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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