Neighborhood News – Lincoln Square, Chicago Loop, Gold Coast, Wrigleyville

Whether you’re indoors or outdoors, Chicago’s winter activities are as varied as the weather. Catch a musical, a play, or a chance to play indoor and outdoor games with friends and community members!

A night of games and community is planned for Friday, January 21, at the German-American Dank Haus, 4740 N. Western Avenue. Open Haus Game Night Stammtischstarts at 7:30pm in the Brauhaus Room, 2nd Floor. Fun fact: Did you know that Germans invented the jigsaw puzzle and board games? Bring your friends and your competitive spirit and celebrate Germany with a night of German food, drink, games, and Gemütlichkeit! Free parking at 5/3 Bank after 6pm, at Western and Gunnison. For more information, click here. 

“There’s a bright golden haze on the meadow,” at the CIBC Theatre,  18 W. Monroe Street. This is the last weekend to see the seminal Rogers and Hammerstein musical ‘OKLAHOMA!’ reimagined for the 21st century. Presented by Broadway in Chicago, the Tony Award-winning show has been called “Funny and sexy, dark and jolting.” Choose Chicago says that Daniel Fish’s production tells a story of a community circling its wagons against an outsider, and the frontier life that shaped America. Through Sunday, January 23. For tickets, click here.

Meanwhile, across town, at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, 175 E. Chestnut Street,  asks “What would happen if Sherlock Holmes and Monty Python had an illegitimate Broadway baby? You’d get ‘Murder at Faversham Manor,’ a classic murder mystery, chock-full of mishaps and madcap mania. As Choose Chicago says, the plot revolves around an unconscious leading lady, a corpse that can’t play dead, and actors who trip over everything (including their lines). For tickets, click here.

Remember the fun of bumper cars in the summer? They’re a winter sport now!  Gallagher Way’s newest attraction are Ice Bumper Cars.  And through Sunday, January 30, The Rink at Gallagher Way, 3635 N. Clark Street, invites children and families to “take a spin!” The rink is also available for ice skating, curling, and other winter ice follies!  For more information, click here.

Calling all puppet fans! The 4th edition of The Chicago International Puppet Theater is upon us!   From Thursday, January 20- Sunday, January 30, fans can crowd into venues across Chicago to witness such creations as bunraku, to shadow, to crankie scroll, pageant-style puppets and more, puppets take over for an 10 amazing days and nights of inspiration and invention. For tickets, schedules, and more information, click here. 

All good things must come to an end, and Disney’s Frozen, at the Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph Street, ends Saturday, January 22 with its 7:30pm performance. Say goodbye for now to Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, and Sven by clicking here for tickets. 

Please Note: The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) is requiring that everyone age two or older, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks in public indoor settings.

Alison Moran and Dean’s Team Chicago

Restaurant Review – Cedar Palace

Cedar Palace in Lincoln Park describes itself as a “Warm, casual stop offering an array of Mediterranean dishes from kebabs to hummus plates.”

With January being a month of resolutions for healthy eating and de-stressing after the holidays, there seems to be no better place to do both than the Mediterranean-inspired dining at Cedar Palace. The BYOB restaurant earned near-perfect marks (4.9) on Google.

The menus are virtually the same for lunches and dinners, just smaller portions. Nonetheless, many Google reviewers commented on the large portions of fresh meats and vegetables served at Cedar Palace.

For starters, try their Vegetarian Combo, which pairs hummus, baba ghanouj, dolma, falafel, feta cheese, and tabbouleh. Or Labneh, made of homemade strained yogurt topped with olive oil. Meat lovers will enjoy Soujouk-highly seasoned beef and lamb sausage served in a spicy tomato sauce. Or Arayess, which pairs seasoned ground beef and lamb with garlic, onion, tomatoes and served in a toasted pita.

Lunch sandwiches include a Soujouk Sandwich, which combines spiced ground beef, tomatoes, and pickles. Or a Kafta Kabob, featuring ground beef, lamb, parsley, and onions, blended with tomatoes, onions, tahini, and sumac.

The Kafta Kabob also comes in sandwich form at lunch.

For a lighter touch, fresh salads include Feta Salad, with a mix of romaine lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cucumber, black olives, feta cheese and house dressing.  Fattoush Salad mixes romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, parsley, lemon, sumac, onions, olive oil, and toasted pita. Or Jerusalem Salad, a combination of cubed tomatoes and cucumbers tossed with parsley and tahini dressing. 

But…save room for the entrees!At lunchthey are served with rice or bulgar wheat. For dinner, they also include a soup or salad. Shish Tawook combines marinated breast of chicken kabob, charbroiled and topped with tomatoes, onions, and green pepper. 

For the undecided, try the Dinner Combination, which gives you a choice of three: beef shawarma, shish tawook, kafta, or chicken shawarma.

The restaurant is currently running a review contest until February 1. That said, the reviews are very consistent, and stretch far back before the contest ever started. Two years ago, a Google reviewer wrote, “Came in with four friends for dinner.  We had four appetisers and two main entrees to share. Hummus, Baba Ghanoush, Kibbeh, and Soujouk. The mains were the dinner combo platter and the beef kebab. All of it was extremely flavourful and masterfully prepared. The food was very generously portioned and the staff were very courteous. Definitely will be coming back.”

More recently, another said,  “The combo platter is big enough to feed 2! The Kefta is cooked to perfection with all the spices, the chicken shawarma melts in your mouth and beef has a tang I haven’t tasted before. On a bed of rice, you cannot go wrong with ordering this! Add a side of hummus and potato boorak and your world will be rocked – I can promise that! I come back here weekly and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Another wrote: “This Mediterranean (but mostly Lebanese) deserves this five-star rating in every way possible. This place definitely has the best Tabbouleh in the nation. It reminds me of the Tabbouleh of my childhood back in the day. The kabob sandwiches here are simply marvelous and are definitely worth trying out. The co-owner/cook here is very friendly and asked us about our preferences for our food. She greets all of her customers in person. The service is also speedy. All in all, I recommend this place to everyone!”

Cedar Palace is located at 655 W. Armitage Ave. They are open Tuesday-Friday, 11am-8:30pm, and Saturday Sunday 12pm-8:30pm. The restaurant is closed on Mondays, and reservations are recommended.

Chicago Home and Lifestyles – Change The Way You Think About Food

As usual, more than a few of us probably thought that “losing weight” would be a good New Year’s resolution. Now, as we are past the middle of January, you may be feeling a little off, but please remember: losing weight does not always equate with being healthy! Here are a few ways to change your relationship with food and get healthier:

Start a food journal. Write down what you ate and how you felt afterwards. You do not need to be precise as to portions on a strict diet, but just summarize. Often, we eat simply because it is that time of day, not because we are actually hungry. Intuitive eating pays attention to internal cues when eating, not external ones. People that eat this way have much less stress about what and how much they eat! If you are a member of the “clean your plate club” – folks who were taught to never, ever leave food on their plate – try to adjust your thinking to when you are full, not when the plate is clean.

Cook a new recipe every week. People who cook at home have better overall health. They eat less take-out. Try to make the experience enjoyable for yourself. Turn off social media, emails, etc., light a candle and really enjoy your food. Eat slowly, savoring every bite. This also helps you to not overeat; it takes a while for your stomach to tell your brain “I am full”. 

Don’t just restrict. Add instead of subtracting! Include a vegetable with every meal. Throw some spinach on your pizza. Add veggies to your meatloaf. Roast a big pan of vegetables and pair with a lean piece of meat. Set a goal to eat a variety of nutrient dense foods. You can still have a couple of cookies for a snack but have a piece of fruit later. Nutrient dense foods also have a lot of fiber. Fiber feeds the bacteria in our guts and makes it harder for your body to absorb sugar and fats. 

And of course, finally, drink more water. Dehydration can cause everything from fatigue and constipation to urinary infections and heart disease. 80-100 ounces a day is minimum, more if you work out. Keep water near you to remember to drink. Download an app to help you drink more. You can add lemon or flavored electrolytes to make it more interesting!

Kathleen Weaver-Zech and Dean’s Team Chicago

How Do HOAs Work?

When you purchase a home, there’s a good chance you’ll have to pay a homeowners association fee, especially in gated communities, townhouses, condominiums, and other similar planned neighborhoods. The idea is to keep common areas clean and maintained, and there’s usually an HOA board that is responsible for setting the rules and regulations.

Each HOA is different, but most have the same core elements. You’ll typically pay your HOA fees either monthly or annually, and it’s an important factor to consider when you’re weighing your options for a new home. So what is typically included in your HOA fees?

First, the fun stuff
Amenities are typically the big perk of living in a community with an HOA. While you lose out on some of the freedom of living without an HOA, you instead get community amenities like a maintained pool, gym, clubhouse, tennis courts, and other amenities. The HOA fees pay for cleaning and maintenance, so—in theory—you’ll always have a clean pool whenever you want to use it.

Protecting the community
HOA fees often contribute to insurance for the community amenities, as well as a fund for unexpected repairs to damaged community property—think damage from weather or accidents.

General maintenance
Your HOA fees will go toward maintaining the general safety and upkeep of the community. This means things like elevator maintenance for condominiums, snow removal, and trash/recycling services.

Be active in the association
There may be a board of directors, but homeowners associations exist for the betterment of the entire community, and every voice matters. HOA meetings—and the amenities they support—provide great opportunities to meet your neighbors and make your community a better place.

THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO – Enjoying a Popular Seasonal Activity!

Oh, the weather outside is frightful . . . not this weekend! Grab your winter coat, scarves and gloves and head out for a joyous Chicago weekend at one, or all, of the following events!

Even though Chicagoans love to complain about winter, one of the most popular winter activities is outdoor ice skating! Here are three such outdoor rinks for all ages to enjoy:

Returning for its 20th season is the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink located in Millennium Park (201 E. Randolph St.) in the Loop through March 6th (weather permitting). This winter tradition of over 10,000 skaters annually is about as beautiful as it gets skating under the Chicago skyline. Admission to the rink is free, however, skate rental is $13 – $15. Plus, there’s free skating lessons on most Saturdays and Sundays for beginners, intermediates and even hockey skills!  Snacks and hot drinks are also available from Momentum Coffee! Please note that this year you’ll need to make a free online reservation for both regular skating and lessons.

The Skating Ribbon located at Maggie Daley Park (337 E. Randolph St.) in the Loop is a winter attraction unlike any other. At a quarter mile long, this venue looks like a lazy, frozen river that is twice the length of a lap around a traditional rink along with changes in elevation. Plus, this year’s edition is decorated with designs inspired by Vincent Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” and “Starry Night” paintings! Admission is free during weekdays if you bring your own skates; otherwise, reservations are $5 with skates on weekends and holidays or $16 – $20 if you need to rent skates.  The Ribbon is open through March 13th (weather permitting).

Skate underneath the twinkling lights at Winterland’s Ice Rink at Gallagher Way now through February 20th as the Chicago Cubs hibernate for the winter. This 8,000 square foot ice rink is located at 3637 N. Clark Street in the Wrigleyville neighborhood and is open to skaters of all ages every day of the week. Stop by for a couple of laps, rent a skate aid, or arrive in time for select figure skating performances! Visit the website for reservations, hours, and additional information about programming.

Need some good laughs right about now?  You just might enjoy a unique play-within-a-play at The Play That Goes Wrong this Saturday (2 p.m. & 8 p.m.) and Sunday (2 p.m.) at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower (175 E. Chestnut St.) located in the heart of the Magnificent Mile. Broadway and London’s award-winning smash comedy welcomes you to opening night of The Murder at Haversham Manor where things are quickly going from bad to utterly disastrous! From flubbed lines to inadvertent destruction of the set, you’ll see all the worst theatrical nightmares come to life before your eyes! This production is recommended for ages 8 and older and all patrons must have a ticket.

Chicagoans are brought together every Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend to the Auditorium Theatre (50 E. Ida B. Wells Dr.) in the Loop for Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah, an exuberant, jazz-gospel makeover of Handel’s classic Messiah. This inspirational performance features world-class musicians with a chamber orchestra, a jazz combo, a huge choir, and three gifted soloists. Performances are Saturday (7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.) and Sunday (3 p.m. – 5 p.m.).

Sue Moss and Dean’s Team Chicago

Neighborhood News – Lincoln Park, Chicago Loop, Lincoln Square, Gold Coast

It may be cold in January, but Chicago has some ‘hot’ indoor neighborhood activities planned for this weekend. Also, we celebrate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. on the anniversary of his birth.

Chicago’s Lincoln Park Conservatory, 2391 N. Stockton Drive, re-opens for tours this week with FREE, timed-entry tickets. Times are available this Friday, January 14, and Wednesday-Sunday from 10am to 3pm.  Chicago’s “City in a Garden” showcases exotic plants in permanent display houses in the Palm Room, Fern Room, and Orchid Room. Visitors enjoy a lush tropical paradise full of towering palms, brilliant blooms, and ancient ferns. To reserve tickets, click here.

Spend time with a beluga whale, or see an amazing array of sea creatures from around the world during the Shedd Aquarium’s FREE ADMISSION days, this month from Thursday, January 13-Monday, January 17. Located at 1200 S. DuSable Lake Shore Drive, the storied aquarium features such memorable exhibits as the ecosystem of the Caribbean Reef, several varieties of sharks, a world-class dolphin show, a Polar Play Zone, and those cute Magellanic Penguins! Free tickets must be reserved, with a service charge. For tickets and information, click here.

Wilkommen! Join Lincoln Square’s German-American Dank Haus, 4740 N. Lincoln Avenue, for Kaffee, Kuchen, und Kino (cinema) this Saturday, January 15 at noon. The get-together takes place in the Brauhaus Room. Kaffee und Kuchen (coffee & cakes) are served, starting at noon. Tickets are $4 for members and $6 for non-members. For more information, click here.

“Too hot to ‘Handel’?” Never! For the 17th year in a row, a jazz-gospel version of Handel’s stirring ‘Messiah’ heats up the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Ida B. Wells Drive (formerly Congress Street,) on Martin Luther King, Jr.   weekend! Performances are Saturday, January 15 at 7:30pm and Sunday, January 16 at 3pm. The Chicago Reader calls the concert “exuberant,” with three gifted soloists–Alfreda Burke, Karen-Marie Richardson, and Rodrick Dixon leading a chamber orchestra, jazz combo, and choir. Tickets range from $35 to $75. Click here for more information.

TheChicago Sinfonietta presents its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute Concert on Sunday, January 16 at Wentz Concert Hall at North Central College, Chicago Ave, Naperville, and Monday, January 17, at Orchestra Hall, 220 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, honors his life with three Florence Price works – Ethiopia’s Shadow in America, Song of Sunday, Virgin, and Night, sung by baritone Will Liverman. Felix Mendelssohn’s Elijah is next, followed by two Chicago premieres: Jessie Montgomery’s Soul Force, and Emmy-nominated, Artist-in-Residence Kathryn Bostic’s work The Great Migration, narrated by Liverman. Tickets range from $17 for students to $62 for adults. For tickets, click here.

Chicago’s amazing architectural history comes alive on Chicago’s Gold Coast Saturday, January 15, through 45-minute docent-led tours of Louis Sullivan & Frank Lloyd Wright-designed, tri-level Charnley-Persky House, 1365 N. Astor Street. The tour includes exterior and interior spaces on three levels. 

Note: For all events listed here- Masks are required for all patrons, and everyone five years of age and older are required to provide proof of full vaccination. Those 16 years of age or older must also provide a valid photo ID.

Alison Moran and Dean’s Team Chicago

Restaurant Review – Gordon Ramsay Burger

Is Gordon Ramsay’s first Chicago-based restaurant more like ‘MasterChef?’ Or, uncharacteristically, ‘Hell’s Kitchen?’ The Michelin-starred chef has built restaurants around the world and rebuilt failing restaurants in a week. 

But in a city with many Michelin-starred restaurants and celebrity chefs,  how could Ramsay compete with Chicago’s own Grant Achatz of Alinea, or Stefanie Izard of the Girl and the Goat, for example?

The fact is, that rascal Ramsay went in a different direction. Instead of fusion specialties or New American tasting menus, Ramsay went for the basics—a superior burger, a very non-Chicago style hot dog, truffle fries, and creative appetizers and drinks. As their website states, they serve “crafted burgers basted with butter along with fries, sauces made from scratch, and delicious milkshakes – all made with the finest ingredients.”  All dishes are made to order, and can be modified to comply with dietary restrictions.

Start your Gordon Ramsay Burger experience with Hellfire Chicken Wings, with a tangy hellfire sauce and blue cheese. Or a Street Corn Dip, with elote-style corn, jalapeño, fresno chiles, cotija cheese, parmesan, lime, cilantro, and served with blue tortilla chips. Ramsay also offers Kettle Chip Nachos with braised beef, English cheddar sauce, pickled peppers, green onion, and sour cream.

For a lighter choice, try a Hellfire Chicken Salad, with grilled chicken breast, baby gem lettuce, marinated tomato, avocado, cucumber, Stilton Blue cheese, and ranch dressing. Their Caesar Salad pairs romaine, kale, and frisée with green apple, garlic croutons, parmesan, and a refreshing lemon zest, served with creamy garlic dressing.

And then…there are the burgers! The Hell’s Kitchen Burger pairs asadero cheese with roasted jalapeño, avocado, and roasted tomato. Or the Forest Burger, pairing gruyère, mixed mushrooms, fried egg, arugula, and porcini aioli. Those who like chicken will enjoy the Southern Yardbird, a chicken patty with sharp cheddar, house pickles, bibb lettuce, and mustard BBQ sauce.  

Now, about those Dawgs…Ramsay certainly has a rebel streak in him, and serving ketchup on a hot dog is just not done in Chicago. But for those who dare, their Standard Dawg has onion, mustard, and house ketchup, served on a toasted sesame seed bun. Pair your burgers or dawgs with Truffle Fries, served with house ketchup, truffle aioli, parmesan, and chives.

Wash it all down with an English-inspired Sticky Toffee Shake with brown butter ice cream, toffee sauce, and whipped cream. Or a creatively named cocktail like a Grin & Tonic, made with ritual zero proof gin alternative, fever tree premium Indian tonic. Or, try a Bloody Virgin Maria, with ritual zero proof tequila alternative, filthy Bloody Mary mix, pickle juice, and a pickle-stuffed olive.

Reviews of the month-old restaurant have ranged from rapturous to mediocre, depending on service. One Google reviewer opined, “We’ve always been fans of gourmet food and chef Gordon Ramsay so we decided to have dinner last night at his restaurant that’s nearest to us.

The burgers, most especially, the Backyard burger, was so freaking delicious. Their milkshakes are so thick, creamy, and we loved it. The service crew were also very attentive to our needs.

Overall, it was a very good experience.”

Gordon Ramsay Burger is located at 2 E. Ontario Street for dine-in only. They’re open Monday-Thursday 11am-10pm, Friday and Saturday, 11am-11pm, and Sunday, 11am-9pm. No takeout, delivery, online ordering, or reservations at this time. For more information, click here.

Chicago Home and Lifestyles – Swindlers That Prey On The Elderly

Many of us that are middle aged and approaching retirement are pretty savvy concerning the danger of fraud.

We are naturally cautious when we come across questionable offers, but sometimes our elderly relatives or friends that are not equipped to detect phony schemes can fall prey! 

Some elderly persons have cognitive decline which can hamper your ability to realize when something is not quite right. Many are also lonely and isolated, which can make them susceptible to being exploited. 

Here are some scams to let your loved ones know about:

Tech Support Scam: Many older people are not tech savvy, and this leaves them open to the tech support scams. A person calls and claims your computer has a virus they can fix if you hand over remote access. They will then ask for payment or steal personal information. Have them make sure any support comes from the contact information that comes from their devices.

Pretending To Be Family: This next one tears at my heartstrings as I have grandchildren. Con artists will extract details about your grandchild from the internet. (We know sometimes our kids give out way too much info on social media!) They then call in the middle of the night pretending to be your grandchild who needs fast cash to get out of a jam whether a car accident, medical emergency, or even to get out of jail. They urge you to avoid calling their parents and blame a distorted voice on a “bad connection”. Being woken up and disoriented with worry pulls elderly ones easily into a trap. Advise them to hang up immediately and call another relative who will know if it is legit!

Romance/Catfishing: The romance angle is again another fraud that preys upon lonely, isolated elderly. The scammer sends you a private message saying they remember you from elementary school and comment how great you look. These people will spend weeks, even months building a relationship before they ask for money, usually for so-called medical expenses or to travel to see you. People have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars to this con. 

Social Security: The Social Security fraud has a person claiming to be a SS staffer tries to glean personal information or money. They may tell you there is a problem with your account like someone using your SS number or say there is a threat to your benefits. Do not trust caller ID as that can be manipulated. Call 800-772-1213 to speak with a Social Security representative. 

Fast Money: The Lottery or Sweepstakes scam will have a person contacted by mail, phone, email or online that you have won, or have the potential to win a jackpot. But of course, there is a catch. You must pay a fee or cover “taxes.” They may want a direct transfer, prepaid debit card or money order. Do not fall for this even if the name of the contest or lottery is legitimate. This was the third most reported fraud in 2018. 

Contractor Scheme: The contractor scheme is very prevalent all over the country. They will come door to door offering services especially around natural disasters. They will offer low prices on everything from resurfacing your driveway to trimming your trees. There is a catch, they want a large amount of money upfront and then disappear. Ask friends and relatives for referrals for contractors they have used and were happy with. Legitimate contractors do not work door to door. 

Be safe out there!

Kathleen Weaver-Zech and Dean’s Team Chicago

Five Ways You Can Get Earnest Money Back

Earnest money is a deposit you pay when you make an offer on a home—it’s a way to show the seller that you mean business. Usually you can’t get it back, but there are several circumstances that allow you to recover your earnest money.

Appraisal contingency: With an appraisal contingency, you can recover your earnest money if the home is appraised for less than your offer. This gives you a better negotiating position—if the seller doesn’t agree to a lower price, you can get your earnest money back and walk away from the deal.

Major problems with the home: It may be your dream home at the surface level, but an inspection could reveal major, major problems—such as issues with the foundation, or flood damage. In that case, you can get your money back if the seller doesn’t agree to a lower price.

The seller backs out: Obviously, if the seller changes their mind about the transaction—maybe they decide not to sell, or accept a higher offer—you get your earnest money back.

Your house hasn’t sold: Many buyers can’t afford a new home if they’re still financially responsible for their old one. In this case, you can work a sale contingency into the contract, and get your earnest money back if the home doesn’t sell soon enough.

Financing issues: Though there are some limits on financing contingencies, you can get your money back if you’re unable to get a loan.

THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO – No Doubt Winter Is Here!

Winter is, without a doubt, here and even though Chicagoans are frozen to the core, this weekend brings temps above freezing and the opportunity to get out and enjoy it before the next arctic blast comes in!

Disney’s latest Broadway adaptation brings the smash-hit animated movie Frozen to life right before our eyes every Saturday (2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m. & 6:30 p.m.) through January 22nd at the Cadillac Palace Theatre (151 W. Randolph St.) in the Loop. An unforgettable theatrical experience awaits audiences with spectacular special effects, stunning sets and costumes, powerhouse performances, and human-manipulated versions of Olaf the snowman and Sven the reindeer.  And not only does this production include all the songs you’re familiar with, like “Let It Go,” it also features an expanded score with a dozen new numbers by the film’s songwriters. It’s simply moving and spectacular!

Chicago’s museums are a great place to visit especially during the winter season. In fact, the Shedd Aquarium (1200 S. Lake Shore Dr.) in the South Loop offers two tours through June:

Beluga Encounter occurs on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays (9:45 a.m. – 11 a.m.) How would you like to meet the belugas where they live and stand side by side with a trainer on an underwater ledge? In this 75-minute experience you’ll step into chest-deep water and come face to face with a beluga whale! You’ll also enjoy the chance to touch one of these extraordinary animals, try out a few training techniques, and even enjoy a few surprises!

Shark Feeding occurs Saturdays and Sundays (10 a.m. – 11 a.m.) Join the sharks and rays for brunch on this 60-minute behind-the-scenes feeding tour.  It begins with an in-depth look at Wild Reef located in the Philippines.  Then you’ll enter the animal-care area to witness mealtime with the ocean’s most dynamic predators.  Plus, you’ll get to see first-hand how the sharks have been trained to respond to each one’s version of a dinner bell! You’ll even have a hand in feeding some of the other fishes as well!

Need some color in your life during the dreary winter season? Then head on down to the Field Museum (1400 S. Lake Shore Dr.) in the South Loop for their latest exhibition Wild Color. Explore the colors of the natural world as you learn how plants and animals use color to ward-off predators or attract mates, and how the color of gems and minerals can offer clues about their formation.  And I bet you didn’t even know that there are shades of color that the human eye can’t detect!  This extensive collection of some of the brightest hues in the world will awaken your senses at this exhibit!

Celebrate the life, the music, and the legend of David Bowie at the Bowie Ball this Saturday from 10 p.m. to Sunday 5 a.m. at Smartbar (3730 N. Clark St.) in the Wrigleyville neighborhood on what would have been Bowie’s 75th birthday. This event features drag and burlesque performances, glittery specialty cocktails, a special club Bowie DJ set by DJ Heaven Malone, and a Bowie costume contest! Time to glam it up and wish David Bowie a heavenly birthday!

The Chicago Bears travel to Minnesota to take on the Vikings this Sunday at 12 p.m. as their season comes to another screeching halt. Here’s to next year!

Sue Moss and Dean’s Team Chicago