Delicious DIRT. Opening

Inside: Union Sushi & Barbeque Bar, D.C. Crenshaw, Brandon Baltzley, Ari Bendersky, Mike Schatzman, Worachai Thapthimkuna (Chao), Cheeky Chicago, James Goeke, Elevate Your Presence, Delicious DIRT, Food Mafia

Courtesy of Union Sushi + Barbeque Bar

We know you’ve been DYING to see the DIRT team’s pictures from Union Sushi + Barbeque Bar‘s Opening party… Here you go folks.   Congrats to friends Mike + Chao on a stellar space, divine unique cuisine (do not miss the Devon roll) and an overall awesome newbie resto!  Post will be updated with details + all our JUICE from the event.  For now –>  Wet. Your. Palate.


Union Co-Owner Mike Schatzman + Union Mixologist Quade Marshall @ Union

Opening signs @ Union

Chef Brandon Baltzley

Pure Deliciousness @ Union = Old City Market roll (inside): spicy tuna, seared salmon, spicy panzu, cilantro, green onion + fried okra. Plus our personal FAVE of the night: Devon roll (outside): sweet potato, curry mayo, chive and pickled radish. Divine Devon!

Executive Chef + Co- Owner of Union Chao w/ Scallop Roll

Hokkaido roll: grilled scallop, avocado, mayo, roasted pepper, jalapeno, @ Union

James Goeke & D.C. Crenshaw @ Union

Executive Chef Chao & Executive Chef Brandon Baltzley @ Union Party

D.C. Crenshaw Enjoying Union's Skewers

Going Going... Almost Gone! Union's chicken skewer + fish cake skewer with Wisconsin pepper jack cheese = surprisingly tasty.

Union Sushi + Barbeque Bar @ 230 W. Erie St.

Delicious DIRT. Exclusive Interview

Inside: DIRT Exclusive Part 2 with Eater Chicago’s Ari Bendersky

Finally, Delicious DIRT is bringing you a bit more with one of our favorite food big shots, Ari Bendersky.  This time, the action is a bit more personal… We know you’re already crazy about Ari, but after you read this, you’ll fall even harder.  You’ll learn the hottie behind Eater Chicago is a lover of all things dog, loves love like we do, appreciates beauty in food and has fab taste in movies.  He’s taken… so don’t get your stalker on ladies and gents.  But definitely fasten your seat belts, and tightly. Enjoy the ride.  Um, it’s impossible not to.  For Part 1 with AB, click here.

Ari Bendersky

Delicious DIRT (DD): Name your all time top 12 favorite things?
Ari Bendersky (AB): Not sure these are my 12 faves but it’s a pretty good list: Navy cashmere hoodie from J. Crew; my summers at Camp Chi; spending a semester in Madrid during college; watching the sun rise from Masada in Israel; watching the sun set from our favorite villa in Puerto Vallarta every winter; grilling in the summer; drinking rosé on any patio in the summer; getting my New York magazine each week; Cheddar char dogs with cheddar fries from Michael’s; Spending weekends at my parents pool with my family, my LeMond road bike; my dog, Emma and partner, Drew.

DD: What 7 movies do you love the most?  Could watch over & over?
AB: St. Elmo’s Fire; About Last night; Moulin Rouge; Color Purple; Almost Famous; Pretty Woman; Breakfast Club.

DD: What are the greatest food porn scenes in tv & film in your opinion?
AB: Friends when Joey had to eat all the lasagnas.

DD: How do you start & end each day?
AB: Start: stretch, walk my dog, make tea, have some breakfast and start posting to Eater.  End: Try desperately to read for more than 5-10 minutes before I completely zonk out. Then give my partner a kiss and fall asleep.

DD: Be specific, what for each meal and how often do you dine out?
AB: Breakfast: Sometimes oatmeal with fruit, sometimes eggs, always some Lifeway kefir. Lunch: usually tuna or chicken breast and salad. Dine out about 3x per week.  Usually don’t go out for lunch during the week.

DD: What do you cherish most in your life?
AB: My partner, Drew, and our dog, Emma.

Oh Ari, you are one in a million.  Thank you for letting us inside.

Stay Tuned for a full Delicious DIRT Oscar Event Roundup, Behind the scenes at Public House, Frontier Newbie Niceness, Purple Pig PIG-OUT, Exclusive with Michael Kornick himself, Food Mafia action at N9NE, y mucho mas Delicious DIRT.

Delicious DIRT’s Events This Week

Delicious DIRT. Juice & Weekly Open Roundup

Delicious DIRT’s TO EAT This Restaurant Week

Delicious DIRT’s Juice: Vote Eatocracy Style, Girl & The Goat, Sushi Samba, Tavernita, Food & Wine, and Saveur

A Little Juicy Delicious DIRT: ING, Tribute, Whisky Fest and More

Action with Ari Bendersky, Part 1


Elevate Your Presence is calling all Food Nerds, Chefs, and Cuisine Obsessives. Food Mafia is launching soon. Email us to receive an exclusive invite. Plus, send us your juiciest FOOD PORN and you might even get lucky…

Delicious DIRT. Upcoming

Heads up–>coming soon–>Elevate Your Presence‘s Delicious DIRT covers:

Inside: Frontier, Michael Kornick, Tru, Ari Bendersky, CC SKYE, Brandon Baltzley, Tula, Purple Pig, Food Mafia, Onie Bag

  • Frontier’s opening night – cocktails, oysters and 5 cheese Mac & Cheese– SHINES.

    Frontier's Mac & Cheese DELIGHTFUL BEYOND WORDS

  • Delicious DIRT contributor’s inside JUICE on the Tru experience.  AF’s day in Tru’s kitchen and night in the dining room.
  • Jose Cervante’s Pop Up dinner for his newbie, Tula Restaurante.  Oh and did we mention, hottie Brandon Baltzley cooked up a storm??

Stay tuned for all that and then some including Restaurant Week Juice….

Delicious DIRT. Exclusive Interview

Inside: DIRT Exclusive Part 1 with Eater Chicago’s Ari Bendersky

Wanna get ELEVATED? Now you’re in luck because Delicious DIRT is beginning a new series of interview exclusives.  We’re getting up close and personal with some of our favorite big shots.  You’ll read it, you’ll watch it, you’ll hear it and if you’re lucky, you might even taste it.

By now you know we at Elevate Your Presence love flavorful JUICE as we are huge food nerds, technocrats, fashion junkies, social media junkies and hedonists.  Stay tuned as we serve up mucho Delicious DIRT…. FOOD MAFIA style!

Ever wonder about the man behind the words?  We did.  This time, we’re bringing you the Delicious DIRT on the man whose words inspire us- Eater Chicago’s Ari Bendersky.  We are just fascinated with Ari as he rocks the blogging scene, the cuisine scene and the behind the scenes Chi scene.

Ari Bendersky

Who is the handsome genius behind it all you ask? Below, get to know Ari himself- the  man who isn’t afraid to tell it like is, whose words are a pleasure to read, who brings us breaking food + resto news day in and out, and who has a heart of gold.

Delicous DIRT (DD): How do you like & dress your Chicago hot dog?
Ari (AB):  Much to my dad’s chagrin and despite its having been drilled into my head since I was in the womb, I still like ketchup on my hot dog. Call me a non-Chicagoan but I can’t help it. That said, I love ketchup, mustard (prefer brown mustard if available but will take yellow), pickle and celery salt. That’s it.

DD: Where from?  Top 4.
AB: Michael’s in Highland Park; Huey’s Hot Dogs in Andersonville; Hot Doug’s; Tasty Pup in Des Plaines when I was growing up was the best hot dog, but I think it’s closed now.

DD: How’d you get into food blogging?
: I used to mostly write about music and LGBT-related topics and started my blog,, so I could write more about food and wine, and I would write about places in Chicago as well as wherever I traveled (Puerto Vallarta, London, San Francisco, etc). When I took over as Editor in Chief of UR Chicago magazine, I started doing more restaurant write-ups and reviews. Then Eater happened, first in 2008 and then permanently in 2010.

DD: What’s your favorite part of writing about food & restaurant news?
: I love knowing what’s opening — and closing for that matter — what chefs are up to, where they’re going and what new ingredients and techniques they’re bringing to the table. And it’s a huge treat that I get to eat at so many new places either before they open or when they just open. And then telling people about what’s good and what to avoid.

DD: How do you like your pizza (thin, thick & what toppings). Where from? Top 4.
AB: I prefer thin over thick (thick is just too doughy). I like Michael’s in Uptown; Homemade Pizza Co (whole wheat crust); Coalfire;  and making our own with dough from Whole Foods. Toppings… my go-to is pepperoni with mushroom and chili flakes.

DD: If you were going to die next week, what foods would you NEED to have & from where? AB: Ribs from Myron & Phil; cheddar char dog with cheddar fries with pickles on the side from Michael’s spicy shrimp tempura and spicy scallops roll; Steak Frites from Mon Ami Gabi; and my guiltiest pleasure — kraft mac ‘n’ cheese and cool ranch doritos.

Action with Ari Part 2: To be continued on Delicious DIRT

Reminder: Sit Stay Read event at Benchmark Tuesday 2/15.  See firsthand how bringing dogs into schools ELEVATES life for both kids and animals.

Newest Cock Rocks in Logan Square

Delicious DIRT’s Valentine’s / Anti-Valentine’s Roundup. FOOD PORN

DIRT. Weekly Events and Openings

Love It? Hate It? DIRT Valentine’s Options Galore

Juicy Resto News: Graham Elliot menu, Trotter ex-chef Merges’ newbie, McD’s Macarons, & Oyster Finale?

Next week- Delicious DIRT contributor gets inside JUICE on the Tru experience.  Stay tuned for a day in Tru’s kitchen and complete dining experience

Delicious DIRT Hottie AF @ Tru


Elevate Your Presence is calling all Food Nerds, Chefs, and Cuisine Obsessives. Food Mafia is launching soon.  To receive an exclusive invitation, email us @ Plus, send us your juiciest FOOD PORN and you might even get lucky…

Elevate Your Presence loves this Delicious Dirt via Eater Chicago on Michelin Guides‘ parties with food nerds galore – chefs like Grant Achatz , restaurant owners such as Boka Grp‘s Rob, Kevin and Giuseppe, journalists /bloggers such as the one and only fabulous Ari Bendersky and the rest of the good ol’ Chitown crew!

Elevate Your Presence wants you to get to know Grant Achatz in this video interview attached below! Chicago Food Mafia and Elevate Your Presence congratulate the Alinea chef on his Michelin Guides 3 stars! Achatz writes, “I’ve done my share of interviews, but its pretty fun when you get to do it while cruising town in a Lexus.”


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