ArtSees Productions celebrates Chicago in this "Simply Chicago" blogging portal. Join Mary E., Saturday Night Stever and her team of Chicago-lovers as they bring you their spin on the City across the Lake.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Santa Cause for a Cure! November 23 to December 13th

Raven's Brew Coffee and ArtSees Productions have teamed up for Team Rissa! Read more here!

Santa Cause for a Cure! Go Team Rissa!

you really should do this
Santa Cause for Team Rissa
you really should do this

Thursday, August 28, 2014

"Noise," Snow City Arts

Imagine walking into a gallery fully adorned with artwork, development, film-making, poetry, multi-media presentation.  Imagine realizing that the creations before you are not some advanced class of a local institution of learning, but rather the heart and soul of children from four local centers of healing and care. Yes, that is exactly what you will experience when you attend the upcoming Snow City Arts' benefit. Imagine that the ticket you purchase will go to ensure a continuance of excellence in bedside delivery. Diverting from fear, pain, isolation to creativity and hope! Tune in and discover more of what Snow City Arts is doing to transform the lives of children. Healing through the arts.

New Art Internet Radio with ArtSees Diner Radio on BlogTalkRadio

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Plunder the Treasures of Chef Andrew's Tesori!

Dieting has never been more in danger of becoming a hopeless cause than since I discovered Tesori (Italian for "treasures") at 65 East Adams Street in Chicago last night. And, believe me, I'm not complaining!

I mean, talk about firing on all cylinders. From Chef Andrew's menu and preparation, dining room manager Mike's wine selection, the management and wait staff's helpful and sociable doting, right down to surprisingly reasonable prices, my experience was a finely tuned, high performance joy ride of taste bud pedal to the metal through culinary vistas I've never been. Vroom!

For my money, food out ought to be either best of class for classics, or entirely original. I could have thrown darts at Chef Andrew's menu while blindfolded and hit either bulls-eye every time, and sometimes hitting both simultaneously.

Take, for example, the "charred octopus, san marzano relish, caper, olive". The octopus was easily the best I've ever had, and the garnish completely original. The "veal cheeks, anson mills stone ground polenta" was by far best of class on both counts. The veal cheeks astonished with every bite. And the polenta was itself so amazing that, as crazy as it might sound, I can imagine wearing a disguise and starting out with a couple martinis to work up the nerve to shamelessly order nothing but a big bowl of the polenta.

The "white zucchini soup, carrot, herb olive oil" was a completely new taste experience, as was the "linguini, duck bolognese, confit, parmesan". I'd have not guessed I was eating bird - especially game bird - had I not known it was duck in advance. Fantastic.

I also sampled the "sugar beet [salad, with] baby spinach, white balsamic, asparagus, gorgonzola, marcona almonds", and a new item not yet on the menu, which was a pizza of b├ęchamel sauce, house-made ricotta, prosciutto, and arugula. Both won a cigar in ringing my newness bell resoundingly.

Despite being filled to capacity, I had my share of two dessert items. I failed to detonate the "spumoni bombe" that was the 4th of July to my tongue, and switchboard overload to the pleasure centers of my brain. And the pink grapefruit and mint sorbetti portion of the "trio of gelato & sorbetti" had me repeatedly uttering the words, "Oh my God! Can you believe this?!!", as though a new slot in the periodic table of elements had opened up before my very eyes. Chef Andrew, when it comes to cuisine, you've turned the phrase "there's nothing new under the sun" completely on its ear.

The service was swift and unobtrusive, yet socially engaging. Our server, Rachael, was adept at anticipating our needs. Used plates and utensils were removed without interruption. It was comforting to feel so appreciated that the dining room manager, Mike, and/or the general manager, Sean, were present when dishes were present, sometimes even presenting dishes themselves.

While I don't know if it was a consciously planned part of the experience, I was intrigued by feeling as though I were in a mode less about explicitly picking items from the menu than being presented with - and pleasantly surprised by - options that dining room manager Mike and Chef Andrew divined from our discussions with Mike. Picture miniature brainstorming sessions throughout the meal to hone in on exactly what would work best with respect to one's ongoing exploration. It was very much the dining equivalent of having a private trainer, or a tour guide in what would otherwise be a culinary maze. It bordered on an entirely new approach to dining.

You owe it to yourself to let loose your inner pirate and revel in the treasures of Tesori!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Scottie Pippen and Giordano's, Does it Get Any Better?

The Aug. 17 event will be one to remember: Giordano’s fan and basketball legend Scottie Pippen will be in attendance, marking the start of Pippen’s involvement in promoting Giordano’s growth in the North Shore. (The Glenview restaurant will be primarily a carry-out/delivery location.) At the party, fans of Giordano’s will nosh on Giordano’s famous stuffed pie, along with other Giordano’s menu offerings, and will also get the chance to shoot some basketballs with Pippen himself! Throughout the celebration, Giordano’s fans will receive raffle tickets for the chance to “Win a Shot with Scottie.” Giordano’s will also giveaway other branded merchandise and prizes, and there will be Pop-A-Shot basketball games for attendees to play. Here are the event details:

Giordano’s Famous Stuffed Pizza 2540 North Waukegan Road, Glenview, IL (at the northern end of the shopping center) 4 to 7 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 17

In addition to Pippen, the event also will be attended by Yorgo Koutsogiorgas (President and CEO of Giordano’s), Barry Waterman (General Manager of the Glenview Giordano’s), and Richard Levy (Founder and CEO of Victory Park Capital), among others.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Great American Lobster Fest Pairs Fresh Lobster With Cutting Edge Music 07/29 by ArtSees Diner Radio | Food Podcasts


Tim Frank (Foxhole Chicago), Jeffrey Mazza (New England Seafood Company) and Eric Michaels (Foxhole Chicago) join Mary E., to announce the First Annual Lobster Fest, in Chicago The New England Seafood Company, The Foxhole Chicago, Green Curtain Events and Navy Pier /SMG have partnered to launch The Great American Lobster Fest, Chicago’s first outdoor lobster and weekend music festival.

The following musicians will be joining us live on the air to share some of their music:
Band Called Catch White Mystery Paper Thick Walls Santah Hemmingbirds

Scheduled to take place Saturday, August 16 (10AM-1AM CST) and Sunday, August 17 (10AM-10PM CST) at Navy Pier, The Great American Lobster Fest will coincide with Chicago’s annual Air and Water Show and pair fresh live lobster, flown in daily from Boston by The New England Seafood Company, with over 25 live bands performing on two stages. (Special thanks to August Forte
NoVo PR)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Jessica Smith Soto, Meal Sharing's Community Manager Joins Mary E. 07/23 by ArtSees Diner Radio | Food Podcasts

Jessica Smith Soto, Meal Sharing's Community Manager Joins Mary E. 07/23 by ArtSees Diner Radio | Food Podcasts
Check Out Food Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with ArtSees Diner Radio on BlogTalkRadio

Join Mary E. as she catches up with Meal Sharing's Jessica Smith Soto around the ArtSees Diner table, as they bring homecooking to the world! Jessica Smith Soto is the Chicago Meal Sharing Community Manager.

Meal Sharing is a website that connects people over home-cooked food. Think Airbnb- but with food. Our mission? To point to anywhere on the map, and be welcomed to a home-cooked meal. We are Chicago based and globally minded, and we facilitate the exchange of community through food connections.

We have:
+5,000 users
+1,000 hosts
+700 cities worldwide
+300 hosting kitchens

Social Media: @mealsharing

Get Involved: Catch a Chicago Meal! Create a Meal!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Untitled Supper Club

The feeling begins to swell and build like a well composed chill song knowing that you are about to indulge in something “special.” The excitement builds as you drive north on 90/94 and capture the luminous buildings coming into view. Senses are heightened. Lake Shore drive beckons you to come closer, closer, closer. Rhythmically you turn on to Monroe, catch a glimpse of Millennium Park, slide past the River, and join the electric vibe of the Near North hub of Chicago. The sultry stillness of “Untitled” can easily be missed as the entrance embraces a minimalist approach holding fast to the “speakeasy” dynamic. Let the mystery take you back to a place in time when no lady would dare enter into a supper club without being dressed to the nine’s. No man would risk being in the company of a well-dressed lady unless he was ready to suggest by adornment that he was indeed the escort of the night.

As you walk toward the unmarked doors, expect to be greeted by doormen who mean business, and their business is to beguile you to enter and leave all your prohibitions behind. Imagine yourself slowly, gracefully careening down an open staircase with adornments everywhere that suggest seduction. Let the reds, dark wood, gold hues, and gun metal grey encircle you like smoldering embers of passion and prose. As you descend into the foyer, the cabaret-esque stage dances before you with the same pageantry of carousels of times gone by. Surely you will see the likes of Greta Garbo, Bette Davis, or Clarke Gable sitting at stage side. Live music swirls throughout like incense rising to the heavens. Attention to detail is evident, and the theme of the supper club even extends into the “Ladies Room.” The bar to the left of the Hostess is filled with large comfortable couches, a large bar area and the perfect place for the start to a romantic night or catching up with friends. The main dining room holds the stage, and to the right is a smaller, quaint dining room with a wide variety of seating, including more private, secluded alcove rooms.

I caution you, that although you can dine alone, it is inadvisable, as the servings are meant for sharing. Untitled is meant for sharing! I can attest to this, as I dined alone. My gastronomic exploration was one of the most incredible culinary experiences I have had in a long time. The attention to detail again comes to mind as I was impressed with the simple embellishments that turned a simple deviled egg into “wow!” My head waiter was Colin. After sharing with me his recommendation for a nice “red,” he took the time to share with me the goal of the chef and the desired outcome of “Untitled.” Considering that he was with Untitled Supper Club from its grand opening, he was very capable of fulfilling the philosophy of the establishment. We discussed the simplicity of deviled eggs being on the menu which are a representation of what might have been served during the prohibition period. (somehow the name deviled goes well with the sinful nature of the cuisine, do not go expecting to remain on a low fat, under 1,000 calorie day!)

There are two categories on the Tasting Menu. One is priced at $69 and the other $44. I was able to enjoy a wonderful crossover of the two categories, with Colin paying close attention to my allergies and likes. The Chef tossed in a few surprises which as I understand is his prerogative. All of the wait staff went out of their way to ensure that I was being well taken care of. Now, one might say, “well, they knew who you were!” It didn't matter as I observed how others were treated, and I saw no difference in the level of care, service and attention given to all the patrons. (I will share below what items I had and expound on them at the close of this article)

A very friendly voice turned my attention away from the delights before me, it was manager Daniel Barat. He offered me more red wine and kindly engaged in a little banter about the place and was stopping by to make sure that I was comfortable. He generously offered to show me around later on if I was able to stay around past 10. I knew in an instance that both Daniel and Colin, truly believed in the supper club and all that it had to offer those who sought refuge in the warm escape. The food, lighting, colors, sound all lured me into a sense of well-being. I assured Daniel that I would love nothing more than to explore more of what Untitled had to offer. I expressed that the sheer decadence of Untitled guarantees that no one leaves without feeling their seductive side swell to a wonderful crescendo.

I look forward to visiting Untitled Supper Club again and again. I will be certain to come with friends the next time. I highly recommend this venue as it is perfect for a night of romance, escape, and a passionate exploration into the way dining should be.

“mes assiettes du plaisir” (my plates of pleasure)
  • Chef’s Charcuterie & Cheese
  • Deviled Farm Eggs, w/ bacon-n-chives, peperonata
  • Genesis Farms Greens, w/ capriole farmstead goat cheese with a light touch of citrus
  • Bacon Wrapped Dates, w/ yogurt and pine nut garnish
  • Crispy Squash Blossoms, (house made ricotta, truffle honey)
  • Pork Belly Hash, bacon, peas, over easy egg,
  • Grilled Asparagus, with salt pork, fried farm egg
  • Whiskey Ginger Carrots
  • Pan Roasted Tenderloin Fillet, with fried grits

I thought about rating each dish, but, I simply cannot, each was spectacular. The use of eggs as a combination was a wonderful surprise and added a delightful richness. I truly regretted that I could not eat more of each item, but, the quantity of tastes and the sumptuousness contributed nicely to a feeling of contentment. I regret not experiencing dessert as the descriptions put a nice modern spin on old time favorites: Chocolate Mousse, Strawberry Shortcake, Creme Brulee, and Apple Pie.

On a personal note: I think it is important for us to remember the way it was, the way it should be and just revel in the way our parents and grandparents celebrated a night out before we became locked in to heavily chained dining establishments. Go ahead will be glad you did!

Untitled is located at 111 West Kinzie Chicago, IL 606054. 312.880.1511

Special thanks to Jenn Galdes of Grape Vine PR

Sunday, June 29, 2014

A Review of Drury Lane's Production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee by E.A. Polk

ex·pres·sion: A Review of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
E.A. Polk (copyright E.A. Polk 2014)
The Smash Hit Musical Comedy, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee runs through August 7, 2014 at Drury Lane in Oakbrook, Illinois. Laughs abounded throughout the show and the usual comedic twists and turns left the audience entertained during a performance of the production on Thursday, June 26, 2014.
Did he just say that? What was that? The mystery of the messages throughout the show matched the hilarity of banter from characters like William Barfee, played by Eli Branson as well as Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre, portrayed by Carolyn Braver.

1. a technique of depicting volumes and spatial relationships on a flat surface. Compare aerial perspective, linear perspective.

2. a picture employing this technique, especially one in which it is prominent: an architect's perspective of a house.

3. a visible scene, especially one extending to a distance; vista: a perspective on the main axis of an estate.

4. the state of existing in space before the eye: The elevations look all right, but the building's composition is a failure in perspective.

5. the state of one's ideas, the facts known to one, etc., in having a meaningful interrelationship: You have to live here a few years to see local conditions in perspective.

Ahmed Shaaban stepped out of real life into the scripted reality of the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. He was an audience member who, as part of the show, was allowed onstage for full participation in the festivities. His run was cut short by the scripted reality of the non-cast limit of participation. Three words in a row set the unwitting cast member at a disadvantage and, ultimately, eliminated him from the staged contest. Shaaban was a show-stealing hilarity. He quipped, posed and joked for laughs from fellow audience members during his run.
verb (used with object), de·sired, de·sir·ing.

  1. to wish or long for; crave; want.

2. to express a wish to obtain; ask for; request: The mayor desires your presence at the next meeting.


3. a longing or craving, as for something that brings satisfaction or enjoyment: a desire for fame.

4. an expressed wish; request.

5. something desired.

6. sexual appetite or a sexual urge.

Stephanie Soohyun Park portrayed the overachieving Marcy Park. The character was tired of winning. She stated that throughout the Bee. Casting opted for the stereotypical listing of the character, as Wikipedia presented the character as, “the poster child for the Overachieving Asian.”
Additionally, ex-convict and “Official Comfort Counselor,” Mitch Mahoney was portrayed by African American actor Johnathan Buter-Duplessis. Were these simply accepted stereotypes or overt statements of society?
adjective, sub·tler, sub·tlest.

1. thin, tenuous, or rarefied, as a fluid or an odor.

2. fine or delicate in meaning or intent; difficult to perceive or understand: subtle irony.

3. delicate or faint and mysterious: a subtle smile.

4. requiring mental acuteness, penetration, or discernment: a subtle philosophy.

5. characterized by mental acuteness or penetration: a subtle understanding.

The show-stealing audience member, Ahmed Shaaban appeared to be of Italian, Hispanic or possibly Middle Eastern descent. Rona Lisa Peretti, played by Frances Limoncelli, stated, “The theme for Mr. Shaaban’s 4th birthday party was The Sopranos.”
Did I laugh at the joke? Heartily. Within the context of the show, it was certainly appropriate. Do I rely on layout tricks and font manipulation to lengthen stories? Definitely. I am a white American male, raised in the 1980’s and is living in the 21st century.

The performance schedule for THE 25th ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE is as follows: Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. ($40), Thursdays at 1:30 p.m. ($40) and 8 p.m. ($45), Fridays at 8 p.m. ($50), Saturdays at 5 p.m. ($50), and 8:30 p.m. ($50), and Sundays at 2 p.m. ($50), and 6 p.m. ($45). Lunch and dinner theatre packages are available. Student group tickets start as low as $30 and Senior Citizens start at $35 for matinees and $50 for a matinee luncheon package. For reservations, call the Drury Lane Theatre box office at630.530.0111, call Ticket Master at 800.745.3000 or visit