Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

Nasa Green Comet

This graphic released by NASA shows the path the “Green Comet” will take across the solar system. (NASA)

A “once-in-a-lifetime comet” that hasn’t been seen in the solar system for 50,000 years is set to reach its brightest moment this week as stargazers will be able to spot it with just a telescope or binoculars.

According to Chicago’s Adler Planetarium, the comet, informally known as the “green comet” recently made its closest approach to the sun, after having traveled tens of thousands of years from the far fringes of the solar system.” It is expected to be brightest around Feb. 1 as it reaches its closest point to Earth.

The comet will be “just slightly brighter than 6th magnitude,” the planetarium notes, meaning the comet will be at the “faintest an object can be seen without optical aid in a very clear, very dark sky.”

But it won’t look like what many might imagine a comet to look like – even in photos.

“It will be more like a faint, fuzzy glow or smear of light,” the planetarium reported. “Under a city or suburban sky, you’ll need binoculars or a small telescope to actually see this comet. Even far from city lights, you’ll likely still need binoculars because when the comet is brightest, the bright Moon will be in the sky at the same time, making viewing more difficult.”

Discovered less than a year ago, the harmless green comet already is visible in the northern night sky with binoculars and small telescopes, and possibly the naked eye in the darkest corners of the Northern Hemisphere.


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Eagle SearchFor the second time in as many years, Cathy Thurston of Crystal Lake found herself behind a spotting scope in search of eagles.

This year she only saw about 30 golden eye ducks scooting about the Fox River just south of the Algonquin dam.

Earlier in the morning two immature eagles glided up and down the river and then disappeared over the trees.

Thurston was with a small group of people braving the cold at Cornish Park during an “In Search of Eagles” program this Saturday.

The program, which happens every year at this time, took place at the McHenry, Algonquin and Carpentersville dams on the Fox River, and at the Williams Bay boat launch on Geneva Lake in Wisconsin.

Read more here.

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Ludwig van Beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven

Submitted by Elgin Symphony Orchestra

The Elgin Symphony Orchestra invites the public to learn about composers Richard Wagner, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Robert Schumann at free, educational discussions at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 31, at the Barrington Area Public Library, 505 N. Northwest Hwy., Barrington, and noon Wednesday, Feb. 1, at the Gail Borden Library, 270 N. Grove Ave., Elgin.

The discussions are part of the ESO’s Listener’s Club series about the composers and music featured in its concerts.

ESO violinist Eric Pidluski will share the histories of these composers and provide insights into Richard Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5, “Emperor,” and Robert Schumann’s Symphony No. 3, “Rhenish.”

Registration is requested for these free programs. Reserve a seat for the Barrington Area Library event at www.balibrary.org. Reservations for the Gail Borden Library event can be made at www.gailborden.info.

ESO February concerts

The Elgin Symphony Orchestra will perform Richard Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5, “Emperor,” and Robert Schumann’s Symphony No. 3, “Rhenish,” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 5, at the Hemmens Cultural Center, 45 Symphony Way, Elgin.

Pianist Albert Cano Smit and guest conductor Kyle Ritenauer, who is a finalist for the ESO’s music director search, will be featured.

To purchase concert tickets, visit www.elginsymphony.org. Tickets may also be purchased by phone from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday by calling the ESO box office at (847) 888-4000.

Tickets start at $20; $10 for students; free for youth 17 and younger with an accompanying paid adult.

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Horizon Farm Master Plan: Your Feedback is Appreciated

The Park District will host a meeting with the Cook County Forest Preserve District to discuss a Master Plan for the Horizon Farm property. The public is encouraged to attend in person or via Zoom (check back here for a link to the meeting.) Meeting Date: Feb. 8th, at 7:00 p.m.  Meeting Location:  361 Bateman Rd. Barriington [sic] Hills, IL, at the Park District’s Riding Center Meeting Room.”

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The Barrington Hills Park District Board will hold their regular monthly meeting this evening in person and via Zoom at 7:00 PM. Their agenda reads as follows:

  1. Call To Order
  2. Recognition Of Commissioners
  3. Recognition Of Visitors
  4. Approval Of The December 2022 Park Board Meeting Minutes
  5. Approval Of The December 2022 Treasurer’s Report
  6. Advisory Committee Report
  7. Facility Rental Requests
  8. Trainer Registrations
  9. Facility Maintenance
  10. Action To Be Taken On Discussed Items
  11. Old/New Business
  12. Adjournment

In other words, pure boilerplate. Not even a heads up on the public hearing scheduled next month. However, the way they operate, practically anything can be discussed and voted upon tonight.

A copy of their agenda can be viewed here. Instructions for accessing the meeting remotely can be found here.

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Out with the old and in with the new! A bit trite, yes, but true. And restaurants and bars across the suburbs are saying goodbye to 2022 and hello to 2023 with a plethora of New Year’s Eve specials, parties, champagne toasts, dancing, live music, brunches and more.

Make reservations now so you don’t miss out.

Avante Banquets

1050 Northwest Hwy., Fox River Grove, (847) 287-1006, avantebanquets.com/avante-2023-celebration-nye-event/. Party the night away at the New Year’s Eve Celebration from 7:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. Dec. 31. The $160 per person package includes an open bar, a filet and lobster dinner, wine during dinner, entertainment from Tony Ocean, dancing, a champagne toast, party favors, a late-night bites menu and more. Reservations required.

Broken Oar

614 Rawson Bridge Road, Port Barrington, brokenoar.com/. Broken Oar is planning a New Year’s Eve blowout bash starting at 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 31, featuring live music from Triadd at 8:30 p.m. The special three-course meal includes an appetizer, entree (grilled rib-eye $50, surf and turf $60, twin lobster tails $60), dessert and a champagne toast. Reservations are required.

Concorde Banquets

20922 N. Rand Road, Kildeer, (847) 438-0025, concordebanquets.com/. Get dressed up for Concorde’s lavish Greek New Year’s Eve Party starting at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 31 featuring music from DJ Jim Veikos, the Hellenic 5 Orchestra and Alpha Tunes. The $150 per person price includes a filet mignon and lobster tail dinner, open bar, pastry table, party favors, balloon drop, late-night snacks and a midnight champagne toast.

Hampton Social

100 W. Higgins Road, South Barrington, (224) 633-5414, thehamptonsocial.com/holiday. On Dec. 31, raise a sparkling rose toast during dinner. Come back the next day to refuel with Hampton Social’s New Year’s Day Brunch. Reservations requested.

Morton’s The Steakhouse

1751 Freedom Drive, Naperville, (630) 577-1372; 699 Skokie Blvd., Northbrook, (847) 205-5111; 9525 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Rosemont, (847) 678-5155; 1470 McConnor Parkway, Schaumburg, (847) 413-8771, mortons.com/. Morton’s is offering a three-course Chateaubriand menu for two for dine-in from Dec. 24-31. The $179 dinner includes a winter salad, chateaubriand for two, two sides, and sticky toffee bread pudding, Morton’s Legendary Hot Chocolate Cake or bruleed cheesecake. Reservations required. 


7 Oakbrook Center Mall, Oak Brook, (630) 575-8700; 100 W. Higgins Road, South Barrington, (847) 844-9300; 1150 Willow Road, Northbrook, (847) 480-2323, pinstripes.com/. Pinstripes is celebrating with two balloon drops on NYE. Both include party favors and complimentary champagne for the adults. The 8 p.m. drop for families includes sparkling juice for the kids. The music starts at 8 p.m. and rocks until the midnight toast for adults. Reservations requested.

Port Edward

20 W. Algonquin Road, Algonquin, (847) 658-5441, portedward.com/. The seafood restaurant is hosting a Holiday Grand Buffet on New Year’s Eve. Along with unlimited champagne, highlights include seafood, prime rib, filet mignon Wellington, steak Diane, salad and veggies bar and desserts. It’s $65 for adults, $20 for kids 5-12, and free for kids 4 and younger. Reservations required.

Ruth’s Chris

933 Skokie Blvd., Northbrook, (847) 498-6889, and 100 W. Higgins Road, Suite U-1, South Barrington, (847) 551-3730, ruthschris.com/promotions/christmas-and-new-years-at-ruths/. Ruth’s Chris is open on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day serving the prix fixe Ruth’s Classic Menu (starter, entree, side and dessert). Reservations required.

Shaw’s Crab House

1900 E. Higgins Road, Schaumburg, (847) 517-2722, shawscrabhouse.com/schaumburg-illinois/. For New Year’s Eve, Shaw’s will be serving from the full a la carte menu, which includes Norwegian King Crab, hand-rolled sushi and prime steaks. Reservations are available from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

More opportunities can be found here.

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A and B

Restaurants were opening up more — and filling up more — in 2022.

We asked 50 of the most trusted local chefs and culinary pros to name the best thing that they ate out in their area. Their responses stretch from savory to sweet, and from appetizers to sweets.

From rich, decadent steaks to fluffy, colorful French macarons and more, this list of their favorites will keep you sampling through 2023. Bookmark this link on your phone, and spend the next 12 months tasting through it. Here are the foods that 50 local food pros are still talking about.

11. Mike Marr, Owner and Brewmaster, Buffalo Creek Brewing, 360 Historical Lane, Long Grove; BuffaloCreekBrewing.com

Best Thing: Venison Osso Bucco

Restaurant: Region Kitchen & Bar, 718 W. Northwest Hwy., Barrington, RegionRestaurant.com

The Skinny: “A perfect size portion of venison with complements that enhanced the wild aspects of the game meat. The meal reminded me of growing up in upstate New York. Early November is when hunting season begins, and we had all the fresh deer meat you could eat. My mother’s specialties included osso bucco and sauerbraten. We dined at the bar and were entertained by the bartender’s conversation as he was making one fantastic cocktail after another.”

50. Margaret McSweeney, Host and Founder of Kitchen Chat, KitchenChat.info

Best Thing: French Macarons

Restaurant: Ambrosia Euro-American Patisserie, 710 W. Northwest Highway, Barrington, DiscoverAmbrosia.com

The Skinny: “Everything is a taste of Paris in this beautiful, family-run bakery in Barrington. My favorite indulgence is the French macaron. Delicieux!”

Read about 48 other chef favorites here.

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Francescas Christmas

Francesca’s will be serving pasta specials for the holidays.

It feels like the holidays are a bit closer to normal this year, which is evidenced by the return of suburban restaurants’ Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dine-in options. Make reservations soon though, so you don’t miss out.

If you’d rather dine at home over the holidays but don’t want to cook, there are many carryout options available. Pay attention to order-by dates, as most are coming up soon.

Here are the suburban holiday dining options we found this year.


Locations in Arlington Heights, Barrington, Bolingbrook, Chicago, Elmhurst, Lake Forest, Naperville, Northbrook, St. Charles and surrounding suburbs; miafrancesca.com/. Feast on Christmas dinner specials such as lobster bisque ($9.95), four-cheese agnolotti pasta ($28.95), risotto all’ arlecchino with shrimp, sea scallops and manilla clams ($31.95) and Icelandic line-caught cod, sea scallops, mussels and fingerling potatoes ($38.95) from 3-9 p.m. Christmas Day. Reservations required.


Locations in Barrington, Bartlett, Edison Park, Fox Lake, Hoffman Estates, Lake in the Hills, Mount Prospect, Morton Grove, Rosemont and Schaumburg; morettisrestaurants.com/. Dine with Santa from 2-5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, in Barrington and from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, in Elgin. Reservations are required.

Port Edward

20 W. Algonquin Road, Algonquin, (847) 658-5441, portedward.com/. The seafood restaurant is hosting a Holiday Grand Buffet from 4-8 p.m. Christmas Eve. Along with unlimited champagne, highlights of the buffet include a variety of seafood, prime rib, filet mignon Wellington, pork chops, steak Diane, salad and veggies bar and desserts prepared to your request. It’s $65 for adults, $20 for kids 5-12, and free for kids 4 and younger. Reservations required. Closed on Christmas Day.

Ruth’s Chris

933 Skokie Blvd., Northbrook, (847) 498-6889, and 100 W. Higgins Road, Suite U-1, South Barrington, (847) 551-3730, ruthschris.com/promotions/christmas-and-new-years-at-ruths/. Ruth’s Chris is open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. For dining at home, the Celebration Feast for four includes roasted beef tenderloin with horseradish cream, salad, garlic mashed potatoes, creamed spinach and personal cheesecakes for $195. Order 48 hours in advance of pickup, which is available from 4-6 p.m. daily until Dec. 23.

Shaw’s Crab House

1900 E. Higgins Road, Schaumburg, (847) 517-2722, shawscrabhouse.com/schaumburg-illinois/. Shaw’s will be serving the regular menu from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve and closed on Christmas Day. Reservations required.

Many more opportunities can be found here

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“To help you find the right gift for the children in your life, our editors at Wirecutter tested hundreds of toys, games and other gear for toddlers through teens.”

The Best Gifts for 1-Year-Olds
The Best Gifts for 2-Year-Olds
The Best Gifts for 3-Year-Olds
The Best Gifts for 4-Year-Olds
The Best Gifts for 5-Year-Olds
The Best Gifts for 6-Year-Olds
The Best Gifts for 7-Year-Olds
The Best Gifts for 8-Year-Olds
The Best Gifts for 9-Year-Olds
The Best Gifts for 10-Year-Olds
The Best Gifts for Tweens
The Best Gifts for Teens

Granted, you won’t find a pony among their suggestions.  However, most are a lot cheaper with much less maintenance.

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Chef Fabio

Chef Fabio Viviani cooking in the kitchen of his Barrington Hills home.

Chef Fabio Viviani’s 7-acre estate in Barrington Hills is expansive. The lawn is so big, a helicopter can land on it—and has. The wine cellar boasts 3,500 bottles, and he has one of the largest private spirits collections in North America. Add to that caviar, truffles and other indulgences flown in from around the world, and Viviani has crafted a recipe for exclusivity.

Chicago executives are more than willing to pay for a taste.

The celebrity chef—who moved to the United States from Italy in 2005 and captured America’s attention on “Top Chef” in 2008—launched his Private Estate Dining Experience to the public earlier this year. The members-only dinner series turns Viviani’s high-end home into a restaurant for the evening. A required $10,000 in dues covers two in-person dinners a year with wine pairing, four virtual events and six additional events at Viviani’s venues, plus concierge service. It’s another $2,500 to bring a plus-one. 

The dues might be out of range for the average diner at Bar Siena or one of Viviani’s other restaurants, but membership is alluring to companies looking for a place to wine and dine clients. The memberships are also being offered at a time when companies are re-evaluating how they spend their travel and entertainment budgets in the wake of pandemic-era restrictions. 

Roughly 80% of 2022 members were corporate executives, Viviani said, though he declined to say which companies have signed up.

“I have banks, we have legal firms, I have financial offices, software companies. . . .They buy 10, 15, 20 memberships,” he said. “They can invite their top-performing clients and customers, and that’s how they entertain.”

Read more here.

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