5++ March events on Chicago culinary scene – starting today!

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/