Posted inArts & Culture

In Store: enormous shop of horrors

Fantasy Costumes Headquarters may never compete with Disney World, but it’s a block-long wonderland packed with everything from the sublime to the ridiculous. The sublime includes Mardi Gras ensembles with brilliantly hued sequined and feathered masks; faux-jewel-encrusted velvet Renaissance costumes for bride, groom, and attendants; and a black-and-white Ascot outfit like the one worn by […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Restaurant Tours: Vinyl records more hits than misses

Chicago isn’t New York. Big Time Productions’ Cal Fortis and Ken Smith (owners of Angelina, Oo-La-La!, Neo, Ka-Boom!, and Crobar) aren’t Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell. And Vinyl, their newest venue, isn’t Schrager and Rubell’s Royalton Hotel, though its spectacular, futuristic environment is reminiscent of the work of French designer Philippe Starck, especially upstairs in […]

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Restaurant Tours: Soviet emigres bring new life to the Loop

Soviet cuisine, like the ex-nation itself, is influenced by a diverse blend of traditions and cultures. At the Russian Tea Cafe, which opened around the corner from Orchestra Hall in late September, the extensive menu travels from familiar favorites–stroganoff, shashliki, and blinis with caviar and sour cream–to Russian Jewish offerings and modern specialties from Uzbekistan, […]

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Restaurant Tours: cafe de Rudi

The coffeehouse tradition goes back to 1672, when an Armenian named Pascal opened a coffee stall at the Saint-Germain Fair in Paris. He called it a “cafe.” Gradually cafes became hangouts and began to offer food and wine. But these days in Paris–if not in Chicago–cafes are dying out, and chic wine bars where Parisians […]

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Restaurant Tours: eating correctly at the Whole Foods Market

The Whole Foods Market, which opened in March at North and Sheffield, is the new hangout for the politically correct. They’re loading their shopping carts with natural pet foods, nontoxic cleaning agents, recycled paper products, naturally brewed beers, and wine from organic grapes. They’re buying nitrite-free, hormone-free, organically fed, free-range poultry, beef, lamb, and veal […]