6 Signs Your Home Has a Drainage Problem

Roofer cleaning a rain gutter with an orange glove on

It’s no secret that any water that’s pooled in any part of your home will cause nothing but problems. And if there are drainage issues in your home, you’ll likely experience these problems pretty quickly. That’s why it’s critical that any drainage issues be nipped in the bud before they turn into total catastrophe. Yet while some issues are obvious, other’s aren’t.

To save yourself the headache and the money trying to fix major problems that arise as a result of poor drainage in your home, keep an eye out for any one of the following 6 red flags.

1. Water Stains

One of the most telling signs that there’s an issue with the drainage in your home is water stains. Whether they’re on the walls, ceilings, or floors, any water stains are surface signs that something awry is lurking where you can’t see.

The location of the water stain will also be an indication of whether or not the problem is the result of surface water, or water moving underground, the latter of which is typically a much bigger problem. If the stain creates a line around the basement, it’s more likely the result of a moving water table. In this case, inquiring about basement waterproofing might be warranted after the issue has been rectified.

2. Spewing Gutters

If you notice that your gutters are running like a raging river, there’s probably something obstructing the free flow along the gutters. Even if you don’t actually see the water gushing out of the gutters, you can still tell this is happening if the grass or dirt at the opening of the gutters seems like it’s been dug out by powerful flows of water, or if you notice mud splatter marks on the exterior walls near the gutters. If this problem persists, you could be dealing with rotted exterior siding or even structural damage.

3. Downspouts That Dump Too Much Water Near the Foundation

The basement of your home can become flooded with water if your downspouts are dumping hoards of rainwater too close to the foundation. As such, the water will make its way into the basement and wreak havoc on the basement walls, floors, and any items you have in the water’s way.

If the downspouts are too short, they can literally dump gallons of water around the foundation walls of your home. As the water is soaked in by the soil, it puts pressure on the walls, and eventually causes them to crack. Adding gutter extensions that help carry the water a minimum of 5 feet away from your foundation walls can really help.

4. Mold in the Attic

The presence of mold in your attic is a sure sign that there’s a drainage problem with your home. It may sound odd that drainage issues can actually show signs of trouble way up in that part of the house, but moisture from the water in the basement can rise up through your home. The bathroom fans and vents will then blow hot, damp air right into the attic space, which can cause mold and mildew when it condenses on the colder side of the roof. Failure to deal with this issue early on can lead to rotted roof sheathing and shingles, which would then need to be replaced.

5. Crusting on Basement Walls

Any flaking or crusting on your basement walls could very well be a sign that your home’s drainage is inadequate. This crusting is caused by the mineral deposit residue that is left behind after water has evaporated and condenses. This might not necessarily be a huge problem if these deposits go no deeper than half an inch. Any more than that, however, could spell real trouble that may involve a compromised foundational structure.

6. Cracks on the Foundation Wall

It’s normal for foundation walls to experience cracks over the years as the house settles after being built. However, any cracks that are very wide – over 1/8 of an inch – or that are uneven might need a closer look into what could be causing them. It might very well be a drainage problem behind these cracks. If that’s the case, you’ll need to find out what exactly is behind the inadequate drainage and fix it.

The Bottom Line

If you notice any one of the above signs, you should deal with them immediately. A qualified plumber or structural engineer will be able to suggest the best course of action to fix the problem before it gets any worse. Identifying drainage problems when they’re not as serious and are easier to rectify can save you a lot of hassle and thousands of dollars over the long haul.

THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO – Gearing Up for the Upcoming Holidays!

This weekend, Chicagoans will be gearing up for the upcoming holidays since this year all our traditional holiday events are back better than ever!  And believe me, there’s plenty to choose from as you’ll see in my upcoming weekend blogs.

Here are two markets that offer items you can’t find in stores to get a head start on your holiday shopping:

Aligned with the 110th annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony that took place Friday evening, the Millennium Park Holiday Art Market will be open this Saturday (12 p.m.-8 p.m.) and Sunday (12 p.m.-5 p.m.) at the Chase Promenade North tent in the Loop.  This market features dozens of local artists selling a variety of items including jewelry, drawings, paintings, pottery, and more!  Plus, vendors from a variety of arts organizations, holiday themed food, hot drinks, cocktails, and live music will be featured as well!

Returning to Chicago for a special holiday shopping event is Markets for Makers this Saturday and Sunday (10 a.m.-5 p.m.) at Artifact Events (4325 N. Ravenswood Ave.) in the Ravenswood neighborhood.  This market features over 90 handmade makers and boutiques selling vintage and unique items along with a Free DIY station, photo walls to create memorable experiences, and a free tote bag to fill with goods from the small businesses.  There’s also food trucks and a bar if you need to take a break as well as free street parking!

Chicago’s two traditional German-style markets return this holiday season as well:

The Christkindlmarket located at Daley Plaza (50 W. Washington St.) in the Loop opens this Sunday (11 a.m.-8 p.m.) and runs through December 24th.  This free outdoor holiday market offers international and local food, a unique shopping experience, live entertainment, family-friendly events, and inter-cultural activities.  And don’t forget to quench your thirst with an imported German beer or warm up with a cup of Glühwein (hot spiced wine) served in their popular collectible souvenir mug!

The Christkindlmarket Wrigleyville is a smaller-scale version of the traditional, authentic market and is located at Gallagher Way (3637 N. Clark St.) running from Saturday (11 a.m.-10 p.m.) and Sunday (11 a.m.-7 p.m.) through the end of the year with as much holiday cheer as its downtown market!

Kick off the official start of the holiday season at this year’s Magnificent Mile Lights Festival this Saturday.  The Lights Festival Lane will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. which is a festive thoroughfare of booths and free family activities all at Pioneer Court (401 N. Michigan Ave.) and includes the Wintrust Pavilion, Dunkin’, Eli’s Cheesecake, the Illinois Lottery, and much more!  The parade then begins at 5:30 p.m. with Grand Marshals Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse followed by a procession of floats, giant helium balloons, marching bands, celebrity performances, and of course Santa Claus!  In addition, the culmination of this holiday celebration will take place over the Chicago River with the Wintrust Fireworks Spectacular at 7 p.m.!

Finally, it’s turkey time!  Chicago’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will take place on Thursday, November 23, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. down State Street from Ida B. Wells Drive to Randolph Street in the Loop.  A local tradition for more than 25 years, this year’s parade will feature acrobats, equestrians, marching bands, and the return of larger-than-life helium balloons!  Plus, you’ll have plenty of time to get home to enjoy your Thanksgiving feast!!

Have a Happy “Gobble” Day!

Sue Moss and Dean’s Team Chicago

Neighborhood News: Experience a winter miracle in Old Town’s ‘Immersive Nutcracker’

Christmas Nutcracker toy soldier and balerina dolls on the stage

One hallmark of every holiday season is the performance of ‘The Nutcracker.’ For 130 years,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet has been a Christmas tradition everywhere.

Now, thanks to the company that gave us ‘Immersive Van Gogh’ and ‘Immersive Mozart,’ the magic that is West Town’s Lighthouse ArtSpace Chicago, 108 W. Germania PIace, brings Chicagoans Immersive Nutcracker: A Winter Miracle.’  The show runs from Friday, November 24 through Sunday, January 7.

The Story of ‘The Nutcracker’ 

As the Chicago Loop Alliance describes it, ‘The Nutcracker’ is based on E.T.A. Hoffman’s 1816 fairy tale ‘The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.’ 

As Smithsonian Magazine recounts, the story involves a little girl, Marie (some who follow the ballet may know her as Clara), who, through the conjuring of her godfather, Herr Drosselmeier, is given a nutcracker doll who becomes a prince, (as well as) a Christmas tree that grows like Jack’s beanstalk, toy soldiers battling mice, and a blizzard,” wrote Laura Jacobs for Vanity Fair. “Act Two alights in the Land of Sweets, where the Sugarplum Fairy reigns.” 
Sweeping music features iconic selections like “The March of the Toys” and “The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” as they are immersed in holiday wonder. 

The Nutcracker has become a holiday classic, taking the form of ballets, films and more. 

Expansive Technology 

The Immersive Nutcracker: A Winter Miracle is the newest rendition of this timeless classic, using the latest projection mapping technology. According to their website, the 30-minute, immersive experience of whimsical animated characters alongside footage of professional ballet dancers is composed of over 1 million frames of video across 500,000 cubic feet, captivating audiences from opening scene to the epic finale. 

Lighthouse Immersive was founded in 2019 by Toronto-based producers, Corey Ross and Svetlana Dvoretsky and Toronto-based developer – Slava Zheleznyakov, Lighthouse Immersive is the first experiential entertainment multi-plex, aiming to cultivate community and creativity through large-scale events and exhibitions of all art forms. For tickets and information, click here.

Alison Moran-Powers and Dean’s Team Chicago

Restaurant Review: Thanksgiving Day Feasts under $100 per person in Chicago

Roasted turkey garnished with cranberries on a rustic style table decoraded with pumpkins, vegetables, pie, flowers, and candles

The Thanksgiving holiday honors early settlers and Native Americans who came together to have a historic harvest feast in 1621.  That first meal, according to National Geographic for Kids, consisted of deer, corn, shellfish, and roasted meat.

But, according to National Geographic, it wasn’t until 1863 that President Abraham Lincoln declared two national Thanksgivings; one in August to commemorate the Battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War, and the other in November to give thanks for “general blessings. In the centuries since, Thanksgiving has become a day when families and friends get together in celebration.

Chicago offers many reasons not to cook this Thanksgiving, on Thursday, November 23. As per Dean’s Team Chicago tradition, we have compiled a short list of area restaurants serving sumptuous feasts for under $100 per person that still have reservations available. This is, by no means, all that are available, but we made sure to include the restaurants offering the best variety for the price.

Reserve your Thanksgiving feast at the Gold Coast’s Brass Tack,11 E. Walton, and indulge in a three-course, traditional American brasserie fare for $85 per person. Start with fresh-made Parker House rolls, followed by your choice of Butternut Squash Bisque accompanied by roasted pepitas and spiced crema, or Green Bean Salad with burrata, tomato, Marcona almonds, frisée, and mint, drizzled with sherry vinaigrette. Entrees include their classic BT Turkey Dinner with brown sugar-bourbon glazed turkey, poblano mashed potatoes, green beans, cornbread dressing, pineapple-cranberry chutney, and savory gravy. Or, their Prime Prime Rib, served with creamed spinach, loaded Hasselback potatoes, and au jus. Ora King Salmon is accompanied by turnips, salt-baked onions, and orange miso.

Save room for their Cognac Pumpkin Cheesecake with a chocolate crust, candied walnuts, and a drizzle of salted caramel. For reservations, click here.

From 11 am until 8 pm, all Francesca’s locations—River North, Lakeview, and suburbs, will host a Thanksgiving Feast Buffet “with an Italian twist.” Chicago Food Magazine notes that you and your family can treat yourselves to an unlimited spread of turkey, ham, artichoke stuffing, rigatoni vodka, salads and a variety of sides. The $49.95 per adult and $14.95 for children aged 12 and under are among the lowest prices we’ve found. Their location on Chestnut has availability through early afternoon as of Tuesday, Mia Francesca’s in Lakeview is still wide open. To make reservations on Open Table, click here.

River North’s Bistronomic, 840 N. Wabash, is offering an $85 per person, three-course menu “with a French accent.” They are featuring a traditional Roasted Farm Turkey Breast served with chestnut stuffing, garlic pomme puree, glazed orange cranberries, haricot vert and verjus sauce. Catch of the Day, Prime Beef Short Ribs, and homemade Vegetarian Tortellini. Appetizers include a choice of Veloute of the Day, Terrine of the Day, Artisanal Smoked Salmon Salad or the Chioggia and Yellow Beet Salad. Desserts include a ‘traditional’ Thanksgiving Dessert, the French Lemon Tart or Chocolate Hazelnut Bars. They note that “The Regular Menu is NOT available!” For reservations, click here.

At Swedish-inspired Ann Sather, their three locations in Lakeview and Edgewater are serving a Thanksgiving Dinner for $30.95 per person, including Chicken Vegetable Soup, Roasted Turkey and Dressing, Mashed Potatoes and Giblet Gravy, Fresh Seasonal Vegetables, Cranberry Sauce, Assorted Homemade Breads, and Homemade Apple or Pumpkin Pie with Whipped Cream. They start serving dinner at 11am. Their 909 W. Belmont location is open 7am–5pm, 3415 N. Broadway is open 7am–3pm, and their 1147 W. Granville Avenue location is open 7am–3pm. No reservations are accepted. For more information, click here. 

Alison Moran-Powers and Dean’s Team Chicago

Chicago Home and Lifestyles – Stress Free Holiday

Close up of African American family gathering for Thanksgiving dinner at dining table

If you’re taking on Thanksgiving this year, don’t panic! With some organization you can pull this off with a minimum of fuss. From getting the house ready to the actual meal, here are some guidelines and handy tips to make everything go smoothly:

Get help. Now is the time to get a little help! A house cleaning service is not as expensive as you think. It’s worth the money to have the house cleaned professionally before guests arrive. Ask friends and family for referrals or maybe your friendly neighborhood Realtor! If guests offer help, take it. From appetizers, liquor, or side dishes, you’ll be happier if you accept the help. I often ask people to bring drinks and desserts. There’s more variety that way and it really helps. 

Create a list. Next is your master list. I am a paper person, so I use a yellow legal pad. Of course, your phone or a tablet will work well too. The first list will be the menu, including everything from appetizers, drinks and snacks to every menu item for dinner. On the first column on the left list every dish. Next column write down everything needed to prepare the dish. Include everything like spices and herbs too. This will be your shopping list. Now is a good time to buy fresh spices and dried herbs. They are always the best fresh, so this is the time to buy.  Highlight items you need to purchase. Shop for all your non-perishables early. If using a frozen turkey, give yourself enough time for safe thawing. A large bird can take several days. Shop for perishables 2 days before. 

Organize. Take your menu list and organize all pots, pans and utensils needed for preparation. It’s not good to need another pot on Thanksgiving morning! All the stores have these items on sale now, along with dishes and serving pieces. Next, organize the table. Clean off the dining room table and put every serving dish you will need there. Appetizers, snacks, and all menu items with serving tools for each. Add plates, glassware and utensils for each guest. Cover with a clean sheet to keep the dust off. 

Prepare drinks. If you are having cocktails, arrange a bar area on a decently sized table. Include mixers along with 3 or 4 different bottles of liquor. Glassware including wine, rocks and tall glasses for mixed drinks. Use a nice ice bucket for drinks. Keep beer and soda in a cooler with ice. Most of this can be set up early in the week and again covered to keep clean. 

Schedule and time everything. Prepare your day by scheduling at least a week ahead. Make note of every menu item, what time it needs to be started and when it will be done. Some things can be prepared early and either frozen or kept in the refrigerator. Dips, rolls, vegetable dishes, stuffing, casseroles and appetizers can all be made days in advance. For example, mashed potatoes can be prepared and kept warm in a slow cooker, just add a little hot cream and butter before serving. Many items cooked in the morning can be warmed in the microwave just before serving. 

If you want to get through this holiday stress free, be as organized as possible! Don’t forget to accept help from others, before and on the big day. Many hands make light work as the old saying goes. You should be able to have some fun too and enjoy the day with your guests. Does anyone else have holiday hints for a smooth and fun day?  

Kathleen Weaver-Zech and Dean’s Team Chicago

Private Showings Vs. Open Houses: Which Wins?

Real estate agent showing a couple around new home

Looking for a new home? Before you sign on the dotted line, you’re going to want to have a chance or two to scope out a few homes in detail first. That means you’ll either want to schedule a private showing, or visit an open house. But which route should you take to find out if that home is right for you?

Let’s dig deeper to find out which of the two is a better approach for you when you’re ready to buy a house.

The Open House

If you’re not ready to buy just yet, and aren’t sure about exactly which neighborhood you want, open houses can be great.

Open houses can be an effective way to chat up the listing agent and find out important information about the home, and even the sellers. You might be able to find out why the sellers are moving in the first place – whether it’s a job relocation, divorce, or other reason. If you discover that the seller is highly motivated, you may have more negotiating power when it comes to wheeling and dealing on an offer.

Open houses can give you access to a lot more pertinent information than you might think. Besides getting to stroll around every room of a home and scoping out all the details, you can also get a sense of the competition that you might be facing and get a grasp of prices in the area.

Assessing the type of traffic might be tough to figure out, however. If there are tons of people venturing in and out of the house you happen to be in too, it could mean that there is some serious interest in that particular property, and that you may need to think about whether or not you should be putting in an offer before someone else does. On the other hand, the traffic could be just a bunch if nosy neighbors or people who enjoy spending their Sundays having a gander at how others live.

The Private Showing

When it comes to really getting a sense of what a home is like, you’ll ideally want to have a private showing scheduled. That way, you can take your time looking about without having to be distracted and interrupted by hoards of traffic.

It’ll also give you a chance to speak frankly about the property with your agent, come up with a strategy for submitting an offer, and ask all the pertinent questions about the place that you might be apprehensive about asking with others within earshot of your conversation.

Scheduling a showing also allows you to see the exact house you want, when you want (for the most part). There’s no need for the home buying process to be a gamble – instead, you can schedule a showing for a particular home you are interested in, during a time frame that’s more convenient for you.

Private showing allow you the freedom to really explore a home, which you usually can’t do during an open house. It would be sort of awkward to crawl into attic spaces or turn on faucets and flush toilets with a bunch of strangers around. With private showings, you can eliminate this concern.

At the end of the day, whether or not an open house or private viewing is better than the other depends on how serious you are about buying. If you’re half-hearted about purchasing, then start off with an open house or two. But of you’ve already scoped out a bunch of listings and have gained a focused sense of what you want, and you’re ready to make the move, private showings are absolutely the way to go.

THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO – Honoring Our Veterans!

Thank you Veterans Day graphic lettering

Before we get started with this weekend’s activities, let’s take a moment to thank and honor all the veterans who have served, and are serving, so honorably in the military in times of war and peace as this Saturday is Veterans Day.  So, the City of Chicago invites one and all to attend its Veterans Day Commemoration Ceremony this Saturday (11 a.m.-1 p.m. – doors open at 10 a.m.) at Soldier Field’s 1st Floor United Club (1410 S. Special Olympics Dr.) in the South Loop to honor both local and national veterans.  The keynote address will be delivered by retired U.S. Navy Admiral Cecil D. Haney.  Members from each branch of the U.S. military as well as civic leaders will be represented.  Plus, the program includes an honor guard, live music from the Navy Band Great Lakes, and other keynote remarks.

Here’s the line-up for the remainder of the weekend!

Chicago’s French international school will be transformed into a lively Parisian marketplace for its 19th annual Lycée French Market this Saturday (10 a.m.-5 p.m.) and Sunday (10 a.m.-4 p.m.) located at 1929 West Wilson Avenue in the Lincoln Square neighborhood.  Besides the 60+ local and French vendors selling their fine and decorative arts, apparel, accessories, jewelry, home décor, gourmet foods and more, guests can also enjoy the market’s famous French Bistro offering a delicious menu of authentic French food, wines, and pastries.  Plus, there’s a variety of entertaining activities for all ages as this market is open to all!

Entertaining this holiday season?  Well, you might find these two events helpful:

Chicago’s best distillers, mixologists, and sommeliers will be on hand for the Spirits & Wine Fest with Artisan Creations this Saturday (12 p.m.-7 p.m.) at Plumbers Hall (1350 W. Washington Blvd.) in the West Loop.  Dozens of vendors will be offering wine and liquor tasting sessions with complimentary artisan chocolate samples and other specialty treats.  Plus, new this year, is ready to drink cocktails which have become the fastest-growing popular beverage of choice.  A ticket includes tastings, samples of artisanal chocolates and foods, demonstrations, and more!

Chicago’s year-round rooftop is hosting the Godfrey Wine Fest this Saturday (1 p.m.-5 p.m.) at the I/O Godfrey Rooftop Lounge (127 W. Huron St.) in the River North neighborhood.  With panoramic skyline views, fire pits, and shimmering water elements, this location is perfect for your 4 hours of tastings, giveaways, and more.  And, with so many options to try, you’re sure to find something for your holiday party to impress your family and friends!

In the mood to giddy up instead?  Then purchase a ticket to the Old Crow’s Country Day Party this Saturday (1 p.m.-6 p.m.) at the Old Crow Smokehouse (3506 N. Clark St.) in the Wrigleyville neighborhood.  Your ticket gets you admission, a complimentary welcome beer, a shot of whiskey, a live performance by Sunfallen, giveaways, and much more!

Thank You Veterans for Protecting Our Freedoms so we have Weekends to Enjoy with Our Loved Ones!

Sue Moss and Dean’s Team Chicago

Neighborhood News: Christkindelmarkets are back in Chicago Loop and Wrigleyville

Shopkeeper selling Christmas-themed goods at the Christkindlmarket at the Daley Plaza in Chicago

Ach du liebe! Tis the season to celebrate a tradition that stretches all the way back to the Middle Ages…gathering in celebration and community, bringing light and laughter to a traditionally dark, cold season.

Christkindelmarketswill be openingat Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington Street, from November 17 – December 24. Sundays through Thursdays, they’ll be open 11am–8pm. Fridays and Saturdays, the hours are 11am–9pm. 

In Wrigleyville, Gallagher Way, 3635 N. Clark Street, Christkindelmarketwill openNovember 17 and run through December 31. Their hours are Monday through Thursday: 3pm – 9pm, Friday through Saturday: 11am–10pm, and  Sunday: 11am–7pm

But as Smithsonian Magazinerecounts, Christmas markets evoke nostalgia, with their glowing lights, sugary smells and joyful sounds reminding visitors of yuletides past. 

Shop the Holidays!

In Downtown Chicago:

On Thanksgiving (November 23) they’ll be open 11am–4pm, and on Christmas Eve (December 24) from 11am–4pm.

In Wrigleyville:

They’ll be open on Thanksgiving from 11am– 4pm, Christmas Eve from 11 am– 4pm, Christmas Day (December 25): CLOSED, and December 26 through December 28: 11am –9pm, and New Year’s Eve (December 31): 11am–4pm.

The Christkindlmarket Chicago, according to their website, “is the most authentic traditional holiday market of its kind outside of Europe, offering a unique shopping experience, family-friendly events & intercultural activities.”

History of Christkindelmarkets 

Christmas markets, according to Wikipedia sources, have been a German tradition since at least the mid 1500s. Seasonal markets were held in Germany year around. Christmas markets were an especially joyous, anticipated event, as they brought light and laughter to a cold, dark season.

However, Smithsonian Magazine traces the Christmas market’s roots back to Vienna in 1296, when Duke Albrecht I authorized 14-day fairs in the month of December. Despite the timing of these festivities, the fairs weren’t directly connected to Christmas and did not appear to be religious in nature.

Another early example of an Advent month—but not necessarily Christmas-themed—market was found in Bautzen, Germany. In 1384, Wenceslas IV, King of Bohemia, gave the city the right to hold a free market, allowing butchers to sell meat until Christmas.

Travel & Leisure Magazine says The Dresdner Striezelmarkt is considered the first genuine Christmas market in the world, dating back to 1434, when it was held for just one day. Today, it’s a massive multiday event where over 200 stalls can be found selling sweet treats, Christmas tchotchkes, and more.

Chicago’s Roots 

In Chicago, according to their website, Christkindlmarket  was first conceptualized in 1995 when The German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest Inc.(GACC Midwest) was seeking alternative ways to promote bilateral trade between the USA and Germany. Peter Flatzek, former Vice President of GACC Midwest, and Ray Lotter, then Manager of Commercial Services for GACC Midwest, initiated the partnership with city officials of Nuremberg, Germany.

The inaugural event took place on Pioneer Court in 1996. By special invitation of former Mayor Richard M. Daley, it moved to Daley Plaza in 1997 and has become a staple event on the plaza ever since. With the support of the City of Chicago and their Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Christkindlmarket Chicago has grown to become one of the most popular winter attractions for locals and tourists alike.

In 2023, Book A Stammtisch! 

According to their website, ‘Stammtisch’ loosely translates to a ‘regular’s table’ in English. The tables are traditional wooden beer tables and benches, typically found at restaurants and beer gardens around Germany that can be privately reserved for exclusive use. 

At the Christkindlmarket in downtown Chicago, the heated, alpine-style Timber Haus can be booked for an exclusive experience with friends, family or colleagues at  12 festively decorated tables which can be reserved individually or together, depending on availability. Four different packages are available for an authentic German tasting experience. The food, including pretzels and variations of sausages, is prepared by German vendors and served family style. For more information, click here.

Alison Moran-Powers and Dean’s Team Chicago

Restaurant Review: For year-round rooftop dining, Cindy’s can’t be beat

City skyline from 360 Chicago observation deck

The temperatures may be dropping, but a beautiful view of Chicago is year-round, thanks to restaurants perched high atop Chicago’s iconic skyscrapers.

Take, for example, Cindy’s, on the 13th Floor (no room for superstition here!) of the Chicago Athletic Association. 

Previously a club-only option, the restaurant overlooks Millennium Park through a glass-topped atrium.

I’ll agree with their assessment that it’s a remarkable backdrop for Chopped Grand Champion and Executive Chef Kaleena Bliss‘ inspired menu, featuring local wild and seasonal produce and fresh seafood. 

For starters, try their STRIPED BASS AGUACHILE  with Aji Amarillo (Peruvian yellow chili pepper), coconut milk, and ginger, cucumber, pickled shallot, sorrel, Nori and sesame rice crisp, or a CHILLED KING CRAB & LOBSTER SALAD, with soy ginger aioli with mint, scallion, celery, cucumber, citrus pickled fresno chile, radish, and toasted Nori. Or their GRILLED EGGPLANT SALAD with green beans, shaved radish, mint, miso Tahini vinaigrette, eggplant puree, Fromage Blanc, and  crispy shallot.

Some of their imaginatively prepared entrees include a POTATO GNOCCHI, served with ramps & mint pesto, with foraged mushrooms, asparagus, green bean, cashew cream, and parmigiano. PRAWNS NAYARIT are served with cherry tomato, cucumber, pickled Cipollini onion, fish sauce, lime, cilantro, and grilled sourdough. TROUT has warm gazpacho, pickled plum, roasted Cippolini onion and fennel.

Not to be missed are unique desserts like their ROASTED CORN PANNA COTTA with candied corn, maple glazed pecans, five-spice caramel, and brown butter ice cream, or their CHOCOLATE MOCHA CAKE with Mocha Crémeux, and malted milk ice cream.

Google reviews were spectacular:

“This is one of the gems of the city. Very nice posh restaurant with a beautiful view over the lake, the skyline and the famous bean. The food is quite well prepared and all dishes are very tasty and well presented. Raw materials are also of quality. Good selection of spirits, wines and beers. Definitively recommended for a nice evening in a lovely place. The building which hosts the restaurant is also remarkable with beautiful marbles and mosaics. I think it was an old athletic club for the city of Chicago.”

“Went to Cindy’s for supper this Thursday evening! A special thank you to our server Anthony, who was attentive, thorough and personal! A special credit to the entire staff for taking care of celiac needs. From the front desk to the chef, I had confidence that the food was going to be safe for me. This communication and attention to details is unique and made for a spectacular night out. And… the view did not disappoint!”

There are lots more selections on their lunch, brunch and Thanksgiving Day menus. Cindy’s is located at 12 S. Michigan Ave. They are open Monday-Thursday 11am – 11pm, Friday 11am-12am, Saturday 10am – 12am, and Sunday 10am-11pm. 

Walk-ins are welcome. Reservations can be made through RESY. (NOTE: they are unable to take reservations by phone or via email as a credit card is required to book due to our cancellation policy.) For reservations, click here

Alison Moran-Powers and Dean’s Team Chicago

Chicago Home and Lifestyles – Canned foods are good and nutritious

Seamless food background made of opened cans of food

Canned foods have gotten a bad rap lately, so bad that folks can be ashamed to wheel up to the checkout with them in the cart. But what we think about canned goods couldn’t be further from the truth!

Canned goods are picked at the peak of ripeness and quickly canned. They are actually minimally processed and retain most of their nutritional value. A study has shown that people who eat a lot of canned foods have a higher intake of 17 essential nutrients than those who don’t. As far as flavor goes, canned fruits and vegetables taste fresher than out of season options; this is especially true of tomatoes. 

Here are some of the best and nutritionally dense foods to consume from cans:

  1. Black beans pack a nutritional punch. One cup contains 15 grams of protein and is rich in folate, iron, and magnesium. They also contain 16 grams of soluble fiber per cup that is a cholesterol buster, at half your daily intake.
  2. Canned oysters contain a bevy of nutrients. They contain more than your daily need for B12, copper and immune boosting zinc. They also contain selenium which has been linked to a lower risk of developing depressive symptoms. They also have more iron content than beef. 
  3. Canned pumpkin-squash of all kinds are full of nutrients. The more colorful the more vitamins. Pumpkins contain a large amount of beta-carotene. People with high levels of carotenoids tested for a younger biological age as indicated by longer telomeres – DNA sequences at the end of chromosomes that shorten as cells age. Add pumpkin to chili, sauces, and dips. You can also substitute for oil and butter in baked goods.
  4. Chipotle chilis in adobo sauce are dried and smoked jalapenos. Eating chili peppers reduces cardiovascular disease and cancer. The benefit of chili peppers is attributed to the chemical compound capsaicin, with potential cardio-protective and anti-tumorigenic effects. It may also have a beneficial impact on our microbiome that could translate into better health. They pack a spicy addition to countless recipes.
  5. Canned tomatoes are one of the best canned vegetables. They are canned immediately at peak ripeness and taste so much better than fresh tomatoes out of season. Purchase whole tomatoes in juice. Crushed and diced tomatoes contain chemicals that keep their shape. Whole tomatoes just contain juice and salt. Canned tomatoes are laced with the plant compound lycopene. This is a member of the carotenoid family that may help in the battle against premature cognitive decline as we age. A report in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute also suggests that greater intakes of lycopene can lower the risk for developing breast cancer. Acting as a potent antioxidant, lycopene can help vanquish the free radicals in our bodies, which can damage DNA and initiate cancers and worsen brain functioning. Tomatoes can be used in so many recipes. Crush canned tomatoes and mix with the aforementioned chipotle peppers to make a delicious spicy sauce. 

Add some nutritious canned food to your pantry and you can use them in a pinch to add to many recipes. Fruits are also delicious and can be used instead of fresh fruit when it is out of season. 

Kathleen Weaver-Zech and Dean’s Team Chicago