Fall foodie news on 5 spots in and around Chicago

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Three Embers at the Marriott

Though we generally only cover the city itself, occasionally we get an itch to mention a place or two on the outskirts. Today’s one of those days. The first two items are out there, the next three are right here in our fair town. Take your pick and enjoy.

Three Embers, Ten Marriott Dr., inside the recently transformed Lincolnshire Marriott Resort, invites guests on Wed., Oct. 17, 6-8:30pm, for bourbon flights paired with bourbon-inspired courses around its lakeside patio fire pits and fire table. Taste and learn about the bourbon, including its lineage, barrel process and more from Jack Daniel’s and Woodford Reserve bourbon experts. $45/person (includes tax and gratuity). Reservations and more information including a sample menu can be found at Eventbrite.

Great Wolf Resorts – Chicago area Great Wolf Lodge, 1700 Nations Drive, Gurnee, IL, and all 16 other locations across North America’s largest family of indoor waterpark resorts will debut its first Junior Chef Council menu later this fall. Great Wolf’s youngest guests will enjoy an innovative and delicious menu – created by kids, for kids. The seven-person Junior Chef Council comprises the country’s top kid chefs and culinary tastemakers; the talented representatives include, among others, Chicago’s own Conrad Elliot (8) and Jed Elliot (6), sons of Chef Graham Elliot, Jed serves as the Council’s official taster, ensuring his brother and other members are delivering on the culinary goods. Read the rest here. The menu (here) features dishes like Pizza Burger with Fries, a mash-up of two culinary favorites; healthy Green Spaghetti and Chicken Meatballs, with zucchini noodles, angel hair pasta and meatballs; and the playful Build Your Own Parfait dessert.The new kids’ menu will initially be featured exclusively at full-service restaurants at Great Wolf Lodges.

By the way, our family makes at least one annual visit to Great Wolf Lodge in Gurnee. Fun arcade, cool water activities, and we especially love the spacious, comfortable suites. Had my granddaughter’s 11th birthday there, and it was a smashing success with everyone.

Eataly, 43 E. Ohio St, is recreating the feel of the Italian Alps in Chicago with the debut of their all-new restaurant BAITA on Friday, October 19 making the ultimate winter destination through March 2019. The new 150-seat space on the second floor will make you feel like you just came off the slopes as you grab a glass of wine and cozy up and choose from gnoccheria serving pillowy potato gnocchi imported from Italy, melted raclette and grilled cheese, and spuntini snacks (Alpine-style finger food) along with specialty cocktails, boozy hot chocolate, warming wines, and more dishes inspired by the flavors of the Italian Alps. Eataly’s Fall Wine Passport on October 26 and 27 ($48 per person) gets you wine tastings from the 20 regions of Italy with 10 different bites from BAITA’s seasonal menu. Reservations for will open for the entire season on Friday, September 28, via OpenTable.

Wood Fire 1/4 dark w/ mac’n’cheese

French Market announces Wood Fire Counter has added to its menu of wood-fired chicken and low country sides, a full roster of smoked meats including Turkey, Pork Belly, Brisket and Ribs.Time Out magazine selected Wood Fire Counter Brisket as one of the top 3 best foods at the Taste of Chicago this summer. All meats are in-house dry rubbed and smoked over three types of wood, then you customize with your choice of four hand-crafted BBQ sauces (Wood Fire Original, Spicy, Carolina Gold or Habanero).

IT’SUGAR giant peanut butter cup

IT’SUGAR, the giant worldwide specialty candy retailer, will open in Chicago’s iconic Navy Pier late September. Enjoy an environment that draws inspiration from the historic Chicago location, including vintage candy advertisements that highlight Chicago’s candy history. The new 2,000-square-foot Navy Pier location in Chicago offers everything from over-the-top indulgences to ridiculously funny specialty items like an all-marshmallow cereal box. The “Taste of Chicago Box” is a collection of candies will feature products that originated in Chicago like Tootsie Rolls®, Razzles®, Baby Ruth®, Juicy Fruit®, Charleston Chew®, Sugar Daddy®, Chuckles®, and more.

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Fall fun 2018 at 6 Chicago restaurants

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Broken Barrel Bar .jpgBroken Barrel Bar, 2548 N. Southport, the newest concept from Wine Not Hospitality, is now open in Lincoln Park. Executive Chef Bryant Anderson (think: award-winner at Chicago’s Best Wing Fest, Bacon Fest, Mac & Cheese Fest and WACO Wing Fest) introduces the chef-driven tailgate restaurant and bar in the former Crossing space. Anderson is smoking meats in a custom smoker using hickory and oak logs to elevate the flavors in his tacos, sandwiches and flatbreads. Just one example of the creative and clever menu items to try: The Hangover Sandwich – smoked brisket, fried egg, Merkts cheddar, arugula, tomato, crispy onions, toasted pretzel bun. Watch college teams University of Kansas and University of Notre Dame and of course Chicago sports on 40 flat-screen TVs. Broken Barrel Bar will also feature daily specials and local DJs on Friday and Saturday nights beginning at 10pm. Facebook and Instagram @brokenbarrelbar

Revival Food Hall is excited to announce the fourth installment of its quarterly rotating pop-up series with Pub Royale (Bon Appétit’s 50 Best New Restaurants 2016, Chicago Magazine’s 50 Best Bars 2017), the Anglo-Indian-inspired pub from Heisler Hospitality, joining the all-local, chef-driven food hall from October 1st through December 28th. Known for her inventive takes on Indian fare and flavors, Pub Royale Chef Joanna Stachon heads to Revival from Wicker Park to tackle the Loop’s bustling lunch scene with an eclectic menu of the restaurant’s most popular items, such as the beloved Royale with Cheese, Gobi Manchurian and more.

Estelle’s, 2013 W. North Ave., in Chicago’s Bucktown/Wicker Park neighborhood invites you to celebrate its 19th anniversary on Friday, September 28. Starting with its half-price-everything happy hour (excluding shots and food) from 5-7pm, enjoy the new ambiance – fresh redesign features bold new wallpaper, soft, cozy lighting over the bar and tables, and refinished dark-wood, accented table tops. Other all-night specials will include $4 draft beers and $5 Jameson shots. Starting at midnight, guests will enjoy FREE baskets of fries on the 19th minute of every hour (12:19am, 1:19am, 2:19am and 3:19am) in addition to anniversary toasts at midnight and last call. Estelle’s also offers a “Beer Pairing Menu” until 3am daily. The menu features burgers and sandwiches (ranging from $8-$12) paired with craft beers (always $4 each).

Reid Bar at River Roast celebrates National Coffee Day on Saturday, September 29. Come enjoy $1 Coffees and some of Beverage Director Ken Pritz’s new $8 “Craft Coffee Libations” – items such as BULLETPROOF (coffee, coconut oil, grass-fed butter), BLACK MIRROR (cold brew coffee, old fashioned syrup, indian tonic, mint) and KICKSTARTER PUNCH (bourbon vanilla tea, peach shrub, apple cider, lemon, carbonation), among others. Come relax in Reid Bar’s speakeasy vibe that honors the historic area of River North that gained notoriety as the city’s “Red Light District” in the mid 1900s.

Weather Mark Tavern, 1503 S. Michigan. Friday Sep 28, 2018, 8:30pm – ?, and Saturday Sep 29, 2018, 12:00am. Blues and soul masters Sons of Chicago come for the first of their performances this fall – again on October 27, November 30. Come out for a great night of live music, good food, and awesome drinks.

The Barn Steakhouse, a cozy hideaway Evanston favorite since its 2016 opening, caters to diners who crave steak from the finest quality Midwestern Heritage Black Angus beef. Now the menu has expanded with nightly specials offering some moderately priced non-steak options. Wednesdays try the Crispy Chicken Paillard with baby arugula and lemon ($20.95) or the Friday special 1/2 Roasted Duck with roasted vegetables and cherry demi-glace ($33.95). Check out the full menu here.

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5 unique Chicago food and arts events for early fall

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One wonderful place to enjoy fall in Chicago – Cafe Brauer

Fall is an exciting time of year – back to school, end of summer vegetables, hardy fall plants springing up in the sun. And it is spectacular in Chicago – the gorgeous skies, the cooler temps, and the plethora of food and fun events taking place – in weather most everyone can truly appreciate! Check out these 5 fabulous fun things to do in the next several weeks. You’re sure to find something that’ll float your boat. Music, food, art, fun and, of course, adult beverages.

Sunday, September 16, 2-8pm, The Promontory, 5311 S Lake Park Ave W, hosts the 2nd Annual Jollof Wars, a festive day of authentic food and fierce competition as chefs from some of the city’s most prominent African restaurants converge in Hyde Park and go head-to-head in the battle to earn the crown of Jollof king or queen. Sold out last year, this year’s Jollof Wars will feature Afrofusion’s talented lineup of DJs along with intriguing interpretations of the flavorful rice, tomatoes and goat or beef dish by chefs from local restaurants including Goree Cuisine, Mukase, Iyanze, Kaffy’s Kitchen, Bolat African Cuisine, Gambian Chebujen and more.

Carnivale Samba Night

Wednesday, September 19, 6-10:30pm. Carnivale University Rum Cocktails and Samba Night! Reserve your tickets now for an interactive, high energy DIY mixology class. Plus, learn about the historic origins of the oldest rum in the world as you mix up three flavorful rum cocktails with a Mount Gay Master Mixologist. Ticket includes; 3 DIY Cocktails, Lite Bites and Giveaways. Registration begins at 6pm. Class 6:30-8:30pm. THEN… After your rum cocktails class, dance the night away with DJ My Boy Elroy and the high energy dancers from Samba1 Brazilian Dance Group. Drink Specials: $5 Margarita, Mojito and Sangria. Dancing in the main dining room is for everyone who wants to participate from 8:30-10:30pm.

Sunday, September 23, 12-5pm. Preview some of the art at the Beverly Area Arts Alliance walk/art show (see next item). Tours of ten artist studios will be followed by an after-party at Wild Blossom Meadery. Additional events leading up the The Walk will include Terrain Fest—in conjunction with the studio tours—from 2-4:30pm at the corner of S Hamilton Ave. and W 95th St and The Frunchroom on Tuesday, September 25 from 7:30-9pm at Beverly Arts Center.

Saturday, September 29, 12–7pm. The Alliance (Beverly Area Arts Alliance) hosts the fifth annual Beverly Art Walk, a FREE event. Stroll, view and/or purchase works by nearly 200 Beverly and Morgan Park artists and artisans shown in 60 businesses, vacant storefronts and public art spots from W. 95th St. to 111th St., S. Western Ave. to the Metra line on S. Wood St. Free trolleys available. Live music, dance, art demos, kids’ activities, food trucks and beer go along with art items ranging from paintings and photography, to pottery, sculpture, jewelry and textile art. Highlights: 4-ton sand sculpture; the Beverly Chicago Children’s Choir at 2pm; Elaine Miller’s massive billboard art pieces of natural beauty; Davis McCarty’s sculpture, “Quantum Me. Look for unique pop-up galleries everywhere.

Friday, October 12, 6-9pm. The Patio at Cafe Brauer is hosting its annual Harvest Dinner. Enjoy a memorable feast created from locally-sourced, seasonal vegetables, fruits, whole roasts, along with red and white wines and craft/bottled beers, and served outdoors under the great harvest moon. For $65/person (21+ only) choose from a selection of rich fall flavors in appetizers, entrees, roasted root vegetables and desserts. Tickets at lpzoo.org. Sample menu items: Roasted squash and pear salad, Roasted pork loin with roasted applesauce, Charred peach trifle, and many more.

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Outdoor free Japanese culture festival at NewCity September 29-30

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Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya and the Japanese Culture Center (JCC) will host the first year of this new annual Japanese Festival in Chicago on Saturday, September 29 and Sunday, September 30. The authentic Japanese festival will be held in NEWCITY Plaza in the heart of Lincoln Park. About 10,000 attendees are expected over two afternoons to celebrate the Japanese culture with authentic food, drink and performances. The 60,000 square foot outdoor event will feature more than 30 vendors and over 10 performances.
The Chicago Japanese Matsuri will offer free admission, as well as food and drink tickets for purchase. 100-percent of the proceeds will benefit the JCC and Japanese Arts Foundation (JAF). The donations will be used for the redevelopment and expansion of the JCC’s Lakeview facility. The JCC hopes to add a gallery, performance space, artist residences, studies programs, public programs and classes, and more.

All of the food at the festival will be provided by Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya. Drink options will include beer from Sapporo, sake, soda, iced tea and water. There will be sake available from 6 different breweries including Tedorigawa Brewery, which was featured in the Netflix documentary The Birth of Saké. Authentic Japanese food created by festival organizer and chef/owner Kevin Yu and his team will include the following:
  • Chicken Karaage on a Stick (Japanese fried chicken on a stick with spicy mayo sauce and seaweed powder)
  • Takoyaki on a Stick (Japanese octopus dumpling on a stick with seaweed powder, Japanese mayo and okonoimyaki sauce)
  • Potato Croquette (Japanese fried potato cake)
  • Gyoza (Japanese potstickers)
  • Pork Chashu Don (slow cooked Japanese pork over rice)
  • Gyudon (slow cooked Japanese beef over rice)
  • Japanese Chicken Wings (Japanese-style chicken wings with honey lemon dressing or Tokyo buffalo sauce)
  • Hiyashi Chuka (Japanese-style chill noodle with sesame dressing)
  • Edamame (Japanese soy bean)
  • Spinach Gomae (Japanese-style chill spinach with sesame sauce)
  • And more…
Confirmed festival performances and activities organized the by the Japanese Culture Center will include large scale Shodo (Japanese Calligraphy), Aikido (Japanese martial art), large scale Japanese ink painting demonstrations, a Japanese street fashion show, cosplay competition, Iaido (Japanese swordsmanship), Shubukai Japanese dance performances, BATSU! (Japanese comedy act), Itasha car displays and more.
To gear up for the event, Chicago Japanese Matsuri has partnered with Do312 for a $50 festival food and drink ticket giveaway. Patrons can enter at http://do312.com/chicagomatsuri.
WHEN:   Saturday, September 29 and Sunday, September 30
               11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
 
WHERE: NEWCITY Plaza
                1457 N Halsted St
                Chicago, IL 60642
Garage parking available
 
COST:      Food and Drink Tickets:
                 -$2: 1 ticket
                 -$20: 12 tickets
                 -$40: 25 tickets
ABOUT KIZUKI RAMEN & IZAKAYA
Founded in 2003 in Japan, Kookai Ramen grew to over 20 locations in Tokyo and was then brought over to the United States in 2012 as Kukai Ramen & Izakaya. In order to achieve greater flexibility in entering upcoming new markets, the brand name was later changed to Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya in December 2015. For more information about the name change, visit http://www.kukai-ramen.com/chgname.html. Kizuki currently has four locations in the Pacific Northwest including three in Washington and one in Oregon. The Wicker Park restaurant is the first Midwest location for Kizuki, which aims to provide Chicagoans with a taste of authentic Japanese ramen without having to fly to Tokyo for the experience.
 
ABOUT THE JAPANESE CULTURE CENTER
The Japanese Culture Center was established in 1977 in Chicago by Aikido Shihan (Teacher of Teachers) and Zen Master Fumio Toyoda to make some of the martial arts, crafts, and philosophical riches of Japan available to the public. Today the JCC continues this tradition, offering classes in over a dozen martial and cultural arts. The Center is not a museum where lifeless objects are displayed; it is a school where living skills are passed on person to person from generation to generation. You become an active participant in arts that have been around for hundreds, if not thousands of years.
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Foodie news from 4 Chicago restaurants

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Any news is good news for foodies in this town. And sometimes it’s really exciting stuff. Check out these news bits from 4 places around town and mark your calendar to go try ’em soon.

Warm Belly Bakery opens its second Chicago location this fall. Located at 2472 N. Clark Street in Lincoln Park, it expects to open the end of September with outdoor seating, window take-out service, and gourmet soft-serve ice cream. Oh, we’re putting this on our calendar for sure! Baker and co-owner Joe Dela Peña offers decadent cookies, muffins, and other pastries along with a full espresso bar that features duck fat maple lattes.

Dela Peña will create a special cookie to celebrate the opening — only available in Lincoln Park starting on opening day. Current cookie options include 70+ concoctions such as Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Fluffernutter, the Deep Dish Cookie, and a deep-purple cookie featuring Ube, a popular yam in Filipino desserts. Cookies and ice cream, anyone?

Zoup!, brings back its popular Brewhouse Cheddar soup (mellow cheddar, pale ale, carrots, celery, onions, garlic, garnished with cheddar and scallions) and new Seasoned Bread Boules. Starting Monday September 3, the Garlic Parmesan and Olive Oil & Sea Salt Bread Boules are joined by Rosemary Provolone and Chipotle Pepper Jack. In addition to the Sourdough Bread Boule, available year-round, the new Boules are brushed with extra-virgin olive oil and special seasonings, then toasted to enhance the flavor of Zoup!’s fresh soups. Try one with Chicken Potpie or Lobster Bisque – every Boule has at least 24 grams of protein. Brewhouse Cheddar soup – try pairing it with the Olive Oil & Sea Salt Boule – rolls out the week of Sept. 3 through October 21. Check each Zoup!’s local neighborhood soup schedule for more details. Hope the weather cools down, but we would be happy eating cheddar cheese/pale ale soup in almost any weather!

Weather Mark Tavern, 1503 S. Michigan, welcomes Fall on Sunday, September 9, 7pm until whenever. Join them for the Bears Regular Season Kickoff Party. Meet the Miller Crew; win prizes, giveaways and tickets. Miller Lite Specials all night plus select $4 shots and ½ price boneless tenders.

Twain, 2445 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Logan Square is now open. The brainchild of husband and wife team Chef Tim Graham and Beverage Director and Sommelier Rebekah Graham and in partnership with restaurateur Branko Palikuca, co-owner of The Dawson, Topaz Café and Citrine Café, the restaurant is inspired by a collection of women’s club cookbooks from the 1940s on. Family recipes passed down through generations focus on approachable dishes with modern twists and fun presentations. The name pays homage to prolific author Samuel Clemens’s famous pen name, Mark Twain.

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13 restaurants celebrated National Sandwich Month – and we missed it!

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We had worked out a nice post about National Sandwich Month – which was last month! – and just realized we never got it up online. Sorry about that, readers. But since we did all the work anyway, here is the news we intended to publish from these 13 Chicago eateries. If you’re hot for a particular sandwich described here, be sure to call the restaurant and ask if it’s still available. Or just be adventurous and go try a few of these places anyway.

Restaurant #2 Bonci Pizza uses only fresh-daily ingredients. Num.
  1. Big Jones, 5347 N. Clark St. An Andersonville destination, Big Jones’ historically-inspired sandwiches are as delicious as they sound. The Carolina Shrimp Burger features Key West pink shrimp ground and seasoned high, topped with cayenne mayonnaise, chow-chow, butter lettuce and a side of creamy grits. The famous Fat Jones Burger brings together Slagel Farm beef griddled with onions and served on a soft egg bun with oyster remoulade, crisp bacon, lettuce and tomato, with a side of ham fat fries. The southern comfort spot is not to be missed for celebrating sandwiches.
  2. Bonci Pizza, 161 N. Sangamon St. Beginning mid-August, esteemed Rome-based Chef Gabriele Bonci brings Chicagoans his very first American location of Bonci Pizzeria in the West Loop, offering artisanal, seasonally-inspired pizzas, salads and of course – sandwiches! Guests find mouthwatering selections crafted with house made bread for National Sandwich Month including: Meatball with Mozzarella Cheese, Ricotta and Mortadella, Eggplant or Spinach, Sheep Cheese and Spicy Salami.
  3. Café Robey, 2018 W. North Ave. Situated at the high traffic intersection of Milwaukee, North, and Damen in the edgy Wicker Park neighborhood, Café Robey promises one of the most mouthwatering fried chicken sandwiches in the city. Featuring an oh-so-juicy chicken thigh breaded and fried, house made tangy pickles, mayo, and Tabasco, it’s no wonder this sandwich has been Instagrammed regularly since the restaurant opened in December.
  4. Cupitol, 455 E. Illinois St. Chicago or 812 Grove St. Evanston. Cupitol has the sandwich game covered. The all-day eatery offers a variety of mouthwatering handhelds on house-made bread at locations in downtown Chicago and Evanston. Guests enjoy the Roast Beef sandwich, with spiced horseradish and jus on a French baguette, the Falafel Burger with paprika yogurt and cabbage relish on a sesame brioche bun, or the Shroomed Patty Melt with prime beef, wild mushrooms, Wisconsin sharp cheddar and onion compote on rye.
  5. The Fifty/50, 2047 W. Division St. The Fifty/50’s all-star sandwich, The Four Courser, piles on slow-smoked, hand-pulled pork shoulder tossed in Gouda Béchamel, fried jalapeños, sweet potato chips, a mac ’n’ cheese waffle and smokey BBQ sauce on a pretzel bun. This sandwich masterpiece can be paired with the diner’s choice of waffle, sweet potato or French fries – the perfect complement sure to satisfy every sandwich quest.
  6. Filini Bar and Restaurant, 221 N. Columbus Dr. The Double Griddle Burger is everything you’ll want in a hamburger from the moment you take your first bite. With two smashed beef patties, house made bread and butter pickles, a brioche bun and a secret fancy sauce, Filini’s burger is what summer hamburger dreams are made of. Adding to the summer fun is Filini’s dog-friendly patio for pups wanting some sandwich action too. There’s a Canine Cuisine menu to investigate as well!
  7. The Florentine, 151 W. Adams St. For an Italian twist on National Sandwich Month, guests can head over to The Florentine in The Loop to enjoy a variety of delicious, seasonal sandwiches perfect for lunchtime, whether shopping downtown, sightseeing around the city or grabbing a quick bite with colleagues during the week. Crafted by Executive Chef Zach Walrath, sandwich highlights from the menu include: Soft-shell Crab on ciabatta; Chicken Panini and smoked mozzarella with basil on sourdough; Veggie Burger (garbanzo beans, quinoa, kale, avocado, peperonata aioli, whole wheat bun); and many more.
  8. Hewn, 810 Dempster St. Hewn serves up the best thing since sliced bread! Evanston’s premier bakery for fresh, heritage grain bread, offers house-made, grilled to order sandwiches. Using entirely local ingredients, made-daily bread, and seasonal produce, these sandwiches showcase an array of flavors in every bite. Each sandwich is grab-and-go, and can be warmed up by the Hewn bakers for instant enjoyment, or tucked away for a tasty meal later in the day. Menu standouts include Turkey on Country with pickled red onions and turkey from local Amish farmers sandwiched between naturally fermented sourdough bread using all-organic wheat, Reuben with Butcher and Larder’s corned beef with Swiss cheese, house made sauerkraut, and house made thousand island dressing served on whole wheat or caramelized onion bread, and Elementary Grilled Cheesefeaturing white sharp cheddar, Parmigiano Reggiano, pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, and pickled onions served on rotating breads.
  9. Michael Jordan’s Steak House, 505 N. Michigan Ave. Steakhouse lunching done right. Michael Jordan’s Steak House features a variety of hefty sandwiches to satiate the hungriest of appetites. Try the classic Italian Beef with hot giardiniera and provolone, or the Chicken Sandwich on flatbread, with cilantro and harissa yogurt. Need steak for every meal? Dive into the Steak Sandwich with provolone, pickled onion and giardiniera aioli atop a pretzel bun. Add hand-cut, beef-fat fries and lunch is complete.
  10. Pork & Mindy’s, 1623 N. Milwaukee Ave. Pork & Mindy’s is celebrating National Sandwich Month with the launch of new ’sangwiches’, developed by Food Network Star and Executive Chef, Jeff Mauro. Working with the Sandwich King himself, Pork & Mindy’s is redefining the local BBQ scene incorporating exciting tastes into new world-class creations at the flagship Wicker Park eatery. With handcrafted new menu items for carnivores and vegetarians, there is a ‘sangwich’ for everyone at the creative BBQ destination. Menu highlights include Pastramindy Reuben with spicy pickles on a marble rye roll; Crunchy Pork ‘Sangwich’ with fresh lettuce and spicy apricot habanero mayo; and more.
  11. Roots Handmade Pizza, 1924 W. Chicago Ave. and 200 W. Lawerence Ave. The mouthwatering textures of pizza meet the culinary magic of sandwiches for a delicious combination with the Foldovers at Roots Handmade Pizza. Foldovers feature the restaurant’s signature malt crust pizza dough stuffed with high quality ingredients, baked for a melty and tasty one-of-a-kind sandwich. Folderovers you can’t miss include: The Fat Eddie: salami, Canadian bacon, Quad Cities mozzarella, shaved parmesan cheese, marinara sauce, French dressing, diced red onions and chopped romaine; The Rock Island Arsenal: Italian sausage patty, two mozzarella sticks and marinara sauce; Chicken Caesar: marinated, grilled and sliced chicken breast, Quad Cities mozzarella cheese blend, shaved parmesan cheese, Caesar dressing and chopped romaine.
  12. Seven Lions, 130 S. Michigan Ave. A sandwich that appeals to visitors and locals alike, the Michigan Avenue staple is offering a Crispy Chicken Sandwich to satisfy the highest of cravings! With the option of enjoying the sandwich slathered in spicy buffalo sauce, the crispy chicken is topped with buttermilk dressed greens and sweet pickles before being smashed between a delicious bun. Not as hungry? Share the Crispy Chicken Sliders with other sandwich lovers, available during Happy Hour
  13. Steadfast, 120 W. Monroe St. The culinary art of sandwiches goes elegant at the chic downtown escape, Steadfast. Decadent sandwiches available on its lunch menu include the Lobster Roll with east coast lobster tail, Old Bay aioli and trout roe, the Portobello Panini with tomato preserves, buffalo mozzarella, basil pistou and roasted portobello mushroom and the Grilled Chicken Torta with brined and smoked chicken breast, cranberry goat cheese, frisee and crispy shallots.
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Summer’s end news at 3 Chicago restaurants

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Osteria Brunch Buffet in Chicago

Our beloved Chicago food scene is constantly changing and surprising us with new delights. The last days of summer are no exception. Check out some of the specials you can treat yourself and your loved ones to through August and into September.

honeygrow is out to help the bees – and help under-served communities and enhance our global food supply! Locations in Chicago: FULTON MARKET, LAKE STREET, plus SCHAUMBURG. All through September, honeygrow will donate 20% of all app-purchased honeybar sales to The Honeybee Conservancy, All National Honey Month supporting app orders will receive double points for their entire order when helping to “save the bees”. Download the app at https://www.honeygrow.com/order. On September 4, honeygrow will launch two new fall menu items: Spiralized Beet Caesar Salad (Gluten-Free) (chopped romaine, kale, spiralized golden beets, pears, red onions, candied pecans, shaved Parmesan, rosemary Parmesan dressing); and Philly Roast Pork Stir-Fry (freshly made egg white noodles, organic baby spinach, broccoli, red onions, brew au jus, grated Parmesan).

Osteria Via Stato, 620 N. State St., offers an Italian-inspired brunch buffet with items like the Carving Station featuring Slagel Farm Pork Belly, a Ricotta Doughnut station, a Dolce station and a Smoked Fish station highlighting Faroe Island Salmon, Trout and Bay Scallops. Guests can also order Made-to-Order Sourdough Waffles, desserts like Strawberry Panna Cotta, Almond Macaroons and enjoy farm-fresh ingredients like asparagus and strawberries from Mick Klug Farm, honey from Raines Honey Farm, and eggs and pork belly from Slagel Family Farm.</ Osteria’s brunch is just $34.95 Sundays 10:30am – 2:30pm. Full brunch menu here.

Oyster Bah, 1962 N. Halsted, is offering a DIY seafood buffet with dishes like oysters on the half shell, aloha mussels, shrimp cocktail, coastal ceviche, and more. In addition to the buffet, guests can choose a main entree including items like: Superfood Omelet with ricotta cheese, French Toast, Fried Oysters Eggs Benedict (+$3), Crab Cake Sandwich (+$3) or Shrimp and Grits. A la carte brunch items are also available during Friday and Saturday lunch hours however the seafood buffet option is only available on Sundays. $34.95, 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM. Full brunch menu here.

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5 Chicago restaurants’ late-summer news

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Don’t be sad. There’s still time to steep yourself in the Chicago restaurant scene with summer specials that’ll make you feel glad to be alive and living in this great food city of ours. Call a friend and get out there to partake of the joys of the end-of-summer countdown.

Bohemian House desserts

Bohemian House, 11 W. Illinois. Executive chef Roman Hadrbolec is reinventing the Bohemian dining experience with a fresh new take on Old European cuisine that appeals to both foodies and health-conscious diners. A local Czech TV personality, famed chef and cookbook author, Hadrbolec’s new menus remain true to the beloved European cuisine we know while also embracing the lighter side that vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free diners prefer. Now you can shop, too, from shelves of house-made pickles, pickled sweet peppers, a host of jams, and Hadrbolec’s flavorful spice blends.

Beautiful elegant Ella Elli

Ella Elli, 1349 W. Cornelia Ave, , 4 Star Restaurant Group’s posh Lakeview concept, has launched a new happy hour menu, available every Monday to Thursday, 4:30 – 6pm. The menu will change each week and include a specialty cocktail such as the Blood Orange Paloma (Piedra Azul Tequila, lime juice, grapefruit cordial and blood orange juice, $6) plus select wines for $7. Enjoy new snacks like Polenta Fries with truffle aioli ($6) or Shrimp with n’duja (uh, had to look that one up: spicy, spreadable pork salumi from Italy), fingerling potatoes and salsa verde ($8).

Osteria via Stato, 620 N. State St., an LEYE restaurant, is putting on its annual to-die-for heirloom tomato dinner this Thursday, August 16, 6:30 to 8:30pm. Chef David DiGregorio welcomes Green Acres Farm to Osteria Via Stato on Thursday, August 16 at 6:30PM., for the annual dinner highlighting Chef David’s favorite summer ingredient—the seasonal heirloom tomato! Meet the farmer while enjoying a selection of passed appetizers before sitting down to a mouthwatering multi-course dinner with wine pairings. The cost is $68++ per person. Reservations here.

Smoke Daddy, 1804 W. Division, the fun BBQ spot in Wicker Park invites you to bring your four-legged friend on National Dog Day, Sunday August 26, 12-6pm! The BBQ joint will be hosting its first annual “Beers, Ears & Cheers” event in support of PAWS Chicago. $1 from each Pig Ear doggie treat and Lagunitas beer purchase will go directly to PAWS for the senior dog adoption program. For more information, visit Facebook.

River Roast, 315 N. LaSalle, is finishing out summer with Crispy Black Bass with Mojo de Ajo ($48). Toast National Rum Day Thursday August 16 with one of these after-dinner drinks: Alexander, The Greatest ($15): bonded brandy, rum, nocino, demerara, and cream or Flipping Out ($15): amaro averna, rum, allspice dram, benedictine, and a whole egg. Come in for the Blues & Brunch Saturdays & Sundays in August, Noon-3pm. 8/18: Harris Herrero, 8/19: Friends, 8/25: Joseph Morganfield, 8/26: Michael Charles. And/or celebrate National Chicken Month coming up in September with Golden Gobbets ($10 seasoned fried chicken with honey), Whole Roast chicken ($39 Crystal Farms, apple wood smoked with RR potatoes) or Fried Chicken Sandwich ($14 with sriracha pickle, spicy remoulade, butter lettuce on a brioche bun).

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Exotic or homegrown – Chicago bars and restaurants have it all

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Restaurants serving exotic dishes from various cultures abound in Chicago. Lucky for those who travel a lot or are simply excited to try different cuisines. Peru is considered by some – including a friend of ours who partook of high-end cuisine there last Thanksgiving and pronounced it fabulous – to be a top international foodie stop for gourmets. We’ve also heard about the glories of Peruvian chicken. Consider this:

Tanta (118 W Grand Ave.), Chicago’s premier Peruvian restaurant, celebrates both Peruvian Independence Day (July 28) and their five-year anniversary with three new specials , now running through August 12.  These dishes, crafted by Executive Chef Giancarlo Valera, showcase the variety of global cuisines that have shaped Peru’s diverse food culture over hundreds of years and multiple waves of immigration to the country. Check them out – and in case, like us, you have no idea what most of these terms mean, here’s a glossary of terms in Peruvian cuisine):

  • Tiradito Bachiche. Inspired by Peru’s Italian immigrants and the flavors they brought with them, this dish features thinly-sliced fresh fluke, 22-month aged parmesan sauce, crispy garlic, crisp faux fish skin and basil oil.
  • Anticucho Carretilla. Anticuchos, or grilled skewered meats adopted by Peruvians as popular street food, draw inspiration from various African cuisines. This version features sweetbreads, veal heart, aji panca, marble potato, aji amarillo & huacatay sauce
  • Paiche Charapa. Paying homage to Peru’s native peoples, this dish features paiche (a favorite Amazonian fish), green plantain tacacho, double smoked bacon, and mishkina steamed in a banana leaf and garnished with cilantro and grilled pineapple chalaca sauce.

And talk about glories, consider the below haute Italian dining and  American cross-country bar options:

Spiaggia, among the finest Italian restaurants in the city, is heading to Oak Street beach on August 15 to celebrate the Italian holiday Ferragosto. Dress is casual for this beachside party where $75 gets you whole roasted lamb, the best of local seasonal vegetables, gelato, Italian wines, rose, and much more. Chef Tony Mantuano, Rachael Lowe and Executive Chef Joe Flamm, winner of Top Chef Season 15, will be joined by four guest chefs: Sarah Rinkavage (Marisol), Carolina Diaz (Terzo Piano), Keith Potter (Cindy’s Rooftop) and Bill Motagne (Nico Osteria). Tickets are available  HERE.

Gino’s Brew Pub, 500 North LaSalle Ave., welcomes The Bruery and Bruery Terreux, two distinctive breweries from Southern California for Thirsty Thursday Tap Takeover. Come try their one-of-a-kind barrel-aged and experimental ales, Thursday, August 2, 6 – 9pm. Live music from Matt Keen (guitar, vocals), who’s the inspiration behind Gino’s Brew Pub’s own in-house tap Keen Greens IPA. A rocker at heart, he’s known for his scorching vocals and killer guitar licks, some reminiscent of early Doors and Zeppelin. Talk to Brewmasters Kevin McMahon and Keith Pumilia (Terreux Production Supervisor) with any questions about the featured beers on tap, The Bruery, and the Gino’s East Brew Pub.

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New menus, new happenings at 5 Chicago restaurants

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Fort Willow, DMK’s newest spot inspired by the adventure of a childhood tree fort at 1721 N. Elston, introduces new spice-driven cocktails and a selection of small plates inspired by the cuisines of Korea, Mexico and Indonesia. Try a spicy Rooster Shooter (vodka, Sriracha, peach and lime $12). Or a Piston Splitter (mezcal, Ancho Reyes, raspberry and root beer bitters $13). Planter’s Punch is a blend of rum, nutmeg, angostura bitters and lime, $13. All house cocktails are priced at $5 during happy hour from 5-6pm T-F. New bites include elote fritters (grilled sweet corn, cotija and chili lime aioli, $8), tandoori prawns (marinated in Indian butter sauce, $12); softshell crab (topped with scallions and roasted tomato vinaigrette, tossed in a black bean salad, $14), and Argentinian grilled skirt steak (with jalapeño chimichurri, $12). Plus several new Asian-inspired bites. Yum! Can’t wait to try ’em!

Marchesa, 535 N. Wells, a chic and cozy River North eatery, now offers Saturday brunch with Continental breakfast and lunch selections from 11am to 3pm. Enjoy bottomless Bubbles, Bloody Mary’s or Bellinis for $25. Sit in the beautiful Marchesa inside space or dine outside amid the greenery of its intimate new dog-friendly sidewalk cafe adorned with flowers, beautiful fabrics and modern sculptures. Choose from brunch items like Salmon Benedict, lobster & eggs, quiche, steak & eggs, and pastries. Lunch items include French takes on scallops, mushrooms, lobster, salmon, chicken and more.

Carnivale in West Loop is hosting a totally 80s Murder Mystery night on Thursday, August 2, 6:30-9pm. Cocktails first, then dinner and show. Dress in your best ‘80s concert gear while you solve the crime with your friends. Poison Ratenstein is in town for a killer concert, but his fans may be looking for a refund after this twisted tour turns tragic with a murder and a mystery to solve.

Jake Melnick’s Chef Nick and the knowledgeable crew at Great Lakes Brewing present BEER & BBQ PAIRINGS: On Tuesday, August 21st, Chef Nick and the knowledgeable crew at Great Lakes Brewing are teaming up to bring diners an evening packed with Jake’s BBQ classics paired with top Great Lakes brews – an ale, a lager, a porter and more. Beginning at 6pm you can talk beer with a team of experts as they enjoy the evening’s spread inside Jake’s Keg Room. Tickets are $50 per person (tax & gratuity included). Sample menu items: Grilled Poncho Wings, BBQ Brisket Sliders, House-smoked Oktoberfest Braised Brats, Braised Pork Belly Crostini and Peanut Banana Cups. Reserve online or call 312-266-0400.

River Roast (315 N. LaSalle Street), known for elegant American tavern fare and breathtaking city and water views in River North, will host its very first ‘River Boil’ on Thursday, August 16. From 6–9pm guests will enjoy an eclectic outdoor feast on the veranda along the Chicago River. Selections will include a freshly shucked oyster bar and grilled oysters, housemade charcuterie and terrines, and a flavorful summer seafood boil featuring assorted seafood, housemade sausages and more. In true boil form, Miller High Life will be flowing as the beer of choice, and New Orleans-inspired cocktails will be poured. $50 per person (21 and over only). Purchase tickets here. Or call 312-822-0100.

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