Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Stanley Cup! Here comes the Chicago Blackhawks!

Well, the Madhouse on Madison was a crazy place on May 23rd, when the Chicago Blackhawks clinched the Western Conference with a SWEEP of the San Jose Sharks. It has taken the Hawks 18 years to get to the Stanley Cup Playoffs again. The last time they were there in 1992 they played the Pittsburgh Penguins and where defeated. The time before that was 1962 when they were defeated by the Toronto Maple Leafs. So, needless to say the fans are more than excited and the city is a buzz with Hawks fever.

So, the final game was nothing less than exciting! With one our star players Duncan Keith losing 7 front teeth from a frozen hockey puck. Oooch! But worth it in his eyes! Then our man Dustin Byfuglien scores the third clinching goal! Holy Cow, the Blackhawks are going to the Stanley Cup finals. They will be playing the Philly Flyers. Well, I always do love a good Philly Cheese Steak sandwich. So, if when we WIN maybe we can get the Mayor of Philly to send us a bunch of Cheese Steak sandwiches. Ok, so I hope the curse of the Division Cup winners not touching the cup means a Big Win for the Chicago Blackhawks!

One more thing! Tickets! They are expensive! So, if you are looking for a ticket to any of the games bring your wallet. The prices are starting at $500 & going up. So, just in case if you are willing to part with the money, stop by and see us at the Concierge Desk and we can assist you with tickets.

Oh,Yes! Hawks take game one in overtime! Go Hawks, bring one home for the Windy City!

Paul, Sheryl & Jeff

Friday, May 21, 2010

Ever wanted to visit Al Capone’s hideouts? Want to taste test some of the finest Chicago pizza? Chocolate lover? There’s a tour for that.

Several tour companies have created pop culture tours that will introduce you to some of the unique and interesting characteristics of Chicago’s famous culture. From hauntings to hunger, these tours show you some of quirky sides of Chicago’s traditions and history.

Untouchable Tours
Hit some of the gangster’s hot spots in this two hour narrated tour that gives you accounts of Capone, Dillinger, Moran and their boys. Tours run twice a day during the week and several times on the weekends. Cost is $28 per person with reservations strongly suggested.

Slice of Chicago Pizza Tours
Known for the deep dish pizza, Chicago has a wide selection of pizza parlors each with its own special recipes for crust and sauce. Two tours daily ( Thurs – Sun. ) will let you sample three of the best Chicago has to offer as you learn the history of pizza and secrets of the trade all while devouring slices of cheesy, savory slices all for only $40 per person.

Chicago Film Tour
Batman, Ferris Buehler, and Dr. Richard Kimble have all been featured in movies filmed right here in Chicago. And of course, the Blues Brothers. Local film enthusiast, John Brinkman will tour you through some of the famous movie sites right here in Chicago with both educational and entertaining information. Two tours operate daily from Thursday through Sunday and run $30 per person.

Chicago Hauntings Ghost Tours
Ghost hunter and Paranormal researcher Ursula Bielski will take you on a tour of Chicago’s creepy sites from Fort Dearborn to our most infamous graveyards and all points in between. The cost is $30 per person ($20 for children 12 and under) and run nightly Tuesday through Sunday.

Chicago Food Tours
Tastebud Tours present a walking and dining tour of Chicago. A three hour tour runs four times daily and will take you on a food tasting tour of some of the most popular dining spots in the Windy City from restaurants to specialty food shops. Tours are about $45 per person.

Chicago Chocolate Tours
For anyone with a sweet tooth, this walking tour will guide you to Chicago’s finest chocolate shops, bakeries and cafes. Just over 2 hours this tour will take you to some traditional as well as non- traditional chocolate locations. Tours vary by day and times and cost $40 per person.

Any of these tours should give you a unique and interesting perspective to some of the more unusual and tasty traditions in Chicago.

Please come see the concierge for more information or booking.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

That crazy place called Wrigley!

Oh, those Cubbies! Look like they are off to another great start. Losing! But,hey! It is Wrigley and everything around there is so much fun. Between the bar and restqurants. Oh, and did I say the Bars!
We love the Cubs winning or losing. But, we sure do love what comes with the Neighborhood. Good days and bad days good times are sure to be had. Now, I love being outside on a patio pre game and post game. Beer galore and food too!

Starting off with Murphy's Bleachers, this bar is always packed and they have a great burger which you can get at the end of the bar. Be prepared to find your way through a sea of people to get one! But, it is worth it. The quickest way to get a drink is to hang out around the beer tubs or the togo window.

After the game there are many hot spots. To start there is Sluggers, with friendly bartenders and tons of good looking people. Oh, the music is great too! One more thing, if your lucky enough to secure a spot try a chance at hitting a ball yourself in the batting cages on the second floor.

Also check out Bernie's, the oldest bar in Wrigley with a great outdoor patio! Make sure you get there right after the game so you can score a table, other wise you will be standing.

One more is Harry Caray's Tavern, just across from Wrigley Field. The original is downtown and is a Chicago staple. But, this one is just as good. Tons of TV's and great food for too!

If you have any questions or would like more suggestions, stop by our Concierge Desk and we will be happy to assist you.

Enjoy your week!
Sheryl, Paul, Jeff & Quirine

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel Hosts the Prime Minister of Singapore

Executive Chef Kerry Hieber from the Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel Chicago prepared a unique Singaporean cuisine luncheon for the Prime Minister of Singapore and 150 attendees.

Chef Hieber emphasizes her culinary flare and brings her creations with an authentic meal from scratch for an event the Overseas Singaporean Club hosted on April 16, 2010 for Singaporean business executives, students and the Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr. Lee Hsien Loong and his wife, Ho Ching. Prime Minister Lee spoke to some 150 Singaporeans who are studying and working in Chicago. In addressing the group, Prime Minister Lee expressed hope that Singaporeans based overseas will realise the country's developments and economic growth particularly after the financial crisis and return home soon. Mr. Lee told Singaporeans in Chicago that Singapore is on a stable platform to transform itself, illustrating that with a slideshow of the country's latest additions such as Ion Orchard and The Pinnacle@Duxton.

Chef Hieber was excited about the opportunity to explore a new cuisine and relied on her network of culinary resources such as Greg Teft from Le Cordon Bleu, an instructor of International Cuisine, and chefs from Millennium’s headquarters in London, UK. She also visited Chicago area restaurants and spoke to local Malaysian and Singaporean-born Chefs skilled in the art of Singaporean preparation. Chef Hieber was able to gain valuable insight on how the dishes are authentically prepared in order to successfully prepare the luncheon for 150 high profile guests.

“For most chefs, it’s better to taste the food rather then read about it. If I taste someone’s food, I can almost always duplicate it. I looked at it as a challenge and was very excited for the opportunity to prepare the meal for this group and the honorable Prime Minister,” said Chef Hieber, who is hoping to prepare more Singaporean dishes for future groups who come to the hotel.

Some of the main dishes prepared by Chef Hieber were Laksa- a spicy coconut soup with rice noodles, seafood, chicken, fish balls, fried bean curd and a spicy blend that consisted of laksa leaf, laos, and galangal root; Hainanese Chicken Rice - chicken rubbed in kosher salt, dark soy and sesame oil then stuffed with galangal root and scallions, slow poached and served with chicken flavored rice; accompaniments that complimented the dishes such as sriracha hot sauce blended with ginger garlic, lime juice and chicken broth. Other items on the menu included Hokkien Mee, Sambal Prawns, Ho Jen, Chinese Vegetables and Chendol with Fruit Salad.

Chef Hieber graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 1999 and has years of experience in various culinary management rolls in the hospitality industry in Philadelphia and Chicago. She recently joined the Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel as the Executive Chef where she has created all new menus for Nix Restaurant and the hotel’s catering department focusing on local, organic and free range products.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Festival Season is upon us!

It is festival time in Chicago. Summer is almost upon us and where there is warm weather, there are great times.

Celtic Fest
Dates: May 8, 2010 - May 9, 2010
Hours: 11 am - 9 pm
Location: Millennium Park; N. Michigan Ave. & E. Randolph St.
Admission: FREE

Kicking off the season is the 14th Annual Celtic Festival. Usually held in Chicago's famed Grant Park, the festival gets a new home this year in Millennium Park.

The inaugural Celtic Fest Chicago took place September 21-22, 1997 on Columbus Drive and Jackson Boulevard in Grant Park. Its lofty goal was to educate the public on Celtic music and culture from the 7 Celtic nations. Those nations are Ireland; Scotland; Isle of Man; Cornwall; Wales; Galicia, Spain; and Brittany, France. Headliners the first year included John McDermott, La Bottine Souriante, Altan, Leahy and Carlos Nunez.

The festival was unique in that it highlighted different Celtic instruments such as the Harp and the Uilleann Pipe, which is the Irish bagpipe worked by pumping air into it with an elbow.

Celtic dancing has been a big part of the festival since it began. Local dance schools showcase their students on their own separate stage. Fest goers were introduced to ceili dancing and eagerly participated.

The bagpipe parades through festival grounds have been a tradition at the event since the beginning. The general public is invited to parade along with the pipers.

Some new Celtic Fest traditions have been added this year including a Men in Kilts Leg Contest and an upgraded children’s area featuring musical performances.

Cinco De Mayo Festival
Dates & Hours: May 7 : 6 p.m. - 11 p.m.
May 8 : 12 p.m. - 11 p.m.
May 9 : 12 p.m. - 11 p.m.
Location: Pilsen/Heart of Chicago/Little Village; 26th Street and Kostner Avenue
Admission: Free

A celebration of South-of-the-border culture that's enjoyed worldwide, Cinco de Mayo (or "5th of May") commemorates the Mexican army's unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. This, and Mexican Independence Day (celebrated in September in the Little Village neighborhood's "Festival de La Villita"), are two of the biggest celebrations of Mexican culture in the Midwest. In the case of Cinco de Mayo, it has become a global festivity.

This inaugural three-day festival (which is also held in the Little Village neighborhood, to many is the heart of Chicago's Mexican community), is long overdue! It will feature plenty of live music, food, arts & crafts, activities for families and children and much more. The bottomline? Little Village's Cinco de Mayo Festival celebrates Hispanic families and community with a joyous flair!

For more information and directions please contact our concierge desk.