our table shared a few tacos just to get an idea of the meat and they were fabulous. One could eat the tacos by themselves and be thrilled with their decision.

If you are in the mood for some excellent Mexican food in a fun part of Chicago, I definitely would recommend the Taco Joint. You are certain to not go wrong with anything you choose on the menu.

River North | 158 W Ontario | Chicago, IL 60654 | p 312.337.8226 | f 312.337.8227

By Colleen Utesch
Taco JointTaco-Joint 2





Billy Goat Tavern

15 04 2013

tavern
On a typical Friday afternoon in the summer, a co-worker of mine decides to organize an impromptu lunch outing to the famous Original Billy Goat Tavern. A few of us had never been to the Billy Goat, even though we grew up in Chicago, so we agreed for an adventurous lunch experience. It was a short walk from the Fairfield Inn & Suites, as we travelled to Grand Avenue and walked underground to the well-known entrance to Billy Goat Tavern. Usually, before I got to a restaurant, I search for the menu online so I am not in a rush to choose my very important lunch entrée. However, this particular Friday, I was pressed for time and walked into Billy Goat Tavern blindly. I, of course, was the first person to order (After learning this was done on purpose because I had never been there before). So, I carefully looked at the menu and the man behind the counter loudly asked, “What can I get you”? I said, “Grilled cheese, fries, and a coke”, while I search for a credit card inside my wallet. The man barked back, “No fries, CHEEPS, no Pepsi – Coke!” I was so alarmed, I just replied, “OK, Ok, OK!” Before, I could even reply with the last “OK”, I hear, “No credit, cash ONLY!” I turned around to hear my co-workers laughing uncontrollably, as I scramble for cash in my purse, which I ended up borrowing from a co-worker anyways. To my surprise, that is the culture of the Billy Goat Tavern, and I barely survived!

billy-goats
If you have heard of the stories about Al Capone and the Great Chicago Fire, world-famous Billy Goat Tavern is sure to be another story at the top of the list. The story goes, in 1934, William Siania purchased a bar called the Lincoln Tavern for $205 with a check, located across from the now called United Center. Siania earned the nickname “Billy Goat” because one afternoon, a goat fell off a passing truck and wandered inside Lincoln Tavern. Lincoln Tavern soon changed its name to the Billy Goat Tavern. In 1944, during the Republican Convention, “Billy Goat” posted a signed, “No Republicans allowed”. This publicity stunt led to a packed tavern full of republicans demanding service. In 1964, the Billy Goat Tavern moved to its present location off Michigan Avenue. Due to the new location, near the Chicago Tribune, the famous Billy Goat Tavern exchanged its sport fan cliental for the Hall of Fame Chicago news media giants of the day. Although these stories are full of history, others may recognize the name Billy Goat Tavern from the famous SNL skit (http://www.billygoattavern.com/legend/snl/). The skit isn’t far from the truth; “Cheezborger, Cheezborger, CHEEPS, No Pepsi – Coke!” If you didn’t find yourself laughing in the 1980’s during this skit, you certainly will after visiting any Chicagoland Billy Goat Tavern location. Currently, there are 5 other locations in Chicago, 1 Chicago suburb, and 1 in Washington D.C.

Near Tribune Towers and Wrigley Building
430 N. Michigan Ave at Lower Level
Phone: (312) 222-1525

http://www.billygoattavern.com/

by: Stefanie Killey





Magnificent Mile Shopping

3 04 2013

michigan avenueI have lived in Chicago for 11 years and I have not gotten sick of enjoying the shopping on Michigan Avenue. You can truly concur all fashion goals by going down one street. Michigan Avenue features high end stores such as Gucci, Burberry, David Yurman, and Louis Vuitton and affordable shopping such as Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Gap, NIKE, Disney Store, and Apple store. Should you choose to experience a shopping mall vibe you can visit the Shops at Northbridge, Water Tower Place, or the 900 Shops that feature a high end shopping mall experience.

Michigan Avenue shopping has taken a great store, turned it into a fantastic store, by giving a glamorous downtown Chicago shopping experience. Take for example the Crate and Barrel store. Often times these stores are one floor, two at some, but the Crate and Barrel on Michigan has three very large floors stocked with whatever your heart could imagine. If the item you are looking for is not at that store the item simply does not exist. Across from the Northbridge shopping and the Marriott full service hotel is a large 4 story Gap featuring men’s, women’s, body, and baby gap all in one location. If you are looking for a Gap item you will certainly find it in this store. 3 blocks north of the Gap is the ever famous NIKE store. Growing up I recall going to the NIKE store just to see all of the apparel and advertising. You certainly will not find a large NIKE store in Ohio. Currently the store alone has 4 floors to explore.

If you visit Chicago after Thanksgiving and before New Year’s you can experience the festive lighting along the street. The pretty lights enhance the shopping experience. In and out of shops, it’s not uncommon to see horse carriages carrying around people bundled up in warm blankets. Also, it’s not uncommon the see unique street performers on my city corners. In the winter months, there are the silver tin men outside of Macy’s, talented dancers, and beautiful music being performed. Amongst this great shopping experience you can enjoy fine eatery along the way.

Shopping on Michigan Avenue is timeless and memorable. The Fairfield Inn & Suites is only a block and a half from the action, so to say our hotel is in a prime location is an understatement!

by Colleen Utesch





Blue Man Group

29 03 2013

blue-man-group
Living in Chicago my whole life I have been able to take in quite a few Blue Man Group Shows. Over the years they have changed a few things here and there. This year, they have put a lot of effort into letting everyone know that there are some major changes, well more like upgrades, in the current show.
If you have ever had the opportunity to take in one of these shows, you know there are certain things to expect. Intense percussion and visually stunning additions such as paint and black lights are definitely show stealers. This recipe has been successful for over a decade and there is no reason to change that. However, there are some very welcome and amazing additions!
I won’t give away the additions but the show has finally caught up with the times and ever growing technology. The show is highly interactive and several opportunities for audience participation which makes the show that much more entertaining. There seems to be no end to the talent level these men have and use every second of the show to impress you.
Here’s to hoping they will change this show in another 3 to 4 years because I will definitely come back! It’s funny, energetic and the vibe is amazing! I hope everyone gets to see this at least once in their life!

By Ron Justus





Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap

22 03 2013

jakeMelnicks_logo

Downtown Chicago is known for its abundance of restaurants, located on everyone corner. Whether they are chain restaurants, hole in the walls, or a new restaurant from an up and coming chef, there is dining available for every palate or wallet. Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap is a gem in Chicago. It is located on Superior Street, and about 3 blocks west of Michigan Avenue. Locals keep this place buzzing but since it is set back from the hustle and bustle of Michigan Avenue shoppers, I question the undeserved tourist foot traffic it receives. However, I have been there on a few Friday’s for a quick happy hour and it is jumping! My latest experience was on a Friday afternoon for lunch. It was a busy spot but we were able to be sat at a table for 5. We sat close to a semi-private space that is enclosed by windows and a few feet from a spacious private dining room with a build in bar and open deck. There also are high boy tables for bar-like seating located on the opposite end of the restaurant.

Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap is a restaurant and bar that is primarily know for BBQ cuisine and their brewed beer. Jake’s offers over 150 beers and promotes a beer of the month. They have a manager onsite, whose sole purpose is to find new beers monthly and continuously rotate, market, and sell these beers at Jake’s. They have a well-rounded, dedicated crew of employees who provide great food, beer, and service.

At lunch, we started with a few appetizers, BBQ nachos, fried pickles, and boneless traditional chicken wings. The “wow” factor was the BBQ nachos. A picture would not even describe the size of this colossal portion. The chips were topped with cheddar cheese, green onions, tomato, sour cream, jalapeños, Jake’s famous BBQ sauce, and pulled pork. This appetizer is a must have. The group I was with couldn’t stop eating the fantastic appetizers, so we only had room for salads as an entrée. I definitely recommend a half order of a salad. They were huge and I can’t even image what the full order would look like. Although, we were not daring order placers at Jake’s, we were told to come back for the 8-lb. MONSTER BURGER. Supposedly, it serves up to 8 people, however by the looks of it, it could feed a family of 15! The cheeseburger includes all fixings and if you can eat it all in 45 minutes, Jake’s will cover you meal and award you 2 souvenir t-shirts! We were told two young guys finished the burger in 15 minutes.

Overall, we had a wonderful experience at Jake’s and would definitely recommend everyone to order their famous BBQ items and relax with a cold beer.

41 E. Superior St.
Chicago, IL 60611
312-266-0400

http://www.jakemelnicks.com/

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