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Columnist Mark Brown and reporter Tim Novak were interviewed by Fran Spielman.
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The Fran Spielman Show: Mark Brown & Tim Novak

Breaking down the extortion case of former union boss John T. Coli Sr.

Gin cocktails served at Scofflaw include the Fitzgerald (from left), In Burma and Genever Martinez.
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Gin takes on new identity; modern approach grows fanbase

For the last decade, the gin market has seen progressive and accelerated growth around the globe as a modern approach grows its fanbase among drinkers.

Savory Pierogis served at Ewa’s Pierogi in Glenview.
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Ewa’s Pierogi enchants with Eastern European fare

Among other staples, Ewa’s Pierogi carries five flavors of its namesake dish — meat [beef and pork mixture], mushroom, potato and cheese, spinach, mozzarella cheese and sauerkraut.

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The Fran Spielman Show: Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell

Columnist Mary Mitchell visits ‘The Fran Spielman Show’ to reflect on her storied career.

The fried pork sandwich from Vistro restaurant in Hinsdale served with dill garlic mayo, bread and butter pickles and fries.
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Chef Paul Virant showcases the Midwest and beyond

The James Beard Award-nominated chef Paul Virant has an upscale restaurant, Vie, in Western Springs and a more casual spot — Vistro — in Hinsdale. He also plans to open another restaurant in the trendy West Loop soon.

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Teatro ZinZanni review: Laughter (and thrills) on the 14th floor

Trapeze, tumbling acts the highlights of the vaudeville-style troupe’s first Chicago show, ‘Love, Chaos & Dinner’

Sydney Roberts, chief administrator of the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, talks to Chicago Sun-Times City Hall Reporter Fran Spielman on Friday, July 19, 2019.
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COPA chief wants to eliminate 24-hour wait before cops involved in shootings make statement

Fraternal Order of Police President Kevin Graham wants a 72-hour waiting period before officers are required to give their statements.

The Linguini Frutti Di Mare, served at Frankie’s Ristorante, is made with long strand pasta, mussels, clams, calamari, shrimp, and scallops in red sauce.
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Frankie’s Ristorante continues family’s legacy in Italian dining

The Tinley Park restaurant features an array of staples that includes Italian classics and modern fare.

Attorney Michael Avenatti talks about R&B superstar R. Kelly’s federal indictment during a news conference Monday, July 15, 2019.
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Michael Avenatti says R. Kelly paid $2M to keep alleged victim off stand at 2008 child porn trial

‘R. Kelly bought his acquittal,’ declared the L.A.-based celebrity lawyer who said he represents three of the victims listed in federal indictments unsealed Friday

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CTU accuses Mayor Lightfoot of provoking another teachers strike — just like Rahm Emanuel did

The president and vice president of the Chicago Teachers Union said Lightfoot has delivered far less than promised, leaving teachers virtually no alternative but to walk off the job.

Three of the Market Sides served at Blackberry Market. The honey mustard sweet potato salad (left), California quinoa (right), and broccoli slaw (top).
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Couple’s second Blackberry Market brings elevated fast-casual dining to La Grange

The cinnamon roll has gotten so popular that co-owner Bob Davidson said, "We’ve actually been looking into shipping because we get a lot of out-of-state requests." Bob and Anna Davidson’s original Blackberry Market is in Glen Ellyn.

Ciders made at Eris Brewery and Cider House include (front row, from left ): Strawbarbarella, Pedestrian and Foiken IPC, and (back row, from left) The Cidre Vie and Van Van Mojo.
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Eris Brewery and Cider House

As consumer interest and the hard cider market grows, there’s plenty to educate drinkers about on the often mis-characterized adult beverage.

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Orland Park’s Cacao Cafe serves up Mexican comfort food

Opened since November, Cacao Cafe is chef and owner Linda Aceves’ dream come true. Family recipes are a source of inspiration exemplified in the homemade salsas — chilaquiles, tacos, burritos and tortas. The cafe also has coffee, baked goods and a full coffee bar.

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The Fran Spielman Show: Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th)

The leader of the Socialist Caucus believes more corporate taxes are the answer for revenue.

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Glenview’s Forza Meats gaining popularity as a one-stop shop

The all-in-one butcher shop, market and deli uses domestic meat that is pasture-raised, all-natural and antibiotic- and hormone-free.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker, State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth, State Sen. Heather Steans, State Sen. Toi Hutchinson, and State Rep. Kelly Cassidy hold up legislation that makes Illinois the nation’s 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana
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High sign for legal pot — Pritzker inks bill making Illinois 11th state to allow recreational reefer

Illinois residents 21 and over will be able to buy marijuana at dispensaries as soon as Jan. 1.

Fraternal Order of Police President Kevin Graham
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After cold war, police union president hopes to break the ice with Lightfoot

Fraternal Order of Police President Kevin Graham said Friday he has "pulled his punches" with Mayor Lori Lightfoot because he wants to work together with her to bolster the police force by another 1,000 officers.

Rachel Lowe is the sommelier at Spiaggia restaurant.
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The Sip: Spiaggia’s award-winning wine collection a master class in vintages

Spiaggia’s bottle list starts around $50 and can go as high as $6,000. The Italian-heavy wine list is organized by region, north to south.

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Coastal flavors surface in Palos Park at the Original Island Shrimp House

The unassuming seafood joint promises lobster rolls worthy of Maine, peel-and-eat shrimp reminiscent of the South and king crab evoking the Pacific.

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Warming up, stretching, toning for those summertime sports

Regardless of what type of shape you’re in, some recreational sports require different muscle power than those you’re more accustomed to using during your workouts.

The Poached Duck Egg is served with tuna aioli, spring peas, lemon vinaigrette, and Publican Quality Bread at The Heritage restaurant.
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The Heritage Restaurant in Forest Park a celebration of farm-to-table fare

Executive chef Rick Ohlemacher creates a seasonal menu that changes every six to eight weeks.

Side extensions are an important part of any arm workout. Make sure to keep the weights slightly in front of you so that you can see them in your peripheral vision.
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How to get those toned arms — Working out with dumbbells

First, start with lighter weights than you think. I often see people using improper form with dumbbells, and lifting weights that are too heavy are a key reason.

The ddukbokki lamb ragu served at Passerotto restaurant is made with Korean rice cakes and a lamb neck ragu gravy.
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Passerotto serves as a love letter to Korean culture and appreciation for Italian food

Many of Passerotto’s favorites like the ddukbokki lamb ragu — Korean rice cakes paired with a lamb neck ragu gravy — taste Korean and Italian simultaneously without being exclusively either.

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Today on ‘Ellen’: Lin-Manuel Miranda gives presidential whiz kid a tour of Chicago’s ‘Hamilton’ exhibition

The 9-year-old drops some historical knowledge on the musical’s creator and former star.

Ald. Jason Ervin (28th), chairman of the City Council’s Black Caucus, and Ald. Ray Lopez (15th) talk to Sun-Times City Hall reporter Fran Spielman on May 31, 2019.
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Banning outside income, limiting campaign contributions the key to ending City Council corruption, alderman says

Ald. Ray Lopez (15th) contends Mayor Lori Lightfoot is making a mistake by focusing her reform efforts on ending aldermanic prerogative.

James Gibson, a victim of torture by disgraced Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge and his “midnight crew”
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Burge torture victim James Gibson sues city

James Gibson spent 30 years in prison largely based on a confession he claims he gave after being beaten by detectives under former Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge.

The Sustainable Sour and R&R Old Fashioned, at Brass Heart restaurant, both contain CBD oil.| Brian Rich/Sun-Times
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CBD cocktails add another layer to bar beverages

One beverage director recommends a dosage of around 10 milligrams in cocktails to bring out a muted and subtle chlorophyll-like aroma to the nose.

It’s important to stay hydrated before, during and after workouts or excessive time outdoors in the summer sun. And the bottles can serve a dual purpose: Health and fitness expert Stephanie Mansour demonstrates using small water bottles as weights.
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Stay hydrated for outdoor workouts, festivals and other summertime fun

The standard daily recommendation is to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water every day.

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Lightfoot passes first test of City Council muscle with flying colors

Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th) had predicted "north of 30" votes for the City Council leaders but it passed on voice vote instead — no roll call.

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Hyde Park’s B’Gabs Goodies is a plant-based haven

B’Gabs — a nickname bestowed to Chef/Owner Gabrielle Darvassy by friends — not only caters to the dietary needs of vegans and vegetarians but to those who prefer their meals, strictly raw, soy-free, gluten-free, nut-free or alkaline-based.

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Fitness expert Stephanie Mansour offers 7 variations on lunges

Lunges are great exercises to strengthen and tone both the front and back of your legs, your glutes and improve balance.

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Funnyman Howie Mandel taking high cholesterol very seriously

The comedian and judge on "America’s Got Talent" wants everyone to pay attention to what he calls a "silent" illness, one that raises the risk for heart attack or stroke.