Chicago restaurants summer ‘holiday’ news 2018

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You know, almost any day of the week all year you can celebrate a declared holiday. For example, coming up is Single Working Women’s Week (July 29-August 4, 2018) and Single Working Women’s Day August 4. Check it out if you see any hard-working single women in your life.

But, we digress. Here in Chicago, our restaurants are constantly surprising us with ‘holiday’ specials, so here are a few happenings you might like, organized by dates of occurrence. Enjoy!

Green City Market’s Chef BBQ 2018, Lincoln Park (approximately 1817 N. Clark). On Thursday July 19, 5:30-8pm, attendees will get to try tasting portions prepared utilizing fresh produce, meats and craft beverages made with ingredients provided by local farmers and vendors. (Click here for a complete list of participants.)

Use public transportation, taxis, and ride-shares because parking could be tough. Limited parking is available in the Chicago History Museum lot at their regular rate ($19-$32 depending on how long you’re there). Tickets at GCMBBQ.eventbrite.com. RAIN or SHINE. – no refunds. Supported by Breakthru Beverage, FIG Catering, Midwest Foods, and Tablescapes.

Castaways, 1603 N. Lake Shore Dr. at Chicago’s popular North Avenue Beach, is the perfect spot to throw one back in honor of Discovery Channel’s #SharkWeek. Sunday July 22 to Sunday July 29 Castaways will offer a special “The Hammerhead” cocktail for $9 each. The ocean-colored cocktail is made with Captain Morgan Coconut Rum, pineapple juice and blue curaçao.

Four Entertainment Group (4EG) outlets will celebrate Shark Week by donating $1 from every full-price signature house cocktail sold at aliveOne, Easy Bar, Estelle’s, Remedy, and The Owl – 50 cents to Chicago’s Shedd the Straw Campaign and 50 cents to For a Strawless Ocean. All week, you can see free showings at all locations of movies like Free Willy, JAWS and other aquatic-themed films while you make cash donations to support both initiatives aimed at reducing plastic straw waste in our oceans.

Carnivale, 702 W. Fulton Market, says summertime in Chicago calls for a cool patio for drinks and good company. HAPPY HOUR: Monday-Friday 4:30-6:30 in the lounge and on the patio. An unmatched chilled white wine list. Lively entertainment every Friday night. INDUSTRY NIGHT: Every Sunday enjoy $1 Coronitos with a shot and 25% off appetizers. SAMBA DANCE NIGHT: Dance the night away starting July 17th and every third Wednesday of the month.

Green City Market’s Chef BBQ 2018, Lincoln Park (approximately 1817 N. Clark). On Thursday July 19, 5:30-8pm, attendees will get to try tasting portions prepared utilizing fresh produce, meats and craft beverages made with ingredients provided by local farmers and vendors. (Click here for a complete list of participants.)

Use public transportation, taxis, and ride-shares because parking could be tough. Limited parking is available in the Chicago History Museum lot at their regular rate ($19-$32 depending on how long you’re there). CTA Bus routes that stop at the event include 22 Clark, 36 Broadway, 73 Armitage, 151 Sheridan. L stops nearby: Sedgwick Brown Line (walk east on North Avenue to Clark) and Clark/Division Red Line (walk north on Clark). Tickets at GCMBBQ.eventbrite.com. The event will be held RAIN or SHINE. No refunds. The event is supported by Breakthru Beverage, FIG Catering, Midwest Foods, and Tablescapes.

Piccolo Sogno, 464 N. Halsted, celebrates its 10th anniversary all this month of July: a delicious Italian staple, Tagliolini with summer truffles for only $10 along with $10 bottles of Prosecco. They’re also celebrating National Lasagna day on July 29.  Chef Priolo and and partner Ciro Longobardo say that Piccolo Sogno is their “little dream,” and eating their lasagna might just be yours! Lasagna Tipica di Bologna (traditional lasagna with green pasta sheets layered with béchamel and Bolognese sauce, $16) – deemed by some as the best in Chicago. And the ambiance here – including the lovely patio – is absolutely delightful. You might even feel like you’re in Italy.

Connie’s Pizza, 2373 S. Archer or at McCormick Place. Since 1963, Italian family recipes and pizza – also in your Midwest grocer’s frozen section. July 29 they’re celebrating their 55-year anniversary on National Lasagna Day. Every order of Mama Sue’s 55-year-old lasagna recipe – kept alive by popular demand – comes with a $5.50 discount off the regular $12.99 price. Such a deal! They can host a party or bring it to you with delivery, catering and pizza shipping anywhere in the United States. 312.CONNIES (312.266.6437), visit their website and follow the restaurant  on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Dairy Queen, a perennial favorite of all soft-serve fans, is out to help sick kids. On Miracle Treat Day Thursday, August 2 2018 they will be donating $1 from every  Blizzard® Treat sold at participating DQ Grill & Chill® and Dairy Queen locations throughout the U.S. Donations go  to the local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital.  All kids want to have fun, so DQ® will Miracle Treat Day support critical treatments and healthcare services, pediatric medical equipment and charitable care to help save and improve the lives of local children.

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Music, food and fun at Square Roots festival 2018

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Lincoln Square hosts Square Roots 2018 on July 13–15. It’s the 7th year for this one-of-a-kind craft beer, food and music experience boasting more than 70 acts on four stages (two indoor, two outdoor) and more than 40 regional craft brews paired with Lincoln Square’s finest restaurants and local artisans. Sponsored by Old Town School of Folk Music (OTSFM) and Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce (LSRCC), the three-day festival features free music lessons, jams, and plenty of family fun activities.

Events Details:
When: Friday, July 13th, 5-10 p.m.; Saturday, July 14th, noon-10 p.m.; Sunday, July 15th, noon-9 p.m.
Where: 4400 – 4560 N Lincoln Avenue (from Wilson to Montrose).
Cost: Suggested donation of $10 for adults, $5 for seniors/kids, $20 for families. For more info, visit www.squareroots.org, or call 773-728-6000

The festival expects more than 30,000 fans at this comfortable and inviting multidimensional experience for all ages of music, food and craft beer enthusiasts. Proceeds benefit small business workshops and community place-making efforts and fund the Old Town School of Folk Music scholarship programs, as well as the Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce’s local shopping initiatives, ongoing community events and public farmers markets, as well as free summer concerts and artist-in-residence programs at Chicago Public Schools.

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Summer fun in Chicago at Meeting House Tavern

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It’s always fun to find drinking establishments that offer stuff to do in addition to imbibing. Heaven knows, societal trends are definitely moving away from the old picture of people sitting at a bar for hours at a time, just drinking. Too much scientific evidence about what alcohol does to the brain.

Anyway, here’s good news about the latest addition to the growing LGBT bar scene in Andersonville. Get this: there’s lots to do besides drink at this new, community-friendly place.

Skee ball at Meeting House Tavern

Meeting House Tavern , 5025 N. Clark, is now open. Get this: in addition to a full bar, they’re serving a signature margarita on tap, and a bunch of frozen cocktails. Get your Tavern Bites from Hutch American Kitchen + Bar (recently opened in the rear part of the building). Pick your own entertainment: Skee-ball, pool, shuffleboard, darts, arcade games, retro and indie tabletop board and card games. Plus watch music videos and sports on 10 TVs. Or put together a TV or movie watch party. Doesn’t this sound like fun?

Co-owners Mark Robertson and Mike Sullivan wanted to add another welcoming destination for the LGBT community – and everyone is welcome. The pair also own The SoFo Tap (one block south on Clark St.) that’s home to fun weekly and monthly events, including Ba-Da-Bingo, Doggy Days, grrr …. It’s Friday and more.

Enjoy daily drink specials and games and, for July and August, special programming like “Saddle Up” Wednesdays (country music night with DJ Cowboy Dan), “Drag-In” Movie Night Tuesdays (featuring cult-movie classics and hosted by Sofonda Booz), and Thirsty Thursday Karaoke with Bradley K8 Olsen. Watch for the community open house in July.

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4 fun food and drink ideas for summer in Chicago

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Macys Cocktail and Bar Cart Event – Fun!

Macy’s, 111 n. State St., is hosting an interactive cocktail making and bar cart styling event with Lifestyle Blogger Helen Berkun and James Beard Award-winning craft cocktail bar, The Violet Hour, on Thursday, June 28 at 6pm. Your $25 ticket gets you in to see Helen share some of her favorite tips and tricks for entertaining. Then enjoy a Violet Hour mixologist teaching you how to prepare both a classic Old Fashioned and the perfect summer punch in this hands-on cocktail-making experience inside one of Chicago’s finest retail stores.

Maillard Tavern, 494 N. Milwaukee in River West, celebrates National Fry Day on Friday, July 13. Nothing completes a burger like a side of duck fat Norwis potato fries that Eater Chicago calls truly out of this world. And on National Fry Day celebrate with shaved black truffle fries for $5. Chef Tony Priolo serves up American comfort food classics like custom griddled double patty hamburgers with those great fries, specialty sandwiches, soups, ice cream-centric desserts and a full service bar. Open seven days a week for lunch, dinner and late night snacking. First come, first serve. Follow Maillard Tavern on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Moody Tongue Brewing Company, 2136 S. Peoria St., announces its newest beer: Frozen Banana Hefeweizen, a medium-body, German-style wheat beer that showcases the flavors of a frozen banana with aromatics of both bubblegum and banana. The light honey-colored beer pairs well with grilled sausages, beer-battered fish and other summertime fare. Frozen Banana Hefeweizen will be on draft in the Tasting Room beginning Wednesday, June 27, and at Chicago-area restaurants and bars the first week in July.  The Hefeweizen, part of the Seasonal Series, celebrates the arrival of summer; the Brûléed Banana Dunkelweizen, the first release in this series, was a dark German wheat beer meant to complement cold-weather dishes. Keep your ears tuned to this Pilsen brewery for continuing innovations in brewing.

The Optima – music and food to satisfy your soul

The Optima, 1252 N. Wells, opened in April and is now offering brunch Saturdays and Sundays from 10am – 3pm. Check out such elevated classics as Chicken and Waffles Benedict (spicy Hollandaise sauce on sourdough, Parmesan-herb French Toast, prosciutto jam, caramelized onions and a sunny side up egg). Americana Breakfast features scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes and toast. How about Avocado Toast on garlic toasted ciabatta, or Funnel Cake with fudge and seasonal jam, or in-house-made Cinnamon Rolls with orange cream cheese frosting? Num! High-energy atmosphere and lively live music weekends and sometimes more. All brunch dishes are listed at the bottom of the full menu here.

 

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Exciting summer news from 9 Chicago restaurants

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Chicago restaurants are full of ideas for making  summer-in-the-city  the most fun you can have with your clothes on. From huge deals – like Hard Rock’s 71-cent burger to picnics on the go to deals on magic, pasta meals, beer and wine – Chicago is one of the best summer cities in the world. Check a few of these out:

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One hour only! Hard Rock Cafe Chicago, 63 W. Ontario St., celebrates its 47th birthday on Wednesday, June 14, by serving an Original 1971 Legendary® Burger offer for just 71 cents. First-come, first-serve from 11am to noon. Beef patty with smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, a golden fried onion ring, crisp lettuce and vine ripened tomato, served on a toasted brioche bun with Hard Rock’s seasoned fries.

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Magic Night at Carnivale, 702 W. Fulton, June 14, 7-9:30pm. An unforgettable evening of mystery and laughter featuring the comedy and magic of Ken Mate. Ken performed on the NBC Special “The Worlds Greatest Magic.” He combines slick sleight of hand with the timing of a nightclub comic. $75 tickets include passed appetizers, tapas bar and magic. Carnivale is listed by Open Table as one of the top 100 nightspots in 2017.

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Picnic on-the-go. Columbus Tap, the inhouse restaurant of the Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park, 200 North Columbus Dr., is now offering a special Picnic-in-the-Park menu. Selections range from wine and cheese, a full dinner of charcuterie, chicken salad, wine and dessert, to an elegant champagne and chocolate dessert picnic. Blankets and folding chairs can also be rented for $10 each and orders can be placed online. And now Fairmont Chicago offers complimentary rickshaw tours for hotel guests through Millennium Park from June 1 – August 31.

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And speaking of picnics to go, Remington’s (20 N. Michigan Avenue), has launched its summertime curated Picnic-Baskets-To-Go, available for pick-up only at Remington’s, located directly across from The Bean. Attendees of the Grant Park Music Festival or Millennium Park Summer Film Series are encouraged to place orders 24 hours in advance. Customize your basket with artisanal meats and cheeses, hot and cold sandwiches and salads like the Italian SubShaved Prime RibWrightwood Salad, and Crab Louis, and snacks like Trout DipGuacamole and ChipsHummus and Pita, Grilled Artichokes, Housemade Coleslaw and Housemade Chips. Starting at $43 (repacks for only $28), picnic menu package orders come packed with everything you need, down to the wet naps. To view the full picnic menu, click here.

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Ravioli&Co, the new quick-service pasta and wine bar located on the first floor of Eataly, features three seasonal dishes and rotating daily specials priced under $15. Using pasta made fresh every morning by experts, dishes are prepared in real time while you watch at the Ravioli counter. Perfect for your work day lunch or quick healthy dinner fix during the week; available to dine-in and to-go. Optional Italian wine pairings available.

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AIRE, 100 W. Monroe, the hot rooftop bar on the 24th floor of Hyatt Centric The Loop Chicago, is now featuring a pop-up grill from  Kuma’s Corner to offer guests a new food experience this summer. Now open for the 2018 season, come for the hand-crafted cocktails, seasonal, shareable plates, and local craft beers. Perfect for happy hour meals and group get-togethers. Kuma’s Corner will offer its Led Zepplin, Darkthrone, WASP, and Pig Destroyer burgers for $10 at AIRE on Saturdays from 4–9pm.

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Ballast Point Tasting Room & Kitchen open now at 212 N. Green St. in the West Loop. Hours: 11– 11pm (kitchen 11–10:30pm). The new brewpub comes to Chicago by way of Ballast Point Brewing Company®, a pioneer in the craft beer movement in San Diego with a 20-plus-year history of supporting the art of home brewing and developing high-quality, innovative, award-winning beer.

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DMK Restaurants’ newest venture, Fort Willow, 1721 N. Elston, is set in a reimagined childhood tree fort, drawing inspiration for chef-driven cocktails and rotating food specials from around the world. Right now they’ve launched a new series of “Big Bites,” special sandwich combinations with global roots, each version available for two weeks only. Hurry in now to try the “Classic” Big Bite, available until June 21. It combines gooey cheddar cheese, buttery Havarti and ramp pesto and is paired with a baked goat cheese and tomato “soup” – but let’s be honest, that soup is for dipping!

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River Roast, 315 N. LaSalle Street, in the heart of River North, announces its new, cool Reid Bar. The place by day specializes in coffee, cold press, tea and made-fresh-daily layered donuts. Then, in the evenings, Reid Bar transforms itself into a showcase for curated craft cocktail items that feature extraordinary spirits along with delectable bites. You’ll love the atmosphere.

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5 Chicago restaurants – Spring is here 2018

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What a view from Cafe Brauer

We’ve been saying “It’s spring” for too long. This time, it seems to have actually arrived. Not only is our fair city simply glowing with beautiful flowers and leaf buds, but outdoor spaces are opening everywhere – including a favorite of ours in Lincoln Park Zoo, The Patio at Cafe Brauer. It’s time to dig out your spring duds, bring a light jacket and get out there to enjoy some of the city’s great restaurant options. Here are a few more:

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Dos Toros announces the opening of its newest location at 300 S Wacker Drive, the 16th location overall, and second in Chicago for this SF Bay Area-inspired taqueria. Close to the Willis Tower and sitting on the Chicago river waterfront, this location provides an elevated (and scenic) fast-casual experience for taco and burrito lovers. Relax in the updated Dos Toros aesthetic of Heath tile, lighter wood finishes, abundant potted succulents, and rustic black & white photography inspired by the original California Dos Toros taquerias. Guests also enjoy cashless check-out and the brand-new “market vegetables” option that features a fresh mix of Butternut Squash, Tuscan Kale, Cremini mushrooms, and Shishito peppers sauteed in coconut oil.
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Epic Burger, with locations around Chicago, announces its 10th birthday celebration on Tuesday, May 22. Come enjoy 10 CENT BURGERS*** (single-patty beef burgers, while supplies last) and a special Epic Birthday Cake Shake featuring a Sweet Mandy B’s mini-burger cupcake shake-topper. Home of “A More Mindful Burger,” Epic Burger provides Chicagoans with sustainably sourced meats and produce, Halal certified beef and chicken, a revolutionary plant-based Beyond Burger, and more.
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***Available in-store only, 11am-9pm while supplies last, one per person, The $.10 Epic Birthday Burger includes the basic build-your-own toppings (lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion, Epic Sauce) — additional toppings like premium Wisconsin cheeses, fresh avocado, nitrate-free bacon, or an organic fried egg, available at extra cost.***
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  • Lincoln Park bakery, Sweet Mandy B’s teams up for the special Epic Birthday Cake Shake. Comprised of birthday cake ice cream, strawberries and organic milk, topped with whipped cream, rainbow sprinkles and a so-cute-you-die mini burger cupcake, it’s  priced at $10 (in honor of turning 10!).
  • While you’re there on this one day only (5/22), Epic Burger will accept cash donations benefitting Growing Home, Chicago’s leading expert in farm-based training for people with employment barriers.
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Mother’s Day banana pancakes

Bistronomic840 N. Wabash, the contemporary bistro rooted in French culture in Chicago’s Gold Coast, will offer a special three-course, prix fixe brunch menu on Mother’s Day, Sunday May 13, for $42 per person or $56 per person with bottomless mimosas (for 1.5 hours) plus tax and gratuity. A $20 two-course menu will be available for children under the age of 10.

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Look for Paris-inspired dishes like Eggs Benedict with artisanal smoked salmon, poached eggs and lemon hollandaise; Asparagus & Seasonal Mushroom Omelette with farm eggs, capriole goat cheese and port wine reduction; Flat Iron Steak & Two Eggs with duck fat new potatoes, roasted garlic purée and a red wine reduction; andHomemade Pancakes with buttermilk and strawberry-rhubarb marmalade. For the full menu and reservations, visit Bistronomic’s website or call 312-944-8400.
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Intercontinental Hotel’s Hall of Lions

InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile, 505 N. Michigan, honors Chicago and its landmark property by hosting “Uncork the Archives,”  a monthly series of tours combining history, wine, and live music. The next installment is Wednesday, May 30, 6-8pm, and offers a sommelier-hosted tasting featuring wine, cheese and chocolate from ENO Wine Bar. Hillary Marzec, an expert guide and founder of Inside Chicago Walking Tours, leads guests on a tour highlighting the hidden secrets, famous guests, and historical and architectural features. Afterwars, continue the party back at ENO, with live jazz and swing music entertainment and a complimentary glass of wine. www.icchicagohotel.com $48/ticket here.

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Pinot in the City features Pinot Noirs from Willamette Valley, Oregon

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Enjoy wonderful Willamette Valley Pinot wines

We attended a trade event last year that featured winemakers and owners from a bunch of Willamette (pronounced “Will-AM-it-dammit”) Valley wineries and, I gotta tell ya, we never saw a bunch of winemakers enjoying themselves like this group. They told good stories about the challenges and joys of growing grapes in the Valley, while sipping their own wines in a light-hearted approach to educating attendees.

This year members of the public are invited to taste and learn more about the wines of seventy different wineries from Oregon’s Willamette Valley. They’ll be barreling into Chicago for Pinot in the City, a showcase of some of the world’s most exciting Pinot noirs. Owners and winemakers will be pouring a selection of wines, including library and current releases, paired with delicious Pinot noir-friendly small bites.

Day/date: Tuesday, May 15, 2018
Time: 6:30 – 9:00pm (VIP access* AT 5:30 P.M.)
Location: Morgan Manufacturing, 401 N. Morgan St.
What: Come taste the wines that are putting the Willamette Valley in the news and mingle with the people who are making it happen. Sip Pinot noir, Chardonnay, Pinot gris, Pinot blanc, sparkling wines and more,  representing some of the best wines Oregon has to offer.

Buy tickets here*VIP tickets give you early access at 5:30 p.m. and more time with the winemakers. More info, including list of wineries, here.

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5 more Chicago culinary news notes

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Spring keeps poking up its lovely head and then pulling it back down again. But, hey, this is Chicago and we know exactly how to handle those crazy fickle ups and downs. We go out to eat and drink! And our beloved Chicago culinary industry is always there to give us more reasons to do so. Here are 5 ideas for your consideration:

  1. minigrow28 S. Wabash. Opening March 20, this one-of-a-kind, fast-gourmet dining experience elevates everyday eating. From the creators of Philadelphia-based honeygrow, purveyors of wholesome stir-fries and salads, minigrow brings consciously sourced, chef-driven food to the heart of The Loop.  Custom mazemen noodle and salad bowls, cold-pressed juices and chocolate chip cookies made in-house daily, and more.
  2. Perry’s Steakhouse and Grille, 5 Oakbrook Court, Oak Brook, introduced three new cocktails this year. The place is on the outskirts of Chicago but worth a visit if you’re into intriguing cocktail combos. Check out these unique drink ideas if you’re heading out west soon:
    • The Jameson Mocha Old Fashioned ($15) mixes Jameson’s Caskmates Irish Whiskey with  housemade coffee syrup and Bittermens mole bitters for a slight caffeine hit and a definite buzz – a great way to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day.
    • The PassionNut for Port ($15) mixes Fonseca Bin27 Port with DonQ Coconut Rum, Passion Fruit puree and fresh pressed lemon juice for a fresh and robust tropical escape. Pair it with Perry’s Beef & Bleu ($13.95) for a mouthwatering balance of sweet and savory.
    • The Rosé Collins ($15) is a wine-based cocktail that mixes Botanist Gin with rosé wine and fresh lemon juice. Try it with Perry’s Bacon Wrapped Scallops ($19.95).
  3. SAVE THE DATE! WhiskyX at the United Club in Soldiers’ Field – April 27, 2018. Music, food and many new and venerable brands of bourbon, Scotch whisky and more. This spring some of Chicago’s most beloved chefs will serve whiskey-inspired and infused dishes for VIP ticket holders. Several of the city’s favorite food trucks will be on-site selling food throughout the event as well. An  “early bird special” ticket (20% discount) on sale only between March 6 and 13. Beat the sell out and buy now.
  4. Osteria Via Stato, 620 N. State St., invites you to enjoy Chef David DiGregorio’s array of springtime brunch delights on Easter Sunday, or Pasqua as it is known in Italy, 10:30am to 3pm. Omelet station,  and a bounty of Italian-inspired offerings like ciabatta ‘French’ toast; house-made sausage & vegetable strata; and a Ricotta Doughnut station where the tender-on-the-inside, crispy-on-the-outside treats will be handmade-to-order. For the kids, an Easter Candy table will be set up. $54.95++ per adult, children aged 10 and under are $19.95 and children aged five and under eat free. Reserve at 312-642-8450.
  5. Through March 31, snack madly with Garrett Popcorn Shops® and their new, limited-time, handcrafted Hickory Smoked Bacon CheeseCorn, both in shops and online at GarrettPopcorn.com.  Garrett Chef David Funaro  created this gourmet flavor by infusing signature Garrett CheeseCorn with juicy, hickory-smoked bacon flavor. Watching basketball with a gang? Try Baller Bundles – scoops and empty bags for filling and sharing in either Garrett Mix® or Hickory Smoked Bacon CheeseCorn, online only at www.garrettpopcorn.com through March.
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5++ March events on Chicago culinary scene – starting today!

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Ridiculous that we had 55 degrees in February, right? Hey, but at least it wasn’t 70-something, which has happened in recent years. Anyway, it does awaken one’s awareness that spring – that elusive day that happens just before the mercury starts climbing into the 80s and 90s – will eventually arrive. So let’s see a little of what’s going on in Chicago’s culinary scene as March marches in.
  1. Marchesa, 535 N. Wells St., invites you to the Oscars today, Sunday March 4, for a la carte dinner service, wines, cocktails and champagne, music by DJ Madrid during commercial breaks and of course the Academy Awards on large screen TVs with volume. PLUS, they’re serving complimentary award-worthy snacks such as Peruvian Potato Chips with black truffle dip, Black Truffle Popcorn with grated parmigiano-reggiano, and Duck Fat Popcorn with orange zest. Num! Reserve a table in the Main Dining Room where the screening is being held. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for red carpet and the show starts at 7pm. For diehards, DJ Madrid takes it downstairs to the Cave until 1:30am.
  2. Beer lovers unite! Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap41 E. Superior, hosts a kick-off party on Thursday March 8 at 7 pm to celebrate Cigar City Brewing’s Chicago release. The event will feature four Cigar City drafts along with the Oskar Blues: Dales Pale Ale and Perrin Black on draft. The Cigar City drafts will be: Jai Alai, Guayabera, Cafe Con Leche, and North South IPA (Perrin/Cigar City collaboration). Down some brews and some of Jake’s fabulous fried foodstuffs! And even more! Devour the March Mania Burger ($15.95) and get a mystery beer for just a buck! The March Mania Burger is a hand-packed fresh beef patty is grilled to order and topped with pepper jack cheese, bacon, a fried egg and mayo. And that’s not all! Instead of a bun, the burger is packed between two grilled cheese sandwiches and served with hand-cut fries. The burger and beer special will be available all month long in March. Consider their St. Patty’s Day famous Pre-Soak Breakfast on Saturday, March 17th from 8-11AM. The breakfast is $3.17 per person and includes a buffet featuring: Corned Beef & Hash, Breakfast Sausage, Hash Browns, Pancakes with Whiskey Syrup, Scrambled Eggs, Emerald Fruit Salad, and Grilled Irish Soda Bread. Drink specials to wash it down include Green Beer Pints ($5) and Irish Whiskey Cocktails ($4).
  3. Osteria via Stato (which means Italian tavern), 620 N. State St., is throwing a fun wine-and-bites party on Saturday afternoon, March 10, from 3 to 4:30 pm. 20 wines for $25 parties always sell out so click here for reservations.  Taste 20 different wines, all paired with an array of Chef David DiGregorio’s passed small bites for only $25++. Wine representatives will be on hand to answer all your vino-related questions.
  4. St. Patty’s Day brings a boatload of fun and food and frolicking around Chicago.
    • Cupitol Coffee + Eatery, 455 E. Illinois, Chicago (also 812 Grove St., Evanston). Enjoy housemade Corned Beef Hash and Eggs all day on Saturday, March 17 for $11 to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on Saturday, March 17 from 7 to 10.
    • Smoke Daddy BBQ, 1804 W. Division, features all through March its signature Smoked Corned Beef Sandwich made with thin-sliced smoked corned beef, housemade coleslaw and melted Swiss cheese served on toasted rye for $11. On Saturday, March 17 and Sunday, March 18 Smoke Daddy BBQ will also feature Great Lakes Conway’s Irish Ale and Guinness pints. Smoke Daddy BBQ is open Mondaythrough Thursday 11 to 11, Friday 11 to 12, Saturday 10 to 12 and Sunday 10 to 10. 773-772-6656.
    • Frasca Pizzeria and Wine Bar, 3358 N. Paulina, features Guinness Pizza made with a Guinness crust, Irish cheddar cheese sauce, corned beef, potatoes and caramelized onions topped with a hot honey mustard drizzle for $14 on Saturday, March 17. Frasca Pizzeria and Wine Bar is open on Saturday, March 17 from 10 to 11.
    • Dunlays on Clark, 2600 N. Clark St., will host a children’s St. Patrick’s Day children’s event on Wednesday, March 14 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Families are encouraged to bring their children in for dinner, St. Patrick’s Day-themed crafts and face painting. On Saturday, March 17 Dunlays on Clark will offer Shepherd’s Pie and Corned Beef Hash for $14. Additionally, they will offer a special on Guinness and Jameson shots in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. Open Saturday, March 17 from 10 to 11.
    • Harvest, in the Chicago Marriott Downtown Mag Mile, 540 N. Michigan Ave.,invites guests to enjoy a St. Patrick’s Day buffet on Saturday, March 17 from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. featuring Corned Short Ribs, Beer Braised Cabbage, Roasted Carrots, Fingerling Potatoes and Stout Cake with Irish Coffee Ice Cream. The buffet is available for $25 per person, excluding tax and gratuity. Additionally, the hotel’s Rush Bar will offer $8 Irish Whiskey Sours and $6 Guinness pints on Saturday, March 17 from 11:30 to 11.
  5. Cochon555 invites local chefs to cook one whole heritage breed pig raised by a family farm. On April 8, 4 to 7:30pm at the Hilton Chicago Downtown, chefs will compete: Mario Garcia of Kitty O’Sheas, Cory Morris of Boleo at the Kimpton Gray Hotel, Ryan Burns of The Blanchard, Andres Padillaof of Topolobampo, and Carlos Gaytan of Mexique. One week ahead, each chef receives a 200-pound heritage breed pig sustainably sourced from 1936 Meadowbrook Farm, 3 Winds Farm, Catalpa Grove Farm, Meadowlark Farm, and Faith’s Farm, Inc. to create a maximum of 6 dishes for competition. With dozens of bites from iconic local chefs, boutique distillers, and artisan winemakers, the event is akin to an epic tasting menu of heritage breed pork with endless beverage pairings taken standing up. For details on the Cochon555 movement, view a video. Purchase tickets at http://cochon555.com/us-tour/2018-chicago/
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5 Chicago restaurants – Super Bowl and Valentine’s 2018 +1 new opening!

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Chicago is a marvelous place to eat out any time, but some places go out of their way to offer specials for specific occasions. Too bad about the Bears, but you can still enjoy Super Bowl goodies in places around Chicago. And of course, it’s not too early to plan your Valentine’s Day – or anti-Valentine’s Day – celebration. And then, imagine this: a very large authentic Italian eatery opening up just down the street from – you guessed it – Eataly!
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 Ella Elli (1349 W. Cornelia Ave) in Lakeview  offers a chic alternative to the Super Bowl. No TVs on Super Bowl Sunday but you can have flights of rosé wines, rosé cocktails and frosé! Regular brunch menu from 10am to 2:30pm and dinner from 4 to 10pm. The “Super Bites” menu includes Shrimp Avocado Salad, pink shrimp with diced avocado, red onion and cilantro in a grapefruit-honey vinaigrette with crispy pita chips ($9); French Onion Dip and Chips, creamy onion dip with crispy pancetta and housemade potato chips ($6); Prosciutto Meatballs, fontina-stuffed beef and prosciutto meatballs simmered in a spicy tomato basil sauce over creamy polenta ($8); Potato Croquettes, three crispy parmesan potatoes with spicy Calabrian-Chile aioli and cilantro ($6); and Nduja-Stuffed Dates, over Gorgonzola fondue and topped with Marcona almonds ($7).
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Smoke Daddy smoked wings

Smoke Daddy (1804 W Division St.) in Wicker Park welcomes Super Bowl fans  for the game from 4 to 9pm for an all-you-can-eat pig roast buffet and build-your-own chili bar – all for $20 per person (plus tax and gratuity)! Price also includes one Lagunitas pint. Reservations are strongly recommended; call 773.772.6656. OR pick your favorites from their popular catering menu for any Super Bowl party. Options include their signature wings ($30 feeds 10, $55 feeds 20), BBQ sliders ($40 feeds 10, $75 feeds 20), mac and cheese ($25 feeds 10, $45 feeds 20) and more. A la carte options include pulled pork ($16 per lb.), St. Louis-style ribs ($20 per lb.) and BBQ beans ($14 per lb.). Orders must be made by January 31 via email (catering@4srg.com) or phone (773.772.6656).

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STK Chicago, 9 W. Kinzie St., revs up the winter with fun specials like Game Day at STK. The Bears may be done, but you can still celebrate Super Bowl on Feb. 4 with $3 beers and $5 bites, plus a special half-time performance. Office Hours – Every Sunday thru Thurs 5 to 7pm, STK Chicago’s own take on happy hour gets you specific menu items like $5 cocktails and $7 small plates like Lil’ BRGs, Tuna Tartare, Crispy Rock Shrimp and more. Then consider Wine Down Wednesdays – half off bottles of wine every Wednesday.
ETA Restaurant avocado toast

ETA Restaurant + Bar, located inside Loews Chicago Hotel at 455 N. Park Dr., has lots of winter fun specials. Snow Days – warm up at ETA every time it snows in Chicago. $1 off Local Stops and Exotic Locations cocktails for every inch of snow predicted in the forecast (maximum 10 inches) that day by www.weather.com for zip code 60611. $10 off your cocktail! Chicago Restaurant Week, ETA Restaurant + Bar will be participating for the first time  this year – special prix-fixe menu for lunch ($22++) or dinner ($33++). Game Day Specials, February 4. Sit down in front of the 7’ by 12’ TV screen in the hotel lobby to enjoy the Big Game, and chow down on menu items like ETA Burger (double patty, gouda, crispy onions, and tomato jam, $17), the Brat in a Blanket (with hot pepper jam, $10), and Chicken Wings (choice of bacon-buffalo sauce or garlic-parmesan sauce, $14), plus snacks and beer specials. Pro- or Anti-Valentine’s Day weekend! February 14-17 – enjoy the 4 Cs of Valentine’s Day (hint: Cupid isn’t one of them!): [fried] Chicken, Champagne, Cake, and Comfort. Whether you’re pro- or anti-Valentine’s Day, you can enjoy 3 days of special deals at ETA. From February 14-17, buckets of Hot Sauce Fried Chicken are only $39 each – a whole bird (8 pieces) served with buttermilk biscuits and house-made jam ($39). Champagne – splits of JP Chenet, Rosé Dry are $15. Chocolate Stout Cake – Nutella ganache, chocolate pretzels, and cherries ($9) makes the perfect dessert to enjoy with friends in the Comfort of ETA’s cozy ambiance.

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Cupitol Coffee + Eatery, 455 E. Illinois St. (and 812 Grove St. Evanston) will donate all hot and iced latte proceeds to Open Heart Magic, a Chicago-based, non-profit that uses the therapeutic power of magic and laughter to energize seriously ill children. Additionally, they will also offer Chocolate Dipped Strawberries at each location two for $2. Cupitol lattes feature a specialty espresso blend imported exclusively from Europe that’s based on 100% Arabica beans. Lattes include theChai, Mocha, Nutella, Vanilla, Caramel and Hazelnut Latte. Drink ’em regular or dairy-free with coconut or almond milk. But the menu also features full breakfast, lunch and dinner options plus pastries from the in-house bakery. Both  locations open on Valentine’s Day from 7am to 9pm.
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Coming soon! Sapori Antichi Bar Italiano, 22 W. Ohio, opens its authentic Northern Italian full-service restaurant and bar in March 2018. It’s just down the street from Eataly Chicago, in the former Rev Burger space. With 2,300 square feet to accommodate 50-60 guests, the new 100% Italian – from kitchen equipment to tiles – restaurant will offer breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as a full bar, say founders Michael and Mary Meranda. Look for Italian dishes like Tigelle, an Italian small, round, thickish flat bread and Gnocco Fritto, an Italian bread typically sliced into diamond shapes and then fried. Meet friends and relax at the espresso and breakfast bar and the chef’s table where you might even get tastes not yet on the menu. We can always hope that the prices will be a bit less daunting than some of those at Eataly!
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