Saturday, August 08, 2015

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Carmelita Jeter Joins Bright Pink's FitFest2015!! (Chicago,IL)

A Fitness Marathon to save lives from breast and ovarian cancer,
for men and women of all fitness levels
 in Chicago, September 20thand Cleveland, October 11th  
Olympic Medalist and Fastest Woman in the World, Carmelita Jeter,
 Joins as Special Guest in Chicago!
 Bright Pink, a national non-profit on a mission to save lives from breast and ovarian cancer is excited to announce FitFest 2015 dates—the sixth annual event in Chicago on September 20th and the second annual event in Cleveland on October 11th.  So, gather your friends and family and join Bright Pink to take breast and ovarian cancer awareness and transform it into life-saving action.
Chicago’s fundraising event will take place at Fitness Formula Clubs: Union Station (FFC, 444 West Jackson Blvd) from 9:00AM-3:00PM. A modern day take on the more traditional walk or run fundraiser, FitFest is the perfect opportunity for men and women of all fitness levels – there is something for everyone. Participants will take fitness to an entirely new level by building their own perfect health & wellness day from a series of high-energy work outs led by FFC as well as The Dailey Method, Shred415, and WERQ instructors, to breast and ovarian health education, wellness workshops, beauty services, healthy treats and more. Additionally, Bright Pink is proud to welcome the Chicago Bulls/Sox Academy trainers who will lead participants through a series of basketball skills and drills workshops.
“We are beyond grateful to all of our participants over the past five years,” says Bright Pink Founder, Lindsay Avner. “For FitFest 2015, our goal is to attract 750 fundraisers to Chicago and Cleveland—with those numbers we could raise over $375,000 which would enable us to educate 1,000 doctors through our Women’s Health Provider Educational Initiative, over 30,000 women through our Brighten Up Educational Workshops, and empower 100,000 to know their breast and ovarian cancer risk through”
Additionally, Bright Pink is excited to have Carmelita Jeter, the fastest woman in the world, join FitFest as a 2015 special guest in Chicago. Carmelita will lead “Team Jet.”  Interviews available upon request.
Chicago Event Information
       Sunday, September 20, 2015 from 9:00AM-3:00PM
       Fitness Formula Clubs Union Station; 444 West Jackson Blvd
       Instructors Include: Lois Miller & Antonio Coke (FFC), Bonnie & Tracy (Shred415), Tami Conway (Dailey Method), Haley Stone (WERQ)
       Additional vendors include: Paul Mitchell, Aerie, Argo Tea, NorthShore University HealthSystems, Chicago Bulls/Sox Academy, Counsyl, Protein Bar, Skinny Pop, Kevita, Luna Bar, and High Brew
Cleveland Event Information
       Sunday, October 11, 2015 10:00AM – 4:00PM
       Mandel JCC; 26001 South Woodland Road Beachwood, OH 44122
       Lineup includes: Spin, Cardio Dance, Yoga, and more

Fundraising Information
Participate as an individual ($500 minimum in Chicago, $300 minimum in Cleveland), as a team with your friends or with your corporation ($5,000 minimum for a corporate team of 12 in Chicago, $2,500 for a corporate team of 10 in Cleveland). All money raised will fuel Bright Pink’s life-saving breast and ovarian health programs.
In addition to making a difference, receiving life-saving education, and an overall unforgettable experience, all participants will be gifted with a swag bag filled.
For more information on both events and to sign up visit
Photos and Bright Pink fundraising outcomes available upon request.
About Bright Pink
Bright Pink® is the only national non-profit focused on the prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer in young women. The organization’s mission is to save women’s lives from breast and ovarian cancer by getting them to live proactively at a young age. Bright Pink’s innovative programs educate and equip young women to assess their risk
for breast and ovarian cancer, reduce their risk, and detect these diseases at early, non life-threatening stages. Founded by Lindsay Avner in 2007, Bright Pink strives to reach the 52 million women in the US between the ages of 18-45 years old with this life-saving education. Put Awareness In Action™ at

Ixcateco Grill Opens in Chicago's Albany Park, serving Authentic, Chef-Driven Mexican Street Food in a Casual Neighborhood Setting (Chicago,IL)

3402 w. montrose | chicago, il 60618 | 773.539.5887 |

Ixcateco Grill wall art w border
Picaditas is a popular Mexican street food for which Chef/Owner Anselmo Ramirez raises the bar at the new Ixcateco Grill, 3402 W. Montrose in Chicago's Albany Park, which opens today, August 5.
Ixcateco Grill Opens in Albany Park, Serving Authentic, Chef-Driven Mexican Street Food in a Casual Neighborhood Setting
Talented chef Anselmo Ramirez strikes out on his own with masterful renditions
of traditional favorites from Southern Mexico

For Chicago's lovers of Mexican food, Chef Anselmo Ramirez is probably one of Chicago's best under-the-radar Mexican chefs. But if they have dined at such stellar restaurants as Frontera Grill, Topolobampo and Mixteco, they have probably enjoyed his culinary talent, for he has built a long career at these establishments.

Ixcateco Exterior 2 w borderThe good news is that Ramirez now is striking out on his own and his talents are on display with the launch of his own restaurant, Ixcateco Grill in Albany Park (3402 W. Montrose, Chicago; telephone: 773-539-588). Ixcateco Grill is a casual neighborhood full service BYO restaurant that presents authentic Southern Mexican cuisine. Ramirez features dishes made the way they are prepared in Mexico. His specialty is mole-many moles, in fact-and he simmers his magical potions for two days, just as his grandmother did when he was a child. The menu is casual with a delicious touch of sophistication that reflects Ramirez' experience working for such chefs as Rick Bayless, Trace Vowell, Sarah Stegner and George Bumbaris. He uses fresh, locally sourced organic or sustainably raised ingredients when possible, and he plans to add or adapt menu items regularly to showcase the bounty of the season. Serving as general manager is Antone Jacobs, a veteran of Maxim's and Frontera Grill.
Anselmo Ramirez 3 300 pixels w border.jpg Ixcateco Grill's storefront décor is warm, modest and comfortable. Bright colors abound and the dining room is furnished with flexible table seating for 45. As owner of an intimate restaurant, Ramirez will have the privilege of getting to know his guests and making them feel at home. "My restaurant will feel like going home to a great meal," he said. Ixcateco Grill is located in a well-trafficked neighborhood that has recently seen the emergence of a number of new chef-driven restaurants, much to the delight of local residents. The neighborhood is becoming a destination for food lovers.

Ramirez is a native of Guerrero, Mexico who came to Chicago when he was 12 years old. His father told him that America is a country where he can do what he loves, and he has been pursuing his dreams for more than twenty years. Cooking truly is Ramirez' passion, and he is on an endless mission to achieve perfection in his cuisine. "Working for Chefs Bayless and Vowell for thirteen years was a culinary education in itself," said Ramirez. "Chefs Stegner and Bumbaris also taught me many things, including the importance of using the best ingredients possible. That's why everything at Ixcateco Grill is freshly prepared. I don't take shortcuts, and hopefully it shows in the quality of food I serve."

Ceviche 1 w caption.jpgThe menu consists of a varied selection of small plates and larger entrées, all of which are very shareable. After indulging in fresh Guacamole and Chips ($6), guests can begin with a delicious Ceviche, tilapia marinated in lime juice, cilantro, serrano, celery, tomato and tomatillo habanero ($8); Picaditas , masa canoe filled with slow roasted poultry carnitas, avocado cream Ensalada 2 w caption.jpgsauce, and garnished with queso ranchero and pickled cactus ($7); and Ensalada, a mixed green salad with agave ginger dressing, cured mango, goat cheese and toasted walnuts ($7).

Entrée choices include Calabacitas Rellenas Vegetarianas , Mexican green squash stuffed with seasoned vegetables and served in yellow mole,Calabacitas Rellenas Vegetarianas w caption.jpg
Chihuahua melted cheese and garnished with microgreens ($13); Pollo en Mole Negro , roasted chicken served in black mole with mashed potatoes and grilled vegetables ($15); Camarones, wood grilled shrimp served in tomato cream sauce, with oyster mushrooms, epazote, accompanied by a side of tomato rice ($17); Carne Asada, wood grilled beef short ribs, served in molcajete sauce, yellow beans and guacamole ($16); and Lomo De Peurco, wood Camarones 2 w caption.jpggrilled pork loin in adobo marinade served in a pasilla tomatillo mescal sauce, served with sweet potatoes and grilled vegetables ($15).

For dessert, Ixcateco Grill serves a seasonal homemade flan and a several authentic homemade ice creams.

About Ixcateco Grill
Ixcateco Grill is an intimate casual Mexican restaurant featuring authentically prepared dishes from the southern regions of Mexico, by chef/owner Anselmo Ramirez. BYO is encouraged. The restaurant is located at 3402 W. Montrose in Chicago's Albany Park neighborhood. Dinner is served from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, and from 4 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The restaurant is closed on Mondays. Weekend brunch service will begin in the near future. Ample street parking is available. All major cards are accepted. For reservations, please call the restaurant at (773) 539-5887 . The website is

Anselmo Ramirez portrait 300 pixels w border.jpg

Chef/Owner Anselmo Ramirez
Ixcateco Grill

At age 12, when Chef Anselmo Ramirez' family arrived in the United States from their native Guerrero, Mexico, his father said to him, "This is a country where you can do what you love." These words have proven to be true for this talented, respected chef who for 13 years built his résumé at Frontera Grill and Topolobampo and then worked under the tutelage of Sarah Stegner and George Bumbaris.

"If I was to give advice to my younger self," said Ramirez, "I would give myself the same advice, because it has turned out to be the best I ever got. I've followed my passions and it has led to a great career. Every day, I do what I love to do."

Now at the age of 35, Ramirez is following his dream to run his own restaurant, Ixcateco Grill, located at 3402 W. Montrose in Chicago's Albany Park. It is a casual neighborhood restaurant serving authentic cuisine from Mexico's southern regions.

Ramirez' love affair with good food started very early. He vividly remembers his grandmother in Mexico preparing wonderful family meals, using fresh local ingredients. "Her mole sauces were amazing," he says. "She would start two days early, preparing the ingredients, and she would slow simmer the moles over a wood fire for many hours, sometimes for days. I prepare my moles the same, authentic way. There are several moles on the menu at all times."

Becoming a professional chef was not on his radar until he was 15 and landed a part-time job as a dishwasher at El Salvador's restaurant in Forest Park. It was there that he recognized how much he loved the business. From El Salvador's, he moved on to Chef Rick Bayless' Frontera Grill, where he also started as a dishwasher. Fortuitously, within seven months he was promoted to line cook.

Once Ramirez was cooking, he never looked back. He worked through the ranks in Frontera Grill's kitchen for seven years, and then was promoted to Bayless' famed four-star Topolobampo restaurant, where he worked closely with executive chef Tracey Vowell. "Working in Chef Bayless' restaurants was like going to culinary school, and I am very grateful for the opportunity he gave me," Ramirez said. He remembers that he once cooked for Senator Obama and his wife when they dined at Topolobampo. "That was definitely a thrill."

Later, Ramirez had the opportunity to work with Sarah Stegner and George Bumbaris, with whom he worked for two years. "I learned a lot from them, particularly the importance of using fresh local, organic ingredients," he said. "They are healthy and taste best. Using this type of ingredients means I need to keep evolving my menu to stay seasonal. This is an exciting challenge and it has become my personal philosophy as a chef."

Ramirez' cooks with a well-honed feel for great flavor combinations, and this is readily apparent in Ixcateco Grill's menu of delicious Mexican street food. His greatest joy is when guests tell him he takes Mexican cuisine to a whole new level.

As he puts it, "Cooking is my number one love. Watching people enjoy it is number two."
Ixcateco Grill official logo 300 pixels


Contact information:
Ixcateco Grill
Chef/Owner Anselmo Ramirez
3402 W. Montrose Ave., Chicago, IL 60618
Where were you born?
Guerrero, Mexico

When did you come to Chicago?   
In 1992; I was 12 years old. I'm 35 years old now.

What was your first food service job?   
When I was 15 years old my father helped me get a position as a dishwasher at El Salvador's in Forest Park. That's where I discovered I like the restaurant business.

Who inspired you to become a chef?
My grandmother, in Mexico, was an amazing cook. Although at the time I didn't think about being a professional chef, when I look back on it I realize that she was a great inspiration. She prepared wonderful food for the family. My earliest food memories are of my grandmother's mole sauces. She made many different kinds of mole. She would begin two days early, gathering and preparing the many ingredients. The moles would cook for many hours, sometimes days, over a wood fire, and they were simply delicious. My favorite dish was her chicken in red mole.

How did your career progress?
I was a dishwasher at El Salvador's until I had the opportunity to begin working as a dishwasher at Rick Bayless's Frontera Grill. After seven months I was promoted to line cook and, once I was in the kitchen, I fell in love with cooking. Frontera Grill was like a cooking school for me.

Cooking is my passion. I was at Frontera Grill for 7 years. I moved up the ladder at Frontera Grill and then moved to the kitchen at Topolobampo for 6 years, working closely with the restaurant's executive chef, Tracey Vowell. It was here that I really learned how to work with ingredients and how to cook with consistency. I cooked for Senator Obama and his wife at Topolobampo once.

Later, I had the chance to work with Sarah Stegner and George Bumbaris. I worked with them for two years. I learned a lot from them, particularly the importance of using fresh local, organic ingredients. They are healthy and taste best. Using this type of ingredients means I need to keep evolving my menu to stay seasonal. This is an exciting challenge and it has become my personal philosophy as a chef.

What is your current position?
Now I am the Chef/Owner at the Ixcateco Grill, which will open in mid-July. The location is in Albany Park. There are several new and good restaurants opening up there, but this is the only new Mexican restaurant. It will be full-service and BYOB.

What kind of food will you be preparing at Ixcateco Grill?
The menu will be simple Mexican street foods that are seasonal, changing frequently. I am going to prepare authentic dishes from the southern regions of Mexico, and I will use local, organic ingredients, when possible, that are fresh and seasonal. There will be several moles on the menu at all times. I think they will become the signature items on the menu. I will prepare them for many hours, the way my grandmother did. There are many, many different kinds of mole in Mexico, so I plan to have a revolving selection of regional moles.

What is your culinary philosophy?
Cook with passion, discipline. Put your heart and soul into your cooking.

What is your favorite ingredient and how do you like to use it?
Chiles, pasillo peppers and dried ancho; also Mexican oregano.

What is your service philosophy?
Most important is to make guests feel at home.

What is your favorite food?

What is your least favorite food?
I cannot eat fast food.

What chef has inspired you the most?
Along with Rick Bayless, Tracey Vowell, Sarah Stegner and George Bumbaris, I would have to say Patricia Quintana from Mexico City.

If you could work in any kitchen, whose would it be and why?
If I wasn't opening my own restaurant, I would love to cook in the kitchen of Patricia Quintana's Izote. But it closed in 2013.

What part of your job gives you the most satisfaction?
Cooking is number one. Watching people enjoy it is number two.

What is the most humorous kitchen mishap that you remember?
One time, when I was a young chef, we had a culinary student as an intern. He was asked to wash the chickens to prepare them for cooking. He put them in the dishwasher to wash them. It was the funniest thing I've ever witnessed in the kitchen. Of course, we threw the chickens in the garbage.

If you couldn't be a chef, what would you be and why?
I would be a farmer. I love everything about food and I have great respect for what it takes to be a good farmer and producer.
If you could give advice to your younger self, what would it be?
The same advice my father gave me: Do what you're passionate about; do what you love. Thankfully that's what I did and I couldn't be happier.

What about your family?
I am divorced, but I have two wonderful daughters, one who is 18 and is starting UIC and another who is 16. They live with me. My parents, who live across the street, take care of them for me when I'm working.

My brother and sister are both in the restaurant business. My brother is sous chef for Mr. Bayless, and my sister is a hostess at Frontera Grill. Maybe one day we will work together.

What do you do in your free time?
I love to read cookbooks and food magazines.


    We're loving being virtual peeping Tom's to these great office spaces people are submitting to Surface Magazine. Here are this weeks winners. They want to see YOUR photos too! See below for more info!
    Surface wants to see your workspace. For a chance to be our next #officeotd, upload a photo of your office to Instagram and tag @surfacemag and #officeotd

    Thanks to everyone who participated in our #officeotd contest this week! 
    Check out what our editors do when they're out of office: #SurfaceOOO coming this weekend.


    Congratulations to today's #officeotd winner, @RockwellGroup, who shared this image of Maisy, the family labradoodle of architect David Rockwell.



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