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Spring 2014



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ou’d be hard-pressed to find an occasion that isn’t made better with cake. Birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, graduations, bar mitzvahs, major sporting events: all are celebrations deserving of cake. Even sad occasions — visitations, wakes, shivas — generally include baked sweets. Bakers across the North Shore know that baked goods are always in demand, and they are happy to provide pastries for every occasion. Liz Bearwald has co-owned Bent Fork Bakery, at 335 Waukegan Ave. in Highwood, with her husband, Michael, since 1999. Bearwald’s bakery not only makes cakes for all the normal occasions but also has procured them for unorthodox occasions. “We’ve done divorce parties,” Bearwald said. She added that the bakery has also done cakes for dogs’ birthdays, though the cakes were for human consumption only. “You just come up with an occasion, and we’ll do it,” she said. Jory Downer, owner of Bennison’s Bakery at 1000 Davis St., Evanston, said there isn’t a holiday around for which his bakery won’t make a cake or pastry. “We try to capitalize on everything,” he said. Indeed they do. According to Bennison’s website, the bakery will make king cakes for Mardi Gras, a German apfelstrudel (a rolled pastry with fruit inside) for Oktoberfest, 4-inch-wide pies sold for $3.14 to celebrate Pi Day (March 14 or 3/14) and hamentaschen, a traditional Jewish pastry eaten on Purim. 10 | An Occasion to Celebrate


Though Downer said Bennison’s won’t make adult-themed or X-rated cakes, the language on some of them can go well beyond a PG rating. “We’ve written some pretty foul things on cake,” Downer said. He declined to mention any of those foul things. Bearwald said Pinterest has been a source of inspiration for many Bent Fork customers. People see designs on the site, she said, and bring them in for the bakery to recreate. If you want to combine cake and booze: Ken Treske launched Cakes Under the Influence in September.The Vernon Hills-based company makes everything the home baker needs to create cocktail-inspired mini-cakes, including molds for shaping cakes to various cocktail glasses, serving trays and cake ON THE WEB mixes that are designed to work with alcohol, which can traditionally ■ Bent Fork Bakery: dry out a cake. Treske, who owns the company ■ Bennison’s Bakery: with his wife and son, said the idea came from a cake his mother used ■ Cakes Under the Influence: to make that was reminiscent of the Harvey Wallbanger cocktail. “I swear we got invited to more parties because of it,” he said. Treske said he and his family considered opening a bakery selling cocktail-inspired cakes, but they ultimately decided to go in a different direction. “What we really got excited about was empowering people to make these cakes,” he said. Moreover, he added, the liquor cabinet offers a completely new range of cake possibilities. “There are just a ton of great flavor combinations sitting in your liquor cabinet,” he said. Treske said he wants people to experiment with flavor combinations, and he loves hearing what they create. One customer’s idea really surprised him when it turned out tastier than he thought it would. “People have been baking boilermaker cakes with beer and whiskey,” he said.“We really enjoyed that. People are getting creative.” Though the company has only been selling since September,Treske thinks people love the idea of small cakes served in non-traditional (at least for cake) vessels. “Those cocktail shapes are so iconic, and they always bring a smile,” he said.


Feel the love in the eco-friendly air BY WENDY ALTSCHULER For Sun-Times Media

Two people standing together and promising a commitment in front of loved ones elicits an emotional response from the witnesses. Thus: this is the reason people cry at weddings. Many couples are interested in marking such an occasion a mindful celebration. Chicago Green Wedding Alliance (CGWA) connects all conscious couples, regardless of sexual orientation, to a community of environmentally and socially accountable vendors. “We are an association of green-minded wedding vendors that advocates for ecofriendly weddings and events,” said Molly Schemper, marketing committee chair for Chicago Green Wedding Alliance and the owner of FIG Catering.“We promote green initiatives — even if you’re not using our vendors — like recycling, composting, organic food and materials, reusing, etc.” Brenda Li and Phyllis Lee had a no-kill wedding last year, which involved staying away from meat and cut flowers. They implemented an organic vegan menu with natural beverages from Centered Chef and used living terrariums from florist Fab Flora. Li and Lee minimized waste by using green to-go boxes for guests to take home leftover food and plants. “Every vendor we hired to be a part of their wedding was from CGWA, and the venue itself

Isn’t she lovely: Amy Ferguson and Holly Gitlin, with the help of the Mignonette Bridal Salon. | SUPPLIED PHOTO shared green practices,” said Carlene Smith, owner of Naturally Yours Events. “We were very excited to work with someone who shares our vision of an eco-friendly wedding that is chic and elegant,” Li said. “Carlene listened to our ideas and worked like a true partner with us in all aspects of the wedding planning.We really appreciated this combination of advisory and partnership roles.” Kpoene’ Kofi-Nicklin, owner of Mignonette

Bridal and a member of CGWA, works with many same-sex couples. “The CGWA has been an incredible way to reach couples who want their ceremony to be gorgeous and joyful without making a significant impact on the earth. As an eco-friendly bridal salon,” she said,“it is very important to us to work with other vendors with a green mission.” “Our shop was built using repurposed building materials,” she continued.“We use natural fibers in our designs whenever possible, and, in the shop, we use low-voc paint and low-energy lighting.” According to Kofi-Nicklin, many same-sex couples fear judgment from salespeople when they go shopping for wedding clothes. KofiNicklin is proud to offer all of her clients a special experience in a supportive environment. “When we moved to Chicago, we were thrilled to find that the push for marriage equality was so heavily supported by the wedding industry here, so we dove right in.We were pleased to work with several same-sex couples to customize their gowns and suits,” Kofi-Nicklin said.“Mignonette Bridal also does a number of free weddings each year, and this year, we are thrilled to be giving away a wedding to a very deserving international samesex couple who will be calling the Windy City home after their wedding in August.” For more information, visit


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An Occasion to Celebrate | 9


MEET MEAT This is brisket: Brisket is a cut of meat from the breast or lower chest of beef or veal. | SUPPLIED PHOTO

BY ANDY FRYE For Sun-Times Media

Ten years ago, Jared Leonard was an equity options trader.The money was good but, after looking at one too many charts and graphs, Leonard started to think about what in life there was that he enjoyed more. He thought that he loved to cook. “One of my favorite things has always been to cook and eat with friends,” Leonard said. Now a decade later, he’s possibly Chicago’s premier expert in old-style barbecue. On a shoestring budget, Leonard and his wife, Amanda, opened up Rub Backcountry Smokehouse just more than four years ago, not only for a love of food but also a passion for the slow style of cooking. Situated in West Rogers Park, Rub is about as authentic as barbecue gets. Rub’s dining room and outdoor patio have the ambiance of a secret treasure you might find only by veering off-course in the backwoods of the Mississippi River Delta. It also has the food to match the flair. Among the most popular meaty offerings are the beef brisket and pulled pork, both of which are marinated and seasoned with typically smoked for up to 16 hours. Rub also has pulled chicken, which is just as tasty, not to mention barbecued meatballs and Texas smoked sausage that tastes like a woodfired Polish kielbasa with a spicy dustbowl kick. No meat is complete without an excellent side dish. Some of the unique side dishes at Rub include Texas Caviar, concoction of black beans and blackeyed peas that are mixed with chopped tomato and onion, blessed with a tangy vinaigrette. Plus, downhome favorites, such as custard-filled cornbread

and five-cheese mac and cheese, are served. While the menu itself is a huge draw, and equally popular part of Rub’s repertoire is its barbecue classes in the event space behind the restaurant called the pit room.The idea for classes started on a whim one day when “some barbecue guys” as Leonard calls them were enjoying a sampling of pork off the bone, admiring his digs. “One of the guys said that if we could show barbecue for him and 12 friends, they’d sign up tomorrow,” Leonard said. That initial interest became the basis for workshops. Leonard, 31, calls the pit room,“inviting and warm.”With 24 cozy seats surrounding a giant wood-burning AN Bewley 1100 smoker, Leonard spends class time, usually about three hours, just “talking about the basics of barbecue, while the class devours a five-course meal.” Classes run just about every day by appointment, throughout the week. Rub’s pit room is available for groups as small as a few couples to up to two dozen people at once, and it is a great idea for everything from engagement parties and bachelor parties to Sunday night supper clubs. Rub’s pit room participants can learn about barbecue’s long and slow labor of love while getting a hardy taste of meat cooked “with no gas and no electricity.” What’s best, Leonard said, is that people who come to Rub get to “talk about barbecue while enjoying a great food.” Rub Backcountry Smokehouse is at 6954 N. Western Ave. in Chicago.You can drop in for lunch or dinner every day except Monday. Call (773) 6751410 for info about classes in the pit room.

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8 | An Occasion to Celebrate




tep into this season’s styles.

Athletic-infused glamour

Sport-inspired shoes ruled spring runways, according to Erica Russo, Bloomingdale’s OVP and fashion director for accessories. Athleticism will come into play, even in sexier styles.While bold colors still reign in sneakers, neutrals and whites are key in slip ons. Caged sandals and booties are also trendy. “The hint of skin peeking through a strappy gladiator around the ankle or up the leg creates a sexy, feminine element,” Russo said. On flatbed sandals, accents such as silver or gold studs will appear.

Summer nights

Carolinna Espinosa’s summer 2014 collection incorporates stretch elastic for comfort in a unique look. The material, used in ankle straps and crisscross patterns atop the foot, molds to the shape of the wearer, adds a playful, casual element to an otherwise formal shoe. “We are definitely seeing a casualization of fashion,” said Francesca Bonaiuto, for Carolinna Espinosa. In this line, exotic prints balance with neutral colors. “Exotic prints don’t have to be in your face to make a statement,” Bonaiuto said. Stripes stand out as a state-

ment of minimalism, and this trend may carry into fall.We see this in Sarah Jessica Parker’s SJP Collection. She teamed up with Manolo Blahnik’s CEO George Malkemus to release the line exclusively for Nordstrom. Using grosgrain ribbon detailing in her 25-pair line is a throwback to her childhood. The actress brought the influence of her girlhood hair ribbons into the feminine design of her collection as well as influences from her life and career. The SJP Collection brings color in shades from spring coral, mint, teal and pink to classic purple, red and navy.

Bridal goes bold

According to the team at Doris Bridal Boutique in Highwood, brides will be showing up in more than just white. “People are having more fun with their footwear,” said Annette Hebel, owner. A bold shoe can be a fun accessory to the dress and can pop in photos. Pastel shades win over strong jewel-tones, but that doesn’t mean brides aren’t adding edge by going to the other end of the spectrum. “Metallic done in a snake skin are having a moment,” said Bridgid Sekel, bridal consultant at Doris Bridal. The prettiest pairs will be peep-toed. Shorter pumps and flats will be all the rage, said Jill Nowell, for Doris Bridal.

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The King’s Court

Located inside the MB Financial Park in Rosemont, the 27,000-squarefoot Kings Rosemont offers first-class dining, bowling and entertainment. With its retro-inspired vibe and state-of-the-art equipment, Kings offers a modern option for those seeking a spot that hearkens back to an era when good times ruled. Kings sparked the modern-day bowling renaissance and carved a name for itself as the original upscale bowling venue. Kings first opened its doors in 2003 in the heart of Boston’s historic Back Bay. Its goal was to recapture and rekindle the fun and escape of bowling that had faded since its heyday. The 1950s and 1960s are considered the golden age of bowling, and Kings’s design and décor captures a nostalgic feeling while adding modern twists. Kings Rosemont features 20 ten-pin bowling lanes, two premium bars and Roll out: Kings Rosemont features 20 bowling lanes, two a full-service res- premium bars and a full-service restaurant. | SUPPLIED PHOTO taurant called the Royal Room that features three billiard tables and the Kings Corner, which is equipped with an additional two billiard tables. The bars offer classic, yet innovative, cocktails while the restaurant serves American favorites and comfort food. The venue accommodates more than 800 guests and features more than 50 big-screen, high-definition televisions and projector screens. Catch all the local and national sports action. All food is carefully crafted, made fresh and delivered daily until close. The full-service Kings restaurant serves an executive-chefdesigned menu. Appetizers include unique, modern plays on classic bar fare, such as cheeseburger spring rolls, mac-and-cheese bites and buffalo chicken wontons. House-smoked baby back ribs and creative burgers, as well as award-winning steak tips, are some of the entrees. Finish meals with a taste of sweet nostalgia from the built-in Ice Cream Shoppe that features creative sundaes and homemade desserts. The menu is served throughout the entire facility until close seven days a week. The beverage menu, including a signature Big Bowl cocktail, brings an innovative twist to nostalgic classics. Select tables are fitted with their own taps so guests can poor their own beer and select from four seasonally rotated brews. Kings accommodates any special event and party: birthdays, bachelor and bachelorette, kids’ parties, anniversaries, corporate and team building events. The venue accommodates parties from two to 900 people. King Pin and Royal Rooms accommodate up to 50 and 30 people, respectively. Upscale culinary delights are served right to the lanes.


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An Occasion to Celebrate | 7

TUXEDOS ON THE COVER Mignonette and Alyssa Kristin Bridal gowns available at Mignonette Bridal. Photography by Emilia Jane Schobieri.


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SHARP-DRESSED Some pointers



ook your sharpest on your big night with the perfect tux. Gentlemen getting ready to tie the knot — or even go to prom — will have to make certain wardrobe choices so they look their best. Although many grooms-to-be rent tuxedos, they might find that purchasing one may be more cost-effective. Tuxedos are the ultimate formalwear for men. Worn at formal gatherings such as proms, weddings and lavish parties, tuxedos have undergone several style changes over the years. Men interested in looking polished will find that no other option makes that impression more convincingly than the right tuxedo. Men frequently called upon to attend formal events may find purchasing a tuxedo is a wise investment. Tuxedos typically cost around $1,000, whereas renting tuxedos can be $200 or more each time. This makes it advantageous for men who frequently don tuxedos to purchase their own rather than rent. Another advantage to owning a tuxedo is the opportunity to wear a tux that is custom-made and tailored just for you. Instead of a rental that will merely be stitched temporarily to fit your measurements, a tuxedo you purchase will be tailored specifically to your body, which will increase comfort and make you look better as well. Men who buy their own tuxedos also can choose the style, fabric, color, buttons, accessories and type of lapels on the jacket. A tuxedo store may have more styles available for sale than for rent. If you desire something that fits your personality and your physique perfectly, buying your own tuxedo may be your best bet. Men that are worried about purchasing a tuxedo only to see their waistlines increase or decrease should keep in mind that many tuxedo shops offer free tailoring for as long as you own

for purchasing a top-notch tuxedo

the tuxedo. When purchasing a tuxedo, men should choose classic styles and colors. Opt for a slim-fitting white shirt underneath that won’t billow out when jackets are removed. Men who want to break from tradition can opt for a shirt that is a pale blue or light gray to wear under the jacket. This is still an understated look but one with a hint of creativity. The bow tie is back in a big way. A classic, black bow tie is an ideal match when purchasing a more classic tuxedo. Switch it out for traditional neckties for those occasions when you don’t want to wear bow ties. Tuxedos come with different lapel styles. Today’s most popular style is the notch lapel, wherein a triangular indentation is cut where the lapel joins the collar. This lapel mimics the shape of a classic suit. A peak lapel is the quintessential classic; it features a broad,V-shaped lapel that points up and out just below the collar line. A shawl lapel is a smooth, rounded edge lapel. The shawl lapel reached the height of its popularity in the 1950s, but it can still look good today.

Courtesy of Brandpoint

DRESSES “Headbands are quite possibly the most versatile piece that a bride can choose. Hair can be worn up or down and the adornment can be seen from all angles in her photographs.With the strong emphasis on embellished and lace gowns, many brides are choosing to go with understated jewelry and a statement headpiece. Current headband styles are created with comfort in mind and many come with a ribbon closure. The headache with a headband days are gone. I always advise brides to begin with their headpiece and work down with accessories.Your head is in every picture.”

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ANDREA NOVAK, owner of Bella Bleu Bridal in Park Ridge, on headpiece trends

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Natalie Ochoa, who recently purchased a new dress from Dame Couture, said:“I love the vintage look of lace and beading but with a youthful modern twist. I wanted something exclusive and with character.” Sofia Dang, owner of Vanessa’s Modern Bride in Arlington Heights, said that current wedding-dress trends include gowns with flattering silhouettes and exquisite details with an overall feel of sophistication that is light and romantic. “Lace, organza and tulle are popular fabric choices with our clients,” Dang said.“Fit-and-flare and mermaid silhouettes with a sweetheart neckline remain popular; however, we have recently had more brides interested in ball-gown styles. Of course, the traditional A-line style is flattering for all body types.” According to Dang, in vogue dress styles embrace unique back designs: keyhole, low-cut or illusion.This spring, dress trends lean toward lighter colors for the overall wedding palette. Bridesmaid dresses are favoring softer and lighter pinks, grays and light earth tones, and chiffon fabric remains a popular choice. “Most brides want some sparkle on their gowns, whether it is a jeweled belt or overall beading that is part of the gown’s design,” Dang said.“Rhinestones, crystals, pearls or sequins all add an extra touch of elegance.” Wolsfelt’s Bridal in Aurora has made wedding dress shopping accessible to every bride through the assistance of an assigned bridal consultant. Each bride-to-be will discuss what she wants, and she will be able to walk through the process with a wedding dress professional that is savvy to spring wedding dress trends and ensures that every detail is properly attended to, including access to a full-service fitting and alterations department. Dresses are available in various sizes and prices. Experts at Wolsfelt’s Bridal recommend trying on dresses in a range of shades to match complexion and hair color.White gowns, for example, can have pink or blue undertones, and ivory gowns can have deeper tones. No matter what,Wolsfelt’s bridal consultants said you should pick something that makes you feel your best.


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An Occasion to Celebrate | 5




For Sun-Times Media

he most painstaking decision for any bride-to-be is to find the right wedding dress. Luckily, experts in the field can help. These professionals are also knowledgeable when it comes to contemporary wedding-dress trends. Holly Greenhagen, owner of Dame Couture in Evanston said: “Based on what Dame Couture is selling so far this year, short and tea-length dresses continue to be in demand. Lace is also still very popular, though I’ve noticed that brides are more interested in novelties such as cotton and re-embroidered laces than in traditional laces.” Greenhagen said that strapless gowns have become a bit passé these days.Instead,dress trends are more zeroed in on illusion necklines:a sheer layer of lace and/or appliqué,cap or elbow-length sleeves and straps of all kinds.In addition,pale colors — especially blush — are gaining traction as a substitute to white or ivory. Greenhagen advised that, to narrow down the dress options and to find something that you’ll really love, you should do some research online for imagery and information and learn about some dress designers. However, don’t over shop. Ordering dresses online is not advisable, given the important and pricey purchase, unless they’re returnable. “Visiting three or four salons really should be enough if you do your advance research and choose the right places,” Greenhagen said.“Then, pick the dress that makes you feel special. Not just beautiful, but like the star of your event.This means you’ll probably have to reject a few gorgeous dresses.” Bring one or two people along who know you and have your best interests at heart, Greenhagen recommended. “As a bride that is not exactly the typical glitz and glam, I was looking for a dress that suited my body type and style,” said Alexandra Psihogios, who recently purchased a restyled vintage dress from Dame Couture.“I was absolutely thrilled to find this down-to-earth shop with an artistic flair.”

Bella Bleu Bridal 4 | An Occasion to Celebrate



For Sun-Times Media

abulous events call for fabulous venues. Whether your celebratory occasion is a wedding, reception, rehearsal dinner or a sophisticated festive jubilee, these four outdoor spaces have you covered.

Chicago Botanic Garden

When Steve and Amy Tucker got married, they, along with their children, needed an indelible backdrop to capture the experience for their family photographs.With the help of photographer, Jennifer Girard, the Tuckers visited the Chicago Botanic Garden while dressed to the nines. “Our family has always loved the Botanic Garden,” said Northbrook resident, Amy.“We were so lucky to have a sunny fall day for our pictures. The autumn colors were brilliant.We walked all over the gardens to capture the different flowers and plants.” The Chicago Botanic Garden hosts only one wedding or social event per evening. “From our McGinley Pavilion, you overlook Evening Island as you hear the Carillon

Towers chime beautiful music,” said Connie Bolle, director of sales and special events at Chicago Botanic Garden. Guests can customize the experience and help plan the cocktail hour based on their preferences. Past weddings have included a Prosecco bar or a mojito cart with a mariachi band. The Chicago Botanic Garden features grown-onsite greens, root vegetables, herbs and spices for each farmto-table wedding menu.

Loyola’s Cuneo Mansion and Gardens

“The Cuneo Mansion and Gardens stands as a monument to old-world elegance amid genteel country life,” said Maeve Kiley, director of communications at Loyola University. “As a living museum, the building and gardens preserve in vivid detail the grace of an era and a way of life.” Loyola’s Cuneo Mansion and Gardens provides the most magical setting for a wedding reception or special event. Guests will enjoy 97 acres of elegant formal gardens, the

The Morton Arboretum

Located on 1,700 acres,The Morton Arboretum provides guests at an outdoor wedding or special event an incredible view of flowering trees, brilliantly colored gardens, lakes and other attractive natural landscapes. Couples will delight in the Hedge Garden, Meadow Lake Point,Thornhill Lawn and Fragrance Garden. “The Morton Arboretum is excited to announce the Conifer View Tent, which is available for weddings and other special occasions June through October,” said Margaret Martin, Morton Arboretum wedding expert and facility rental manager.“The 4,000-squrefoot white tent overlooks the evergreen Conifer Collection, and it is just steps away from the historic Hedge Collection.”

{a special day deserves a special place} PHOTO: JUST LOVE ME {PHOTO & DESIGN}


terrace overlooking the mansion grounds and the historic Italianate-style mansion with a pavilion for up to 300 guests. Four event spaces are available: the Pavilion Ballroom, Great Hall, Dining Room and Music Room. “Cuneo’s spectacular outdoor grounds provide the perfect backdrop for your cocktail hour and wedding reception,” Kiley said. “Encompassed in lush gardens and neoclassic statuary, guests can enjoy cocktails poolside or on the garden terrace. Tented events can also be hosted on the Great Lawn.”





An Occasion to Celebrate | 3

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An occasion to celebrate 5 1 14  
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