Kid Time,
We’ve sampled birthday cakes, counted highchairs, taken a tumble, shopped till we dropped, and scoured the town for little-known treats to bring you this month’s compendium of our favorite places to go and things to do with kids-in the city and beyond.

The Vinci Code, by Robert Sharoff
The architect John Vinci does not hold back when defending his principles. And his causes are many. This leading preservationist is also a rigorous modernist.

Incident at Fox Lake, by Bryan Smith
In a mostly white Illinois town, members of a black family thought they had found their dream house in a setting free of gangs and drugs. Then a group of skinheads shattered their world, sending them in search of justice.

How to Beat the Traffic, by Michael Austin and Christine Kent
The city’s road congestion won’t be clearing up anytime soon. Our expert found four alternative routes in and out of the city-and offers a system for better in-town navigation.

At Home: Open House, by Christine Newman
After a photographer and a writer bought a condominium in a renovated power plant in Ravenswood, they found that their friends simply could not stay away.




Motorcycle instructor Sarah Lahalih; the Cub’s miracle maker Jim Hendry; the city’s best bloggers; a home furnishings store in Wicker Park; the original Bleacher Bums; splashy wet weather gear; more

Style Sheet, by Stacy Wallace-Albert
Go to the head of the line for spring-stripes add energy to clothings, home accessories, and kicky shoes.

Real Lives | Rites of Le Passage, by Marcia Froelke Coburn
This month, nightlife luminaries Billy Dec and Brad Young are launching Rockit Bar & Grill, and they’re counting on the youth movement to come.

How We Spend | The End Game, by Clare La Plante
Want a financially secure retirement but can’t afford to pay right now for something so far off? The truth is you can’t afford not to start putting away money now.

Business | Lordy, Lordy, by Robert Reed
Conrad Black maintained an opulent lifestyle for all to see, and it was no secret he retained virtual control of the publicly held Holinger International. So what were the company’s investors thinking when they risked their money in the first place?

Excursions | Lincoln Square Live, by Geoffrey Johnson
From upscale bites and hip boutiques to on the city’s finest venues for live music, Lincoln Square has it all. Tour the area’s hot new attractions along with the classic draws that endow the neighborhood with local charm.

Deal Estate, by Dennis Rodkin
Quick work in Lincoln Park; a regretful goodbye in Riverside; a new study of what’s behind the lack of midrange apartments-plus condo news from Old Town, Elmhurst, and the South Loop.

Nightspotting, by Sarah Preston
The Hard Rock Hotel’s sleek Base Bar makes a go of it south of the river; Poi Dog Pondering’s Frank Orrall goes aural at Get Me High Lounge; and local VIPs celebrate with the comedy writer and actor Bruce Vilanch.

The Closer, by Jeff Ruby
SPAM just can’t get a break. First it’s a much-maligned mystery meat; now it’s the scourge of our in boxes. Here’s a head-to-head comparison.

On the Town


Prime Time
During April: In his gallery, pottery specialist Douglas Dawson showcases the finest pre-Columbian artifacts he has amassed over two decades.

Food & Drink

Dining Out | Lost and Found, by Dennis Ray Wheaton
Forest Park’s goofy La Piazza has Italian charm to burn; Carlucci’s new Downer Grove outpost, meanwhile, is a potential burnout.

On Wine, by Dennis Ray Wheaton
Forget Manischewitz and white zin: Here are some good choices for Passover and Easter.

The city’s definitive guide| This month: New listings include Amarind’s and Aria; re-reviews of Heat and Vong’s Thai Kitchen; more

Short Takes
Budget Beat| Mexican food made from scratch by a couple named Fidel and Nelva
Sushi| The artful creations at Sakuma take Streamwood by storm
Street Beat| Buffets aren’t just for football players-they’re for foodies, too.
Bakery| A former North Shore lawyer shows her sweet side.
Shrimp| It’s $12 a pound for great crustaceans near U.S. Cellular Field.