THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO – Feeling the Vibes of Summer!

Groovy sticker with sun and summer vibes text

We’ll be feeling the vibes of summer here in Chicago this weekend with the return of some outdoor festivals and arts & crafts fairs.  Now, if only the temperatures would stabilize around here, we’d be in good shape.  However, when have we ever let our weather stop us from enjoying our weekends!

Celebrating its 27th season, and kicking off the summer festival season as well, is Chicago Mayfest 2024 this Saturday (12 p.m.-10 p.m.) and Sunday (12 p.m.-9 p.m.) located in the historic district of Lincoln Park at Armitage (1000 W. Armitage Ave.) and Sheffield Avenues.  Attendees will experience all the best Chicago has to offer with two stages of the most acclaimed Chicago bands and up-and-coming house talent, a variety of delicious food and libations which includes Chicago’s famous Red & White Sangria, and a family carnival area for the kids.  Plus, new this year, the Armitage Art Show will be part of the festival where Chicago’s top artists showcase and sell their works along with presenting interactive art demonstrations.  You might not want to miss this summer kickoff event!

Returning for its 3rd season, the Lincoln Roscoe Spring Art & Craft Fair is this Saturday (10 a.m.-7 p.m.) and Sunday (10 a.m.-5 p.m.) on Lincoln Avenue (3329 N. Lincoln Ave.) from School to Roscoe Streets in the Lakeview neighborhood.  Enjoy free admission as you treat yourself to over 75 vendors selling handmade art such as paintings, sculptures, and fiber pieces as well as jewelry and décor.  Also included is live music, festival food, a selection of brews for purchase from Bitter Pops, a live painting class, and a Kids’ Art Zone.  It’s known to be an urban, edgy, and fun event for all!

Returning to the Andersonville neighborhood is the Renegade Craft Fair’s flagship event this Saturday and Sunday (11 a.m.-6 p.m.) on Clark Street between Bryn Mawr and Edgewater Avenues.  Shop the handmade wares of more than 250+ of the best artists, craft designers, and creatives around selling everything from candles to jewelry to pottery and more.  Also on hand will be food and drink for purchase provided by local restaurants so you don’t go hungry or thirsty while you shop!

The Chicago Bacon & Bourbon Fest takes place this Saturday (2 p.m.-6 p.m.) at the Headquarters Beercade (213 W. Institute Pl.) in the River North neighborhood.  Get ready for the best mouth-watering experience you’ll have filled with delicious bacon and bourbon.  Tickets include 8 bourbon tastings, 8 bacon bites, free arcade gameplay, discounted specialty cocktails, and more.  What more could anyone want besides bacon, bourbon, and arcade games!

The inaugural Chicago Margarita Festival takes place Saturday and Sunday (12 p.m.-10 p.m.) at 1800 S. Peoria Street in the Pilsen neighborhood.  Over 15 varieties of margaritas will be served from classic to exotic elevating your margarita experience to new heights.  Then embark on a culinary journey of Latin flavors featuring a lineup of authentic Latin food vendors to compliment your margarita experience.  In addition, local art and merch vendors as well as entertainment from cover bands and local DJs are part of this festival’s lineup!

Head over to the Maggie Daley Park (337 E. Randolph St.) in The Loop this Sunday (7:00 a.m.) for the Chicago Spring Half Marathon & 10 K along the Lakefront Trail.  Afterwards, join the Spring Market Finish Festival which includes a hot brunch, a beer garden, live music, pick-your-own flowers to take home, photo ops, and much more.  It’s time to shake off those winter blues and enjoy spring!

Sue Moss and Dean’s Team Chicago

Neighborhood News: Farmers Markets bring out Chicago’s best produce, entertainment, community

Counter with fresh vegetables and a sign of local products

The month of May brings balmier temperatures and perfect weather for summer street festivals, art fairs and family-friendly fun! 

Chicago’s Farmers Markets, open from May-October/November every year, bring communities together in celebration of Chicago with local, organically-grown flavors, local musicians and entertainment, and Chicago’s greatest assets-its citizens and unique diversity! 

Origins of the Farmers Market 

According to, Farmers markets have been an established business practice since ancient times. In fact, some of the first recorded testaments of farmers markets come from Egypt over 5,000 years ago. (You can see a replica of such a marketplace at theField Museum) People in this part of the world used to sell their wares and produce along the Nile River to travelers passing through. 

In the United States, Lancaster Central Market in Pennsylvania  was designated as a market town in 1730, and is the oldest continuously running public farmers’ market in the country, according to The Library Of Congress.

Since the early ‘90s, farmers markets have vastly increased in popularity and accessibility. According to the USDA, there are currently over 8,600 farmers markets in the United States. Some of the reasons for their popularity include a renewed focus on health, community well-being and supporting local businesses in a time of mass corporatization.

Chicago Markets abound!

One example is the Lincoln Square Farmers Market, in their new locationat 4513 N. Lincoln Avenue, in the parking lot on the east side of Lincoln Avenue, just north of Sunnyside. Every Tuesday morning, from 7am–noon, and Thursday afternoons, 3pm-7pm, the market connects local farmers, artisans, and food purveyors to the North Side of Chicago. Far more than produce, the market offers sweet treats from local bakeries for man and beast, local libations from breweries, and arts and crafts from local artisans. As an added bonus, their Tuesday morning market has an extended season, running through November 19. 

At the Green City Market in Lincoln Park,1817 N. Clark, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2024, an eclectic group of vendors are there, rain or shine. Green City Market is open Saturdays, 7 am to 1pm, from April – November, and Wednesdays,  7am to 1pm, between May and October.  

Discounted parking is available for $14 for two hours with validation in the Chicago Historical Museum parking off of Stockton Drive. Parking validation cards are available at all entrances to the market. Besides organic fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers, you can also find pies and pastries, pork, chicken, beef, and fish, and bao (Asian steamed buns), lumpia (spring rolls), and meat skewers. 

NOTE: As Choose Chicago says, Green City Market also has an outdoor market in the West Loop from May through November and an indoor location in Avondale from December through March.

Chicago’s longest-running farmers market is on Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington. It starts a bit later, kicking off on Thursday, May 23, from 7am to 2pm and runs weekly through October 24. It features more than 40 vendors. As Choose Chicago notes, many of the vendors sell prepared foods that make a perfect grab-and-go option, like gourmet grilled cheese, empanadas, raclette sandwiches, Thai food, and more.

The North Park Community Market  is located on the Peterson Elementary School Community Field at Christiana and Bryn Mawr Avenues. The Market runs from 10am-2pm on the third Sunday of each month from May to October. They feature local vendors, live music, free kids activities, and serves as a showcase for local nonprofit organizations.

 The Logan Square Farmers Market, on Kedzie from Logan to Fullerton, was voted the best Farmers Market by the Chicago Reader in 2023,  is open every Sunday through October 27. Doors open at 8:30AM for seniors & 9:00AM for everyone. 

Link cards are accepted at most of the markets. Look for the (L) on the links to farmers market  

To Market we go!!

Alison Moran-Powers and Dean’s Team Chicago

Restaurant Review: Celebrate Asian American-Pacific Islanders Month at Uptown’s Sun Wah

Chinese noodles, fried rice, dumplings, peking duck, dim sum, spring rolls

Sun Wah BBQ has been offering the finest Hong Kong fare for over 30 years in Uptown, and is renowned for its Peking (or Beijing) Duck Dinner and other Chinese barbecue delights. 

From China to Hong Kong to Chicago 

Their journey began in Maoist China, when patriarch Eric Cheng escaped communist mainland China to reach Hong Kong, a British colony at the time. Here, he met his wife Lynda, and began an apprenticeship in the art of Chinese Barbecue. To make the most of this new lease on life, Eric made America his ultimate destination. As their website notes, arriving in New York, Eric further refined his mastery of Chinese Barbecue. On a fateful visit to Chicago, he saw that the ‘food of the emperors’ was not well represented there so he took his newly started family on one more journey.

An Uptown Family Treasure 

Eric and Lynda opened their first Sun Wah in Uptown in 1987, where they built a reputation for serving exceptional ‘food of the emperors’ for the citizens of Chicago. As they grew older, the Cheng’s children took over the business. In September 2008, three of the Cheng’s four children– Kelly, Michael, and Laura—took ownership of Sun Wah BBQ to lead its next phase of growth. 

One of their first decisions was to move to their current historic building in a former carriage garage, in 2009. The front kitchen crafts stir-fry entrees, pan-fried noodles, soups, and numerous seafood delights, while in the back, custom-built roasting vaults fire continuously from morning to evening to create all the Chinese Barbecue favorites. 

Their wide-ranging menu spans from Chinese Barbecue to soup noodles to traditional stir-fry. 

For example, their Roast Duck is marinated, sewn closed and barbecued to achieve a moist, flavorful cavity that permeates to its delicious exterior.

An Off-Menu Treasure 

The Beijing Duck Dinner is a multi course feast that starts with the roasted, crispy-skin, whole duck, wheeled table side to be carved in front of you. “We don’t pre-carve this somewhere else and rob you of the experience,” they say. “Table side. Always.*

The feast starts out with six freshly steamed Gwa Bao, served with pickled daikon radish, garnishes, and house-blended hoisin sauce. The second course is a Duck Fried Rice or Duck Noodle. Just let the server know at the time of ordering. Finally, the duck bones are rendered into a duck broth soup that contains wintermelon, cilantro, and eggs as the finishing course.

Other Delights 

Pei Par Duck is glazed and barbecued flat for a firmer alternate texture. Roast Pork, (Siu Yook) starts as a pig roasted whole to achieve a crackling skin and succulent meat. Char Siu is Cantonese for their honey-glazed, boneless Barbecue Pork

Wontons and Shrimp Dumplings are hand-wrapped and cooked with an option of egg noodles, mai fun, or simply in broth. Proximity to the barbecue cutting block permits adding in delicious cuts of Char-Siu, Roast Duck or Roast Pork.

Or try Congee, aka ‘Jook,’ if  ordered in Cantonese, is a rice porridge that can warm the soul. Sun Wah BBQ offers congee simple and plain or with various classic accompaniments.

Recognition from the Industry 

In 2018, Sun Wah was named one of ‘America’s Classics’ by the James Beard Foundation.  In 2021, Chicago Magazine included the restaurant’s Beijing Duck Feast in their list of iconic Chicago dishes.

Sun Wah is located at 5039 N. Broadway. They are open Monday – Wednesday, 10am- 8:30pm, and Friday – Sunday, 10am-8:30pm. They are closed on Thursday. Reservations are recommended. For information on making reservations and more, click here. 

Alison Moran-Powers and Dean’s Team Chicago

Chicago Home and Lifestyles – Healthy diet to beat depression

Clinical depression is a medical condition which should be monitored and treated with a trusted doctor. However, scientists have found that the nutrients found in the following foods may help manage clinical or circumstantial depression for some. If you have no other restrictions, it may be worth a shot!

Vitamin D. Low levels of Vitamin D can cause depression. Cow’s milk and other goods like enriched cereals, juices and canned fish are great sources of Vitamin D . If these foods are not an option you can also try supplements. One study found people who took supplements were less depressed after one year. Ask a doctor to check your Vitamin D levels and recommend supplements.

Tryptophan. Turkey meat contains tryptophan, which your body uses to make serotonin. This is key to fighting depression. Many anti-depressant drugs target serotonin use in the brain. You can also find this mood elevator in chicken and soybeans.

Selenium. Brazil nuts are rich in selenium which protects you from free radicals. People without enough of this nutrient tend to be more depressed. Other foods rich in selenium are brown rice, sunflower seeds, seafood, and lean beef.

Beta-carotene. Carrots and other foods like pumpkin, spinach, cantaloupe, and sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene that has been linked to lower depression. While it is not certain it can prevent depression it sure can’t hurt to add it to your diet!

Vitamin B-12. Lean beef, milk and eggs along with clams and mussels are good sources of vitamin B-12. A lack of B-12 causes a shortage of adenosylmethionine, which your brain needs to process other chemicals that affect your mood. Elderly people are especially prone to low B-12 levels.

Folate. Leafy greens are packed with folate which your brain cells need to work well and may protect against depression. Food manufacturers add this to enriched pastas and rice. Beans like limas and asparagus are also good sources.

Omega-3s. Omega-3 fatty acids help brain chemicals that can affect your mood. Fatty fish like salmon and canned tuna are great sources of this valuable nutrient.

These are all healthy foods that will benefit your brain as much as your body! But there are also foods to avoid or keep in strict moderation. Alcohol for example can make depression symptoms worse because it makes your brain less active. It can also make your anti-depressant medication less effective.

Highly processed foods have also been linked to depression. Diets high in sugar, carbs, and fat do little to elevate your mood in a consistent way. Instead, a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean protein is better suited to managing depression.

 Kathleen Weaver-Zech and Dean’s Team Chicago

Freshen Up Your Home: Spring Maintenance Must-Dos

Woman organizing clothes on shelves in white opened wardrobe

Spring is the perfect time to breathe new life into your home with a thorough maintenance regimen. As the weather warms up and nature begins to bloom, it’s essential to freshen up your living spaces and address any lingering winter wear and tear. From deep cleaning and decluttering indoors to tackling outdoor maintenance tasks and essential repairs, this article provides a comprehensive guide to sprucing up your home for the spring season. Explore a range of must-do tasks, energy-efficient updates, gardening tips, and safety checks to ensure your home is refreshed, organized, and ready to embrace the vibrant spirit of spring.

Indoor Cleaning Checklist

Deep Clean Your Living Spaces

It’s time to bid farewell to the dust bunnies lurking in your corners and give your living room a spa day. Vacuum under the couch cushions, wipe down forgotten surfaces, and maybe even show your baseboards some love. Your space will thank you with a newfound sparkle!

Revamp Your Kitchen and Dining Areas

Say goodbye to that mystery jar at the back of your pantry and get ready to spruce up your kitchen. Clean out expired items, organize your pots and pans, and embrace a clutter-free dining table for those future feasts. Your inner chef will thank you for the fresh start!

Refresh Your Bedrooms and Bathrooms

Unleash your inner Marie Kondo and declutter your sanctuary. Tackle the closet chaos, organize your toiletries, and maybe treat yourself to some new fluffy towels. Your well-rested self will appreciate the zen vibes of a decluttered space.

Outdoor Maintenance Tasks

Inspect and Clean Gutters and Downspouts

Let’s show some love to the unsung heroes of our homes – the gutters. Clear out debris, unclog those downspouts, and prevent any water damage headaches down the line. Your foundation will thank you for the TLC!

Check and Repair Exterior Surfaces

Wave goodbye to peeling paint and weathered siding. Give your home’s exterior a little facelift by touching up paint, sealing cracks, and ensuring your facade is as strong as it is stylish. Your house will be the envy of the block!

Prep Your Outdoor Living Areas

Dust off those patio chairs and fire up the grill – it’s outdoor living season! Spruce up your outdoor oasis by cleaning furniture, prepping the garden, and setting the stage for those al fresco gatherings. Your backyard will be BBQ-ready in no time!

Essential Spring Home Repairs

Addressing Plumbing and Water Damage Issues

Don’t let leaky faucets dampen your spring spirit. Take the time to check for leaks, inspect your water heater, and ensure your plumbing is in tip-top shape. You’ll prevent potential water woes and keep your home dry and happy!

Maintaining Your Roof and Windows

Give your home the roof over its head some attention. Check for missing shingles, clean out those gutters again, and inspect your windows for any drafts. A little maintenance now can save you from costly repairs later.

Fixing Structural and Foundation Problems

Don’t let foundation cracks cramp your style. Take a stroll around your home, inspect for any cracks or shifts, and address any structural issues promptly. Your home’s foundation will thank you for the stability!

Decluttering and Organizing Tips

Clearing Out Clutter Room by Room

Channel your inner decluttering guru and tackle each room with a vengeance. Donate what you no longer use, find homes for stray items, and revel in the simplicity of a clutter-free space. Your mind will thank you for the newfound clarity!

Organizing and Storing Seasonal Items

Say goodbye to winter gear and welcome spring with open arms. Store away bulky winter items, organize your seasonal decor, and make way for spring essentials. Your future self will thank you for the seamless transitions between seasons!

Energy-Efficient Updates for Spring

You know what’s cooler than being cool? Saving energy! Upgrading to energy-efficient appliances can not only reduce your utility bills but also lessen your environmental impact. It’s a win-win situation. And don’t forget about sealing air leaks and beefing up your insulation. Your home will thank you, and so will your wallet!

Gardening and Landscaping Essentials

If you’ve got a green thumb or aspire to have one, it’s time to get planning your spring garden. From picking out your favorite blooms to deciding where to plant those veggies, there’s a lot of fun to be had. And let’s not forget about your lawn – it’s like a little green carpet that deserves some love and care. Get your mower ready and show that grass who’s boss!

Seasonal HVAC and Appliance Maintenance

It’s not the most glamorous task, but scheduling HVAC system check-ups is crucial for keeping your home comfortable. And while you’re at it, give those household appliances some TLC. Clean out the lint trap in your dryer, run a cleaning cycle on your dishwasher – your appliances will thank you by running smoother and lasting longer.

Safety Checks and Home Security Upgrades

Safety first, folks! Test those smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms to ensure they’re in working order. It’s a quick task that could potentially save lives – so definitely worth the effort. And if you’re looking to enhance your home security, consider adding some extra measures like motion sensor lights or a video doorbell. You can never be too safe!By prioritizing these spring maintenance must-dos, you can create a rejuvenating and welcoming atmosphere in your home. Embrace the season of renewal by taking proactive steps to care for your living spaces, both indoors and outdoors. Whether you’re refreshing your decor, enhancing energy efficiency, or ensuring the safety and security of your home, these tasks will help you enjoy a fresh and vibrant living environment throughout the spring and beyond. Stay proactive, stay organized, and let the beauty of spring inspire you to create a home that truly reflects the warmth and vitality of the season.

THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO – Celebrating Mom on Mother’s Day!

happy mothers day graphic lettering with flowers

This weekend is a special weekend as we celebrate our moms this Sunday on Mother’s Day.  You know, planning fun things to do with mom doesn’t have to be stressful.  Just treat her like a queen and don’t let her lift a finger.  Whether she wants a break from cooking or would love just to spend time with you, here are some suggestions for all types of moms!

For the mom who loves the summer season, ComEd’s 10th annual Switch on Summer will be held on Saturday (11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.) as Chicago’s iconic Buckingham Fountain (301 S. Columbus Dr.) in The Loop will be switched on for the start of summer with free giveaways and fun games around the fountain.  Included this year is also the official kick-off for the Chicago Park District’s Night Out in the Parks that offers free cultural events and performances throughout the summer.  Plus, a variety of vendors and food trucks will be on hand as well as a special guest appearance by Tom Skilling.  Summer is coming!

For the mom who enjoys an occasional glass of wine, the 19th annual Andersonville Wine Walk is this Saturday at various Andersonville businesses throughout the neighborhood.  Spend the afternoon with mom as you sip, tour, and shop your way through two wine routes.  Attendees will receive a commemorative wine tasting glass and a route card highlighting each wine before embarking on your journey.  Afterwards, pick up a bottle of mom’s favorite wine or two for her and be sure to look for those discounts on wine at several participating locations!

For the mom who loves country music and everything else about it, Old Crow Smokehouse (3506 N. Clark St.) in the Wrigleyville neighborhood will be hosting their Country Day Party on Saturday (12 p.m.-5 p.m.).  A ticket includes admission, a complimentary drink and a shot, a live performance from Sunfallen (1 p.m.-4 p.m.), giveaways, and more.  Be sure to wear your best country outfit as you giddy on up!

For the mom who enjoys shopping for vintage treasures, the Chicago Vintage Fest is this Saturday and Sunday (12 p.m.-6 p.m.) at Pioneer Court (401 N. Michigan Ave.) on the Magnificent Mile in the Streeterville neighborhood.  Over 50 vintage and handmade vendors will be selling an assortment of goods.  In addition, on Saturday, the first 50 attendees will receive a free tote, and on Sunday, the first 50 mothers will receive a free rose.  Help mom find her perfect treasure!

For the mom who loves cruising on Lake Michigan, City Cruises Chicago located at Navy Pier (600 E. Grand Ave.) in the Streeterville neighborhood will be hosting Mother’s Day Brunch Cruises on Lake Michigan.  Treat mom to a chef-prepared buffet or a plated meal featuring savory and sweet classics, bottomless mimosas, top-notch service, and breathtaking views of Chicago’s skyline while enjoying games on signature cruises or upscale DJ entertainment on premier cruises.  It’s a great way to create memories!

For other Mother’s Day 2024 festivities just click the link!

Happy Mother’s Day to All the Moms Out There!  You Deserve More Than Just One Day!!

Sue Moss and Dean’s Team Chicago

Neighborhood News: Forget Drive-Ins… Fulton Market has the Rooftop Cinema Club at the Emily Hotel!

a rooftop patio in Chicago

Bright Lights. Big City. Great Movies! 

Withawesomeweather expected this weekend, there’s no time like now to experience a night at Chicago’s own Rooftop Cinema Clubat Fulton Market’s Emily Hotel, 311 N. Morgan Street. The limited-run cinema opened on Wednesday and runs through July 7. Located on the hotel’s fifth floor terrace, this outdoor cinema experience features a weekly lineup of timeless favorites viewed on a state-of-the-art LED screen with wireless headphones.

The Experience….

It’s more than just a movie, it’s a whole film experience,” Founder and CEO Gerry Cottle told ABC7 in 2022, when the London-based cinema opened in Chicago. “You get there early, you socialize, you hang out with your friends and then you see your favorite movie on the big screen as the sun sets and the stars begin to sparkle. It really is quite magical.”

The venue has (for purchase) wireless headsets, comfy deckchairs and cozy blankets, innovative street food, craft cocktails, beers, and wine under Chicago’s brilliant starry sky. Prior to the movie, the rooftop has outdoor games to play.

Comfort and Class

Tickets range from $12-$29 per person, depending on the night and the event. For $23 per person, you can lay back in their leisurely Adirondack Chair – with a contoured seat, sloped backrest and full-length cushion, this chair was designed for outdoor lounging. For $4 more, you can add a bag of popcorn to your Adirondack Chair. For $29 per person, their date night spectacular is their Adirondack Love Seat + Popcorn,  a double-width Adirondack perfect for you and your date, friend or loved one. Loveseats, according to the website, have a prime viewing position in the center rows of the cinema, and comes with a bag of popcorn, full-length cushions and side table to share. 

Ticket price is per guest and must be purchased in pairs.

This Week …and Beyond 

Rooftop Cinema Club begins the 2024 season with a tribute to Black Cinema. On Thursday, May 9, 1997’s LOVE JONES tells the story of a young couple figuring out their relationship and their professional lives against the backdrop of pressures and challenges typical of young love. Door time is 6:15pm, and the movie begins at 7:15pm.

Their second feature, THE BLACKENING, tells the story of a group of Black friends who reunite for a Juneteenth weekend getaway, only to find themselves trapped in a remote cabin with a twisted killer. The movie starts at10pm, and doors open at 9:30pm.

On Friday, it’s the classic 10 Things I Hate About You, a modern retelling of Shakespeare’s comedy, The Taming of the Shrew.

For tickets, click here.

Guests are seated on a first-come, first-served basis. The venue encourages guests to arrive early and together to ensure they can select their preferred seats. For a complete list of May events, click here.

But what if it rains?

In the event of a canceled screening due to inclement weather, Rooftop Cinema Club will notify you as soon as possible via email with details on how to transfer your tickets to another screening or obtain a refund. You can check the current status of a future screening on the program tiles of the venue page.

Enjoy, everyone!

Alison Moran-Powers and Dean’s Team Chicago

Restaurant Review: Happy Mother’s Day, Chicago!

Happy Mother's Day Calligraphy Background with Flower

This upcoming Sunday, May 12, is Mother’s Day. As a mom to one, I’m always interested in how things started. According to, Mother’s Day began with Anna Jarvis of Philadelphia, whose mother had organized women’s groups to promote friendship and health, originated Mother’s Day. On May 12, 1907, she held a memorial service at her late mother’s church in Grafton, West Virginia. Within five years virtually every state was observing the day, and in 1914,  President Woodrow Wilson made it a national holiday.

Why we eat together on Mother’s Day 

While Chef Smith’s words are meant for all family meals, I find them especially appropriate now. “Getting back to the table allows us to love and nurture each other and renew connections to our families—however they may be configured—in this diverse and ever-changing society. Such connections are crucial in a fast-paced world where we feel more disconnected every day. One of the best ways we know how to restore that daily balance is to sit down at our table.”

Chef Art Smith 

Family Gathering 

At Chef Art Smith’s Reunion on Navy Pier, 700 E. Grand Avenue, you can give Mom the ultimate in Southern home cooking with Chef Smith’s $45 per person, three-course Mother’s Day Menu. Starting with a welcoming Mimosa, followed by a first course of deviled eggs, fried green tomatoes, or avocado toast, entrée choices include Chef’s shrimp and grits, chicken and waffles or salmon benedict. Finish the meal with Mother’s Day beignets prepared tableside! Reservations are still available as of Tuesday morning at Open Table, click here.

A Tipsy, Turvy Tea?

At River North’s Gwen Hotel, 521 North Rush Street, your fun- loving Mom and Grandma may enjoy Tipsy Tea! Complete with a live DJ and even livelier libations, each month features a different theme. In May, it’s the musical Mamma Mia! Imbibe in libations such as the ‘Honey, Honey’-metaxa ouzo, lemonade, honey, and spearmint tea, or the ‘Mamma Mia’, a blend of corazón blanco tequila, fos mastiha, grenadine, lime, and pomegranate dream tea. Starting at $70 per person and featuring a rotating selection of tea towers and bottomless boozy (and spirit-free) tea selections, a Gwen Tipsy Tea includes a Tea Tower comprised of a variety of sweet and savory treats built for the number of guests, such as baklava, amygdalota, almond meringue cookie, Greek yogurt honey panna cotta, blueberry cinnamon gelée, mini Galaktoboureko tart, sour cream cupcakes, Spanakopita Dolmades, Greek Chicken Skewer, and Pita Crisps with feta, olive, and tomato. For reservations, click here.

Back to Nature

In Andersonville,m.henry, 5707 N. Clark Street, has been named as one of the best brunches in Chicago by critics other than Dean’s Team Chicago, and we have no argument! m. henry (yes, it’s lowercase) offers globally inspired, new american style cooking. Specializing in natural and seasonal ingredients, using locally produced and organic products whenever possible, try such specialties as Rustic Peasant Quiche, a savory quiche filled with asparagus, sautéed leeks, shallots, applewood bacon, and gruyere and lorraine swiss cheeses, served with a fresh field greens salad. Lemon-Raspberry Brioche French Toast, which is three slices of brioche french toast, layered w/homemade lemon curd and raspberry coulis. For something completely different (at least for me) try a Dandelion, Shallot, and Leek Omelette, a fluffy omelet sautéed with dandelion greens, caramelized shallots & leeks, and fontinella cheese, served with house potatoes or a mixed greens salad. Most seats are filled on a first come, first served basis. For parties of 10 or more, click here.

Stand back, Buenos Aires!

At Lincoln Square’s Artango Bar & Steakhouse, 4767 N. Lincoln Avenue, their Mather’s Day three-course meal includes appetizers, main course, and dessert for $75 (note that beverage, tax, and gratuity are not included). Start with Chef’s choice Empanadas, followed by Ceviche Nikkei, which is tuna, leche de tigre, avocado, and huacatay sauce, followed by Ensalda De Remolacha, which has arugula, watercress, beets, goat cheese mousse, and hazelnuts, in a fig vinaigrette, Focaccia Pizza  has rosemary potato and crispy jamon serrano. A choice of entrées include Pollo La Parrilla- is infused with fine herbs, and served with seasonal vegetable casserole.  Faroe Island Salmon is served with a prawn, mashed potato, asparagus, and lobster sauce.Finish your celebration with a gooey, rich Chocolate Cake with ice cream, or Flan, the luscious, Argentine-style custard. For reservations, click here.

Happy Mother’s Day to all who care for others!

Alison Moran-Powers and Dean’s Team Chicago

Chicago Home and Lifestyles – Spring Landscape

gardener taking care of garden mulch

Now is a great time to get out in the yard and get things ready for the weeks to come. In the Chicagoland area our planting time for vegetables is May 15th. I usually wait an additional week as we regularly have frost past that date. You can plant vegetables on the 15th but be ready to cover them in case of frost. Tomatoes especially damage easily in the cold. Go ahead and put flowers out, they should be okay. 

Trees and shrubs need a little attention to get them ready for summer. Clean out any old mulch and debris from around the trunk. Add fresh mulch making sure to leave a good 6 inches free around the base. Mulching too close to tree trunks or shrub bases attracts insects and could cause moisture damage. After the spring blooming shrubs are done flowering it’s time to prune. Clean out any old nonproducing canes and stems in the middle and prune the outside for a pleasing shape. 

Right now the soil is warmer but temperatures are moderate; this is great grass growing time. You can aerate manually or rent a machine – either way is good to promote nutrients and water to the grassroots. Adding topsoil now is also a good idea. Fresh soil will help the grass to get a good start. Overseed with some good grass seed. We prefer 100% Kentucky Blue Grass. It’s really the best and has less weed seeds. Keep the seed moist till it germinates, usually 7-14 days. 

The garden can use a little attention too. Rake out any plant debris left over from the winter and dispose of. Don’t compost this material as it can contain disease. Best to just get rid of it. Carefully pull out as many weeds as you can, getting out as much of the root as you can. Don’t turn over the soil, that just brings more weed seeds to the surface where they get sun and water to grow. Cover the entire garden with 1-2 inches of mushroom compost. This will work its way into the soil and loosen it while adding nutrients. 

Now you are ready for your landscape to take off with warmer temperatures coming! Spring usually provides enough moisture for the landscape but pay attention. You want at least an inch per week. In a dry week we will need to water.    

Kathleen Weaver-Zech and Dean’s Team Chicago

Investing in Potential: Why Buying a Fixer Upper Home is Worth It

Tiny sample paint cans during house renovation, process of choosing paint for the walls

Investing in a fixer upper home can be a rewarding and financially savvy decision for those looking to enter the real estate market or expand their property portfolio. The allure of transforming a dated or neglected property into a personalized oasis is undeniable, offering the opportunity to create a unique living space that perfectly aligns with your vision and preferences. Beyond the aesthetic appeal, the financial benefits of purchasing a fixer upper, such as cost savings and potential for increased equity, make it a compelling choice for savvy investors. In this article, we will delve into the reasons why buying a fixer upper home is worth considering, exploring the advantages, challenges, and strategies for successful renovation projects.

The Appeal of Fixer Upper Homes

Exploring the allure of fixer upper properties

Hey there, savvy homeowner-to-be! Ever dreamt of transforming a run-down diamond in the rough into your dream home? Fixer upper properties may have that irresistible charm that makes your DIY heart skip a beat. Let’s dive into why these projects are like catnip for those with a vision and a tool belt!

Financial Benefits of Investing in a Fixer Upper

Cost savings compared to buying a move-in ready home

Picture this: you could save a pretty penny by rolling up your sleeves and tackling a fixer upper instead of splurging on a move-in ready home. While others pay a premium, you’d be laughing all the way to the bank with your budget-friendly purchase. Who said investing in potential can’t be easy on the wallet?

Potential for Customization and Personalization

Creating a home that suits your unique style and needs

Why settle for cookie-cutter designs when you can unleash your inner design maven on a fixer upper canvas? From choosing the perfect fixtures to crafting a layout that fits your lifestyle like a glove, the possibilities are as endless as your Pinterest boards. Say goodbye to generic homes and hello to a space that’s undeniably “you.”

Risks and Challenges of Fixer Upper Projects

Understanding the potential pitfalls of renovating a fixer upper

Hold on to your hard hats, folks! While the idea of revamping a fixer upper is thrilling, let’s not forget the bumps on the renovation road. From unexpected expenses to timelines that seem to have a mind of their own, it’s not all rainbows and sledgehammers. Buckle up as we navigate through the highs and lows of turning a fixer upper into a showstopper.

Strategies for Finding and Evaluating Fixer Upper Properties

Researching neighborhoods and property listings

Before diving into the world of fixer-upper properties, it’s essential to do your homework. Spend time researching different neighborhoods to find ones that align with your budget, vision, and future resale potential. Scour property listings online, attend open houses, and maybe even chat up your local real estate agent for insider tips. Remember, finding the right fixer-upper is like finding a diamond in the rough – it takes patience, persistence, and a keen eye for potential.

Budgeting and Financing Considerations for Renovations

Setting a realistic renovation budget

Ah, the dreaded B-word – budget. When it comes to renovating a fixer-upper, it’s crucial to set a realistic budget and stick to it like your life depends on it (okay, maybe not that dramatic, but you get the point). Factor in costs for materials, labor, unexpected hiccups, and maybe a little extra for those Pinterest-inspired upgrades you just can’t resist. Remember, the goal is to increase the property’s value without bankrupting yourself in the process. Budget smart, renovate smarter!

Maximizing Return on Investment: Tips for Successful Fixer Upper Projects

Key strategies for increasing the value of a fixer upper property

So, you’ve found your diamond in the rough, set your budget, and now it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. To maximize your return on investment, focus on key areas that can boost the property’s value. Think kitchen and bathroom updates, enhancing curb appeal, adding square footage if possible, and fixing any major structural issues. Remember, you’re not just flipping a home; you’re creating a masterpiece that will pay off in the long run. With a dash of creativity, a sprinkle of elbow grease, and a whole lot of determination, your fixer-upper dream can become a profitable reality. Go forth and renovate, my friend!In conclusion, investing in a fixer upper home can be a worthwhile endeavor for those willing to put in the time, effort, and resources needed to transform a property into a dream home. From the potential for customization and personalization to the financial benefits and opportunities for maximizing return on investment, the journey of renovating a fixer upper can be both fulfilling and profitable. By understanding the risks, embracing the challenges, and implementing strategic approaches, buyers can unlock the full potential of fixer upper properties and enjoy the fruits of their investment for years to come.