Concierge Correspondent Bobby Gonzalez of the Hotel Palomar offers up an eclectic mix of things to do in Chicago this week.
From his compelling reason to snag tickets to BaconFest Chicago and why you should take in the beauty of the Lurie Garden in winter (yes, really!) to the best ways to celebrate Chinatown’s 100th Anniversary, it’s all here in this short video clip.
Park Grill announced today the appointment of Thomas Donnelly as executive chef. Donnelly is passionate about food and is committed to using high quality, seasonal ingredients that reflect a farm-to-table approach.
Donnelly was born and raised in Chicago and is a graduate of the Culinary Arts program at Kendall College. He comes to Park Grill with over 15 years of restaurant experience that includes Le Bouchon, ten years with Levy Restaurants and Bistro 110, Bistro Margot, Lettuce Entertain You’s Brasserie JO and Sopraffina Marketcaffe.
His most recent position was with Eurest Dining, a division of Compass Group International, as both a general manager and executive chef.
Christopher Rodriquez is concierge at the Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago and is a South Side native who feels that Chicago’s warmth, inviting people and diverse offerings make it second to none.
“The friendliness you find here, even though it’s a huge city, is one of my favorite aspects,” he says.
Christopher has held many jobs over the years (and some interesting ones at that!), including stints as a ranch hand and repo man. It wasn’t until Christopher was working as a retail manager in a woman’s clothing store that he considered the concierge profession.
“While I was firmly trenched in guest service, I got my start as a concierge sort of by luck,” he says. “At the clothing store I was approached by a manager from the W Chicago Lakeshore hotel who asked me to follow up with her as she had a job in mind for me.”
That follow up meeting resulted in his being named head concierge at the W Chicago Lakeshore, where he worked for three years. Prior to joining the concierge team at the Trump hotel, he helped to start the concierge program at the then newly-opened Affinia Hotel.
“I have had the privilege to work with some of the best and brightest stars of this industry,” he says. “And my present team is a great example.”
So, what tops his list of things to do in Chicago? “I would recommend spending time walking around Millennium Park – especially taking in the gorgeous, serpentine BP Bridge and, of course, the Pritzker Pavilion which is my favorite aspect of the Park,” he says. “Couple that with grabbing a Polish sausage or Chicago-style hot dog from Downtown Dogs for lunch and some people watching on the Magnificent Mile and you’re guaranteed to have a great afternoon.”
Oh, he also suggests ending the night by indulging your sweet tooth at Sprinkles cupcakes. “It’s an absolute treat,” he adds.
Tags: Affinia Hotel, Chicago Style Hot Dog, Christopher Rodriguez, Concierge of the Week, Downtown Dogs, magnificent mile, Millennium Park, Pritzker Pavilion, Sprinkles Cupcakes, Trump Hotel Chicago, W Chicago Lakeshore
Whether you’re looking to delve into history at the Pritzker Military Library, take in the legendary music of Frank Sinatra or to relax with friends before dancing the night way, Wyndham Chicago Concierge Kaitlyn Lawlor offers up her three picks for weekend fun in Chicago.
Tags: broadway in chicago, Chicago Events, Chicago Musicals, chicago theater, Chicago Travel, Come Fly Away, concierge video picks, Kaityln Lawlor, Millennium Park, Pritzker Military Library, The Mid, things to do in chicago, What to do in Chicago
Concierge at the Hotel Allegro – A Kimpton Hotel, located in the heart of Chicago’s theater district, Anthony Gates is a lifelong Chicagoan who loves to keep himself informed on the best happenings around town in order to tailor his guests’ experiences accordingly.
“I love helping to create a great experience in Chicago,” he says. “Helping to organize guests’ sightseeing itineraries so they get the most out of their visit in a specific time frame is incredibly rewarding, challenging and fun.”
And when those guests return to the hotel and have nothing but positive feedback on their experiences? Well, that’s just icing in the cake for Anthony. “It’s what makes me feel especially passionate about my job,” he adds.
So, how did he get his start as a concierge? “I was working at the Westin Hotel on Michigan Avenue as a night auditor and when I would leave at 7 a.m., I noticed that there would be a line at the concierge desk,” he says. “I took the initiative of going over there and helping with basic questions and really discovered my passion for hospitality and the profession.”
When it comes to helping his guests explore all that Chicago has to offer, Anthony excels at staying current on what’s happening in Chicago. Whether it’s street closures due to construction and giving his guests’ directions to avoid the hassles to knowing the top places to see and be seen.
“As a concierge, it is so important to be on top of the timely events that are taking place around town,” he says. “From watching the news and reading the newspapers, keeping yourself informed is a necessary—and fun—part of the job.”
What tops his list of things to do and see in Chicago right now? “Ice skating outdoors at Millennium Park or indoors at the John Hancock Observatory is an absolute-must,” he says. “I also encourage my guests to catch Buddy Guy when he performs at his eponymous club.”
When it comes to dining options, Anthony is passionate about our hometown eats. “You can’t be in Chicago without trying some of our specialties like a Chicago-style hot dog, deep-dish pizza or indulging in a steak,” he adds.
Tags: Anthony Gates, Buddy Guy's Legends, Chicago Events, Chicago Steakhouses, Chicago-Style Hot Dogs, Concierge of the Week, concierge picks, Deep Dish Pizza, Hotel Allegro-A Kimpton Hotel, ice skating in Chicago, John Hancock Observatory, live music, Millennium Park
Concierge Correspondent Landon Moore offers up his top things to do in Chicago this weekend. From skating under the magnificent skyline to ‘La Cage Aux Folles’ at the Bank of America Theater, there’s no reason to be bored be this weekend. What are you waiting for? Start planning!
From 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, November 12th, guests can partake in an Asian Tea Time featuring a variety of Asian teas and dim sum and a special children’s menu. The event will take place at the Aria Bar, a contemporary Asian-fusion cocktail lounge, within the Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park (200 N. Columbus Dr.) The event costs $35 per person and reservations can be made by calling 312-444-9494.
Additionally, some of the proceeds from the tea will go towards the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Grand Chefs Gala, an annual event that raises money for the Foundation’s research for a cure. So not only will you be steeping in style, you’ll also be steeping towards a good cause—seems like the perfect way to spend the afternoon every way that you look at it.
The event will be in the park on Saturday the 24th from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday the 25th from noon to 5 p.m. It will be a celebration of Chicago’s culinary community, with two days of food, wine, spirits and beer tastings. Also scheduled are celebrity chef demos, educational seminars, book signings and more.
More than 100 chefs will be there, preparing dishes that guests can taste, and a number of local chefs from Chicago restaurants will offer cooking demonstrations. Local chefs include Rick Bayless, John Hogan, Dirk Flanigan, Tony Mantuano, and Stephanie Izard. National chefs include Jonathan Waxman and Mary Sue Milliken, both fresh from appearances on Bravo’s “Top Chef”. Internationally, Michelin-starred chef Stefan Karlsson from Sweden’s Fond restaurant will also participate, leading both a cooking demonstration and a seminar on traditional Swedish fare.
Grand Cru Tasting at Chicago Gourmet will let visitors taste some of the finest wines in the world as selected by a number of the nation’s master sommeliers, like Eric Hemer, Joe Spellman and Serafin Alvarado. Some of Chicago’s wine experts, like Ryan Steins, Jason Carlen, Michael Muser and Aaron Sherman, will be there as well, sharing their knowledge.
In a related event, Hamburger Hop will kick off the Chicago Gourmet. It will be held at the Harris Theater Rooftop in Millennium Park, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Over a dozen area chefs will compete to make the city’s best burger, as a celebrity panel of judges will deem who wins. Guests will enjoy gourmet hamburgers, beer, wine, and spectacular city views.
Unfortunately, Saturday is sold out for Chicago Gourmet, but tickets are still on sale for Sunday. Tickets for the Chicago Gourmet main event are going for around $165, and tickets for the Grand Cru are going for about $190. Hamburger hop tickets are around $95. Get your tickets now at the Chicago Gourmet website.
It August, and for anyone under 18, that means preparing to start kissing sweet summer goodbye: jamming in a few more water balloon fights, campfires and backyard barbeques. But summer doesn’t have to end just yet, and neither do those delicious, burger-filled cookouts.
To kick off Bon Appetit presents Chicago Gourmet, get your burger fix at the second annual Hamburger Hop. On Sept. 23rd, 15 of Chicago’s top chefs will fire up their grills to compete in the Hamburger Hop, a friendly competition to create the city’s best burger.
An ideal launch to a gourmet weekend, this interactive event will feature a panel of celebrity judges to evaluate these juicy creations. Enjoy the entries (and be able to say you tasted the winner!) along with beer, wine and spectacular city views.
The event will be held in the Harris Theater Rooftop in Millennium Park (205 E. Randolph St.) from 6-9 p.m. Guests must be 21 and the all-inclusive cost is $89.
Love the Hop? Then check out the rest of the weekend with Chicago Gourmet, a epicurean event showcasing over 100 of Chicago’s finest restaurants and chefs. The event in Millennium Park and includes tastings, seminars and demonstrations devoted to everyone’s favorite topic: good-tasting food.
But kick off your feeding frenzy at the Hamburger Hop and savor the last summer evenings in style.
Tickets to the Hamburger Hop are now available online.
Have you ever wanted to travel to a luxurious destination outside of the United States, but your bank account would not allow such an elaborate getaway? Well, get ready to fasten your seatbelt because an opportunity to take a voyage to India has arrived and you have been chosen as its well-deserving recipient.
Beginning on July 8 and running through July 17, the city of Chicago will be transformed into an oasis of unique happenings and surreal opportunities with the first annual Eye on India Festival.
Presented by Indian-based Teamwork Films in partnership with Chicago-based Anookul Incorporated, the Eye on India Festival will honor India’s cultural heritage by showcasing the very best of what India has to offer including its rich music, dynamic theatre, unique literature, profound films, traditional health and wellness and visual arts. It will be held at a variety of Chicago locations including Millennium Park, Harris Theater, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Chicago Cultural Center.
Although some of the Eye on India Festival events are ticketed, such as a stellar performance by the acclaimed Dr. L. Subramaniam featuring the Chicago Children’s Choir, Natya Dance Theatre, as well as a sensational performance by one of India’s most prominent puppet groups, Ishara Puppet Theatre Trust, majority of the events are free of charge. Visitors and natives alike are welcome to enjoy literature sessions, a film retrospective which features the acclaimed Indian actress, Tabu, an intriguing performance by British musician Susheela Raman, yoga in the park as well as an art exhibit creatively entitled, “Where the Streets Have No Name.”
Be sure to come out and enjoy the naturally rich history and intriguing talent of Indian culture. It is sure to be an amazing, sensational, and historical event! For specific locations and times for events, please visit eyeonindia.com.