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March 23, 2009 -- Chicago-based children's charity Common Threads hosted its fourth annual World Festival event on Monday, March 23rd at the Museum of Contemporary Art. This year's festival, where nearly 700 foodies munched and mingled, achieved net proceeds of $413,000, making it the organization's most successful fundraiser to date! Funds raised will directly support after-school cooking programming for low-income children in Chicago, South Central Los Angeles, and Miami. Photos by Randy Lee Belice Read more

Two tips for lovebirds have been brought to our attention lately. The first is a bridal event on Sunday, March 29 from noon to 6 at Asrai Garden, a flower shop in Wicker Park that we’ve featured in our pages before (great for those who love unpredictable arrangements). Meet various vendors who might be of use to you in the planning of your big day.
    Then, once you’re ready to start thinking about your real future together—as in what kind of kitchen you imagine yourselves cooking in for years to come—consider registering at Christopher Peacock. Why bother registering for knives and food processors? Go for cabinets! The company has created a bridal registry for its kitchens, mudrooms, closets, bathrooms, or whatever form of storage you may need for all those gifts.

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My bar at home is pretty uneven: We have our pick of a good 40 bottles of wine, some rum remnants, Grey Goose (a wedding leftover), and vermouth (from … college?). As much as I like cocktails, crafting anything fancier than a martini has always seemed like an expensive hassle to me.

Leave it to a man who mixes arugula, heirloom tomatoes, and Iberico ham into his drinks to change my mind. Nacional 27’s master mixologist Adam Seger... Read more

What’s your cutlery situation? Looking to upgrade or fill in some pieces? Christofle is holding a two-day sale on flatware purchases Friday and Saturday.

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List Price: $425,000
The Property: This three-bedroom condo in Hyde Park, with a small gourmet kitchen, lots of wood trim, and a long row of south-facing windows, can be found inside one of the neighborhood’s grandest buildings—which itself sits on private Madison... Read more
Restaurant Character of the Week
That would be André Christopher, who just opened The Grocery Bistro (804 W. Washington St.; 312-850-9291), a 68-seat West Loop BYO that lives up to its name. “You can find anything on my menu at the grocery store,” says Christopher, the former executive chef of Pops for Champagne and chef de cuisine of Japonais. “It’s amazing what you can find at Dominick’s, Jewel, and Stanley’s. A lot of the restaurants I worked at were foofy and bourgeoisie... Read more
Our Lady of the Underpass*
In the wake of the 2005 appearance of a salt stain loosely shaped like the Virgin Mary, local playwright Tanya Saracho spent weeks quizzing pilgrims on why they felt compelled to trek to 90/94’s Fullerton Avenue viaduct to view the specter. If... Read more
The International Vintage Poster Fair is back in town this weekend at the Cultural Center, with a high-flying featured exhibition of aviation and airline posters such as this nostalgic gem from United. (I wouldn’t be surprised if Mad Men’s Don Draper had a hand in the campaign.) Chicago’s own Poster Plus and the Chicago Center for the Print are among the 25-plus dealers who will be offering more than 10,000 posters for sale Read more

Jill Dryer has a background in architecture and design (she worked at Architectural Digest for seven years), so it’s a no-brainer that elements of those worlds show up in her current work as a fine artist and illustrator. The Chicagoan will be having a one-night showing tomorrow from 6 – 9 at a loft space in the building that houses Avec, easily one of my favorite restos in the city (get the chorizo-stuffed dates and the garlicky whipped brandade, when you stop in for a snack after the exhibition). “My friend owns the building, and currently doesn’t have a tenant so she offered me the space,” explains Dryer of the somewhat unorthodox venue. “It’s a nice open white loft with wood floors, high ceilings, big windows…perfect for a show, and ideal for my purposes!”  She’ll be showing paintings and prints from the series she calls “Design Meets Nature” and I call clever, colorful, and not a little silly. The lamps In “Flamingo” are Castore Suspension by Artemide, the cup in “Sandpiper” is Russell Wright, and, in one of my favorites, “Robinson Zanuso,” a bird perches on a Marco Zanuso chair in front of a Vernor Panton lamp. As a bonus, Jill’s design is well within reach—signed prints are $30, and original paintings under $1,000.  

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The Wheaton townhouse her client wanted to sell needed a bit of dressing up, but the real-estate agent Laura Reedy Stukel thought that putting away some of the sports memorabilia and buying fashionable new bedspreads was only a first step... Read more