The Great Carnac, I am not. There is no crystal ball in my pantry, and the only kind of tarot that’s been dealt to me has been fried and served during dim sum service. But there is just so much going on this weekend – the NRA Show, the Beard Awards – that I think a few predictions are in order. Some are more likely to occur than others.
1. Let’s get right to the biggest deal of all, the 22nd annual James Beard Awards, going on both Friday, May 4 (journalists & books) as well as Monday, May 7 (chefs, restaurateurs). There are a number of local nominees in play. Hoping to prevent an Arun-like string of disappointments, HotChocolate’s Mindy Segal crushes her competition after six consecutive nominations and brings home the award for Best Pastry Chef in the U.S. Banana brioche bread pudding, chocolate soufflé tarts and warm doughnuts are handed out gratis to the first 500 customers through the door beginning Tuesday (which also happens to be the day the restaurant re-opens after a two-week renovation).
2. In a rare, only-in-the-world-of-Achatz-and-Kokonas moment, the dynamic Chicago duo brings home a hat trick: Outstanding Bar Program (Aviary), Best New Restaurant in the U.S. (Next) and Rising Star Chef (Dave Beran). The champagne will be served intravenously upon their return to Fulton Market.
3. Since the NRA (Restaurant, not Rifle) show is in town, (it was moved up three weeks because they were worried about the NATO Summit and the now-cancelled G8 Summit happening at the same time) tables at suburban sleepers Burt’s Place and Flossmoor Station are jam-packed with two-hour waits, since everyone in the city flees, realizing Show attendees have gobbled up every restaurant seat from Acadia to Goosefoot.
4. Kitsch’n revives its Hangover Brunch on Sunday, May 6, since everyone in Chicago under the age of 27 gets obliterated for Cinco de Mayo on tequila shots and Corona chasers; brunch doesn’t get underway until noon.
5. With the Kentucky Derby also going on Saturday, mint becomes as impossible to find at Whole Foods as a bag of Cheetos; the Twisted Spoke taps into its Strategic Bourbon Reserve to fill orders and julep glasses go for $250 apiece on eBay.
Best of luck to all of the nominees in NYC this weekend, especially those from Chicago. I’ll have frequent updates on my blog and ABC 7′s website beginning at 6 p.m. CST.