The Lux Life – Grand Lux Café Review

Grand Lux Cafe Entree |

Sitting on the plush bench waiting for the clock to strike 6PM, I peered into the kitchen to see what the chefs were creating. As I looked around the soaring ceilings and funky chandeliers, I was reminded of another restaurant’s decor. The color palette and plush feel was reminiscent of Cheesecake Factory. Sure enough, I later discovered that Grand Lux Cafe is owned by the same company that produces the never-ending menu and restaurant that is Cheesecake Factory.

I was invited to sample the new menu at Grand Lux Café (600 N. Michigan Ave.) along with other food and lifestyle bloggers in Chicago. Before sharing highlights from the new menu and drinks, I wanted to share a bit of insider info on what it’s like to dine with food bloggers if you don’t know one. I have learned through dating and generally being alive and dining with normal people that I break important etiquette rules when dining.

  • My phone is usually on the table.
  • I take photos. Several of them. From different angles. At times, the food has gone cold by the time I got “the shot.”
  • I occasionally take photos of my girlfriend’s or friend’s dinner.

I would argue that I’m still present during the dinner. I rarely have my phone out to text friends or see what other people are doing on social networks. Continue reading The Lux Life – Grand Lux Café Review

Final Four of Wingstop Flavors

Final Four Wingstop Wings |

My bracket was destroyed as soon as I clicked submit. In lieu of having no vested interest in the outcome of tonight’s game, I have turned my attention to creating brackets where I can safely pick the winner. The latest bracket was to find the supreme Wingstop flavors. My girlfriend and I narrowed down the field to our four preferred flavors and grabbed a few baskets in our own taste bud tournament dance.

I am somewhat new to the world of wings. The first time I went to a wing-serving establishment I brought my own sandwich while my coworkers dipped and delighted. Yes, I am aware of my “uniqueness.” The next time I went, I left the sandwich at the office and got my own basket. Since then, I learned how to eat bone-in wings and I get the craving for some fried chicken. Of late, I had a strong hankering for the tangy and spicy buffalo wing sauce. Continue reading Final Four of Wingstop Flavors

Early Bird Gets the Bison: Ted’s Montana Grill


Ted’s Montana grill is a longtime friend to TheBachelorBasics and has quickly become the go-to spot for a nice meal out with my girlfriend. (Read the last review here)

Ted’s occupies a unique dining niche. It’s a step above fast casual, but not a full-on steak house. Teetering between these two worlds ultimately benefits the dinner with a tab that won’t slaughter you. When you order a steak you know they know how to cook it well–or medium rare in my case–and the meat is steps above something you’d get at an inexpensive chain.

One year my team insisted on taking me out for Manager’s Day.

“We’re going to get you steak!” a woman on my team exclaimed. I replied that they could get me steak tacos instead, but off we went to a steakhouse in the city. This steakhouse promises a steak lunch for $7.99. Hungry Chicago carnivores know this spot. When I got to the counter, they asked how I wanted my steak. No sooner did I finish saying “medium rare” before I was handed a plate with a thin, gray slab of meat with grill marks.

On the other end of the steak-spectrum, you have the uber fancy establishments where you expect someone to burp you after your meal or provide resuscitation when you see the bill.

Ted’s lives comfortably in between those two extremes. Continue reading Early Bird Gets the Bison: Ted’s Montana Grill

Farmhouse: Roof to Table


My heart was thumping into my chest bone as I grasped for the next rung. Then the next as my feet trailed behind. One at a time, I thought.

There was no stopping.

Outside of the restaurant, the night was still and the eclectic mix of music piped through Farmhouse’s speakers was replaced with the incalzando tempo of my heart in my ears.

Why did I ever watch Vertigo? I really should work out more.  Are my hands normally this moist? For my biography, is this considered adventurous? Was that my last meal? These are the thoughts that race through your brain as you climb a ladder into the heavens at 9 o’clock on a school night. Continue reading Farmhouse: Roof to Table

Bison: A Beginner’s Guide

bison filet

My super smeller picked up the scent a block before arriving at Ted’s Montana Grill in downtown Naperville on a crisp Saturday night.

The aroma is unmistakable and almost every bachelor cherishes it. For me, few things trump the smell of searing beef on a grill.

We had a reservation for half past six and we were greeted promptly before being led to our booth. There was a decent crowd waiting for tables, so make sure to plan ahead for your visit. Ted’s Montana Grill is a hybrid between a steakhouse and casual restaurant. The décor is warm with all the things you’d expect from a steakhouse: wood, leather, a robust list of scotches. It differs in the attitude of the staff and it isn’t dimly lit (ideal for food photos). I have been to a few steakhouses and some exhibit a stuffy exclusivity. There’s none of that at Ted’s. Continue reading Bison: A Beginner’s Guide

How to Survive a Whiskey Tasting

untitled whiskey

From the first night I opened the unmarked doors for Untitled I knew I was onto something special. They lured me in with a varied lineup of swing, blues and R&B bands. Then, I got a cocktail. Most places you get a drink, but at Untitled it’s a cocktail.

The men behind the bar had white Oxford shirts and suspenders; some even pull off the handlebar mustache. The theme was consistent from the moment you stumble on the entrance to the time you stagger up the stairs to return to your normal life. As soon as you’re inside, you’re in a time of moonshine and bootleggers, mobsters and gun molls.

After sampling my way through their cocktails, I have moved to their insurmountable collection of whiskeys. There aren’t enough hours in the day to order each of them, nor dollars in my bank account. Continue reading How to Survive a Whiskey Tasting

Pie Five: First Tastes

pie five chicago

The contents in the manila folder changed each week in Mrs. T’s classroom. She would put a new mind bender problem in the folder. And each week, I would take the white sheet of paper and work toward finding a solution. Some of the sheets were easier than others. Many had logic problems where you’d have to make grids to figure out what color shirt Jim was wearing. Others were probability and permutation puzzles. At the bottom of every problem, Mrs. T. reminded us to show our work.

new yorker

Next to the folder pinned to the wall was a standings sheet listing the students with the most points. By attempting the problem, you could receive one point. If you arrived at the correct solution, you would tally two points. There was a greater goal than mere competition against your prepubescent peers. If you earned 50 points by the end of the year, you won a pizza party where you got your very own personal pan pizza, with whatever toppings you wanted.

As a kid, I loved pizza. What’s better than pizza? Free pizza. Continue reading Pie Five: First Tastes