Category Archives: Chicago restaurants

3 food and drink news items for late summer in Chicago

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No matter what the season, Chicago restaurants are always coming up with interesting offers that tempt us to partake. Now’s a good time to share the news in case you want to schedule some fun occasions with friends or family. Herewith, descriptions of a new kid-friendly venue – complete with beer and wine – in our wonderful in-city zoo, a delicious selection of goodies during happy hour at Eddie V’s, and a fascinating cocktail program at all 70 locations of the Fairmont Hotel chain.

Bird’s Eye Bar & Grille offers Levy foods – and catering, too

Lincoln Park Zoo has reimagined and rebranded the expansive rooftop outdoor space above the gift shop. Now called the Bird’s Eye Bar & Grille, the shaded, breezy area offers comfortable chairs and tables for a restful break from the rigors of navigating the zoo. The new spot features Levy-provided foods like sandwiches, salads and snacks and a select few options of wine and beer. Best of all for parents, there are table games like foosball and air hockey and plenty of room for kids to play together. The gift shop with the restaurant on top – oh, and by the way, there is a ramp in the rear for non-stair-climbing visitors – isn’t far from the main zoo entrance. Another good reason to visit our wonderful last-of-the-free-zoos-in-the-country treasure.

Eddie V Hours – Spicy marg arita and tacos

Eddie V’s, 521 N. Rush St. offers happy Eddie’s Hours with an impressive array of options, including 13 teasers and appetizers and four masterfully prepared oyster dishes served on the half-shell ($7-$8). Think:East Coast Oysters ($2/oyster), Asian Fusion Oysters – two half-shells ($7), Mini Filet Sandwiches with blue cheese and onion jam ($9), Salt and Pepper Shrimp with spicy soy ginger vegetables ($9). Pair with one of five cocktails, including the Spicy Margarita and Bulleit Sour, or one of four wines poured by the glass for $8. Consider trying some of their seafood flown in from pristine waters around the world or their premium hand-carved steaks. And check the website for hours for daily duets and trios playing soothing jazz performances.

Fairmont Hotel new cocktails

Fairmont Hotel, 200 N. Columbus Drive, is the Chicago star in the Fairmont Hotel global galaxy of hotels and resorts – over 70 properties, including The Savoy in London, The Plaza in New York, as well as properties in Shanghai, Barcelona, Vancouver, Bali, Montreal, among others. The new cocktail menu, Classics Perfected – available at every single property in the world – pays homage to some of the most well-known cocktails in history – and exciting new ones:

  • Material Girl: Inspired by the Cosmo, this gin-based version features Botanist Gin and St-Germain, lemon and apple juice.
  • Orange Trip: Inspired by the Whiskey Sour this one features Woodford Reserve bourbon, orange juice, bitters and lemon.
  • Chai Tai: Pulling inspiration from the Mai Tai, this one’s made with Botanist Gin along with Mount Gay Black Barrel rum, pineapple juice, lime and a hint of chai.
  • Soul Reviver: Honoring the classic Corpse Reviver, this mix is Botanist gin, Casamigos Blanco, Cointreau and Lillet Blanc, blackberries, lemon and a touch of absinthe.

 

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Chicago it’s summer! (almost) – 5 new ways to enjoy

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Every nice day in summer is another great excuse to indulge yourself – after you work, do your chores and exercise of course, right? And Chicago is a place ideally suited to such indulgences. Everywhere you turn, another opportunity presents itself to help you get creative with your enjoyment. Here are just a few restaurant ideas and home cooking/drinking products to get you rolling:

1. River Roast is getting ready to celebrate summer with their weekday happy hour Oysters & Rosé special. Every weekday from 3 to 5 pm enjoy a dozen oysters and bottle of Rose wine for $35. Sit at the bar or along the river soaking in the sun all while enjoying a refreshing summer combo that’s irresistible. AND on National Donut Day, Friday, June 7th, get a complimentary skewer of three donut holes with the purchase of coffee from Reid Bar. What’s a better way to kick off the morning than with free donuts??

Round Barn sangria makes a great aperitif – or even dessert!

2. Round Barn Winery, located in the hills of Southwestern Michigan, complete with tasting room, is making canned wine products – like their most popular one, Sangria. A fizzy, lightly sweet version of the drink beloved by so many in Spain, this Sangria is a nice combination of fruit, dry wine and sweetness. Be aware of the calories, though. A single 12-ounce can packs a whopping 290 calories, so feel free to consider this dessert, even though it doesn’t taste overly sweet at all. A no-fuss way to chill your cocktail (or dessert) and bring it to the picnic or other outdoor celebration.

3. Pereg Natural Foods makes classic spice blends that are perfect to rub on your meat, poultry and even vegetables. They’re made from fresh, natural, 100% pure spices, and bring quality to your table that’s backed by more than 100 years of experience. Herewith a few examples:

  • Pereg’s Koobah starts with baharat, a ubiquitous Israeli and Mediterranean staple, and then adds warm layers of cinnamon, allspice, rose, nutmeg, and cardamom for a complex finish.
  • It wouldn’t be shish kabab without Kabab seasoning. Douse cubes of chicken, beef, or lamb liberally with Pereg’s hearty mash-up (paprika, black pepper, coriander, garlic, and cumin) and thread on skewers with vegetables of your choice.
  • Another food truck favorite, Shawarma is easy to make with Pereg’s perfect mixture of cumin, coriander, allspice, garlic, paprika, turmeric, and salt rubbed onto thin slices of chicken, beef, lamb, or turkey. Marinate a zipper top bag with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and red onion, and grill.
  • Traditional recipes for Moroccan Ras el Hanout seasoning call for up to 100 ingredients! You could make your own, but why not try Pereg’s intriguing blend of cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg, allspice, cumin, ginger, turmeric, cardamom, to enhance anything from burgers to brisket. A key component of soups, stews, and tagines, it can also be used a table-top condiment. Sprinkle it on vegetable dishes or even over popcorn for a punch of flavor.
Come on in for Carnivale cocktails

4. Carnivale Restaurant, 702 W. Fulton St. Things are heating up outside AND inside at Carnivale, where talented chefs and mixologists have created a new Lounge menu that features a Charcuterie Tabla, Sliders, Carnivale Mai-Tai, Jackie’s Daiquiri, and much more! Lounge open: Monday – Thursday from 4-10, Friday 4-11, Saturday 5-11, Sunday 5-9. *Every Weekday, enjoy Happy Hour from 4-6:30pm.

5. Cindy’s Rooftop, 12 S. Michigan Ave. Pride in Our Industry: An Afternoon of Drink & Discussion, on Sunday, June 23, from 11:30am to 1pm at The Tank on the building’s first floor. Chicago’s community of strong LGBTQ+ voices helps mold the city’s bar, restaurant, and events scene in innovative and progressive ways. Join us to hear from leading individuals in hospitality on how to create greater representation, produce intentionally progressive menus, and offer safe spaces for all guests to feel welcome. Try one of June’s featured cocktails: Fire Island Sunset – $16, made with Plantation 3-Star rum, Aperol, Manzanila sherry, lemon and love, and garnished with a rainbow umbrella. Best paired with the summer sunset over the terrace view. Queen of Hearts – $16, made with Plantation Xaymaca rum, Rhine Hall oak-aged plum brandy, Campari, and Cocchi di Torino. Perfect to celebrate Negroni Week (Monday 6/24 – Sunday 6/30), when a portion of proceeds is donated directly to the Greater Chicago Food Depository,

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3 Chicago restaurant news notes as we lumber into summer!

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  1. Blue Door Farm Stand, 2010 N. Halsted St., has red, white and blue pancakes for Memorial Day weekend. All day May 25 through 27, enjoy some red velvet pancakes with white yogurt sauce and blue blueberries.Num!!

Music Bar Bingo at Jake’s, Rush & SuperiorFor those who like the idea of games at the bar but hate the idea of thinking too much, come hang out and drink with your friends for Music Bingo – and win prizes! The game is almost exactly the same as regular Bingo, except we’ll play clips of popular songs rather than reading off letters and numbers. The music ranges from the 50’s to today’s top hits including fun themed rounds like 80’s rock, 90’s hits, and more! Music Bingo is free but pays out in real prices every single time. Upcoming Bar Bingo Dates June 11, 25 (partnering with 21st Amendment)

Torchio Pasta Bar, 738 N. Wells St. in River North, is now open serving authentic Italian-inspired cuisine. Chef/Owner Bill Varley says Torchio means “press” in Italian, and relates to both the vintage hand-crank pasta press and the torch-base pasta shape from Abruzzo. He and wife, Janice, traveled the country and studied with Nonnas from Venice to Palermo. Dinner menu examples: Baked Semolina Gnocchi, Bucatini Puttanesca with anchovies, capers, Gaeta olives, Spring Vegetable Pappardelle in a lemon basil butter sauce, Gemelli and Pesto with string beans and sautéed potatoes) and more. Dinner served 5-9pm T – Th and 5-10pm F and Sat – prices $9 to $32. Lunch service starts Friday, June 7.

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5 cool ChiTown food news bits for late spring 2019

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Okay, gradually we’re getting warmer… Well, some days, but it’s coming. But never fear, our great city has plenty of food and drink activities to keep you on the go no matter what the weather. So without further ado…

ZED451, 739 N. Clark St., celebrates 10 years in River North on Thursday, May 16, 5-11:30 pm. This authentic Brazilian steakhouse kicks off Chicago’s highly anticipated alfresco season with a Rooftop Launch Party featuring DJ music (8:30pm) with fabulous food and drink samples. Take in cool views of the city on their new rooftop and sample the ZED451 Experience by trying complimentary chef selections like charcoal-grilleld bottom sirloin and Moroccan chicken, along with samples of William Grant Hendrick’s Gin and ZED451 signature cocktails like Caipirinha or Leblon Spritz. A cash bar will also be available all night. Rooftop capacity is limited and the event is first come, first serve.

Nando’s PERi-PERi really appreciates teachers! They’re proving it this Teacher Appreciation Day, Tuesday, May 7, by offering teachers free flame-grilled chicken at all Nando’s restaurants. Any teacher, educator or school employee with a valid school ID is entitled to a free ¼ chicken entrée at Nando’s in Chicago and all across the 42 U.S. locations. The promotion is valid from opening (11am) to closing on May 7. No purchase necessary; sides sold separately.

Chicago City Markets! Next Thursday morning (May 9), COUNTRY Financial and the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) will announce the winner of the Chicago City Markets reusable bag design contest. The winner is a local high school student, and his/her artwork will be featured on more than 11,000 reusable bags that are given out at the market. The student and the first two runners-up will also receive scholarships from COUNTRY Financial. The finalists will be in attendance and are available for interviews and photos. This announcement will take place during the official kickoff of the Chicago City Markets on Thursday, May 9 at 9 a.m. at Daley Plaza. The reusable bags are free to patrons of the market. More info on the Chicago City Markets. More info on the Chicago City Markets Reusable Bag Design Contest

Mr. Maki, the latest from the team behind Ramen-San and Sushi-San, just rolled into Streeterville at 676 N. Saint Clair. New from LEYE, Mr. Maki offers quality fish with touches that make for unique takes on classic Japanese dishes. The Softshell Crab Maki with avocado and masago aioli is the team’s version of a spider roll; the Tempura Shrimp Roll gets a blast of spice with Korean gochujang and a sprinkling of black sesame. Spicy Tuna Roll at Mr. Maki includes avocado, cilantro and jalapeño. Their Super Combo Teishoku is a version of the home-style all-in-one meal found in local eateries throughout Japan. Mr. Maki’s teishoku sets come with a choice of a main dish plus roasted edamame, miso soup, a side and house salad. Choose from a variety of stir-fry, teriyaki, maki and sashimi.

Old St. Pat’s street fest. W. Monroe St. & S. DesPlaines. The 35th Annual World’s Largest Block Party (WLBP) is Chicago’s ultimate summer party, featuring fun music and entertainment for all ages, along with great food. Directions for getting there.

Friday, June 21 | 2-9:30pm. Live bands, great food and a dance party fill the evening.

  • 5—6pm Happy Hour with free admission. Otherwise $10 entry fee.
  • Bands: 5:15pm Stache, 8:15pm Hello Weekend
  • In the courtyard: 5:30–9:30pm the 50 and older crowd will dance to swing, jazz and groovin’ oldies provided by Burnell Music.

Saturday, June 22 | 2-10:30pm. Family activities and performers on tap.

  • 2–6pm. Block Party Kid family activities including bounce houses, balloon artists, games and snow cones! Live bands begin at 2 p.m., with plenty of music, food and drinks.
  • Attendees can cheer on the Jesse White Tumblers.
  • Bands: 2pm Motown Nation, 3:30pm Walk-Ins. 5:30pm Seventh Heaven, 8pm Sixteen Candle
  • Attendees can also take part in a bags tournament, starting at 6pm each evening, and try for cash and prizes.
  • Food trucks & food vendors provided by Old St. Pat’s Grill, Taste of the Philippines, Three Legged Taco, Bob CHA, Tacos Mario’s, Dinky Delights, Beaver Donuts
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Spring 2019 news from 6 more Chicago restaurants

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Spring is a great time in Chicago, made even more exciting by the special offerings and cool event venues in our fine city. Here are just 6 ideas for spicing up your springtime leisure: a new gourmet French restaurant in South Loop, a chef-inspired wine dinner in Lakeview, a graduation-party planning bonus, a  happy-birthday-
Rome dinner downtown, a street party raising funds for a cool Chicago ‘hood, and a tried-and-true Latin-inspired food and entertainment experience in the West Loop for your next gathering.
Grant Park Bistro chicken liver mousse

Grant Park Bistro, 800 S. Michigan, just opened in the Hotel Essex. This new French Bistro from LM Restaurant Group is daily serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, all featuring shareable French dishes like house-made terrines, quiches, and flatbreads along with grilled meat and seafood. French classics get new twists: Boeuf Bourguignon is made with braised beef cheek instead of brisket, and their Coq au Vin is simmered in white Vouvray (made with Chenin Blanc grapes) instead of red wine.

Your mouth will water when you read the breakfast/brunch menu, too. Check out the French-inspired beverage program, too. Happy hour specials Monday-Friday from 4-7pm in the bar area. Outdoor patio seating for 40 will be coming as the weather warms up. Reservations for Grant Park Bistro are available on Resy or by visiting grantparkbistro.com. And while you’re there, pick up a shamelessly decadent dessert at Petite Vanille, also open now in the hotel – pain au chocolate, almond croissants, French macarons and slices of Vanille signature cakes

mfk restaurant, 432 w. Diversey. On Monday April 29, come join a pair of James Beard-recognized chefs as they present a four-course family-style prix fixe menu highlighting fresh seafood, conservas and seasonal vegetables. Chef Alisha Elenz was recently announced as a James Beard award finalist for Rising Star Chef. At only 25 years old Elenz has worked her way up the ranks in the kitchen to lead this award-winning Michelin ranked Lakeview restaurant. This month she’s teaming up with another young female chef, Sarah Rinkavage (Marisol, Lulu Cafe), who was a 2018 finalist for the same award. One fun night of collaborative cooking will pay homage to the restaurants namesake, MFK Fisher. Tickets are $100 per person and include drink pairings and tax and gratuity.

Maggiano’s, any location, always a grand place to celebrate graduation – or any occasion – is offering a special bonus when you book a sumptuous family-style banquet for your larger circle of extended family and friends. Book your graduation or other celebration by June 30 and receive $50 in Be Our Guest cards for every $500 you spend in banquet events booked between May 1 and June 30. If you’d rather do your party in your own home or other space, Maggiano’s will cater it and give you a $25 Be Our Guest card for every $250 spent in catering booked between May 1 and June 30. Contact a Maggiano’s catering specialist.
Osteria via Stato Roman dinner

Osteria via Stato, 620 N. State St., by-the-way an LEYE restaurant, invites you to celebrate the birthday of the “eternal city” with a Roman Dinner on May 1, 6:30pm. You’ll start with passed Roman pizzas and go on to a four-course dinner featuring dishes that honor Roman cuisine, all served with wine and cocktail pairings for $65 ++. Reserve your spots here.

Pilsen Cantina Crawl returns on Saturday, May 4, `12 – 6 pm to celebrate Cinco de Mayo and support the year-long fundraising efforts for the community’s signature cultural event in August, Pilsen Fest. Sponsored by Banhez Mezcal, Cantina Crawl invites patrons to dress in Cinco de Mayo costume and either stroll or ride complimentary trolleys to 13 participating bar and restaurants offering live musical performances, specialty dishes and hand-crafted cocktails vying for best in the ‘hood honors. Participating Cantina Crawl 2019 venues include: Alula Brewpub, Caminos de Michoacán, Harbee Liquors & Tavern, Honky Tonk BBQ, La Luna, La Pulquería, La Vaca Margarita Bar, Monnie Burke’s, Punch House, Simone’s, The Barrel, La Mejikana, and the Twisted Cantina. Tickets are $35 at BrownPaperTickets.com.
Carnivale has event spaces for any size party

Carnivale, 702 W. Fulton Market, is another fabulous event space. From an intimate gathering of 10, to an extravagant 1,000-person event, Carnivale delivers exotic cuisine and exceptional service for every celebration.​ Their expert private dining team works closely with you to create a one-of-a-kind experience for you and your guests. They can accommodate a wide range of events in one of our 7 event spaces, from weddings and graduations to corporate parties and seminars. Full-venue buy-outs available for truly private events.

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6 Chicago restaurant news bytes for spring 2019

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Hubbard Inn “Mad Men” martinis

Well, we’re getting our first tastes of spring out there – the beginning of the best season for fun in this great city full of patios and decks and rooftop venues. But whether you’re inside or out, it’s a great time to celebrate the return of this joyous season – however brief it may be. So here are a few party and celebration ideas to get you started.

Estelle’s, 2013 W. North Ave. in Wicker Park, is hosting a Pre-Earth Day Fundraiser on Friday, April 19 starting at 5pm. Enjoy drink specials and a raffle with $1 from all drinks sold being donated to the Gardeneers, the only Chicago-based nonprofit providing school garden programs that give communities equal access to healthy food and food education. Try Estelle’s special $10 themed cocktail, The Green Thumb and munch on “green” menu items like Fried Pickles Spears ($7) and Southern Style Green Beans ($6.50), both served with chipotle ranch, while you play at the Earth Day DIY seed activity table from 6 to 9pm (while supplies last).

Hubbard Inn, 110 W. Hubbard. Happy hour every Monday – Friday from 4 to 7pm. If you’ve got a yen to relive the 60s, come bask in the bar’s “Mad Men”-themed happy hour. Watch 1960’s movies like James Bond, The Graduate, Sound of Music, West Side Story and The Good The Bad and the Ugly. Or sing along with 60s music favorites like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, The Beach Boys and Bob Dylan. Ad agency employees (proof of employment, please) enjoy 15% off their total bill. Other specials include:

  • $1 oysters on-the-half-shell or shucked clams
  • $2 shrimp cocktail, scallop crudo, or king crab legs
  • $3 oyster shooter
  • $5 Manhattans and Martinis
Jake Melnick makes craveable stuff

Jake Melnick’s, 41 E. Superior, is sporting Music Bar Bingo. Instead of reading off letters and numbers, listen to clips of popular songs. The music ranges from the 50’s to today’s top hits including fun themed rounds like 80’s rock, 90’s hits, and more. Music Bingo is free but pays out in real prizes every time. Jake’s partners with several beer companies for samples and awesome prices for upcoming Bar Bingo dates: April 9 & 23 (partnering with Half Acre); May 14, 28 (partnering with Lagunitas); June 11, 25 (partnering with 21st Amendment). Try these April specials while you’re playing or just enjoy: the Buffalo Chicken ($16.95); the Fiesta Wings ($13.95); Sriracha Chicken Mac ($12.95).

Kizuki, 1457 N. Halsted and 1482 N. Milwaukee, welcomes patrons on Monday, April 15 with a Tax Day special on all-you-can-eat unlimited refills of noodles added to any ramen order. Choose noodle type Chuka, Tonk, Tsukemen, Shirataki or Kale. Happy Hour from 5 to 7pm. A few Tax Day specials include: – $1 beers, one per person, with a signature ramen purchase (ask your server for specifics);- $3 Sake Bomb, $5 House sake; $5 House red/white wine; $7 Daily special sangria, $7 Momotoro, and several food specials.

Remedy Bar, 1910 N. Milwaukee, supports Earth Day on Monday, April 22, with an $8 “Sprouts Honor” gin cocktail. Bring friends, sip and watch episodes of Planet Earth on TV throughout the evening. A portion of proceeds from each cocktail will be donated to help kids become better students using project-based learning for STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) subjects via Project SYNCERE.

Wings galore! Throw calorie caution to the winds and come sample from dozens of wing experts at the 20th annual Chicago’s Best WingFest on Saturday, April 13, 2019 from 12 to 4pm. Watch Chicago Police Dept and Chicago Fire Dept contestants compete to eat the most. Credit Union 1 Arena (formerly known as UIC Pavilion at 525 S. Racine Ave.). After party! Elliot Bambrough is hosting it for $50 a person at 551 Live (551 N. Ogden Ave.), a new live music venue featuring Live Band Karaoke from 5 to 8 p.m. with $4 drink specials and a 551 Live swag giveaway. VIP tix also available. Visit https://wingfest.net.

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Greek family dining, Dr. Seuss party, and macarons for Special Olympics Chicago

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Always fun goings-on in the world of Chicago food and drink. Always a spotlight shining on some international holiday or special occasion or worthy cause. Below are three such items for your consideration. Happy can’t-make-up-its-mind weather!

Avli Taverna Barbeque Thursday

Avli Taverna, 1335 W. Wrightwood, is celebrating the annual Greek tradition of Tsiknopempti, otherwise known as “Barbeque Thursday,” on February 28 with a family-style dinner with seating’s at 6 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. Tsiknopempti always takes place on the Thursday of the week known as Kreatini, when large amounts of meat are traditionally grilled before the fasting leading up to Easter. The event is $60 per person and includes a welcome drink; appetizers including Santorini-Style Tomato Fritters; a family-style Grilled Meat Platter with Greek Sausage, Ouzo and Cumin Chicken Skewers, Lollipop Lamb Chops and Gourounopoulo (Rotisserie Pork);Bourani, a tomato risotto side dish; Kataifi Ekmek, a custard dessert; and three Kir-Yianni wines with dinner. To view the full menu and purchase tickets, visit the Eventbrite here.

Yolk Test Kitchen, 1767 N Milwaukee Ave., honors the birthday of beloved Dr. Suess on March 2. From 7am to 3pm, Yolk will serve for the first time a mini version of their regular fan-favorite menu item Green Eggs and Ham – free for children ages 12 and younger. Yolk Founder and Owner Taki Kastanis said they are constantly pushing the envelope with new and creative breakfasts, specialty juices and their own private label premium coffee in urban, upscale settings. Besides pancakes, Yolk puts its signature on dishes like gourmet five-egg rolled omelet, eggs Benedict, a wide range of skillets and scramblers, frittatas, crepes and many more scrumptious options, along with all-star menu items from the restaurant’s inventive Test Kitchen. For more information or to reserve at any Chicago location, visit www.eatyolk.com, download the Yolk app, or connect on Instagram and Facebook.

Vanille’s Special Olympics Chicago macaron

Vanille Patisserie (see their four locations) celebrates National Macaron Day on Wednesday, March 20 – the first day of spring. Ten percent of all in-store and online sales will benefit Special Olympics Chicago. Mention #BreakingDownBarriers at any Vanille location on National Macaron Day for a free French macaron. Check out Vanille’s new “Champion Box” of 12 macarons that includes a gold one (like the winning medal) and others that are embossed with the Special Olympics Chicago logo and inspirational words from the special athletes. Order beginning March 1 for shipping nationally and/or for delivery the week of March 20. For more information, vanillepatisserie.com or call a Patisserie Specialist at (773) 868-4574.

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News for lovers of BBQ, friends, chocolates and kids

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SWWAN celebrates Galentine’s Day!

Maybe you have a fun day/night planned with your SO for Valentine’s Day – there are a million places to celebrate in Chicago. But we also love the trend these days to call Valentine’s Day by another name – Galentine’s Day, in honor of all the fabulous single women who deserve holidays, too. See more about that at SWWAN.org (the Single Working Women’s Affiliate Network). And in further acknowledgement of the increasing number of people who are loving life on their own, some restaurants even do what they call Anti-VDay celebrations. And of course, there are always worthy fund-raising events to lift your spirit. So here is a small selection of events to consider for your dead-of-winter enjoyment.

BARBEQUE VALENTINE
Chicago q, 1160 N. Dearborn St., known for its mouthwatering house-smoked meats and effervescent Southern charm, will be serving something extra special on February 14. Celebrity chef Art Smith is offering a special Valentine’s Day Chef’s Board for Two: 1) Choice of appetizer (options like Fried Green Tomatoes with Habanero Ranch, Brisket Meatballs with Grits and Spray Fried Shallots and Creole Fried Alligator served with Greens and a housemade Remoulade.) Next up is a bountiful board featuring a variety of smoked meats plus two sides. Round out your dining experience with a decadent dessert and two complimentary cocktails for $100.

ANTI-VALENTINE’S DAY
To celebrate “one of the most romantic holidays [of the year],” Columbus Tap, 200 N Columbus Dr, is hosting an Anti-VDay Party Thursday, February 14, until 11:30pm. The elevated gastropub located at the Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park will offer a specialty menu and a 14% discount off any single person’s bill. Try these: The Burger for One, $21: Juicy Lucie – Cheddar stuffed 8oz patty, caramelized onion, lettuce, tomato, pickles, garlic aioli; Stupid Cupid Wings, $14: Honey Sriracha glazed chicken wings; or Non-Conversational Tart Heart, $10: Lemon candy coated, raspberry jelly filling, no bake cheesecake.

Fannie Mae Pixies – perfect for Galentine’s Day!

CHOCOLATES
At Fannie May’s flagship location, 343 N Michigan Ave. Master Chocolatier, Elliot Callahan creates over 100 different confections. Personalize your Valentine’s chocolate heart by selecting your favorites from over 60 different chocolate confections: e.g., Pixies – buttery smooth caramel and fresh pecans drenched in rich chocolate; Dixies, – buttery smooth caramel covered in pecans. And more, like Trinidads® and their most popular buttercreams, toffees and crunch nut clusters. Consider pairing chocolates and libations, and meanwhile, a couple of suggestions from their experts on that topic:

  • Be Adventurous: If you’re a whisky drinker, many bourbons and ryes feature oaky vanilla notes and baking spice flavors that pair well with caramel confections such as Pixies®. Prefer cocktails? Try a White Russian – it’s sweet, potent, and assertive which makes for a fun match with a May Cream or Trinidad®. Valentine’s Day is a sensual occasion, so indulge the senses.
  • Perfect Match: While many wines pair well with savory foods, the same rules don’t apply with chocolate. If you prefer white wine, try an ice wine or a sweet sparkling such as a Moscato d’Asti. These styles pair well with white chocolate and Vanilla Butter Creams. If you prefer red wine, try a port, sherry, or a sparkling red wine such as a Lambrusco that will stand up to richer confections like Trinidads®, May Creams, and Pixies®.
One North Pole is partying for critically ill kids

CHEFS PARTY FOR LOCAL KIDS’ CAUSE
Winter Wonderland party brings together 30+ celebrity chefs on Monday, March 4, 6:30 to 10:30pm, for demonstrations and food tastings in support of One North Pole’s mission to serve children with life-threatening illnesses and their families, and raise funds for the organization’s annual Winter Wonderland event. Location: Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, 5555 N. River Rd., Rosemont. Chefs include NFL and MLB All-Star Bo Jackson from Bo Jackson’s Signature Foods, 2019 Jean Banchet Award winner, Chef Michael Lachowicz from George Trois and Michelin Star Chefs Don Young and Sam Plotneck of Temporis.

TIckets are general admission or discounted group packages. VIP tickets also include a special early-access event from 5:30 to 6:30pm. Purchase tickets here. For more about ONP’s mission and how to volunteer or donate, visit www.operationnorthpole.org.

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Still looking? Consider these Chicago spots for NYE/NYD 2019

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Always fun to consider the possibilities for New Year’s Eve, even if you never actually go anywhere (like some of us). But it’s kind of exciting to read about all the things you could be doing if you actually stayed up that late… And then there’s all the cool places to eat and drink on New Year’s Day. Here are a few for your edification – starting with the most expensive and randomly afterwards in vague alphabetical order, but then there’s the big list of LEYE venues that starts a new alphabet. Best approach: look first for addresses that seem like where you’d like to go.

BTW, we are just publishing this without fine editing because, darn it, it’s already early New Year’s Eve and we wanna give you some time to peruse. If you find an error or something that needs to be fixed, apologies ahead of time.

STK and SNL Experience team up, 9 W. Kinzie (near 360 N. State St.) for a Chicago NYE experience. With the purchase of a general admission ticket ($150), you get access to The Museum of Broadcast on the 4th floor of 9 W. Kinzie Street from 9pm – 1am on Dec. 31. DJ Mach 1 will be spinning from the set of SNL and attendees can enjoy an open bar, STK hors d’oeuvres and a champagne toast while watching a live stream of the famed NYC ball drop. Say you want to be a bit extra and cap off 2018 in style, bottle service packages for you and your crew on NYE include:

  • Second City Table package ($1,000, up to 6 guests per table):
    Brooklyn and/or Queens Table package ($4,000, up to 8 guests per table)
  • Live from NY and Chicago Stage package ($5,000, up to 8 guests per table)
  • Turd Ferguson Here Is Jeopardy Stage package ($6,000, exclusive stage party for 12)

Eataly Chicago, 43 E. Ohio St., is hosting its annual all-inclusive New Year’s Eve Party on December 31st from 9pm – 12:30am. Your ticket includes food from three of Eataly’s restaurants, including the seasonal Alpine restaurant, BAITA. Think: unlimited fresh pasta & risotto, pizza napoletana, arancini, mozzarella, and focaccia alongside bottomless red, white and sparkling Italian wines. There will also be tons of panettone and pandoro, pans of tiramisu and more. A live band and DJ will perform throughout the evening, and at midnight, a toast to ring in 2019!

aliveOne, 2683 N. Halsted. Monday, December 31 – $75 per person before December 15; $80 per person after December 15. FREE Admission to front bar only. Ring in the new year with an all-inclusive package from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. The package includes access to aliveOne’s private back room, a drink package with top shelf liquor, beer, wine and Red Bull, and a food buffet. Guests will enjoy a champagne toast at midnight and DJ sets from Boathouse all night. The front room at aliveOne will be open with no cover all night. For NYE tickets, visit http://aliveone.com/event/aliveones-new-years-eve-party/.

Arun’s Thai Restaurant, 4156 N. Kedzie. Monday, December 31; open at 5 p.m. $150 per person for 12-courses (food only). Enjoy a flavorful and visually stunning multi-course New Year’s Eve dinner of 12 artfully crafted Thai delicacies and a pour of champagne preceded by a complimentary amuse-bouche in the kitchen with world-renowned and James Beard award-winning chef Chef Arun Sampanthavivat. Enjoy bubbly cocktails in addition to their Thai-influenced drink program – $15 cocktails like the Black Thai Affair (muddle blackberries and Thai basil, Lillet Blanc, Caorunn Gin, lemonade, topped with prosecco and garnished with blackberry and Thai basil). $10 mocktails like the Seasonal Virgin Sour (cucumber and watermelon puree, house-made sour mix, egg white, lavender and melon kombucha) and more. RSVP by calling (773) 539-1909, on OpenTable or by visiting www.arunsthai.com.

HERE’S THE BEYOND PART…
Carnivale, 701 W. Fulton, located in prime West Loop territory, has a week-after-New Year’s Day brunch idea – come in your PJs!! How fun is that? Skip the craziness for NYD and come out on Sunday January 6, 10:30am – 3pm. Come with your brunch squad dressed in your Sunday Best PJs (you get a complimentary mimosa if you do!) and indulge in comfort food and drink for the annual Pajama Brunch! Enjoy signature brunch items including Pork Belly Benedict – Bay’s English muffin, spinach, poached eggs, red eye hollandaise, papas bravas, smoked pork belly and Skirt ‘n Eggs – Wood grilled skirt steak, two farm fresh fried eggs, chimichurri. A kid-friendly menu is also available. Adults (21+) can warm up at the Hot Chocolate Station featuring Kahlua, Frangelico and Baileys Irish Cream.

Commonwealth Tavern, 2000 W Roscoe St. in Roscoe Village. Monday, December 31 from 8pm to 1am. New Year’s Eve party for $60 per person includes microbrew drafts, domestic bottles, call drinks, wine, an appetizer buffet, party favors and a champagne toast at midnight. For tickets, visit here.

The Crystal Gardens, 700 E. Grand Ave. at Navy Pier. Monday, December 31 from 9pm to 1:30am. Admission starts at $99 per person; VIP Tickets start at $149. Reserved Guaranteed VIP Tables start at $199 per person. Enjoy one of the city’s best New Year’s Eve venues with its opulent setting featuring a one-acre botanical garden inside a six-story glass atrium. General Admission tickets include premium top shelf drinks and a Phil Stefani Signature Restaurants food station from 9pm to 1:30am with 20+ premium liquor bars, red carpet with step and repeat, party favors, and a champagne toast at midnight. Enjoy music from Chicago’s DJ Dante as well a premier view of the midnight fireworks show from a private terrace for guests of the Crystal Gardens only. Party-goers will also receive an official after-party wristband.

Guests can opt for VIP tickets, starting at $149, to enjoy all the benefits of general admission tickets plus express admission at 8:30 p.m., separate VIP express entry line, first chance to get tables, a special gift and more. Reserved Guaranteed VIP tables start at $199 per person and guests receive a VIP ticket plus a guaranteed table for two to eight people and one to four bottles of champagne based on the table size purchased. To purchase tickets, visit here.

EASY BAR, 1944 W Division St., Monday, December 31 ring in the new year with an all-inclusive package from 8pm to 1am. Includes a midnight toast featuring Taco Bell tacos paired with a glass of champagne. Includes private access to the back room, top shelf liquor, beer, wine, Red Bull, food buffet, and a DJ all night. Get tickets here – $75 per person until December 15 ($80 after December 15). The front bar at Easy Bar will be FREE and open to the public from 8pm to 2am with no dress code.

ESTELLE’S, 2013 W North Ave. Come for free on Monday, Dec. 31 (5pm to 4am with no cover or dress code). Optional drink package (7pm to 1am) for $65 per person until Dec. 15 ($70 per person after Dec. 15) includes top shelf liquor, beer, wine and Red Bull. Estelle’s will have DJ Dan Maloney spinning tunes and a champagne toast at midnight. Estelle’s menu will be available a la carte all night. Limited table reservations are available. Get tickets here.

Hubbard Inn, 110 W. Hubbard. Monday, Dec. 31 ring in the new year in River North with complimentary champagne from 8 – 9pm, a hosted bar from 9pm to 1am, passed hors d’oeuvres, DJ, party favors and a champagne toast at midnight. Tickets here (starting at $50 per person)

Joy District, 112 W. Hubbard. Party here for NYE and receive a complimentary brunch next day to celebrate the new year. General admission (starting at $75 and going higher as the date nears) premium bar package (9pm to 1am). Enjoy passed hors d’oeuvres from Executive Chef Jason Hedin, access to a hosted champagne bar from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., access to both floors including the nightclub, live music from Chicago’s top DJ’s, a champagne toast at midnight, and more. VIP tables with bottle service are also available. For complete ticket information and pricing, visit https://www.eventstand.com/events/joynye2019. For information on VIP tables or rooftop igloo reservations, email nye@joychicago.com. All guests who purchase tickets will receive complimentary brunch at Parlay on Tuesday, January 1.

Kizuki Ramen and Izakaya, 1482 N Milwaukee Ave. in Wicker Park, offers a $1 sake bomb special up to New Year’s Eve. Pair yours with over 10 bowls of ramen. Highlights include Tonkotsu Shoyu Ramen (rich pork broth flavored with Yamaguchi soy sauce, topped with black garlic oil), and Yuzu Shio Ramen (French sea salt, kelp and Japanese citrus based).

Remedy, 1910 N. Milwaukee, right between Bucktown and Logan Square, presents a New Year’s all-inclusive package from 7pm to 1am. The $80 package includes top shelf liquor, beer, wine, Red Bull, a food buffet, a champagne toast at midnight and a DJ Delayney spinning all night. For tickets, visit http://remedybarchicago.com/event/remedys-new-years-eve-party/. Starting at 1 a.m., Remedy will open to the public for the New Year’s after party until 4 a.m.

Roanoke Restaurant, 135 W. Madison St. in the heart of the Loop, invites you to celebrate on Monday, December 31 from 3pm until 11 for only $44 per person. Indulge in a festive three-course menu created by Executive Chef Greg Elliott, including a Supper Club Prime Rib, Herb Crusted Pork Chop, Linguine Puttanesca and more. Featured wines for the evening will include J Vineyard Pinot Noir ($12 glass, $48 bottle), Wente Cabernet ($13 glass, $52 bottle), Martin Codax Albarino ($10 glass, $40 bottle), plus a complimentary champagne toast at midnight.

The Owl, 2521 N. Milwaukee, is open to the public on New Year’s Eve from 6pm to 4am with no cover. Optional all-inclusive $75 package from 7pm to 1am includes top shelf liquor, beer, wine, Red Bull and a food buffet, plus a compimentary champagne toast at midnight as well as DJ Adam Luksetich spinning all night. For tickets,
http://owlbarchicago.com/event/owls-new-years-eve-party/.

Tuscany, 1014 W. Taylor, offers New Year’s Eve dinner specials created by Executive Chef Victorio Padilla, plus complimentary party favors and a champagne toast at midnight. The regular menu will also be available and reservations are highly recommended.

Victory Tap, 1416 S. Michigan Ave. and Victory Italian, 434 W. Ontario, offer their regular menu and a huge welcome to NYE diners – as perfect for couples as it is for groups of friends/family.

Weber Grill, 539 N. State St., offers $45 to $80 food and drink Chef specials for pre-party dinner on New Year’s Eve. Consider Winter Green Salad (caramelized apples, dried cranberries, blue cheese, candied pecans, white balsamic vinaigrette; $6), Grilled NY Strip with Wild Mushrooms (12-ounce center cut, miso butter, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, broccolini; $34), Lamb Chops Provencal (rib chops, seasoned bread crumbs, red wine demi glaze, asparagus, parmesan truffle mashed potatoes; $36), Grilled Gulf Shrimp (ancho chile butter sauce, fried garlic, crispy marble potatoes, cebollitas, grilled bread; $26). For dessert, indulge in an Eggnog Cheesecake (bourbon caramel sauce, fresh whipped cream; $6).

LEYE is always giving Frequent Diners chances to earn extra points.
NYE or NY celebrations at LEYE spots are another great opportunity!

New Year’s Eve

Aba, 302 N. Green St. 3rd floor. Toast to 2019 from 4pm – 12 am (bar open til 2am) with craft cocktails and wines served alongside festive dinner specials including Lamb Osso Bucco with hand rolled saffron couscous and Greek Orzo with winter black truffles. Keep the celebrations going until midnight with complimentary pours of champagne. Aba menu.

Booth One – Hot Doug’s New Year’s Eve Party in Library Bar, 1301 N. State Parkway. For one night only from 4pm – 9pm, Hot Doug’s is popping up at the Library Bar at the Ambassador Chicago for a “no jackets” party! Ring in 2019 with legendary Chicago sausage connoisseur, Doug Sohn of Hot Doug’s and the team at Booth One. Enjoy a night of unlimited gourmet sausages including the signature Foie Gras and Sauternes Duck Sausage with Truffle Aioli and Foie Gras Mousse, the legendary duck fat fries from Hot Doug’s, plus creations like the Alligator Sausage with Crayfish Remoulade and Jarlsberg Cheese, a cash bar with all cocktails, wine and beer under $10 and a live DJ set with a playlist curated by Doug. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Intonation Music Workshop, which supports music education for Chicago youth. Price: $100 per person, plus tax (gratuity not included)

Booth One – Dinner & Disco Party (Booth One Dining Room), 1301 N. State Parkway. 5-8pm and 9-11pm, take your pick of two New Year’s Eve dinner parties. Groups will be treated to a prix-fixe menu packed with our top dishes from 2018, plus new menu additions. Start your night with a Seafood Collection Tower, proceed to entrées like the Dover Sole with Sauce Americaine. The early dinner seating at 5pm will also have a live jazz ensemble. The later dinner seating at 9pm includes a disco party with party favors and a champagne toast at midnight. Price: Early Dinner Seating at 5:00 PM is $65 per person, Later Dinner Seating at 9:00 PM is $105 per person

Bub City – River North, 435 N. Clark St. Brunch 10am – 3pm; NYE Party 9pm – 2am. BBQ brunch from 10am – 3pm and dinner from 5pm – 9pm. Starting at 9pm, enjoy beer-and-wing specials plus a live performance by Jake Dodds. Celebrating with a group? Nab one of the booth packages (limited availability) that includes premium drinks, a bottle of Prosecco, BBQ favorites and festive party favors. Bub City menu.

Nacional 27, 325 W. Huron. Dine, drink and dance your way to the new year from 5:30pm to 2am. Savor a Brazilian Churrascaria feast featuring dishes like BBQ’d Lamb Tacos, Roasted Corn Fundido and Grilled Steak, Shrimp and Scallop Skewers. Dance and toast to 2019 with a midnight balloon drop – plus the sultry sounds salsa, bachata and meringue by DJ X until 2am. Price: $39.99 plus tax (gratuity not included) for the seating from 6pm – 7:30pm / $99 plus tax (gratuity not included) for a seating from 7:30pm – 10pm which includes a champagne toast. Nacional 27 menu.

Naoki Sushi, 2300 N. Lincoln Park West, Suite N. Celebrate from 5pm – 10:30pm with the full menu of Japanese small plates, nigiri, rolls, plus a selection of Naoki-style sashimi like, Scallop, black truffle, yuzo or Toro Tartare, caviar. Chef Naoki will feature Japanese specialties including Beef Filet with wasabi chimichurri and Roasted Halibut with wasabi miso. Dinner includes a special amuse and Champagne toast. Naoki Sushi menu.

Ramen-san – River North & Fulton Market. New Year’s Eve, 11am – 1am (last seating at 12am),  come for the beef in the form of the ultra-special Wagyu & Black Truffle Ramen. Enjoy bowls of piping hot noodles, perfectly chilled Asahi beer and a complimentary sake bomb waterfall at midnight. Ramen-san menu.

Shaw’s Crab House – Chicago, 21 E. Hubbard. Bid 2018 goodbye from 9am – 12am at Shaw’s: brunch from 9am – 2pm enjoy a full seafood spread of oysters, sushi, king crab legs and more. Dinner in the Main Dining Room from 4:30pm – 12am, treat yourself to their Signature Whole Maine Lobster Dinner big enough for two: 5-pound, hard-shelled Maine Lobster served tableside along with au gratin potatoes and creamed spinach. The Oyster Bar will be open for dinner from 1pm – 12am. Price: Brunch is $75 for adults, $15 for kids ages 7 – 12 plus tax (gratuity not included) and free for kids under 6; Whole Maine Lobster Dinner is $170 plus tax (gratuity not included)

Studio Paris, 59 W. Hubbard. NYE party from 9pm – 2am. Dress to the nines and ring in the New Year at Studio Paris Nightclub. Enjoy a DJ set by special guest Jerzy, nosh on a lavish dinner of passed heavy hors d’oeuvres, indulge in a premium bar package and mingle with other black-tie partygoers. Studio Paris’ New Year’s Eve party.

Three Dots and a Dash, 435 N. Clark St. (but enter through the back alley) to get to this tiki hideaway. Ring in 2019 with a tropical luau featuring signature cocktails and music by DJ Lani Love. Opt for a GA ticket, which includes guaranteed entry plus five tiki cocktails, or reserve a table or booth that adds on appetizers for your party. 9pm – 1am. Three Dots New Year’s Eve party

New Year’s Day

Beatrix River North, Streeterville & Fulton Market. Both locations feature the Beatrix brunch from 8am – 3pm. Order up a Spicy Bloody Mary or Boozy Banana Joe and enjoy brunch favorites like Green Chili Enchiladas, House-Made Belgian Style Waffles, the Mushroom & Quinoa Burger and a side of Brown Sugar Bacon. Beatrix menu.

Bub City – River North. Kick off 2019 than with Bub City’s daytime brunch and late-night karaoke! First, enjoy the classic Southern brunch menu, build-your-own Bloody Mary Bar and live music from 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM, plus wing specials and $15 pitchers of Modelo and Bud Light all day. Keep the New Year party going into the late-night hours with Industry Karaoke starting at 10pm – 2am. Bub City menu.

Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba!, 2024 N. Halsted. NYD from 9am – 10pm you can start 2019 with their Build-Your-Own-Bloody Mary Bar! From 9am -3pm, dine in your pajamas and receive a Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba! gift card equal to the price of your meal plus tax (gratuity not included), to use on a future visit. Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba! menu.

Hub 51, 51 W. Hubbard. From 10am to 3pm recover from the New Year’s festivities with an all-you-can-eat brunch buffet featuring brunch classics (think Brioche French Toast), more modern takes like chilaquiles and a sushi station, plus a Craft Bloody Mary & Mimosa Bar for $8 per trip. Price: $36 per person ($15 for children 12 and under), plus tax (gratuity not included). Hub 51 menu.

Mon Ami Gabi – Chicago, 2300 N. Lincoln Park West. NYD dinner from 4pm – 8:30pm come enjoy your first meal of 2019 from their  tantalizing French dinner with menu items like the Prime Steak Frites and fresh seafood favorites like Mussels Mariniér and Trout Almondine drenched in brown butter. Toast the new year from their signature rolling wine cart that features over 80 boutique French wines served by the glass or bottle. Mon Ami Gabi – Chicago menu.

Ramen-san – River North & Fulton Market. Both locations offer steaming bowls of ramen on NYD from 11am to 12am to nurse yourself back to health after New Year’s Eve . Enjoy Japanese-inspired cocktails and a selection of ramen while listening to ‘90s throwback jams. For those not ready to leave your couch, let Ramen-san bring the meal to you! Ramen-san menu.

Shaw’s Crab House – Chicago, 21 E. Hubbard St. From 10am – 3pm
nurse your New Year’s Eve hangover with $6 Bloody Mary’s (normally priced at $15). All brunch diners will receive a gift card for $20.19 to be used towards a future visit. Price: $75 for adults, $15 for kids ages 7 – 12 plus tax (gratuity not included) and free for kids under 6.

Stella Barra Pizzeria, 1954 N. Halsted, from 9am – 2pm, dine in your pajamas and receive a gift card equal to the price of your meal (minus tax and gratuity) to use on a future visit. It’s the best way to start 2019: Endless Egg Enchiladas, Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding, Smokey Bacon Mac ‘n’ Cheese, Short Rib Hash and more along with $5 Bloody Marys, Mimosas and Bellinis. Stella Barra menu.

Tokio Pub, 1900 E. Higgins Rd., Schaumburg, is serving New Year’s Day lunch and dinner. Nosh on Pork Belly Steamed Buns with hoisin glaze, Bahn mi slaw, and Fresno pepper or the Steak Tacos made with soy garlic-marinated sirloin, roasted tomato salsa, and pickled ginger. In addition, New Year’s Day is our monthly Check Match Promotion! Receive a gift card in the amount of your food and beverage portion of your meal to be used on a future visit. View Tokio Pub NYE Lobster Bash menu.

New Year’s Eve – Monday, Dec. 31

Ada St., 1664 N. Ada St.–, offers “Guilty Pleasures” from 9pm to 1am. Celebrate 2019 with a night of “luxury, gluttony and guilty pleasures.” $85 each ticket includes general admission with passed hors d’oeuvres and a welcome cocktail. Prepared by Executive Chef Ryan Bair, passed offerings will include crispy potato blinis with creme fraiche and Hackleback caviar; fried pacific oyster banh mi with daikon, carrot and kimchee; North Atlantic salmon gravlax with mustard dill sauce and brioche; foie gras torchon with apricot, fleur de sel and country bread; duck confit macaroni and cheese; and roasted beef tenderloin with horseradish cream and truffle mashed potatoes, among other offerings. Brie, bacon and apricot grilled cheese sandwiches will be served as an after-midnight snack. For tickets, visit the event page here. (773-697-7069)

DMK Burger Bar Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave, rings in the New Year with Navy Pier’s extravagant firework displays for all guests who can celebrate from 7pm to 1am. $45 per adult and $25 per child includes general admission and access to the restaurant’s “Best of Chicago” buffet featuring Chicago-style mini hot dogs; Italian beef sandwiches; Polish sausage and hot link bites; Chicago-style fried shrimp served with horseradish cocktail sauce; DMK cheeseburger sliders; salt & pepper French fries; pretzels with Merkts cheddar and brown mustard; and County BBQ’s smoked chicken wings.  Call for tickets 312-624-8017. The web page link to buy has disappeared.

Fish Bar, 2956 N. Sheffield Ave. in Lakeview will welcome the New Year with a prix-fixe dinner and a champagne toast, priced at $55 per person. Appetizer selections will include five oysters served on half shell or shrimp scampi served with garlic bruschetta. The second course is an option between New England clam chowder or winter salad, served with hearty greens, sundried tomato vinaigrette, goat cheese and almonds. For the entrée, guests may choose between fish & chips, served with Icelandic beer battered cod, French fries, tartar sauce and coleslaw; a lobster roll, served with tater tots and coleslaw, for an additional $10; or the Alaskan King Crab, served with potatoes and Brussels sprouts, for an additional $15. Dessert options include key lime pie or pecan pie. Attendees may choose to dine at 6 p.m. or 8:30 p.m. and tickets are available by visiting the event page. (773-687-8177)

Henry’s and The Rec Room, located in River North, will host a New Year’s Eve celebration from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Starting at $65, general admission tickets include a “bottomless cup,” as well as dancing, party favors and a midnight buffet. The Bottomless Blue package includes unlimited draft beer, red wine and white wine, priced at $65 a ticket; the Bottomless Red package includes unlimited draft cocktails, draft beer, red wine and white wine, priced at $80 a ticket; and the Bottomless Yellow package includes unlimited mixed and house spirits, draft cocktails, draft beer, red wine and white wine, priced at $100. Table reservations, starting at $400, include guaranteed seating and bottle service with Tito’s vodka and prosecco. Table packages sold separately. General admission tickets required for all guests . To reserve a table, email events@dmkrestaurants.com, and to purchase general admission tickets, visit the event page. (312-955-8018)

Marshall’s Landing, 18 W. Hubbard St., located inside the MART, will kick off 2019 with a New Year’s Eve celebration starting at 9 p.m. In collaboration with Green Curtain Events, the party will offer premium drink packages, food prepared by Chef Michal Kornick, party favors, a celebratory champagne toast with a midnight countdown to be enjoyed with views of Chicago’s river and skyline, dancing, music by Kysia Live, a DJ and more. General admission tickets start at $80 per person, with table packages starting at $250. Food selections will include an array of passed hors d’oeuvres, in addition to a pasta bar featuring cheese tortellini with alfredo sauce and mint pesto; baked penne arrabbiata with mushrooms, parmesan and basil; and “make your own” bruschetta with tomato and basil, marinated mushrooms and mozzarella with Calabrian chiles and parsley. Guests may also opt for the gourmet taco bar featuring chicken with cilantro and steak with onion, served with poblano chilis, mushrooms, bell peppers, chipotle pepper salsa and tomatillo salsa verde. For dessert, fresh Rice Krispie Treats and blondies will be served. To purchase a general admission ticket, visit MarshallsLanding.com, and for table reservations and packages, call 312.579.3637 or reach out to Matt@greencurtainevents.com. (222 W. Merchandise Mart Plaza/312-610-8050)

County BBQ, 1352 W. Taylor St. offers dinner in a more casual setting, serving its popular smoked barbeque selections and cocktails. (312-929-2528)

New Year’s Day – Tuesday, Jan. 1

DMK Burger Bar Lakeview, 2954 N. Sheffield Ave. – New Year’s Day beginning at 10am, kick off 2019 with a pajama brunch. In addition to DMK’s regular menu, a special brunch menu will include the Waffle Burger, made with a sausage patty, fried egg and maple syrup; poutine with fries, cheddar cheese curds and pork carnitas gravy; and a fried egg sandwich with cheese, bacon and sausage, among other offerings. Bottomless mimosas, sparkling wine cocktails, raspberry bellinis and Cape Cod-style Bloody Marys will also be available. (773-360-8686)

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Cookies, food and fun at 13 Chicago holiday connections

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Carnevale Restaurant is here to get you in the holiday spirit. Mark your calendar for these fun events: Sundays, December 9 and 16, bring the family and join Mr. & Mrs. Claus and Christmas carolers for a holiday brunch buffet 10:30 – 3pm. Buffet stations include paella, meat carving, tacos, desserts & more. Adults $45, kids 5 to 12 $15 each. December 31 ring in the New Year with The Greatest Showman Celebration. $85 prix fixe menu. Reservations here (required for New Year’s Eve).

Warm Belly tin o’ cookies

Cookies? Yes! Warm Belly Bakery (West Loop and Lincoln Park) just launched its Monster cookie for the holiday. Even bigger than their regular, really big 1/4-lb cookies, the Monster is a 1/2-lb sugar cookie – made with Chef/Owner Joe Dela Pena’s secret “How’d you get it to taste like cookie dough?” recipe – with bits of Snickers®, Twix®, M&Ms® and Butterfingers®. In partnership with Big Monster Toys Company (on Racine Ave. right around the corner from WBB’s West Loop location at 1148 W. Monroe), Warm Belly is donating a portion of proceeds from the sale of all Monster cookies to help the toy company’s charitable efforts for kids at the University of Chicago’s Comer’s Children Hospital. Good reason to bust yourself on a Monster cookie this holiday. But don’t stop there. Buy a mixed dozen in a tin and try to keep from eating more than a 50-calorie bite at a time. We dare you.

More cookies! Publican Quality Meats lets you pick from a selection of chef-driven holiday cookies from the top pastry talents in the U.S. From December 10 to 24 a portion of the proceeds help local nonprofit Deborah’s Place provide interim and permanent supportive housing to women in need throughout Chicago.

Remington’s (20 N. Michigan Ave.) will host a Santa Brunch on Sunday, December 9 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Brunch options include Prime Rib Hash with two eggs over easy, peppers, cilantro and chipotle sour cream ($16) and Lobster Deviled Eggs with three halves loaded with lobster and lobster oil ($12). To view the full menu and make a reservation visit the website or call 312-782-6000.

Smoke Daddy brunch

Smoke Daddy (1804 W. Division St. and 3636 N. Clark St.) celebrates Santa Family-Style Brunch Sunday, Dec.16, 11 to 2pm. And try their holiday catering options: House-Smoked Whole Turkey (11 lb., $65; 20 lb., $9), Pulled Whole Turkey (1 lb., $16) and Glazed Ham, a bone-in, smoked ham with a sweet mojo glaze (half, $69). Sides include Cornbread Stuffing with sausage and spices ($10 per quart); Brussels Sprouts oven-roasted with a lemon butter sauce ($10 per quart); and Green Bean Casserole ($10 per quart). Desserts like Pecan Pie ($25) and Pumpkin Pie  ($19) round out the menu.  Christmas orders must be made by Wednesday, December 19. Items will be picked-up cold with re-heating instructions. Call 773-772-1697 to place an order for either location. Smoke Daddy is also offering its signature sauces and mix in gift sets ($18 or $35) that include BBQ sauces, Smokin’ Bloody Mary mix, Mojo Spice rub and a Smoke Daddy Koozie. Visit either location – Wicker Park or Wrigleyville to pick-up the sets or order online.

Tuco and Blondie (3358 N. Southport) has turned its patio into a festive Christmas tree farm with family-owned McCluskey Tree Farms now through Monday, December 25. Hours: Monday to Friday from 4 to 10pm and Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 10pm. Prices range from $11 to $17 per foot depending on tree type. Saturday, December 8 from 9 to noon, meet the tree farmer Dan McCluskey and take pictures with Santa. Try a Tuco Hot Cider with apple cider, mezcal, butterscotch schnapps and agave ($8) to warm your spirit! 773-327-8226.

Bistronomic, 840 N. Wabash, celebrates Hanukkah from now through Monday, December 10 with a three-course, prix fixe dinner menu for $39. Choose from three select appetizers, entrees and desserts. Call 312-955-8400 or visit the website.

Chiya Chai will be at Chicago’s Christkindlmarket (50 W. Washington St.) at booth number 14 until Monday, December 24 serving their signature chai as well as Mini Chai Donuts (12 for $7); Chicken Masala and Kale Potato Savory Pies ($8.50); Apple, Blueberry and Pumpkin Spice Sweet Pies ($10); Masala Curry Fries ($5); and Chiya Chili Potatoes ($5).

Back at Chiya Chai’s home location, 2770 N. Milwaukee, look for nine-inch savory pies to-go, perfect for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Options include the Chicken Masala, Chicken Balti and Curried Kale and Potato. Pies are $20 – place your order by Thursday, December 20 and pick up at the café on Sunday, December 23. Order by calling 773-360-7541. Also consider a chai gift set for $35 (three bags of tea leaves and one bottle of concentrated chai). Pick up from 11am to 10pm any day. Call 773-360-7541 ahead to confirm availability.

Avli Taverna (1335 W. Wrightwood Ave.) Lincoln’s Park newly opened contemporary Greek restaurant, is offering a variety of Greek gift baskets perfect for the coffee lover, home chef or foodie in your life. Order by email info@avli.us either your prepared basket or your customized selections. Choose from Greek goods such as cookies, oregano, chickpeas, lentils, olive oils and sesame sticks, all also available at Avli Taverna as a part of their Agora To-Go program. Gift baskets include: Kalimera “Good Morning Basket” ($30), Deluxe version ($50). Make-Your-Own Lentil Soup Basket ($30). Make-Your-Own Yiouvetsi Basket (orzo, olive oil, tomato paste and recipe ($30), and more.

Brewpoint Coffee (124 W. Park Ave Elmhurst, IL; 617 N. York Ave., Elmhurst, IL) , a cafe and roastery, is offering a variety of gift sets including the Brewpoint Brewer Box featuring two 12-ounce coffee blends and a pour over brewer ($60-$75); the Eco-friendly Box featuring two 12-ounce coffee blends in bio-tre packaging, a metal straw and a Brewpoint tumbler ($60-75); the Female Empowerment Box featuring two 12-ounce coffee blends from women producers ($35); and the Brewpoint Flight Box featuring four of Brewpoint’s coffee blends including the Holiday Blend, Stargazer and two single origins ($65). Guests may order online at brewpointcoffee.com beginning Thursday, November 15. Call 224-254-7134.

Imperfect Produce, a delivery service that sells odd-looking but perfectly edible produce, is on a social mission to eliminate food waste, help farmers benefit from a full harvest and make healthy fruits and vegetables more accessible and affordable. The produce subscription is perfect for busy families, fitness enthusiasts, young professionals, vegetarians, meal prep lovers and more in the Chicagoland area. Each customized box is filled with a variety of organic or conventional ugly fruits and vegetables priced at 30 to 50 percent below grocery rates. To check Imperfect’s delivery areas visit imperfectproduce.com/join.

Acanto Restaurant + Wine Bar, 18 S. Michigan, celebrates the “Feast of the Seven Fishes” with specials from December 16-24. Also known as “The Vigil” (or fasting day), Italians abstain from eating red meat until Christmas Day and instead, eat an abundance of seafood leading up to the holiday. Check out Chef Chris Gawronski’s specials: grilled Spanish sardines imported from Holland; clams and mussels cooked to order stuffed in ravioli that offers a true taste of the ocean; spicy swordfish puttanesca; grilled lobster paired with a sweet passito wine sauce; and the Pulpo a la Siciliana, a popular Sicilian street cart snack turned gourmet with confit potato and Meyer lemon. Something different every day until December 22 (through December 24) – Zuppa dei sette pesci, served for two, $48.

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