Not sure what's going on with Chicago's "spring" weather but I'm positive of what's going on with this great city!
I attended former Chicago Bear and All Pro Jerry Azumah's kick-off cocktail reception to benefit his nonprofit, the ASAP Foundation, at Sunda. The ASAP Foundation is committed to supporting disadvantaged students in their pursuit of higher education through fundraising and innovative programs. Now, I have been to many other kick-off receptions, galas, and benefits – some of which the guests didn't even know the mission or the name of the charity that was organizing the event, I promise not to name names. However, Azumah is from the same community to which his foundation supports, which really stood out and I can appreciate. According to Azumah, he was in a similar program when he was in high school and receives "more gratification then anything" working on the ASAP Foundation. The reception acted as a kick-off to Azumah's Signature event on May18th. Guests enjoyed light eats from Sunda's menu, sushi rolling lessons, and Hennessey Black infused cocktails. Congratulations to Jerry Azumah and his wonderful team of ladies at MNJPR for a meaningful, successful event
I'm not a huge fan of dark liquors. So, when I got the invite to this next event, I was a bit hesitant but I believe in approaching everything with an open mind and in this case, an open palette. Park 52, 5201 S. Harper, in Hyde Park held a private luncheon hosted by America's Next Top Model alum Tocarra Jones and top mixologist Jordan Bushell for the new Hennessey Remix. I could be conservative and politically correct, but let's be honest; Hennessey had a reputation for being the drink or in some cases "drank" of rappers; thus placing a stigma on the brand. I must say that this event convinced me otherwise by truly appealing to young professionals in the city. The luncheon featured a drink menu of Hennessey Remix infused cocktails that included ginger and apple; the ginger was my personal fave. Tocarra was a riot! When she wasn't causing the event photographer to have a heart attack by whisking away his very expensive camera and taking pictures of guests, she was socializing with guests and not being the "Hollywood aloofness" many celebs take on at events. "Because I'm f%&$ing fabulous" exclaimed Tocarra when I asked why she has such a loyal, in particular gay, following. Either way, I had a great time and I'll definitely be stepping outside my usual gin and tonic drink orders and opt for a Hennessey Remix cocktail.
Jack Binion's Steakhouse, 777 Casino Center Drive, hosted a private dinner at its restaurant at Horseshoe Casino in Indiana. Jack Binion boasts an impressive dining area with a top-notch view of Lake Michigan and Chicago's distant skyline; a private dining oasis in a way. The evening included a cocktail hour of wine and passed H'dourves, which I tried not to fill up on before dinner. Yours truly enjoyed a tasting of the best of the best that included a steak sampling from the Bill Kurtis Fed, Norman Wagyu, and the American Wagyu; not to mention a side of King crab legs…but only because the waitress insisted of in course. I topped my dinner off with tiramisu, my absolute fave desert. Expect to pay anywhere from $30 to $56 for a steak. Executive chef Paul Chartrand explained over dinner that Jack Binion is taking an alternative approach to what foodies would typically expect at a steakhouse by offering lighter, more intimate portions instead of pilling on food. I couldn't help but to think that if what they were serving us was the lighter version of what they originally served, then the original portions must have been a private, single buffet! Either way, I was in big girl Heaven and though I'm not much of a gambler; I'll be back for my steak samplings and view of Lake Michigan
Professional Young Gays (P.Y.G.) kicked off spring with the Freedom to be Yourself Spring Mixer at John Allan's penthouse suite, 111 W. Jackson BLVD. What a night and our most successful one to date. About 75 guests were treated to complimentary Veev Acai Sprits, light eats courtesy of Carnival Foods in Lincoln Park, complimentary grooming services courtesy of John Allan's, gift bags, and some tasty, healthy snack bars courtesy of Kind Snacks. My board and I debated back and forth on rather or not we should feature a speaker this time around. Finally, we just decided to just have fun with this event and bring out the cocktails! Guests also had the option for a $5 business card buy in for the exclusive raffle. Winners walked away with sought after prizes that included 5 ½ pound boxes of Terry's Toffee, one of the exclusive gifts for the Oscars for the past 7 years, $300 value Dyson 10inch table fan, two private yoga sessions courtesy of my sister Tiffany Ingram Chappell, a gift box of healthy snack bars courtesy of Kind Snacks, and a $300 doggie gift basket courtesy of Z Spa Grooming in Roscoe Village. Portions of the proceeds went to benefit the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Chicago House and Social Service Agency, and Howard Brown Health Center. It's rare when all of three organizations combine on one event, so it was great to bring them on board and work with each one. I must thank my board of directors Kip Rodrigue and Roderick Hawkins as well as my host committee: Angel Abcede, Jeremy Hilborn, Marisa Mccabe, Justin Meyers, Nico Rodriguez, Vincent Velasqez, Liz Weck, and Steve J. Lance. Be sure to save the date for P.Y.G.'s next event with Equality Illinois on June 23
Until next update, stay f%&*ing fabulous!