Sweet Avenues

A Star Is Born

Dennis Ray Wheaton, Chicago magazine’s chief dining critic, is set to add a new name to the league of extraordinary chefs in Chicago: Curtis Duffy. Duffy, 32, recently stepped into the huge void left at Avenues (The Peninsula Chicago, 108 E. Superior St.; 312-573-6754) by the departure of Graham Elliot Bowles—a daunting task, even for a veteran of Alinea and Charlie Trotter’s. But it appears Duffy is up to the task. “The meal I had was in the league of [Grant] Achatz and Bowles, and beyond [Homaro] Cantu in brilliance of flavors and old-fashioned refinement,” Wheaton says. “Duffy uses a lot of grains, foams, berries, and you get the true…

Lulu Book Release Party

The party for textile designer Lulu de Kwiatkowski’s new book Lulu (AMMO) at Elements was hopping. The preggers designer sat up front signing her gorgeous folio with one of the evening’s hosts, Nate Berkus, sitting at her side and cracking jokes. “Let me answer that,” he quipped when I asked the authoress about the inspiration for her book. She told us (or actually, her PR person told us later, as she was so busy greeting admirers one felt bad making her go too deep) it was “all about the journey of the artist–how you get to where you are going.” And indeed these collage-style pages with diary entries and snapshots of family and friends, alongside original botanical art by Kwiatkowski herself, give you a peak inside her very creative mind. The other eye candy was Elements itself. The new store is amazing.

Photos by Barry Brecheisen

Housing Bulletin— Neumann Bankruptcy Spurs House Auction

Before Neumann Homes went into bankruptcy last November, it was the ninth-largest builder in the Chicago area, with subdivisions going up in a string of towns along the outer edge of the suburbs. The company’s tumble, which its CEO, Ken Neumann, acknowledged was due to over-exuberant expansion, sent yet another shockwave through…

Sex and the Windy City

There are two kinds of people in this world: those giddy with anticipation in advance of Friday’s premiere of Sex and the City: The Movie and those who’d rather poke out their eyeballs with a six-inch stiletto than hear fictional sex columnist Carrie Bradshaw croon “Hellllloooo, lover” on the big screen. Everyone’s in luck! There are plenty of things to do this week, some of which are all about Sex and others that have nothing to do with it. (No shocker here: I fall into the fan camp and have a SATC-themed girls’ night out planned for Friday; more on that next Monday)…

Melons and Felons

When you’re living in a youth hostel with a toddler, even the smallest things become complicated operations. Take bathing, for example. We’re currently sharing bathrooms with the rest of our floor, and you kind of need your own bathroom with a little one, so we’re forced to get creative.

After much deliberation, we decided the most effective course of action was for Hannah to go in the shower with Sarah, who got her clean while I waited outside the women’s bathroom door with a towel. After my ten minutes of playing the Creepy American Guy…

Maxalto Opening in Chicago

Chicago will be the first city in the U.S. to get a freestanding Maxalto store (it’s opening June 6 at 309 W. Superior St. in River North). This collection by Antonio Citterio is part of B&B Italia but has a more classic look, with lines inspired by French design of the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s. —Gina Bazer

A Taste of Brooklyn

A Store Grows in Wicker Park

Brooklyn Industries (1426 N. Milwaukee Ave.; 773-360-8182, brooklynindustries.com), recently opened its first store outside New York, offering T-shirts, totes, messenger bags, and other casual threads. The brand has a commitment to eco-friendly materials and limited edition, graphic print tees ($32) for men and women, made in runs of 200. Men’s selections include shorts and pants of the snug hipster variety, plaid short-sleeve shirts ($58), and comfy, everyday wear such as the…

Separating the Schlaf from the Chaff

You’ve got to love the little guy.

Deep in the heart of Bud country, Schlafly is sticking it to The Man one all-American ale at a time. Launched in 1991 and bearing a subtly audacious tagline, “The Saint Louis Brewery,” the microbrew mecca turns out six no-nonsense beers year round (a pale ale, a pilsner—almost as if the brewmasters were trying to prove simple beer can still taste good), as well as a lengthy roster of more adventurous seasonals, including…