One of The Most Spacious Chicago Sports Bars Opens By UIC

If you want to chill on sleek black couches and take in 40 beers on tap or seasonal cocktails with front row viewing of your favorite sports game, then I invite you to Bracket Room, a new restaurant and bar located on 1315 S. Halsted St. by UIC. One of Chicago’s most spacisous sports bars recently opened at the end of summer and is catering to anyone who wants to get out and watch a football game with over 50 TV’s to choose from. But this sport’s bar offers more than just football games and beer. It also has a VIP section and a live DJ for parties on the weekend.  This will be Bracket Room’s 4th location to open, and the first Chicago location with plans for additional expansion in the city. Bracket Room is owned and operated by OHM Chicago LLC in partnership with Chris Bukowski.

“We are in the perfect location to embrace the University of Illinois, Chicago as well as the neighboring businesses, residents, and community,” said Chris Bukowski, the original founder of Bracket Room and partner at Bracket Room Chicago. “Our food and drink menu will be approachable, yet interesting with a wide variety of options, with some including a unique Chicago flair. Our array of over 50 televisions, including a huge HD projection screen, makes it the perfect spot to watch sports events, from not only your favorite Chicago teams, but everyone’s favorite sports teams.”

A couple menu items you will not want to miss include the; “The World’s Best Tots” and the “Lamb Lollipops.” When I sat down with the restaurant owner and former Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise star, Chris Bukowski, he insisted that I trust him as he ordered me these two “must haves.” And, I’m happy to report, that they were delicious!

 

As for this Chicago sports bar menu, it was adventurous and different. I was skeptical about the Philly Cheesesteak Rolls, which is an Asian twist to the Philly Cheesesteak. They were amazing and came with a tangy sauce.

Bracket Room is so much more than a sports bar – trust me – you can start with lamb lollipops and end the night with champagne and creme brûlée.

As far as cocktails are concerned, I enjoyed the peach twist to a Moscow Mule.

One of my favorite food bloggers, Katie from Appetite 4 Adventure also reviewed the restaurant. She enjoyed “The fresh Ahi Tuna Sashimi Salad was my personal favorite and everyone at the table really enjoyed it, too. Tuna is one of my fave proteins and it was cooked perfectly. The entire salad was well balanced and I really loved the addition of grapefruit. it was a great balance with the tuna, grapefruit, nuts, and ginger-soy dressing,” as she stated in her Yelp Chicago review. 

One of my favorite aspects of this spacious Chicago sports bar by UIC is that it is enclosed in glass garage doors. It was nice to take in the neighboring businesses (and the Chicago breeze) near UIC when I had appetizers and drinks there.

I’m excited to go back for these DJ parties I’ve been hearing about. And if you’re into happy hour, which who isn’t? Bracket Room has a Happy Hour menu Monday – Friday from 4:00pm – 7:00pm.

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There is Lower Cost Transportation Options Than Rideshare for a Night Out

Planning a night out can be the worst. Everyone shows up at different times and wants to try out a dance bar or a Tiki bar or do a taco crawl. The more people involved – the more opinions. And since a night out in Chicago usually involves a few rounds of drinks, finding a designated driver or making sure all your girlfriends get home okay can add more stress. Of course, the go-to is to open up your favorite rideshare app, but there’s a much better option for a group in Chicago!

Better Than Rideshare:

Reserving a party bus or limousine for your next night out not only ensures a safe ride for everybody involved, but it also adds a layer of convenience that can’t be replicated by a taxi or Uber. You’ve reserved a block of time, so you’re able to visit multiple destinations through out the night instead of sticking to one or two within walking distance. You’ll be able to enjoy features such as spacious cabins for easy socialization through the night, cup holders for your beverages, sophisticated hardwood flooring and lighting, television panels with DVD players, stereos with the ability to stream through auxiliary ports, and more.

Professional chauffeurs have the knowledge needed to get you where you need to be efficiently and safely. They’ve also had tons of experience taking groups to local hot spots, so they can offer up suggestions if you’re unsure of where to head to next. It’s like having your own personal concierge and night club on the road!

Affordability:

While most groups assume that a Chicago Party Bus is too expensive considering the sophistication, when you divide the overall cost evenly among every one involved, it’s comparable to a rideshare service or taxi trip with a lot more to look forward to. You can save even more money by avoiding high traffic months like wedding and prom season, and the weekend if possible. With a bit of preparation beforehand, you can make sure your next get together is fun, safe and affordable!

This is a sponsored post.

About the Author: Alan James is a local travel writer who specializes in entertainment topics. They hope to provide a helpful voice for those looking to elevate their leisure time.

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What to Order on a Dinner Date to Grand Lux Cafe Chicago

Grand Lux Cafe has always been known for their amazing desserts like this one. And while it would be a disappointment to forgo dessert. Dessert is one of the best parts of a number restaurants I have reviewed including Chop in The Roosevelt Collection. But, it’s nice to actually enjoy a good meal with your significant other or a group of friends after shopping on Michigan Avenue.

The 200 item menu at Grand Lux Cafe offers classic American dishes and international favorites, including appetizers, pasta, seafood, steaks, chicken, burgers, salads, specialty items and desserts. And while the food – the real food is quite tasty – what’s especially nice about this restaurant is that on top of offering fine cuisine, it also has an onsite bakery for delicious desserts, and my favorite – their cappuccinos.

I went to Grand Lux on a Friday night in July for a date. I’ve been there with a friend, but I like this setting for an intimate date – when you can forget time.

The Cocktails:

Grand Lux is pretty amazing for their cocktails alone. It’s beautiful inside and it almost seems like just grabbing a cocktail here would be a waste because the food is so good. But, there are some really good cocktails on the menu. If you’re ordering a main dish – I would go with the champagne or a glass of wine – it just pairs better. I had the Laurent-Perrier, Brut, France champagne, which is drier and comes in a cute mini bottle.

But, when you’re having apps, I would order the Passion in Paradise. It’s a rum drink with Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, Pineapple, Passion Fruit and Fresh Lemon. It’s tropical, it’s big, and it’s strong, and seriously refreshing.

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The Appetizers and Salad:

You quite honestly don’t want to miss the appetizers. The portion sizes of the main dishes are quite large, but when you’re staying for a while, treat yourself to one of restaurant goers favorites – the Buffalo Chicken Rolls. I know! I was skeptical because it seems like an Asian twist on sports food – and it was – but it was really good. The Buffalo Chicken Rolls have Chicken Breast, Cheese and Our Very Spicy Delicious Buffalo Sauce all Rolled in a Spiced Wrapper and Fried until Crisp. Served with Celery Sticks and Blue Cheese Dressing (which you can swap for Ranch).

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Another appetizer that I wanted to try was the Ahi Ceviche which has Fresh Raw Ahi Tuna Diced and Marinated in Lime Juice, Chiles and Cilantro. Tossed with Avocado, Tomato, Onion and Cucumber. But of course, we only have one stomach. So, I tried my date’s Pot Roast Cheese Fries, which is basically pot roast flavored fries. It’s French Fries Topped with Chunks of Tender Pot Roast Smothered with Gravy and Creamy Cheddar Cheese Sauce.

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The Main Dish:

Finally, after atleast one cocktail, some delicious buffalo chicken and a zesy salad, it’s time to enjoy salmon. When I use to think of Grand Lux, I thought of them as pasta and desserts, but now since I’m trying to eat healthier, and they really do a great job with their sauces, I order their salmon. There are three salmon dishes on the menu and they are not created equal.

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I think the Cedar Plank BBQ salmon was nicely flavored and the side of mashed potatoes are amazing. It is roasted on a Cedar Plank and Glazed with Sweet and Spicy B.B.Q. Sauce. Served with Mashed Potatoes, Corn Succatash and Crispy Onion Rings.

Then, there’s the salmon three ways –  Soy Glazed with Shiitake Mushrooms, Horseradish Crusted with Asparagus and Almond Ginger with Green Beans and Beurre Blanc. Some of the salmon was a bit dry for my liking. But, I will say the horseradish crusted with asparagus and almond ginger was a great blend.

The Dessert:

The best part of the meal is dessert! I liked the Warm Sticky Bun Bread Pudding. The Sticky Bun’s crunch and the sweet caramel drizzle are completed with a side of whip cream, which both complements and cools the dessert and you can get the recipe here. 

But, I went with the Godiva chocolate cheesecake and paired it with their cappuccino. I’m seriously obsessed with the cappuccino’s here. They are the best because they do have an onsite bakery and coffee shop. This cheesecake is one of my favorite desserts in the city. It was rich. It was creamy. It’s also huge, so you can split it with your date or a group of friends or take some home like I did.

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Overall, I really enjoyed my dinner at Grand Lux Cafe. I think that the service was impeccable, especially because we had Oscar who recommended several appetizers and my favorite drink. But I also like Grand Lux because in a city you can feel so rushed and the establishments can be so small, but here I felt like I could have a conversation (which we did for three hours) and get to know someone.

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Take Your Mother to Brunch Here on Mother’s Day

It’s time to take your mother out of the kitchen this mother’s day and invite her to a nice brunch at Chicago restaurants.

If you’re a mom – thank you. Thank you for all you do to raise us, to feed us, and clothe us, to make sure we’re educated, know our manners, how to clean, and of course, remember curfew. But thank you for loving us for who we are and who we want to become.

If you’re lucky enough to live in the same city as your mom, we’ve gathered some of the best locations for brunch this Sunday, May 14, 2017, to take your mother. Of course, you can always reference Windy City Cosmo’s original brunch guide here. 

Eataly

For a boozy mother’s day brunch and a cocktail class, go to Eataly. The Italian superstore’s cooking school, La Scuola, hosts “Mother’s Day at Eataly: Martinis & Bellinis,” where moms and their 21+ kids will make classic cocktails during this hands-on workshop. After the mixology class, moms and kids will pair their cocktails with Italian-style French toast and eggs in purgatory. Brunch is available May 14, 2017, from 11 am to 1 pm and 2 to 4 pm for $95 per person, and guests can reserve tickets at eataly.com.

Bottlefork

For the mom who appreciates seasonal ingredients, head to Bottlefork in River North for a unique menu that includes doughnut holes, cast iron-baked French toast and crab Benedict with blood orange hollandaise. Complimentary “Mom-osas” are included for moms. Brunch is available May 14, 2017 from 10:30 am to 2 pm.

Nico Osteria

Treat Mom to a special Italian feast at Nico Osteria, which has a four-course menu featuring dishes such as burrata and Brussels sprout bruschetta, lobster scramble, and stuffed pappardelle with braised pork. The menu can be ordered as a prix fixe for $70 per person, or you can order each dish à la carte.

The Drawing Room

It’s time for a tea party with a high tea service at The Drawing Room at Chicago Athletic Association. Mom will enjoy a sparkling cocktail and an array of sweet and savory bites from executive pastry chef Kristine Antonian. Try the strawberry pistachio tarts, avocado toast, and banana bread. Enjoy teas from Rare Tea Cellars. Reservations can be made for two to six people through Tock at $50 per person.

Porkchop

Celebrating with mom doesn’t have to take your whole paycheck. Porkchop shows its appreciation this year by treating your mother to brunch this Mother’s Day. All moms eat free this Sunday at all Porkchop locations. Mom can dig in to classics like chicken and waffles and pulled meats, all while enjoying a complimentary mimosa. Check the website for a location near your mother.

 

Maggiano’s Brunch: 

In case you missed it, Maggiano’s is now serving brunch – and they’re making a special celebration for your mother. What’s even better is that if you are gathering the whole family together, Maggiano’s will deliver you breakfast in bed. If you haven’t had them already, get the lemon ricotta pancakes. I recently made a batch of them with Maggiano’s head chef.

I'll take the lemon ricotta pancakes. #maggbrunch

A post shared by Windy City Cosmo | 🍸🎈💁🏻‍♀️💋 (@windycitycosmo) on

Whether it’s bacon, eggs, tea or coffee, I hope you get to spend some quality time with your mother this mother’s day. Cheers!

 

 

 

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Velvet Taco: I’ll Have Tater Tots with My Tacos

Sandwiched right between two of Chicago’s best neighborhoods for food, shopping, and nightlife, Gold Coast and Near North Side, Velvet Taco fits right in with its trendy vibes and delicious food.

Actually a chain in Texas, Velvet Taco Chicago is the only location outside of Texas (amazing!) and is a favorite for its unique, but delicious tacos. Velvet Taco has a really casual, but hip vibe, where you can look at the giant wall-menu and order at the counter before taking a seat.

After spending the afternoon in the Gold Coast area, my friend (who is an avid taco lover) and I decided to try it because the restaurant reviews were good. It was pretty clear that the place was popular among locals, and on a Saturday night around 7 pm (prime dinner time), it was pretty full. 

valvet taco menu

Photo courtesy of Daniel Gerzina, Eater Chicago (chicago.eater.com)

Broken down by type of meat, the Velvet Taco menu has chicken, pork, beef, and even vegetarian tacos. You order single tacos, with most customers typically ordering 2-3 per meal. I decided to try the Picnic Chicken taco, a favorite amongst many online reviewers, the Grilled Flank Steak taco and split their famous tater tots with my friend.

The Picnic Chicken Taco:

I have to say, both tacos definitely lived up to my expectations. The Picnic Chicken taco, featuring avocado crema sauce, honey-dijon potato salad alongside the chicken in a flour tortilla doesn’t sound like it’d be amazing, but all of the elements went surprisingly well together. I was particularly surprised by the avocado crema, like most people, I tend to think of guacamole or just plain avocado when it comes to consuming avocados. While unconventional, the crema texture was so good, especially with the dijon flavors from the potato salad. (I also just love potato salad, so that was a great plus in my book).

velvet taco tacos

Photo courtesy of trycaviar.com

The Grilled Flank Steak Taco:

Though I don’t think anything could beat the Picnic Chicken taco, I also loved the Grilled Flank Steak taco, and would definitely recommend it to anyone who, like me, loves steak and meat. The steak was perfectly cooked, not dry at all, and flavorful. Besides the steak, the taco is made up of portobello, white queso, and grilled red onion, all held in a crispy corn tortilla.

Tater Tots with Avocado Crema and a Fried Egg:

But as if the tacos weren’t enough, the tater tots hit the spot. Though perfectly crunchy (but not over-fried)  on the outside and fluffy on the inside, the tots themselves weren’t even the best part. Loaded with goat cheese, smoked cheddar, that amazing avocado crema they also put on the Picnic Chicken taco, chili butter, bacon, and a fried egg on top, these loaded tots alone are worth coming back for. And at only $5.50 (the price of some tacos, and even cheaper than others), they might also be the best value.

velvet taco tater tots

Photo courtesy of Sarah Blaskovich, Eats Blog Dallas News (eatsblog.dallasnews.com)

Bomb Margarita While You Wait:

Because Velvet Taco is so busy during prime meal times, sometimes the wait time can be a little longer, but that’s to be expected in Chicago. However, you can get a BOMB frozen margarita to sip on while you wait, or a can of beer, both of which add to Velvet Taco’s hip, divey vibe. Or if you’re craving something sweet to go with your tacos, try some of their apparently amazing red velvet cake! (I was too full to get some cake, sadly).

velvet taco cake

Photo courtesy of The Local Tourist (chicago.thelocaltourist.com)
I can’t believe I had never found this place before, especially since it’s located by two of my favorite neighborhoods in Chicago. As a taco aficionado who is also friends with plenty of other fellow taco aficionados, this is a new favorite for Taco Tuesday. I will come back to all the time, and I’ll definitely have to try Velvet Taco DeliveryI won’t be getting tired of that avocado crema or those tater tots anytime soon, that’s for sure.

 

This post was written by Cindy Luan from Bootler.

 

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