Candid Candace: Best Chicago blog

Best Chicago blog


Le Select, the hot new restaurant from the Boka Group, comes to River North!

The hotly anticipated grand opening of Le Select, the French brasserie that is the newest addition to Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz’s expanding culinary empire,

Welcome to Le Select!

took place on January 25. Thanks to the throng of A-listers and foodies, the restaurant hummed with excitement for this handsome spot that will soon be on everybody’s Hot List. The River North restaurant at 504 N. Wells was formerly the Hudson, SushiSamba and lastly Bottled Blond. It is awash is calming shades of neutral browns and reds with scattered greenery and large, spacious booths. On this opening night, guests were greeted with champagne, an open bar and a lite buffet. On the first floor, the spacious dining room features row upon row of arching lights, which was reminiscent of lighting in

Monika Dixon, Kevin Boehm (co-owner Boka Rest. Group) and cute friend.

old time Paris dance halls. Upstairs, a dark, cozy bar area awaits with lots of intimate seating. Even the elevator to the 2nd floor has red lighting as a sexy promise of what’s to come. The Boka Restaurant Group always delivers and

Beautiful lighting in Le Select dining room.

this is definitely apparent in this 12,000-square-foot-space with an additional 2,000-sq-ft of event space. The Boka Boys have tapped Chicago native Chef Daniel Rose to help with this big endeavor. Rose rose to prominence with award-winning restaurants in Paris and New York. (This dynamic trio will soon be opening another eatery inside L.A.’s Hoxton Hotel, according to Eater). The Le Select menu is extensive with specialties of

Chuck and Michael Kutza celebrate the opening.

the house that include duck breast a l’orange, choucroute Strasbourgeoise (traditional sauerkraut, smoked sausage, veal boudin, thick-cut bacon, knockwurst), roasted chicken and cote de boeuf. Cara Sandoval is the restaurant’s service director (co-founder and GM of the two-Michelin-starred Oriole restaurant), Kevin Roskoskey is GM (a former operating partner at

Tom Kehoe and friend.

Scott Harris Hospitality) and chef is Audrey Renninger (moving from Paris where she worked at Rose’s La Bourse et La Vie). Renninger’s chef de cuisine is Chicago local Jason Heiman. Rob and Kevin are masters at bringing together the right teams for the right spots and, as you can imagine, they have nailed it on this one as well. Seen on the crowded scene were Monika Dixon with her handsome new fiancé, Donnie Madia, Dr. Julius Few, Michael Kutza, Nina Mariano, Pasquale Gianni, Jon Harris, Donnie Weisberg, Chuck Jordan, Tom Kehoe and so many others. See video here! (Le Select, 504 N. Wells St., Chicago,, 312.896.4504) Click here for more photos!

Le Select at 504 N. Wells in Chicago.


Marc and Dr. Jamie Pasquale (Board Chair) and Co-Chairs Devanee and Alex Washington
Marc and Dr. Jamie Pasquale (Board Chair) and Co-Chairs Devanee and Alex Washington.

The Children’s Research Fund’s signature event, “The Children’s Ball,” returned this year to the Hilton Chicago on December 3. Aptly themed “Re-Connect,” the event attracted more than 850 guests to the black-tie gala hosted by 2022 Children’s Research Fund Campaign and Children’s Ball Co-Chairs Devanee and Alex Washington.  The Washingtons made it a family affair by involving their three dynamic children, who range in age from 11 to 16

Kenneth Milstead and Junell Lewis
Kenneth Milstead and Junell Lewis.

years old. Each had a role in the evening, introducing speakers and even reading an original poem based on the “ReConnect” theme. The evening began with a cocktail reception that opened with the drumline from Chicago’s St.

Alex Washington IV  Victoria Washington  Nadia Washington
Alex Washington IV, Victoria Washington and Nadia Washington.

Ignatius College Prep. Guests were led into the International Ballroom for the first dance set by the headline band Time Chicago. After welcoming remarks, guests enjoyed an energetic set from youth band Next Week, followed by an elegant, seated dinner. A program featured an inspiring patient impact video and paddle-raise. Speakers for the evening included co-chairs Devanee and Alex

Children's Research Fund Board Chair Dr. Jamie Pasquale
Children's Research Fund Board Chair Dr. Jamie Pasquale.

Washington, Dr. Tom Shanley (Lurie Children’s President/CEO) and Jamie Pasquale (Children’s Research Fund Chair). The audience was also inspired by the words and work of pediatric

Shannon Harvey  Dr. Jamie Pasquale  Katie Harvey
Shannon Harvey, Dr. Jamie Pasquale and Katie Harvey.

neurosurgeon Dr. Sandi Lam, who spoke about the need to fund research “so that no child suffers from intractable epileptic seizures.”  “The Children’s Research Fund has been committed to the advancement of research for more than 70 years,”

Teenage Bank NEXT WEEK performs 2
Teenage band, NEXT WEEK, performs.

explained Devanee Washington. “As parents, we share the belief that the good health of children is a precious gift, and we are honored to chair this year’s Children’s Research Fund Campaign and Children’s Ball.” Over $3 million was raised at the event, helping to reach a record-breaking $7.3

Lindsay Boles  Thomas Saleh  Thaddeus Chatto  Emily Hogikyan
Lindsay Boles, Thomas Saleh, Thaddeus Chatto and Emily Hogikyan.

million total for the annual campaign. The funds raised will go towards the Children’s Research Fund’s current five-year, $10 million commitment to

HINSDALE's Gabrielle Romano  Florence Ann Romano  AJ Ryan  Christiana Ryan  Benita Romano
Gabrielle Romano, Florence Ann Romano, AJ Ryan, Christiana Ryan and Benita Romano.

support the wide spectrum of research conducted at the Manne Research Institute and the Patrick M. Magoon Institute for Healthy Communities at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.  Over the 70 years since it was established as a fundraising organization, the group’s charitable efforts have generated support from individuals, corporations and foundations, raising more than $115 million to advance medical research. (This year’s leading event sponsors include, presenting sponsor, The Boeing Company, as well as CBRE, Inc., Wind Point Partners, and Wintrust, among others., photos by Ana Miyares)

Hinsdale's Gabrielle Romano  Christiana Ryan  Benita Romano  Laura Ferrara (River Forest) and Florence Ann Romano
Gabrielle Romano, Christiana Ryan, Benita Romano, Laura Ferrara and Florence Ann Romano.


Damarr Brown, chef de cuisine at Virture, is nominated for Emerging Chef in this year's James Beard Awards.

Chicago snagged 11 nominations in this year’s James Beard Awards! The full list of 2023 Restaurant and Chef Awards Semifinalists can be found here and on the James Beard Foundation website. Nominees will be announced on

James beard medal
Chicago snagged 11 nominations in this year's James Beard Awards!

Wednesday, March 29, and winners will be celebrated at the James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards Ceremony on Monday, June 5, 2023, at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.  Smyth, Obelix and Khmai Cambodian Fine Dining are among the 11 Chicagoland restaurants named as semifinalists for the

Obelix, at 700 N. Sedgwick, is up for a James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant.

James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Awards. Damarr Brown, chef de cuisine at Virtue, is among semifinalists for Emerging Chef. Virtue’s chef and owner, Erick Williams, won a James Beard Award last year for Best Chef: Great Lakes. Other local highlights include Sepia, a semifinalist in the Outstanding Hospitality category, and All Together Now, which is up for Outstanding Wine and Other Beverages Program. Five Chicago restaurants made the cut (out of 20) for Best Chef: Great Lakes: Diana Dávila Boldin (Mi Tocaya

Khmai Cambodian Fine Dining, 2043 W. Howard, is up for Best New Restaurant from the James Beard Awards.

Antojería), Thai Dang (HaiSous), Paul Fehribach (Big Jones), Tim Flores and Genie Kwon (Kasama) and Zubair Mohajir (Wazwan). In the Best New Restaurant category, two Chicago candidates will vie for the honor: Obelix, the

Emanuel Nony
Sepia's Emanuel Nony must be so excited!

beautiful French restaurant from brothers Oliver and Nicolas Poilevey; and Khmai Cambodian Fine Dining, one of only two Cambodian restaurants in Chicago. (See Eater’s list of 25 Best New Restaurants in Chicago.) The James Beard Foundation’s Restaurant and Chef Awards—established in 1990 and first awarded in 1991—are one of five separate recognition programs of the Awards. This Awards program celebrates excellence across a range of experiences, from fine-dining establishments to casual gems, and emerging talents to established masters. The 2023 Restaurant and Chef Semifinalists are recognized across 23 categories, including the new Award for Outstanding Bakery.


Chefs Art Smith and Erick Williams.

How about a Chinese New Year Celebration with a Super Bowl of the city's top chefs in the kitchen, a guest list of bold-faced names a

Jesus Salgueiro and First Lady MK Pritzker.

mile long and décor that included painting the home’s halls RED to match the theme? Well, that was exactly the party that beloved Chef Art Smith and his husband/artist Jesus Salgueiro threw on January 26. A cold, snowy night didn’t keep the lines of cars from pulling up to the valet in Kenwood to make their arrivals. From the front door, all throughout the house, there were fantastic colorful decorations for this very special New Year soiree. Jesus’ wonderful artwork fills the memento-filled spaces – he even painted

Chefs Sarah Stegner and Tony Priolo.
Chefs Sarah Stegner and Tony Priolo.

and designed all the dinner mats for guests. It was sensory overload on all counts but, most of all, for the array of chefs assembled to cook the meal: Chef Tony Priolo (black truffle

Eric Kircherer, Manolis Alpogianis and George Alpogianis.

dumplings two ways); Chef Sarah Stegner (spring rolls and spicy mushrooms with shrimp); Chef Tigist Reda (whole fish); Chef Joe Flamm (longevity noodles); Chef Erick Williams (sui mai and garlic broccoli); Chef Brian Jupiter (rice cakes with crawfish and pickled shrimp); Chef Carol Cheung (Peking duck, jellyfish salad and Chinese egg tarts); Chef Hector Guerrero (Chinese BBQ ribs) and Tea Purveyor Annie Xiang (dragon well green tea and big red robe Wulong tea). Mai tais were served by Jade

With Manolis Alpogianis and Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas.

Court’s Adrian Race. During welcome remarks Chef Art

Chuck and Marilynn Gardner, Pres/CEO Navy Pier.

thanked all the world-class chefs, especially for their contributions to the efforts in Ukraine as well as in Tigray, Ethiopia. Jesus said, “We always have a purpose which is to try to benefit someone in need, because that’s where our hearts are.” After the party, in keeping with this mission, food was delivered to the victims of the Kenwood high-rise fire that had taken place the day before. Guests included First Lady of Illinois MK Pritzker, Manolis Alpogianis, Eric Kircherer, George Alpogianis, Marilynn Gardner, Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas and Peter Kamberos, Perri Irmer, Roberto Gonzalez, Chilli Pepper, Steve Abrams, Nora Daley, Connie Pikulas, Ken Norgan, Matt Olaveson, Erin Solaro, Colin McMahon, Steve Dolinsky and Amy Dordek, Sylvia Perez with her beautiful daughter Magali, Shari Rogge-Fidler (CEO Farm Foundation), Gary Metzner and so many more.

Chef Hector Guerrero (L) and friends man the grill in the backyard for the Chinese BBQ ribs. Every chef was cooking their little hearts out!


The cozy and charming Armitage Ale House at 1000 W. Armitage.

From the outside, you would walk right past it and not even notice. But step through the doors of the Armitage Ale House at the northwest corner of Armitage and

Beautiful and delicious offerings at Armitage Ale House, NOT to be confused with the Old Town Ale House! LOL!

Sheffield and you have entered a whole new world. One you probably thought didn’t exist anymore in these modern times. Think London, circa 1926, a favorite neighborhood pub, but oh so much more. Steeped in ambiance, the restaurant's attention to detail is astounding. The woodwork you could even call

Friendly, gregarious servers at the Armitage Ale House.

masterful, from the rolled columns to the beadboard pass-throughs, even the secret places where only the help goes has not been left unattended. The fireplace in the dining room warmly reflects the delight on the diners’ faces as they tuck into tandoori-style roasted chicken, English-cut prime rib, truffle bucatini, pot pies (steak and ale, chicken, spiced lamb, pheasant and morel, oxtail and red wine) and so much more. The booths are cozy and spacious with each one lit by tiny, vintage

With Nina Mariano, Susanna Wickham, Kathy Piccone, Jennifer Sutton Brieva,and Paul Iacono.

looking shaded lamps. The room lights are perfectly dimmed and you just never know when a customer might get busy on the antique piano in the corner of the charming bar. The background music, thankfully, matches the ambiance to a tee. This spot is one of my new favorites, but be forewarned, reservations are hard to come by. A friend of mine even made reservations before she had guests to invite, just to be safe! (Opened October 2022,, 1000 W. Armitage,, open for brunch). (Special thanks to Jennifer Sutton Brieva for the intro!)

Intimate, old world atmosphere at Armitage Ale House, 1000 W. Armitage.



It was a sell-out for First Bites Bash! Shown here, the Harrington Family (Michael, Barb and Charlie Dwyer) and friend.

The official kickoff to the 16th annual Chicago Restaurant Week, First Bites Bash, brought thousands of people to the Chicago Field Museum on January 19. Tickets sold out in record time for this happy celebration of Chicago’s

Justin and dana hokin and robert garvey
Part of the Robert's Pizza & Dough Company team - Justin Hokin, Dana Hokin Garvey and Robert Garvey.

culinary scene. The purple and white up-lighting out front shined like a beacon for guests who were anxious to welcome back this annual party that was held for the first time since the pandemic. Gourmet bites, wine, beer and spirits from over 50 vendors filled the Great Hall as DJ’s pumped music into the background. Robert

Gene & Georgetti's was well represented at the event.

Garvey from Robert’s Pizza and Dough Company and his wife Dana were manning their own booth handing out treats for lucky attendees. Gene & Georgetti was there, represented by Michelle Durpetti and Collin Pierson. We sampled other delicious bites from Ocean Prime, Eataly Chicago, Bistronomic, TAO, Summer House, Wildfire,

Lisa Fielding, Lisa Kosty and Kathleen Martorano.

Orso’s Italian Restaurant, STK Steakhouse, Pinstripes, Jaleo, NoMI, Nonnina, and so many more. Seen on the scene, Sylvia Perez (Fox-32 TV) with her beautiful daughter, Sam Toia (President of the Illinois Restaurant Association), Lisa Fielding (WBBM-AM 780) and friends, Charlie Dwyer and Michael and Barb Harrington (Darvin IMG_6180Furniture), and so many more. Beloved Chef Darnell Reed of Luella’s Southern Kitchen served as the Host Chef for the event. A portion of the proceeds from the kick-off will be donated to Kitchen Possible, an organization dear to Chef Reed’s heart – it empowers kids in underserved communities through cooking.  “I’m just happy that we’re all here because we survived. We survived COVID, we’re all here,” said Reed. The event also benefited the James Beard Foundation Foundation’s Scholarship Program, which assists aspiring and established culinary professionals. During the week from January 20 through February 5, enjoy special prix fix menus from over 300 participating restaurants around town. Check out list here, reservations are highly recommended.


Derrick jpg
Newlyweds Derrick Joseph Taylor and William Scott Ellsworth.

When you think of fairytale weddings, do you have one that comes to mind? Well, on January 21 in the Gold Coast Room of the Drake Hotel, Chuck and I experienced one of the most magical weddings we've ever seen. Popular event

Spectacular decor by Taylor & Company and colleagues.

and wedding planner Derrick Joseph Taylor had the chance to create his very own fairytale with now-new-husband William Scott Ellsworth. (And yes, they met through a dating app so that just tells you that online dating definitely is an option!) From the moment you entered the French Room, where an elegant cocktail reception awaited, until the very last dance followed dinner in the most beautiful room in the

Chuck with wedding party members Aurora Sexton and Erica Goldman.

city, the Gold Coast Room,  attendees experienced pure magic. The room was decorated in grand, understated elegance with the florals, crystal, vases, chairs, bars and even the silver reflecting carpet leading to the ceremony, all matching the existing decor--brilliant! There were IMG_6181absolutely no mistakes, no missteps, nothing that didn't fit perfectly in that fantastical dreamscape. All of the wedding party was dressed in black and white, carrying long bouquets of white freesia. Even the couple's dachshunds wore outfits that matched the IMG_6204wedding party-- black organza with brilliant, sparkling brooches on top. At the podium, the wedding party gathered round Derrick and Scott as they exchanged their vows. Derrick said, "You acknowledge my strengths and accept all of my faults, allowing me to be broken in your arms -- the safest place I've ever been. You make me want to be a better person every single day. You were so worth

TJ Crawley
The fabulous TJ Crawley.

the wait. You are a million dreams and a million prayers come true." Scott replied, "From our finest hour to our darkest hour, I will be there for you, holding your hand, walking through every doorway together." There wasn't a dry eye in the house. The happy couple

James and Michelle Gustin.

also adhered to an old tradition, especially popular in farming communities, of donning crowns which symbolize power and dignity. Derrick and Scott were surrounded with love from both sets of parents as well as Scott's daughter Madison Ellsworth. Following the ceremony, guest enjoyed champagne, cocktails and delicious hors d'oeuvres. A darling "Ring the Bell" station supplied guests with the signature cocktail of the night through a closed curtain when they rang a bell. It went off throughout the reception, as you can imagine! LOL! For the seated dinner, guests enjoyed the music of the always fabulous Tina Jenkins (TJ) Crawley, a string quartet and more. It was truly one of the most beautiful and touching ceremonies we've had the honor of witnessing. Long may you love Derrick and Scott!

Derrick, Scott and the wedding party, straight out of central casting. Long may they love!


Matt Olaveson and Adam Vitale
Ken Norgan (center) with Matt Olaveson and Adam Vitale.

And speaking of happy moments, birthday wishes are in order for Ken Norgan! For his 80th, he feted friends at Nico Osteria on Rush Street. The top floor was filled with friends, many from his longtime affiliations with the arts

Greg Thompson  Jose Conforme (Pepe) and Greg Cameron
Greg Thompson, Jose "Pepe" Conforme and Greg Cameron.

and nonprofits, including several who flew in from around the globe to celebrate this milestone birthday. Ken is a board member at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, on the board of trustees for the Swedish American Museum, was on the board of directors for the Lyric Opera, the Swedish Covenant Hospital Foundation Board, the Bernadotte Foundation for Children's Eyecare, on the board of Common

With Helen and Corinne Melchior
Ken with Helen Melchior and her daughter Corinne Melchior Doerr.

Threads, among others. He was a McDonald's franchise owner for 55 years, having retired in 2013 to travel the world and visit with friends. Ken was kind enough to

Jan image
Ken's longtime friends from Switzerland - Barbara and Norbert Steinbrecher with son Jan.

introduce me to Ronald McDonald House Charities where I eventually helped found its Women's Board for the House at Lurie Children's. As you can see, he is a very popular guy who I know for a fact has never met a stranger. The party celebrated Ken and a life very well lived with toasts, happy chatter, photo opps and more. In the downstairs area of the

Joan harris
Joan Harris and Ken.

restaurant, photos flashed across a wide screen filled with images of Ken's full life. Seen on the scene were Jose "Pepe" Conforme, Joan Harris, Greg Thompson and Greg Cameron, Neal Zucker and Marko Inglendza, Amelia and Alejandro Silva, John Walcher, Helen Melchior,

James Kinoshita  Merrillyn Kozier (President of the Harris Theater Board)  Franco LaMarca
James Kinoshita, Merrillyn Kozier (President of the Harris Theater Board) and Franco LaMarca.

Sean Eshagy and hubby, Mary Ann Rose and Heinz Kern, Michel Desjardins, Pierre Desy, Paul Iacono, Anne Kaplan, Marc DeMoss, Matt Olaveson, Craig Bergmann and Paul Klug, Brian and Robin Velo, Vanessa Grace, Patrick Gleason, Corinne and Chris Doerr, Diane and Richard Weinberg, Alexandra Nichols (who went to the same school in Bad Reichenhall (Bavaria) in the 1960s as Ken), Mara Mills Barker, James Kinoshita, Merrillyn Kozier (President of the Harris Theater Board), Franco LaMarca, Adam Vitale, Jan Steinbrecher and his parents Barbara and Norbert Steinbrecher (who flew in from Switzerland), Louise Frank and so many more. What a great celebration for a fabulous man. Love and congrats Ken, here's to 80 more! (Photos by Mila Samokhina)

Ken Norgan, surrounded by love and friends on his birthday at Nico Osteria.


Gordon Ramsay coming to Naperville!

Gordon Ramsay is loving Chicago! So much so, that he's decided to expand into the suburbs in the spring, into downtown Naperville. The celebrity chef will be opening Ramsay's Kitchen, just the third in the nation, at 39 W. Jefferson Ave., the site of the former Ted's Montana Grill and Oswald's Pharmacy just west of South Washington Street. Ramsey entered the Chicago restaurant market in 2021 with the opening of Gordon Ramsay Burger at 2 E. Ontario. He has 21 restaurants in the U.S. Glad you're realizing that Illinois is THE place to be Gordon!


Jim Coyne, Casey Doherty and Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas.

Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas welcomed this year's St. Patrick's Day Parade Queen Casey Doherty to

Maria and
Two Queens.

her offices on January 27. Casey was accompanied by her Court, the Shannon Rovers and Jim Coyne, business manager for Plumbers Local 130, the title sponsor of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. As always, the place was packed with Maria's friends and fans.


SC Aux Board pres Andrea Antoniou, Alpana Singh and SC pres Jean Antoniou.

Congrats to the Service Club of Chicago's Auxiliary Board,  who are expertly following in the footsteps of the nonprofit's  "big" board with their fun fundraising efforts. SC Aux Board President Andrea Antoniou welcomed the sell-out crowd to Gibson's for a luncheon keynoted by restaurateur/master sommelier Alpana Singh. Alpana shared her inspirational life

Paula Borg and Chilli Pepper.

story of perseverance and hard work, starting in grade school, which propelled her to be the youngest master sommelier by age 26. There are only 262 in the world and only 27 are women! An illustrious career continued, hosting "Check, Please," followed by a stint with Rich Melman, and then four successful restaurants including the eponymous Alpana. Trickled throughout, she dropped nuggets of wisdom, perseverance, hard work, can-do, and a never surrender attitude. Finally, In the theme of New Year, New Me, she presented the idea of building a sort of personal 3 point strategic plan for yourself, which impressed many. Alpana's dear friend, Chilli Pepper, was also in the crowd cheering her on.

SC Board members Mary Lasky and Sherry Lea Fox with Grace Lasky and friends.

And speaking of the Service Club, be sure to mark your calendars for this year's exciting SC hat luncheon 2023Spring Luncheon, aka the"Hat Luncheon," on Monday, May 8 at the Langham Chicago. This year's event will be co-chaired

SC Hat Luncheon co-chairs Bethany Florek, Whitney Reynolds and Julia Jacobs.

by Julia Jacobs, Whitney Reynolds and Bethany Florek. Upcoming events for your calendar are: Day on the Terrace (Monday, August 7), Annual Gala (Friday, November 3) and the Holiday Luncheon on Tuesday, December 5. It's never too early to plan ahead!


Christine Rocas and ensemble_Anna Karenina_Photo by Cheryl Mann (1)
Christine Rocas and ensemble in the Joffrey Ballet's "Anna Karenina." (Photo by Cheryl Mann)

Here are some other events I recommend that are coming soon! The Joffrey Ballet remounts Yuri Possokhov’s blockbuster Anna Karenina for the first time since its crowd-pleasing world premiere in 2019. Based on the novel by Leo Tolstoy, Possokhov’s immersive adaptation—winner of the 2019 “Oscars of Dance” Benois de la Danse International Prize for Best Choreography—features an original composition by award-winning composer Ilya Demutsky, costumes and sets by Emmy Award-winning designer Tom Pye, and lighting by famed designer David Finn. Anna Karenina will be presented at the historic Lyric Opera House, 20 North Upper Wacker Drive in Chicago, in ten performances only, from February 15-26.

Victoria Jaiani and Alberto Velazquez_Anna Karenina_Photo by Cheryl Mann (11) (1)
Victoria Jaiani and Alberto Velazquez in the Joffrey Ballet's "Anna Karenina." (Photo by Cheryl Mann)


The Les Turner ALS Foundation will host its annual “Hope Through Caring” gala on Feb.

_Gala Linkedin Jan 9-13
Hope Through Caring Gala will be Feb. 18.

18 at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel in Chicago. This black-tie optional event will gather together the ALS community and advocates to help raise money and awareness for ALS and ALS research. The event will celebrate Brian Wallach and Sandra Abrevaya with First Chicago Bank honored as the Hope Through Caring Award Recipient.

With pianist Gabriela Montero and Chuck.

Congrats to Music of the Baroque on the success of its recent performances with world renowned Venezuelan pianist Gabriela Montero. She gave fans a preview of her incredible talents at the University Club on January 19 before her two performances of "Montero Plays Mozart"--

It was a packed house for Gabriela's "sneak peek" at the University Club.

one at the Harris and one at the North Shore Center for Performing Arts. Declan McGovern, MOB Executive Director, conducted a fascinating Q&A where her charming personality shone as brightly as her skills on the piano. She shared that her grandmother gifted her with a toy piano at age 1 1/2. Gabriela was still in the crib and remembered picking out keys with her fingers. Her mother wisely recorded 150 of her early attempts which she proudly said "still holds up"! (

Steve and Marty Darvin
Steve and Marty Darvin.

And to my friends at Darvin Furniture Furniture & Mattress, congrats to your co-founders Steve and Marty Darvin, for being chosen as this year's recipients of the City of Hope's "Spirit of Life" award! They will be honored at an awards dinner April 23 in South Carolina. The City of Hope is one of the nation's largest cancer research and treatment organizations and one of the leading research centers for diabetes and other life-threatening illnesses. Darvin is Chicagoland's largest furniture and mattress store, that celebrated its 102nd anniversary last year! (For a donation of $100 to City of Hope, you will receive a $200 discount on a qualifying purchase at Darvin.) 


WHIM, a new pop-up experience coming to Stage 773.

Chicago has a brand-new pop-up experience that gives guests “second chances.” Whim, a one-of-a-kind Willy Wonka-esque interactive playground features a walk-through experience that is “creative, compelling, highly visual, thought provoking and utterly original.” Over a dozen Chicago artists and designers worked to create this

B_W Hallway
WHIM open now!

visual eye candy journey that includes 9 rooms of “Second Chances,” with each room themed around one word that is important in getting to a “second chance.” Located on Stage 773 at 1225 W. Belmont. WHIM invites guests to partake in a whimsical night out inside a world where every art form comes together - paintings, music, sculpture, street art, and live performance. WHIM leads visitors across a path of dreamlike theatricals that immerse the individual into an eclectic range of perspectives. The overall piece is an artistic meditation on time – how we use it, how we waste it, and how it is our most precious gift. (For more information, visit, open now through March.)


BestThat’s it for another action-packed couple of weeks! Whew! As we wrap up January, I want to express my deepest gratitude for your continued support of my 15-old blog, where I have always tried to positively showcase the many wonderful charitable causes and events hosted throughout

Headshot 2023
Cheers and thank you!

the year, as well as feature the uniquely talented and kind people that represent our beloved city. This year, I'm excited to expand my blog’s reporting and frequency of getting the latest news to my loyal readers. Expect even more insider news, great photos and fun updates on the latest civic and philanthropic events, as well as ways you can become involved, too!

As I expand Candid Candace, I would love your continued support! For all those Depositphotos_61663845-stock-photo-infinite-gratitudeorganizations and advertisers out there, I would appreciate you considering advertising/sponsorship opportunities to help me further expand our reach to even more people in your networks. So, as you review and allocate advertising/marketing resources for 2023, please consider becoming one my exclusive digital advertisers to receive special shout outs and mentions for your organization’s fundraising events, galas and latest news.

It’s because of YOU that I get to do what I love every single day. I send you all my deepest thanks for your continued support, loyalty and the great pitches and photos you send me so I can continue featuring the many Windy City events and causes that we all love and want to know more about!

Love, as always,


P.S. Something to leave you with a smile......Pip saves the day.



January 8, 2023

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