Sunday, August 23, 2015

Dolce Italian Now Open in Godfrey Hotel

I had the opportunity to check out the Godrey Hotel's new restaurant, Dolce Italian, this past week as I planned a lunch date with some special ladies. My cousin, who is also a writer and blogger was in town with my aunt and with her daughter who works in communications and was in town for a conference. They all live in the Springfield area and it was so nice to have a chance to sit down and enjoy some time with my cousin and my aunt, whom I haven't seen in a couple years, and to enjoy a fabulous meal with this lovely setting as our meeting spot.

The new eatery opened in May in the award-winning luxury lifestyle Godfrey Hotel that also offers 221 rooms and suites and the 110 Urban Roofscape, the largest hotel rooftop dining and event space in Chicago. It also boasts a boutique spa and state-of-the-art fitness facilities.

LDV Hospitality’s Dolce Italian was named America’s “Best New Restaurant” in the first season of Bravo’s culinary competition series Best New Restaurant. With 16 restaurants competing from New York, L.A., Miami and Austin, Dolce Italian came out as the winner and earned an impressive feature in Bon Appétit, a featured spot at America’s number one global food festival, Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appétit 2015, and $100,000. There are now locations in Miami, Atlanta and Chicago.

We each started off with a glass of prosecco and some lovely crusty Italian bread.

They had prepared some of their signature dishes for us to sample, including this Tuna Tartare with yellowfin tuna, seared fennel, avocado, romesco and mandarin, topped with microgreens and served with some crispy zucchini chips. It was one of those culinary works of art with such an amazing presentation that you hate to ruin the beauty by taking a bite. But my all means, dig in. Your taste buds will be thrilled with this great blast of flavor.

We also sampled the Watermelon Salad, which included watermelon, heirloom tomatoes, fresh mint and pumpkin seeds with just a tiny bit of goat cheese. Watermelon salads such as this one have become a favorite seasonal salad of mine. I've often had it with grilled watermelon, which is amazing. This watermelon didn't appear grilled, but it was ripe and juicy and paired so well with the sweet yellow heirloom tomatoes. This is the kind of salad I could eat for every meal and never tire of it. It's the ideal summer salad - super refreshing! 

The final dish they had prepared for us was the Tartufata Pizza. Again..a culinary art piece that you hate to disturb. Takes pizza to a whole new level. I prefer thin, crispy crust (I know, what kind of Chicagoan doesn't go for the deep dish first?) and this just might have been the best crust I've ever experienced. Now I've never been to Italy...but, I imagine this is probably a pretty authentic crust, but even prettier.

Now about the pizza, it contains one of my favorite ingredients and one that's trending in the foodie world, truffle oil. Truffle oil seems to be one of those love 'em or hate 'em foods with a strong, pungent aroma and taste that can be a turn off to those who haven't had it before, but I'm smitten with it. The spicy salami gave it a bit of a kick.

Ok, any sane person would have stopped after those goodies, but the pastas sounded wonderful, so we ordered a couple dishes to share. One was the Fettuccine Al Pesto with gulf shrimp. While fettuccine noodles are often served with a heavy, but delicious, cream sauce, this dish goes lighter by replacing that sauce with basil pesto...and boy, what a winner it is! This is an ideal lunchtime dish when you want something a little more substantial than a salad, but that still doesn't feel so heavy. And as with everything else we tried, the presentation was exquisite.

We also tried the Pappardelle Alla Bolognese with braised pork, beef and veal ragu. For those who love a meaty sauce with their pasta, this will fit the bill. Sprinkle on some fresh parmesan and you've got a perfect pasta dish to please.

With tiramisu, one of my all-time favorite desserts, as a dessert selection, I just couldn't pass it up. I don't drink coffee, but adore tiramisu - I know, I know, doesn't quite make sense. This version was particularly fluffy and we each enjoyed a couple bites to end our meal. 

Dolce Italian is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner in the chic dining room with plenty of sunny views of the bustling Chicago street. The dinner menu includes some of the items we tried as well as an expanded entree list with halibut, salmon, veal, steak and rack of lamb. To view a full menu, click here.

After lunch we were off to shop at Water Tower Place, fueled by our fantastic meal and great conversation.

127 W Huron at LaSalle
Chicago, IL 60654

Friday, August 21, 2015

Summer Veggie Soup with Brown Rice

It's that time of year where the garden is bursting with fresh veggies and my son picked a bunch this week, so I figured I'd use some in soup. While soup is traditionally a cold-weather dish, I always enjoy some late summer/early fall pots that fill the house with fabulous smells that have been missing for months.

10 cups water
7 chicken boullion cubes

Spices to taste:
Seasoned Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Garlic Salt

Veggies, diced:
10 - 12 baby carrots
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 orange bell pepper
1/2 green bell pepper
1 large yellow heirloom tomato
1 large red tomato

I also added one can of seasoned stewed tomatoes just for the extra juice.

1 frozen package brown rice (I get mine at Trader Joe's)

Put water and bullion cubes in large pot. Dissolve boullion in boiling water. Add spices and diced veggies. Simmer for about 45 minutes, until veggies are soft. Prepare rice in microwave as directed. Add to pot and simmer another 10 minutes or so.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Equal offers National Lemonade Day recipe and giveaway

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. Compensation and giveaway provided by Equal®.

Today is National Lemonade Day! It's time to celebrate that refreshing summer beverage that we all love to consume on a warm summer day. To sweeten up a glass of lemonade without the calories of sugar, Equal® 0-Calorie Sweetener is a perfect alternative.

For more than 30 years, Equal® has added sweetness to America’s favorite beverages and recipes in those easily recognizable little blue packets. Besides using it to sweeten beverages like coffee, tea and lemonade, it can be used in any recipe recipes as a substitute for sugar.

Having a grandmother who was diabetic and being on the borderline of having gestational diabetes during three pregnancies, I know the importance of limiting sugar intake...and what a bummer it is when you want something sweet, but can't have what's available. Having the option to enjoy something everyone else takes for granted is great and thanks to Equal®, treats can be enjoyed without any worry or guilt.

In celebration of National Lemonade Day, Chris Smith, known as the The Diabetic Chef®, has created a Blackberry Sparkling Lemonade that is sure to cool you off on a hot summery day.'s one of several recipes in a little booklet that is part of a great giveaway package that one of our readers can win!

The giveaway package also includes a supply of equal so that you are stocked up to make some of the recipes on your own along with some other goodies.

Here's how you make that tasty lemonade!



1 - 1/2 cups sparkling water
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 1/2 tbsp. Equal® Spoonful or 4 packets Equal® sweetener
12 fresh blackberries, frozen
Ice, as needed
Fresh mint sprigs and lemon slices, optional


Stir sparkling water, lemon juice and Equal® until combined.
Place 6 blackberries and ice cubes in each of 2 tall glasses.
Divide mixture between the glasses and serve.
Garnish each glass with init and fresh lemon slices, if desired, and serve.

So, about that giveaway...

I was so excited to get my package in the mail. It included:

a plastic Equal® mason-style drinking glass with straw
a snack-size bag of Skinny Pop popcorn
a folding fan
a Joie juicer
a Tovolo King ice cube tray
a Equal® iPad holder
an Equal® recipe guide
a Sparkling Blackberry Lemonade recipe card from The Diabetic Chef, Chris Smith
Two containers of Equal product - a 115-count pack of individual servings and a 4 oz. Spoonful package

You'll be all set to make your own lemonade and much more. Oh, and a word on that juicer, it is AWESOME! It's perfect to make a quick single serving. Honestly, I'm usually making a quick pitcher full with a mix and after making my own fresh lemon juice for lemonade, there is such a huge difference. I don't think I'll be going back to the mix! Oh, and if you're not a blackberry fan (or have trouble finding them), strawberries, raspberries or blueberries will also add an extra hint of flavor and some lovely color to your fresh lemonade.

Anyway, if you would like to enter to win, enter below. Giveaway starts at midnight and runs for one week!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Ben's Pretzels opening new location today! Free pretzel to celebrate!

I fell in love with Ben's Soft Pretzels the first time I tried one at the Chesterton European Market. They are so soft and warm a fluffy and they just melt in your mouth. And they are HUGE -- definitely a shareable snack.

I was excited when they started branching out to opening locations in Northwest Indiana, including one not far from me in the Meijer store in Highland.

Today they open a new store in Merrillville and the Grand Opening, set to begin at 1 p.m. includes a ribbon cutting and then free pretzels! Head on over and try them out! :)

Ben’s Soft Pretzels First Franchise Partners Celebrate Opening of Fifth Location 

WHAT:    Ben’s Soft Pretzels  (, a leader in the soft pretzel market, offering preservative-free pretzels baked fresh on-site daily, is celebrating the Grand Opening of the new bakery in Merrillville, Indiana inside Meijer. The Grand Opening will include free pretzels being offered to the public and a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Tom and Lisa Noak of Chesterton, Indiana, own the Merrillville location of Ben’s Soft Pretzels. The Noak’s were Ben’s Soft Pretzels first franchise partners when they started franchising back in 2013. They currently own five locations in Northwest Indiana including Michigan City, Valparaiso, La Porte, Portage and now Merrillville.  

Ben’s Soft Pretzels is one of the fastest growing quick-serve franchises in the US. There are nearly 50 Ben’s Soft Pretzels bakery locations throughout Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and Florida, with a handful of additional pretzel bakeries opening in 2015, many of which will be located inside Meijer and Walmart Stores. 

WHEN:    Grand Opening, Wednesday, August 19th, from 1:00PM– 6:00PM, Ribbon cutting to be held at 12:45 PM.

WHERE:  611 W Lincoln Hwy, Merrillville, IN 46410 | Ph: 219-769-0737

WHAT:     Free Pretzels (1 per person) from 1:00PM– 6:00PM

MENU:    A fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth taste, and often enjoyed with a wide array of gourmet dipping sauces, Ben’s Soft Pretzels are almost 2x the size of other pretzels and feature imported salt from Germany.
In addition to the legendary Jumbo Soft Pretzel, our Buggy Bites offer customers delicious, bite size pretzel perfection. Our Pretzel Stixs feature all of the goodness of a traditional pretzel, in perfect-dipping form. An all-beef frank Pretzel Dog that includes sliced cheese enclosed in a pretzel style bun.  
Customers can enjoy any Ben’s Soft Pretzels bakery item with over eleven unique dipping sauces including the famous Amish Sweet Mustard or Homemade Vanilla Icing. Ben’s Soft Pretzels fans often purchase multiple dipping sauces to find out their own favorite flavor combinations or customize by using Bake & Shake seasonings.

Carrington Farms Flax Seeds give added boost to burgers

If you're like most of us, you've been enjoying a few burgers off the grill this summer. Carrington Farms offers this recipe for a flax burger using their organic milled flax seeds. The recipe puts a healthy spin on the traditional BBQ favorite, packs a ton of flavor and is rich in omega-3s, omega-6s, fiber, and lignans.

Carrington Farms Flax Burger

Prep time: ~15 minutes
  • 1 pound thawed ground beef, lean ground turkey or bison, veal or your favorite meat
  • 2 Tbs finely chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 2 Tbs Carrington Farms Organic Milled flaxseed
  • 2 Tbs water
  • 3/4 cup soft bread crumbs (1 slice of bread)
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 Tbs mustard
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 4-6 hamburger buns
  • Mix together meat, onion, garlic, flax and bread crumbs
  • Lightly beat water and egg together and add to mixture. Add mustard, salt and pepper
  • Cook on a grill or stove top until no pink remains (~12 mins)
  • Optional cheeseburgers: top with slice of your choice of cheese at end of cooking and grill or broil for about 1 min
Makes 4 -3/4 inch thick patties or 6 -1/2 inch thick patties
Carrington Farms Organic Milled Flax Seeds
Carrington Farms unique proprietary Milling and Micro-Cleanse process assures only the finest Flax Seeds are thoroughly cleansed by natural means, and then surgically sliced, as opposed to pulverized, resulting in a delicious coarse flax seed grind that retains the maximum amount of healthy nutrients. Flax seeds contain essential fatty acids, Omega 3s, fiber, and lignans which all provide the building blocks to improved cellular health and one’s overall well-being. Packaged in a 14 oz resealable stand up pouch, Carrington Farms’ Organic Milled Flax Seeds presents a palatable subtle nutty flavor. SRP: $5.69,
About Carrington Farms
Carrington Farms is dedicated to providing the absolute highest quality products to the consumer in search of a healthy way of life. With a 14 year history of developing healthy consumer packaged goods in vibrant packaging, Carrington Farms has become recognized by the health conscious consumer as the brand of choice in presenting 'Healthy foods for a Healthy Soul'. Carrington Farms welcomes the individual focused on quality of life and longevity to a world of innovative health food products featuring exceptional quality and delicious flavors in your quest for a satisfying Healthy Living experience. All Carrington Farms products are certified organic, Star-K Kosher, gluten-free and non-GMO. From the pure whole seed flax to the chia blends and cold-pressed organic extra virgin coconut oil, all of Carrington Farms' vitamin and mineral-full health food products are a great way to start adding a little more nutrition to your everyday life. For more information, please visit

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Odyssey cruise caters to marathon runners with special pasta cruise

The Chicago Marathon is still a couple months away, but as you make plans, keep in mind this great pasta-focused cruise for participants (friends and family are welcome, too!) on the Odyssey. They'll be hosting two lunch cruises with a special pasta menu developed by Odyssey’s executive chef! 

On this cruise from Navy Pier, guests will be treated to a fantastic combination of dining, entertainment, and sightseeing and skyline views to energize them for the next day's big race. 

The menu includes:

Pasta Lunch Cruise Menu

Salad Sampler
Assorted Field Greens
Displayed with your choice of Chopped European Cucumbers, Grape Tomatoes, Cheddar Cheese, Bacon Bits and Seasoned Croutons, with Ranch and Italian Dressing

Caprese Pasta
Fresh Mozzarella, Grape Tomatoes, tossed with Petite Pasta Tubes, Fresh Basil and Honey Mustard Dressing
Pasta Primavera
Imported Penne tossed with Tomato Basil Sauce and Roasted Vegetables
Pasta Station
3 Color Cheese Tortellini & Imported Rigatoni Noodles displayed with choice of Vodka Cream Sauce, Spicy Tomato & Pesto Sauce with a side of Parmesano Reggiano Cheese & Toasted Garlic Bread

Assorted Freshly Baked Rolls

Assortment of Freshly Baked Cookies, Brownies and Seasonal Fruit

Cruise details:

Saturday, October 10th:
Early Pasta Lunch Cruise
·         Board: 11:00 am | Cruise: 11:30 am - 1:30 pm
·         Price: from $40.44 per adult | $20.22 per child (age 3-12)
·         Guests can make reservations by calling 866.305.2469 or book online here
Afternoon Pasta Lunch Cruise
·         Board: 2:30 pm | Cruise: 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
·         Price: from $40.44 per adult | $20.22 per child (age 3-12)
·         Guests can make reservations by calling 866.305.2469 or book online here

Monday, August 17, 2015

Famous Dave's hosts school supply drive

Famous Dave's is not just a place to get great food, but I love that they do a number of charitable things throughout the year. Right now they are accepting donations of school supplies for children in need in communities in Chicagoland and in exchange for your donation, you'll get a voucher for a free kids meal. Sounds like a win-win to me. Read on for more details in the press release below.

CHICAGO, IL(AUGUST 10, 2015)- Famous Dave's is celebrating going back to school by giving back. Famous Dave's has partnered with the Kids in Need Foundation to host Dave's Drive to benefit underserved kids in need of school supplies in the Chicagoland area. The Kids in Need Foundation provides free school supplies to students in low-income areas in an effort to make a difference in the education of underprivileged children. Dave's Drive will take place from August 10 to September 15.

"It's really important for us to give back," says Brett Rainwater, Famous Dave's Executive Director of Operations. "We want to help give kids the education they deserve by offering them the tools they need to succeed."

To get involved, guests may drop off new and unused school supplies appropriate for Kindergarten through 12th grade students in the collection bins at any of the seven Chicagoland Famous Dave's locations. Upon donating, guests are eligible to receive a voucher for a free kid's meal; which is redeemable from a Famous Dave's manager. Find a complete list of Famous Dave's locations here, and find more ways to donate to the Kids in Need Foundation here.


About Famous Dave's
Famous Dave's of America, Inc. (Nasdaq: DAVE) develops, owns, operates and franchises BBQ restaurants. The company owns 46 locations and franchises 139 additional units in 34 states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and one Canadian Province. Famous Dave's menu features award-winning BBQ and grilled meats, a large selection of salads, side items and sandwiches, and unique desserts. Famous Dave's has won more than 700 awards, from "Best Ribs" to "BBQ Sauce" to "Best Cookbook" to "Top Barbeque Restaurant Franchise." For more information, please visit Famous Dave's online at, like them on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter.

About Kids in Need Foundation
The Kids In Need Foundation is a national 501(c)(3) charitable organization founded in 1995. The Foundation's mission is to ensure that every child is prepared to learn and succeed by providing free school supplies nationally to students in need. Its National Network of Resource Centers includes 34 facilities where teachers from low-income schools go to obtain free school supplies for their students. School supply giveaways in communities not served by Resource Centers are accommodated through the School Ready Supplies program, and students who have gone through natural disasters are helped to get back to their normal routines with new backpacks and supplies through the Second Responder program. In addition, two Teacher Grant programs award Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade educators with funding to provide innovative learning experiences for students. The Kids In Need Foundation has distributed more than $668 million in school supplies since its founding, directly benefiting 4.2 million students and more than 120,000 teachers annually, and has awarded $1.6 million in grants to teachers. Kids In Need has earned the Gold GuideStar Exchange Seal, demonstrating its commitment to transparency, and has been given a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, indicating that it operates in a fiscally responsible way and outperforms most other charities in America. For more information,  Join Kids In Need Foundation on Twitter and Facebook.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Try Double-Dipped French Toast at IHOP

French toast. Who doesn't love it? IHOP® has a couple new varieties of French toast on the menu for a limited time that sound scrumptious. The double-dipped version is dipped in vanilla batter and then dipped a second time in crispy corn flakes and oatmeal then griddled and covered with tasty toppings - lemon strawberry or cinnamon sugar.

This twist on the breakfast classic is a new addition to the French Toast specials at IHOP, joining the Stuffed French Toast and the Brioche French Toast. 

See this unique, delicious treat by visiting:
Guests can choose one of two flavor combinations: 
·         Cinnamon Sugar Double-Dipped French Toast – Soft brioche bread is first dipped in vanilla batter, then dipped a second time in crispy corn flakes and oatmeal, griddled, and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and whipped topping.

·         Lemon Strawberry Double-Dipped French Toast – Soft brioche bread is first dipped in vanilla batter, then dipped a second time in crispy corn flakes and oatmeal, griddled, then topped with cool lemonade cream and glazed strawberries.
“Our Double Dipped French Toast offers a variety of flavors and textures giving our guests a fresh, enjoyable and unique experience with each bite, “ said Marie Grimm, Vice President, Menu Development & Innovation, International House of Pancakes, LLC. “We’ve spent over a year dipping, grilling, and tasting new ways to improve and innovate this breakfast classic—and I know guests will agree after every bite of this crispy treat that it was time well spent.”
Along with two slices of hand-crafted Double-Dipped French Toast, the combo meal also includes eggs, done the way you like them, choice of crispy bacon, pork sausage links or a slice of grilled ham, and IHOP restaurants' signature golden hash browns, or stacked high as an entrée of three slices at participating restaurants.
Double Dipped French toast will be available at participating IHOP Restaurants until September 20.
For over 57 years, International House of Pancakes, LLC has been a leader and expert in all things breakfast and a leader in family dining. The chain is highly competitive in its menu offering, serving 65 different signature, made-to-order breakfast options as well as meals under 600 calories. Beyond offering “everything you love about breakfast,” IHOP® restaurants have a wide selection of popular lunch and dinner items, as well. IHOP restaurants offer guests an affordable, everyday dining experience with warm and friendly service. As of March 31, 2015, there were 1,650 IHOP restaurants in 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as in Canada, Guatemala, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the Philippines and the U.S. Virgin Islands. IHOP restaurants are franchised and operated by Glendale, Calif.-based International House of Pancakes, LLC and its affiliates. International House of Pancakes, LLC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of DineEquity, Inc.

New Rachael Ray series premieres August 24

Rachael Ray is one of my favorite food personalities. I'm excited to hear that she has a new show that will debut soon that focuses on kid cooks. :) She'll be mentoring a group of 10 - 13 year olds. More details in the press release below.


Special Guest Judges Will Join Rachael Ray Each Week as Kidtestants Compete For a
$20,000 Culinary Scholarship and a Web Series on

Series Premieres on Monday, August 24th at 7pm CT on Food Network

NEW YORK, NY – August 13, 2015 – Food Network icon and best-selling cookbook author Rachael Ray hosts this six-episode series where the challenges are big and the competitors are – kids! Beginning on Monday, August 24th at 8pm ET/PT eight multi-talented junior chefs will be put to the test through a series of tough cooking challenges and high-pressure obstacles, as they compete for a $20,000 culinary scholarship and their very own web series on Each week, Rachael and an all-star guest judge, including Sunny AndersonScott ConantAmanda FreitagAlex GuarnaschelliRobert IrvineJeff MauroDaymon PattersonMarcus Samuelsson and Fabio Viviani will mentor and guide the kidtestants through culinary challenges, from preparing the perfect well-balanced bite, to creating “desserts in disguise” inspired by the new movie Hotel Transylvania 2. In addition, the young competitors must shine in on-camera challenges as they articulate their culinary point of view and bring their food to life. Only one will take home the grand prize and be crowned winner of this cook-off! 

“The kidtestants have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to not only compete for their own web series and a culinary scholarship, but to also learn from one of America’s favorite television hosts, Rachael Ray,” said Bob Tuschman, General Manager and Senior Vice President, Food Network. “I am not sure whose job is more difficult - the kids, who must survive tough challenges, or Rachael, who must choose between all of these talented young chefs.”  

Rachael Ray’s Kids Cook-Off competitors include: Chandler (Carnesville, Georgia; age 12), Chris (Ann Arbor, Michigan; age 13), Juliana (Marietta, Georgia; age 11), Nicholas (Edward, Colorado; age 10), Olivia (Yonkers, New York; age 11), Sabrina (Indianapolis, Indiana; age 11), Scarlett (Hollywood, California; age 11),and Zach (Olathe, Kansas; age 12). 

Fans can head to to access photo and video highlights, interviews with the winners and much more—all culminating in an exclusive winner’s web series! Join the conversation on Twitter using #KidsCookOff. 

Episodes include:
Premiering Monday, August 24th at 7pm CT – SEASON PREMIERE!
“Fusion Impossible”
Eight of the country's most talented kid chefs come together to battle it out in Rachael Ray’s Kids Cook-Off. Rachael and guest judge Robert Irvine(Restaurant: Impossible) present the chefs with their first challenge to find out what makes each kid unique to decide who will make it to the next round.

Premiering Monday, August 31st at 7pm CT
“Fast Food Feud”
After making it past the first elimination, seven kidtestants will put their own spin on a fast-food classic. The competition to win their own web series heats up as food critic and internet video star Daymon Patterson (Daym Drops) joins Rachael to judge this cook-off.

Premiering Monday, September 7th at 7pm CT
“Hasta La Pasta”
The six remaining kid chefs are put to the test as they show off their signature flavors in a pasta dish, and create their own food product. The competition is fierce, as they must impress Rachael and Fabio Viviani (Cutthroat Kitchen: Superstar Sabotage) to stay in the running.

Premiering Monday, September 14th at 7pm CT
“Family-Style Showdown”
The five remaining kid chefs cook and present the dish that changed their lives. Sunny Anderson (The Kitchen) joins Rachael to help decide which kids will continue on in the competition.

Premiering Monday, September 21st at 7pm CT
“Monster Meals”
The kidtestants cook up monstrous meals inspired by the release of Hotel Transylvania 2.  The competition is heating up, and guest judge Jeff Mauro(The Kitchen) must choose the three kids who will continue on to the finale for the chance to win the cook-off competition.

Premiering Monday, September 28th at 7pm CT
“Grand Finale Cook-Off”
In the finale, three kid chefs battle it out one last time to win a $20,000 culinary scholarship and their own web series.  The stakes are high as they cook to impress Chopped judges Scott ConantAlex GuarnaschelliAmanda Freitag and Marcus Samuelsson. Only one kidtestant will take home the grand prize!

Rachael Ray, syndicated television star, iconic Food Network personality, best-selling cookbook author, founder and Editorial Director of her own lifestyle magazine Every Day With Rachael Ray, and Founder of the Yum-o! Organization, launched her hugely successful syndicated daytime program,Rachael Ray, in the fall of 2006, winning an “Outstanding Talk Show-Entertainment” Emmy® in 2008 and 2009, and scored three Daytime Emmy® nominations in 2010 and 2011. In 2009, Rachael was honored with the American Woman in Radio & Television Tribute Award. 

Rachael's television work includes a series of lifestyle and travel segments, as well as a long-term relationship with Food Network, hosting shows such as Rachael’s VacationsTasty Travels$40 A DayInside DishWeek In A Day and 30-Minute Meals, the latter of which earned Rachael a 2006 Daytime Emmy® Award for “Outstanding Service Show” and a nomination for “Outstanding Service Show Host.” In 2012, Rachael launched a new competition show with fellow Food Network colleague Guy Fieri called Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off. In addition to her television endeavors, Rachael has turned her 30-Minute Meals concept into a best-selling series of cookbooks, including 30-Minute MealsMy Year in Meals by Rachael Ray, and most recently Week in a Day, among many others.

Rachael Ray’s Kids Cook-Off is produced by Jane Street Entertainment.

Fox & Hounds hosts cancer benefit this week

Kudos to the folks at Fox & Hounds for hosting an upcoming benefit where part of the sales for the entire day will benefit cancer research. Read more in the press release below:




CHICAGO (July 2015) – The Fox & Hound locations in the Chicagoland area (Aurora, Schaumburg and Arlington Heights) are teaming up with Gateway for Cancer Research to support cancer patients.  Fox & Hound will host the three celebrations to benefit Gateway for Cancer Researchon Thursday, August 20, 2015.

Each Fox & Hound location will donate 10% of sales for the entire day and night of Thursday, August 20 to Gateway for Cancer Researchwhich funds meaningful and breakthrough clinical trials worldwide that help people living with cancer to feel better, live longer and conquer cancer.

The Fox & Hound celebrations will be held at: 
·         4320 East New York Avenue (Yorkshire Shopping Center) in Aurora
·         1416 North Roselle Road in Schaumburg
·         910-918 West Dundee Road in Arlington Heights

The three parties will be held from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m., where guests are invited to enjoy a complimentary sampling of Fox & Hound’s signature dishes, including Olympian Hummus, Drunken Chicken Tenders, Tavern Wings, Slow Roasted Baby Back Ribs and Black Forest Sliders!

Featured signature cocktails include Irish ‘Rita, Twisted Bitter, Strawberry Blonde and more for $4 each; draft beer will be available for $2 each. 

"We are truly inspired by Fox & Hound and their leadership in paying it forward; a partnership like this directly impacts the lives of people in our local communities.  This is genuinely about people in our community helping people living with cancer feel better, live longer and conquer cancer today!” said Teresa Hall Bartels, President of Gateway for Cancer Research.  “We are looking forward to delicious food, great ambience, and the company of friends and family. We cordially invite everyone to come out and join us at aFox & Hound on August 20!” 

Fox & Hound restaurants in the Chicagoland area offer more than 31 High Definition TVs; great games, including ping pong, pool, darts and shuffleboard; nearly 100 kinds of beer, including more than 36 beers on tap, 13 craft beers and 11 local beers; and a deliciously crafted menu for sharing, snacking as well as dining.

Fox & Hound locations in the Chicagoland area are open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.  For more information, reservations or to book a private event, call Fox & Hound of Aurora at (630) 236-9183. Fox & Hound of Schaumburg at (847) 884-6821 and Fox & Hound of Arlington Heights at (847) 590-9019 or visit www.foxandhound.comFacebook and Twitter

Gateway for Cancer Research is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization committed to funding innovative cancer research studies that help people living with cancer to feel better, live longer and conquer cancer TODAY!  Thanks to generous underwriting by Cancer Treatment Centers of America®, 99 cents of every dollar Gateway receives directly funds Phase I and Phase II cancer clinical trials at leading research institutions across the country and abroad.  Since 1991 Gateway has supported more than 120 clinical trials and funded millions in leading-edge research, including blending the best of conventional, and complementary and alternative therapies.  Get involved today by visiting, like us on Facebook at and join the conversation on Twitter @DemandCures, #BeAGateway.

Last Call Operating Co. owns and operates 58 sports bars and pubs in 21 states under the banners of the Fox & Hound and Bailey’s Sports Grille names.  The restaurants provide a comfortable venue for people to catch their favorite game, socialize with a drink, play pool or darts, and grab a bite with friends.  With nearly 100 kinds of beer available in every location, the restaurants are a beer lover’s paradise, and with a full bar of wine and spirits and an extensive menu, Fox & Hound is the perfect place for any occasion.  For reservations or to book a private event, please call your Fox & Hound or visit www.foxandhound.comFacebook and Twitter.