The holidays for many ethnic groups are fast approaching. and Mago Grill & Cantina has the perfect addition to any celebration table. Mago is featuring a full size (9”) Eggnog Tres Leches and Pumpkin Cream Cheese Flan inspired by Chef Juan’s late grandmother’s holiday recipes, both $35, through December 31. They are both available with just 24-hour notice at any Mago Grill & Cantina location (Chicago, Arlington Heights, Bolingbrook or South Barrington). Perfect for those last-minute Friendsgiving, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah or Christmas dessert needs!
You might be surprised to learn there is a large Mexican-Jewish community in Chicago that draws influences from both cuisines. To honor this group, Mago decided to combine traditional Hanukkah dishes with a Latin flare, thus culinarily fusing Mexican and Jewish culture. Hanukkah Menu Items available only 12/12/17 – 12/20/17)
Playing off the traditional Hanukkah short rib meal, Mago will offer a limited-time Beef Short Rib entrée for $26 (Pulque braised, fork tender beef short rib served with Mole de Manzana, or Apple Mole and cilantro potato latkes). Or try Roasted Half Chicken for $20 (wild mushroom huitlacoche cream, roasted Yukon gold potatoes).
Honoring the Jewish tradition of eating apples with honey during Rosh HaShanah, Guava and Apple Crisp dessert for $8 (Baked granny smith apples with guava topped with a cinnamon crumble). Apples in the cocktail line: La Manzanita cocktail for $13 (Apple & cinnamon infused Patron Blanco Tequila, apple cider, fresh lime juice).
Chicago is a magnificent place to celebrate the holiday season – the lights downtown alone are magical. Not surprisingly, then, that around this time of year you can find a sleighload of restaurants that offer special featured food items, family brunches with Santa, Christmas Eve brunch, prix fixe menus and more. Take a gander at these and make your reservations now.
Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap, 41 E. Superior, invites you to indulge in The 12 Wings of Christmas (LOL!). Now through December 12, Jake Melnick’s is offerings a different special wing of the day to get in the holiday spirit. Chef Nick Santangelo has come up with some interesting flavor combinations such as Apricot Siracha, Aaron’s Coconut Red Curry and Grilled Maple Mustard wings ($13.95). You get a punch card with your first wing order – get the card punched for 4 out of the 12 days and get a $50 gift card. Check out the rest of Jake’s fun and funky wing flavors here.
Ella Elli, 1349 W. Cornelia Ave., will be open for a pre-Christmas brunch on Friday, December 22 and Saturday, December 23 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and for Christmas Eve brunch on Sunday, December 24 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Guests can enjoy items such as the Bakery Board with fresh a croissant, housemade everything bagel, local pastries, preserves and seasoned whipped butter ($10); Stuffed Brioche French Toast with chocolate, berries and cardamom powdered sugar ($12); and Prosciutto Flatbread with farm eggs, arugula and crispy potatoes ($14). Drinks including Mimosa Bottle Service with a bottle of Caposaldo Prosecco and a trio of fresh juices ($42); and Rose Sangria with Rose, Pampelmousse, Lime Cordial and fresh fruit ($10) will also be available. Reservations are recommended 773-935-3552.
Tuco and Blondie (3358 N. Southport Ave) will be open for a pre-Christmas brunch on Friday, December 22 and Saturday, December 23 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. “Mexifun” menu items available include the El Sombrero Benedict with chorizo, poached eggs, black beans, hollandaise and pico de gallo ($13); and Chilaquiles with roasted chicken, over easy eggs, salsa verde, Chihuahua cheese, sour cream and pico de gallo ($12). Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 773-327-8226.
Crosby’s Kitchen (3455 N. Southport Ave) will be open for a pre-Christmas brunch on Friday, December 22 and Saturday, December 23 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and for Christmas Eve brunch on Sunday, December 24 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Crosby’s Kitchen will offer menu favorites including the Chicken Chili Benedict with black bean chili, cornbread, poached eggs, cheddar cheese and scallions ($12); Crosby’s Omelet with mozzarella, bacon, wild mushrooms and spinach hollandaise ($11); and the Chicken Dip Sandwich with rotisserie chicken, jack cheese, mayo, tomato, onion, arugula and chicken au jus ($12). Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 773-883-2525.
Dunlays on Clark (2600 N. Clark St) and Dunlays on the Square (3137 W. Logan Blvd) will be open for a pre-Christmas brunch on Friday, December 22 and Saturday, December 23 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Guests can enjoy brunch menu classics such as French Toast with crunchy French bread dipped in eggs, cinnamon, vanilla and orange liqueur ($9); and the Dunz Omelet with sundried tomato, basil pesto and smoked provolone cheese ($10). Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling Dunlays on Clark at 773-883-6000 and Dunlays on the Square at 773-227-2400.
Frasca Pizzeria and Wine Bar (3358 N. Paulina St) will be open for a pre-Christmas brunch on Friday, December 22 and Saturday, December 23 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Guests can enjoy menu favorites including Breakfast Pizza with three over easy eggs, sausage, bacon and cheese atop housemade crust ($14); and the Roscoe St. Omelet with three eggs, mozzarella, provolone, Italian sausage, bacon and caramelized onion. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 773-248-5222.
Smoke Daddy (1804 W. Division St) will be open for a pre-Christmas brunch on Friday, December 22 and Saturday, December 23 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Guests can enjoy house specialties including the Pulled Pork Benedict with pulled pork and chipotle hollandaise served with fresh fruit or hash browns ($12); and the Fried Egg Sandwich with two eggs over easy, cheddar, bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion and mayo on rye bread ($10). Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 773-772-6656.
Remington’s (20 N. Michigan) will be open for a pre-Christmas brunch on Friday, December 22 and Saturday, December 23 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and on Christmas Eve from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Remington’s will offer classic American menu favorites include The Remington 18-oz dry aged prime bone in strip; Short Rib with roasted heirloom carrots and braised cipolinni onion; and the Chicken Dip Sandwich with rotisserie chicken, jack cheese, mayo, tomato, onion, arugula and chicken au jus. The last dinner reservation is at 7 p.m. and can be made by calling 312-782-6000.
The Windsor (160 E. Huron St) will be open for a pre-Christmas brunch on Friday, December 22 and Saturday, December 23 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Guests can enjoy classic menu items including The Windsor Club with ham, turkey, bacon, truffle aioli, tomato and basil ($13); and signature Monkey Bread with cream cheese frosting ($10). Reservations are recommended 312.943.7777.The Windsor is also hosting a Santa Brunch on Sunday, December 10 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Stop in after holiday shopping to enjoy a delicious brunch and watch as kids visit Santa and receive a festive gift bag. The visit with Santa is free and parents are encouraged to bring their camera for the perfect holiday photo.
The Smoke Daddy (1804 W. Division St.), BBQ in Wicker Park is offering holiday catering. House-Smoked Whole Turkey (11 lb., $65; 20 lb., $90), Pulled Whole Turkey (1 lb., $16) and Glazed Ham, a partial bone-in, smoked ham with a sweet mojo glaze (half., $69; whole $129). Sides such as Cornbread Stuffing with sausage and spices ($10 per quart); Brussels Sprouts oven-roasted with a lemon butter sauce ($10 per quart); Green Bean Casserole ($10 per quart); and desserts such as Apple Pie ($22) and Pumpkin Pie ($20) are available. Items will be picked up cold with re-heating instructions.
Bistronomic (840 N. Wabash), the contemporary French bistro, will offer brunch and a three-course prix fixe dinner menu on Christmas Eve (10am to 2:30pm; 5 to 10pm) and on Christmas Day (noon to 8pm). Brunch favorites include Quiche Lorraine ($13.95); Brioche crème brulee French Toast ($11.95); and Croque Madame with handcut French fries ($14.95). Bottomless mimosas ($18.95 for 1.5 hours) when you purchase a brunch entrée or sandwich.Dinner both evenings is $70 per adult ($20 for a two-course children’s menu) plus tax and gratuity. The three-course prix fixe dinners include vegetarian options and feature produce from the Green City Market. Cauliflower Velouté with glazed chestnut, Everton cheese, truffle oil and brown butter; Homemade Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Maine lobster, baby broccoli, star anise and tarragon lobster emulsion; Prime Beef Short Ribs with butternut squash pureé, glazed cranberry, French beans, almond and Aigre Doux sauce; Winter Wild Mushroom Ravioli with seasonal mushrooms, roasted hazelnut, Jerusalem artichoke pureé and leek nage; Baked Alaska with poached pear, brioche, and bittersweet chocolate sauce, and more. To view the full menu, visit the website. Reservations are recommended and can be made on OpenTable.
Harvest, inside The Chicago Marriott Magnificent Mile (540 N. Michigan), is offering a festive menu on Christmas Day from noon to 8pm. The menu includes Slow Roasted Prime Rib, House-Smoked Ham, Housemade Sausage, Sage Cornbread Stuffing, Cheese and Charcuterie, Shrimp Cocktail, Miniature Sweets and more. $40 per person and $20 for kids 10 and under, plus tax and gratuity. Reservations are recommended (312) 836-6334.
Shaw’s Crab House Oyster Fest, in its 29th annual celebration, is going all out. Shaw’s much-beloved downtown Oyster Bar is hosting a 10-day party from October 5th through the 15th. Enjoy all-day happy hours, dinners with award-winning oyster purveyors from around the country, special oyster dishes, and more.
HAPPY HOUR DAILY. Happy hour (usually 4 – 6pm) is now … ALL DAY! Enjoy half off one east coast and one west coast oyster from open to close in the Oyster Bar!
POP-UP HAPPY HOURS: 50 CENT OYSTERS. In addition to the Oyster Fest Happy Hour specials, we will be offering surprise 50-cent oyster hours throughout the week that will be announced exclusively on social media (@shellyfromshaws) and the Shaw’s mobile club.
SLURP-OFF CONTESTS. Our famous slurp-off competitions will be taking place throughout the week. First round will take place at 6 p.m. on kickoff night, October 5. Or take your shot at the slurp-offs on Monday, October 9th, Tuesday, October 10, and Wednesday, October 11 at 6 p.m. The final will take place during the Grand Finale Event on October 15 with the winner taking away the title of Slurp-Off Winner and $1,000 in Shaw’s gift certificates.
LIVE MUSIC. Blues music will be happening every night of Oyster Fest from 7 to 10pm. in the Oyster Bar. View the band line-up here.
SPECIAL OYSTER-CENTRIC MENU. Come in for special dishes for Oyster Fest including Po’boys, Baked & Grilled Oysters, Pan Roast Oysters, and our house specialty Buffalo Oysters to celebrate the oyster throughout the Shaw’s 10-day party run!
OTHER SPECIAL EVENTS INCLUDE:
Thursday, October 5: Tap Party with Haymarket Brewery. We’re kicking off Oyster Fest with a tap party in collaboration with Haymarket Brewery. We’re celebrating their first ever tap release outside of their Chicago-based brewery with a brand new Shaw’s beer, Lemon Rye-sing Saison, that was made to pair perfectly with fresh oysters.
Saturday, October 7, Sunday, October 8, Saturday, October 14, and Sunday, October 15: Shaw’s Oyster Fest Brunch. As the weekend draws near, consider indulging yourself with one of the restaurant’s fabulous Saturday or Sunday brunches. Many additional oyster offerings will be on the display at the Grand Shaw’s Buffet that has redefined brunch in Chicago.
Thursday, October 12: From Coast-to-Coast Dinner. Shaw’s and guest chef Leo Waldmeier, of the iconic Drake Hotel and Cape Cod Room, are welcoming oyster growers from each of the coasts to come together for the first ever Coast-to-Coast Dinner. This interactive, four-course dinner with wine pairings will feature Hama Hama, from Washington State- repping the west coast- and Island Creek, from Massachusetts- repping the east coast- along with Chef Waldmeier’s signature Bookbinder soup. The dinner is priced at $89 per guest (exclusive of tax & gratuity) and starts at 6:30 p.m. Buy your tickets here.
Sunday, October 15:Grand Finale. And you definitely don’t miss the Grand Finale Party on Sunday, October 15 from 4 to 10pm. This special ticketed event ($70 exclusive of tax & gratuity) features an over-the-top offering of classic Oyster Festival dishes, wine and beer favorites, specialty cocktails, an Oyster Roast in the Oyster Hall of Fame Room, live music from 4 to 10pm, and of course the oyster slurp-off finale! Tickets for the finale can be purchased here.
Weber Grill Restaurant, 539 N. State St. Friday, Sept 1 – Saturday, Sept 30, they’re celebrating their 15th anniversary. For only $15, Executive Chef Jason Friedland’s giant burger (a Certified Angus Beef® patty, hickory smoked beef brisket, Merkt’s cheddar cheese, bread and butter pickles, and brisket mustard aioli) and a Weber Backyard Brew (a Goose Island wheat ale) draft beer. (Burger only $11). @thewebergrill
Maggiano’s, 516 N. Clark St., is bringing back a feature favorite – mac n’ cheese adults will love! Langostino lobster mixed in with pasta and a rich, white wine truffle cream sauce. Baked with fontina cheese, fresh dill, and herb breadcrumbs. Make it your entrée or share with everyone as a perfect side. Only until September 27, so hurry in.
River Roast, 315 N. LaSalle St., has a new beverage program led by beverage manager, Ken Pritz – classic cocktails with a fresh, innovative twist. Look for local Midwestern beers in River Roasts’ 13 rotating taps along with classic wines from France, Italy and Spain, as well as Argentina and Chile. Check out the new Happy Hour Package: two hours of passed hors d’oeuvres and a beverage package including local beers, red and white wines, and a selection of spirits for $35 per person. Hors d’oeuvres include a Slider Station – burger, pulled pork and coleslaw, and crispy chicken – all served with house made chips; Golden Gobbets, seasoned chicken with honey; BBQ Chicken Quesadillas with ancho chile cream; Preserved Fruit & Goat Cheese on walnut crostini; and Tomato Bruschetta with spiced ricotta and French bread.
Wicker Park is one of the hottest ‘hoods in Chicago these days. New restaurants and bars are constantly popping up, as existing establishments tweak their offerings to attract even more business. Here are a couple of cool places to check out on Division St.
Bourbon on Division, 2050 W. Division, serving only brunch (11 to 5pm) and dinner, offers a forward-thinking and innovative Southern-style menu of dishes that are made from scratch and change with the seasons. Check out some of these brunch items:
Grilled Walnut-Sweet Potato Bread Pudding ($15) with bourbon apple honey and spinach frisee Salad
Spicy Pecan Fried Chicken ($16) with a corn waffle, collard greens and bourbon apple honey
Grilled Shrimp and White Cheddar Grits ($16) with smoked tomato gravy, wilted spinach and celery leaves
Whether you eat at one of the two bars or on the elevated dining space, you can select your beverage from their craft beer selection or imbibe in one of their craft cocktails like Blackberry Julep ($10) with Buffalo Trace, blackberry-mint simple syrup and prosecco; Helluva Way To Wake Up ($10) with Old Forester, iced coffee, honey-rosemary syrup and whipped bourbon cream; or Basic Bitch ($10) with Tito’s, plum bitters, cranberry, simple syrup and press.
Whipped bourbon cream? Adding this to our must-try list.
Bake° Bakery, 2246 W. North Ave. in Wicker Park, has a way with sweets to help Chicagoans celebrate summer and every other season. This year for Fourth of July they created a stacked American flag cake. Sorry, it was only available for the holiday, but it gives you a good idea of what they can do. The cake consisted of 6 layers of vibrantly-colored red, white and blue cake and a thick layer of Bake°’s signature Vanilla Bean Buttercream sandwiched between each layer. Happily, they do stuff like this all year around. This picture ought to get your tastebuds riled up.
Mac and Cheese Day – 7/14: Get cheesed with Spin Dip Mac at Jake Melnick’s. Jake’s Creamy house-made mac n’ cheese is tossed with their creamy spinach artichoke dip, topped with cheddar and Swiss cheese then baked until golden. Garnished with fresh tomato, Parmesan, pita chips and Sriracha crema.
Ice Cream Day – 7/19: Treat yourself to Jake Melnick’s Hot Fudge Sundae ($6.25) after a “fish” dinner.
The Asian B.L.T.T. is the perfect summer burger featuring a hand-packed Ahi Tuna burger, topped with smoked teriyaki bacon, wasabi ranch salad and crispy wontons. The salad is on the burger so it counts, right? BTW, July is Ice Cream Month so don’t hold yourself back from celebrating all month long!
International Chicken Wing Day – 7/29: Grab a basket of the Spicy Pina Colada Wings, the perfect celebration flavor. Jake’s jumbo wings are fried until crispy, tossed in their house-made spicy pina colada sauce and garnished with toasted coconut. Served with Ranch dressing.
Oh, and just in case you don’t have enough carbs, it’s also National French Fry day on Friday, 7/14. Jake’s will be selling $5 specialty baskets this Friday, the 14th including the Breakfast and Street Fries.
Firecakes Donuts will operate for two months a pop-up donut counter inside Lou & Grey, the contemporary women’s apparel store at 3442 N. Southport Ave. Locals and visitors alike are finding it a place to grab a great cup of coffee and a fabulous donut. Or visit Firecakes Lincoln Park store, 2453 N. Clark St. or its Hubbard Street location, 68 W Hubbard St.
Firecakes Donuts also operates a Donut Truck in the Loop on weekday mornings and, in season, in the evenings and on weekends at various neighborhoods around Chicago. The Donut Truck also can be booked from private events and catering; please call 312-329-6500 for more information. Delivery, catering and pre-orders are available. Please place orders by 3 p.m. for next day pickup or Chicagoland delivery. Firecakes also serves a giant birthday cake donut that serves 2-3 people and an ice cream donut sandwich. Firecakes Donuts serves coffee from La Colombe Roasters. Major cards are accepted. For more information, please call the stores at 312-329-6500 (W. Hubbard St.) and 773-666-5277 (N. Clark St.)
Weber Grill Restaurant, 539 N. State St. (also Lombard, Schaumburg, Indianapolis), on Easter Sunday (April 16th) offers grownups traditional holiday favorites, plus either Mimosa ($7) or Backyard Bloody Mary (Absolut vodka, housemade bloody Mary mix served with smoked sausage & Gouda skewer and a mini backyard brew 10.5). Along with their brunch plate, kids get Easter eggs filled with candy and special treats.
Brunch “A-la-carte” Features Served Until 2:00pm – Grilled Steak & Eggs Southwest Style Skirt Steak and Eggs Any Style Guajillo Salsa, Breakfast Potatoes ($17.50); Chocolate Cherry Pretzel Bread French Toast Fresh Strawberries, Whipped Cream ($10.50); Double Smoked Bourbon Glazed Ham Benedict, hollandaise, toasted English muffin grilled asparagus, breakfast potatoes ($14); Kid’s Brunch Plate (Twelve & Under), choice of scrambled eggs or pretzel bread French toast ($6.50).
Weber’s fullDinner Menu served all day plus two specials: House Smoked Bourbon Glazed Ham, horseradish cream sauce, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus ($16); and Wood-Roasted Leg of Lamb, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, asparagus, rosemary jus ($20).
Snap Kitchen is excited to introduce three internationally inspired dishes, each boasting a unique primary health benefit. With an obsession for food innovation and believing that eating healthy should be really fun, Snap Kitchen was inspired to create three incredible new Bowls with Benefits, available in store or for delivery. The product of the collaboration between Snap Kitchen’s research and development chefs and dietitian, each bowl is based on a super-flavorful take on cauliflower rice, topped with nutrient-rich ingredients. The lineup includes a Whole30-approved bowl and vegan option.
The Tex-Mex Chicken Bowl is Snap Kitchen’s take on the classic burrito bowl, with anti-inflammatory ingredients and superfoods like turmeric and spirulina for a whole new spin. The Tex-Mex bowl contains:
Spanish cauliflower rice with a smoky flavor from smoked paprika and mega anti-inflammatory benefits from turmeric;
spirulina crema made from cashew, avocado, and spirulina that offers up healthy fats and B vitamins;
topped with fajita veggies and chicken, and homemade red salsa.
Meatball & Kimchi Stir Fry Bowl with natural probiotics and nourishing prebiotics to get your gut in check. This bowl features:
kimchi fried rice made from cauliflower rice stir fried with fresh garlic, ginger, and kimchi;
grass-fed beef meatballs made with sautéed ginger, onion, and mushrooms for a tender texture and veggie bonus;
kimchi with fermented cabbage and sea vegetables featuring naturally occurring probiotics;
plus organic edamame, stir fried veggies, and ginger sesame vinaigrette.
Packed with plant-based ingredients full of antioxidants, the Mediterranean Mezze Bowl is the most beauty-full meal at Snap Kitchen yet. This bowl features:
kale and cauliflower tabbouleh with zucchini, onion, jalapeno, and garlic;
golden turmeric chickpeas full of nutrients from turmeric, garlic powder, and nutritional yeast;
vegan tzatziki that starts with cashew crema with chopped cucumber, lemon zest, mint, and dill for a tangy addition to the bowl’s flavor lineup;
beet hummus full of nutrients like betalains with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification benefits that give your skin a healthy glow;
plus roasted red bell pepper and eggplant, and Kalamata olives.
Order ahead or get them for delivery on the new Snap Kitchen app for iOS– it’s a beautiful app with full color pics that’ll make you even hungrier.
As the temperatures continue to be chillingly above normal, we can all feel free to keep exploring our restaurant options, sans hoods, gloves and scarves. Check these announcements out:
Seaside’s opens Monday, March 13 for carryout and delivery from the team behind Oyster Bah in Lincoln Park. The menu focuses on fried chicken, slow-cooked BBQ ribs, fresh Maine lobster, and sides, all fit for sharing. Harking back to childhood memories of the Jersey Shore, Oyster Bah and Shaw’s Crab House Partner, Bill “Seaside” Nevruz, brings family-style simple, delicious fare to take-home .
Seaside’s shares kitchen space at Oyster Bah. Order in person or online for pick up Mondays-Thursdays 5 -10 pm, Fridays and Saturdays 4 – 11pm, and Sundays from 4 – 9pm. Or get delivery through the Door Dash app. Right now, diners who place an order through Door Dash can receive $5 off (with a minimum purchase of $15) by using promo code LETTUCEEATS.
Ella Elli, 1349 W. Cornelia Ave., the eleventh concept by 4 Star Restaurant Group (Tuco and Blondie, Crosby’s Kitchen, Remington’s), opened in Lakeview just off Southport Avenue last night, Tuesday, March 6. With culinary operations led by 4 Star Executive Chef Matt Eversman and branding and design development by Chicago-based Grip (Girl & The Goat, GT Fish & Oyster), the 75-seat concept is a warm, intimate lounge space to enjoy cuisine created with global influences, a unique wine list and classic cocktails.
Guests can enjoy dishes by 4 Star Executive Chef Matt Eversman, alongside Executive Chef Nolan Narut that range from charcuterie and toasts, vegetables and salads to pizzas and pastas, meats, fish, and desserts. Cured Meats and Pickles, Artisanal Cheeses and Steak Tartar, with toast options like the Prosciutto Butter Toast with radish and dill.
Vegetables and salads are stand-outs at Ella Elli. Crispy Grain Salad with goat cheese and shaved vegetables, Roasted Carrots with crème fraiche, harissa and pickled celery. From the wood-burning pizza oven comes Roasted Oyster Mushroom with goat cheese. Pastas include Rigatoni with roasted cauliflower, mint and chilies. Seafoods include Hamachi Crudo with persevered lemon relish and Wood-Oven Octopus with crispy potatoes and salsa verde. Meats: Burger Au Poivre with St. André triple cream and watercress, or Lamb Scottadito with spiced yogurt and harissa. Desserts include Profiteroles with mint gelato and espresso dark chocolate sauce, and Spanish Blue Cheese Beignets with cardamom powedered sugar, fresh lemon and fig-balsamic glaze.