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Wednesday, April 24

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Event Fri Sep 27 2013

"Chicago In White" Redefines Fashion, Culture and Outdoor Dining for an Evening

Ketchup on hot dogs, drinking wine out of Solo cups and wearing white after Labor Day are things you just don't do. While I'm guilty of the first two and will defend the former any day (don't hate Chicago, don't hate), I can still hear my grandmother's words of wisdom - "Babe, you can't wear that, it's after Labor Day."

Chicago debunked that -ism this past Sunday with the annual Chicago in White pop-up dinner - a night where people gather at a secret location dressed up in all white for a BYO "redefined foodie flash mob." facebook_1641168878.jpg

Not to be confused with Diner en Blanc, which is basically the same event, Chicago in White is the original, albeit less French version, that kicked off three years ago. (For backstory, Diner en Blanc stole the trademark from Chicago in White three years ago and has since been trying to bulldoze the real Chicago in White by holding their event right before each Chicago In White event. Scandalous!)

This is exactly how I found myself in an H&M store at Woodfield Mall, browsing the clearance racks amongst the teenagers looking for a cheap yet cute white shirt to replace my white- and gold-striped shirt. Apparently close to white wasn't white enough. Even while creating a fashion faux pas by wearing white after Labor Day, I surely couldn't create another.

I was scheduled to be at my provided "harmonization" point -- the Morgan Blue line stop -- at 4:20pm to get the address of this secret place. It was 3:45, and I still needed to pop into Whole Foods to pick up my portion of the dinner. North Avenue was moving about as fast as Addison on a Cubs game day, which meant I missed the grand reveal but was an opportunity to kick off the night like Samantha from Sex and the City with a Sunday pre-dinner cocktail at the Whole Foods wine bar while I waited for the others to do the scavenger hunting. Of course there was a tall strapping man enjoying a glass of wine there by his lonesome. Strategy, folks, strategy.

By 5:00 I was heading to 1350 West Randolph. Couples and groups in white walking west indicated I was heading to the right place. Nestled behind a parking lot I met a sea of white suits and dresses. The flash food mob had begun to gather.

"How to you like my look?" I said jokingly, as I approached my group, admitting the fact that I had basically put together an outfit in my car in the Woodfield parking lot that surely didn't go together. We were prompted to do the ceremonial waving of the white napkin. It felt like an underground society; a brother and sisterhood of breaking cultural rules. It is September 22nd dammit, white is the new black and this is Chicago, hear us roar, we are flash mob foodies!


Then, somehow music appeared, and a lot of white people dressed in white started dancing like white people. Hmmm. The night ended with my friend and I hitting a bar for the Bears game - dressed in white and wearing heels. Many drunk men were very confused yet slightly intrigued (Don't you always wear white to a Bears game??).

All in all it was a pretty uneventful experience, and needed something more interactive than what was offered. I highly recommend it for a first or second date, or an all-ladies excursion. You do have to lug your own food and drink, so if you like to picnic in style, this is for you. I finally have an excuse to purchase an all-white suit and practice my Martha Stewart pop-up dinner recipes. Next year I'm going to plan ahead to avoid flashing suburbanites whilst I change in my car-- unless of course Chicago in White adds a little surprise to next year's event, which would give Diner en Blanc something to talk about.

Top photo courtesy of Chicago in White

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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