Category Archives: dinner

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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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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Late fall news at these 6 Chicago restaurants – and more

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November 20, Yūgen, the highly anticipated Japanese Restaurant helmed by Chef Mari Katsumara…announces reservations now open to book for the opening on Tuesday, November 20! Guests will be able to book online reservations via Open Table to experience the restaurant’s tasting menu focusing on contemporary Japanese cuisine. Yūgen will be open for dinner service starting five nights a week (Tuesday through Thursday from 5-9:30pm and Friday through Saturday from 5-10:30pm) More information and reservations may be found by calling (312) 265-1008 or opentable.com.

November 12 – 27, in honor of Giving Tuesday (November 27th), Bar Allegro, named one of Michigan Avenue’s “Coolest Hotel Bars in Chicago,” will be shaking up a special fall cocktail, Autunno, for Snow City Arts (SCA). SCA is a non-profit that provides art therapy and instruction to children in hospitals. Enjoy the inspired “Autunno” hand-crafted cocktail for $12. $2 from each cocktail sold will be donated to SCA on Giving Tuesday. (Note: all other signature cocktails at Bar Allegro are priced at $13). Chic, Art Deco-inspired Allegro Bar is on the second floor lobby of the Kimpton Hotel Allegro at 171 W. Randolph. SCA will also pop-up during the hotel’s daily Wine Hour (5-6PM) on Giving Tuesday to sell artwork with proceeds donated to their non-profit.

Wednesday, November 21 the Korean restaurant Passerotto, home of fun, approachable small plates from Chef Jennifer Kim, is hosting a wine bar pop-up in lieu of their regular service. Podopop – from Korean for grape (podo) and pop-up – opens to the public at 5pm featuring wines from Beaujolais made with its local grape Gamay. 5 for $15 or individual wines by the glass, in addition to Passerotto’s regular selection. On December 2 they’ll be hosting a Winter Market at the restaurant from 12-7pm. Local artists (many of whom are also members of the Passerotto team) will be popping up in the space selling a variety of handmade wearables, jewelry, sculptures, artwork, stationary, floral arrangements, beauty products and food items. Neighboring wine shop, In Fine Spirits, will also be joining in on the fun and will be selling wine and hosting vendors in their shop. A full vendor list can be found at passerottochicago.com/events. And look for the Snaggletooth pop-up in the space from 12-4pm (or until the food runs out). The Passerotto team will be offering wine, coffee and tea for sale and Coquetel Spirits will be on site selling mulled wine.

Open now! Months in the making, Chicago Indoor RazzmatazzChicago is relaunching. The R39 restaurant’s new menu features signature burgers, hand-cut fries, a variety of salads, finger foods and desserts. Top mixologist Diana Cruz is creating a range of craft cocktails to please any palate. R39’s new Chief Operating Officer, Juan Valenzuela, says, ideal combination of “…young, hip residents, nightlife and a vibrant entertainment scene” that includes DJ Monroe’s original mixes and playing in the lounge area some old-school games like giant Jenga, Connect Four & retro board games.

Football and fine Italian food, Sunday at Armand’s Victory Tap, 1416 S. Michigan. Besides the food and the games, check out their virtual tour highlighting the handsome spaces and architectural details that take the ambiance to a higher level inside Victory Tap. For a video about Chef Joe Farina’s famous dish, click Mama’s Meatballs here. Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere, game camaraderie and good food with friends or family.

Games and affordable menu options. When we city dwellers to head up the North Shore, we’re in for a treat when we take ourselves to Evanston to eat at The Barn Steakhouse. With the restaurant’s new daily specials menu on tap, designed by owner Amy Morton at more affordable prices, it’s a charming place to spend time with friends and family in the intimate dining room, or gathered around the outdoor firepit, or sitting around a table playing board games. Enjoy drinks and hearty dishes that make your mouth water just reading about them. Mafalda’s Lasagna (fresh mozzarella, sausage, fresh pasta), the Beef Wellington (puff pastry, beef tenderloin, mushroom duxelles) and the Chicken Pot Pie (creamy chicken velouté and flaky pastry crust). And for the first time this season, pasta to make your heart sing: Bison Bolognese (hand-dipped ricotta, red wine, warm spices, chitarra pasta) and Crab Spaghetti (jumbo lump crab, white wine, shallots, garlic, chili, Parmesan). Consider The Barn Steakhouse gift cards for the giftee who has everything – give a $100 gift card and receive an extra $20 gift card (good between January 1- March 31, 2019). Or try one of The Barn’s spectacular wine dinners. Reservations here for their December 5th dinner with Brewer-Clifton Winery.

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5 hot ways to enjoy Chicago this fall!

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From celebrating Halloween at any age, to flying the skies over Chicago, this great city has the food, the drinks and the fun to keep you hopping and happy this fall. Check out these 5 cool ways to make the most of this gorgeous time of year:

1. Halloween in Andersonville takes place Saturday, October 27 and Sunday, October 28 with over 100 businesses participating. Trick-or-Treat on Clark Street on Saturday from 12 to 3pm. Then on Sunday 2 to 5pm, take the Andersonville Sweetish Stroll (formerly the Dessert Crawl) produced by the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce (ACC).

Halloween in Andersonville

The Trick-or-Treat on Clark Street and Costume Contest invites families to come in costume and collect candy from any business with an Orange Pumpkin sign on its storefront door. Register your costume at AlleyCat Comics (5304 N. Clark) between 11:30am and 3pm. The winner will be announced at 3:30 p.m. Gus Giordano Dance School’s Zombie Dancers will also perform “Thriller” and “Monster Mash” at the corner of Clark and Farragut at 12:40pm during the Trick-or-Treat time frame.

Additional Saturday events include the 48th Ward and Edgewater Triangle Neighborhood Association Halloween Parade. Gather at Peirce Elementary School (1423 W. Bryn Mawr) at 10am. Parade kicks off at 11am and travels north on Glenwood Avenue to Gethsemane Garden Center (5739 N. Clark) for the annual Children’s Fall Fest (11am to 4pm). List of October/Halloween events in Andersonville here.

Jake Melnicks Detroit pan pizza looks good enough to eat!

2. Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap is bringing a slice of Detroit to Chicago with its new Detroit Pan Pizza ($15.95). The fluffy squared crust with caramelized cheese is topped with mozzarella, fresh tomato sauce, shaved Parmesan, and fresh Basil; choose artisan pepperoni or spicy Italian sausage. Jake’s is celebrating Halloween all month long with their Nightmare on Superior Street Burger ($16.95). Jake’s half-pound fresh beef patty is hand-packed with habanero and cheddar. Topped with lettuce, tomato, crispy jalapeno bottle caps, pepper jack cheese, and XXX mayo, plus a dash of ghost pepper dust, this burger is not for the faint of heart.

New piano siteline at Redhead

3. The Redhead Piano Bar, 16 W. Ontario, celebrates 25 years of business with over $1 million in renovations, a new Happy Hour and specialty Cigar Program. This swanky downtown establishment, which has long been attracting tourists and locals alike for its cocktails and sing-alongs, has revamped and expanded its wine and craft cocktail list. Now, Chicago’s creative studios, Studio CM and Urban Innovators, have designed a dramatic makeover that includes a new custom walk-in Humidor with over 150 types of cigars for purchase, a year-round covered and heated outdoor smoking lounge, a repositioned piano to improve sight lines, a new state of the art sound and lighting system, and more to come. The Redhead’s new Happy Hour and Cigar Program starts November 1, 2018. Every Friday 5 – 7pm enjoy live music along with half-off bottles of wine and signature cocktails. In the piano bar enjoy a Cigar Program that features three different tiers, each of which includes a free monthly cigar, discounted merchandise, complimentary reservations to specialty events and tastings, priority seating, and more. For more information, call (312) 640-1000.

4. Roka Akor, 456 N. Clark St. invites you to brush off the day at the Roka Bar – an elegant lounge with a sultry, moody atmosphere. The happy hour menu features tasty bites and drinks at happy hour prices. Sample $5 bite choices include: Robata Grilled Shisito Peppers with Ponzu and Bonito Flakes, Wagyu Beef and Kimchi Dumplings and more. Sample $6 bites: Signature Tataki Trio: Butterfish, Tuna and Yellowtail, Lobster & Shrimp Dumplings, Prime Beef Skewers with Chili Ginger Sauce, Vegetable Tempura Roll and more. $3 for Sapporo Drafts and $5 for select wines, sakes or a Specialty Cocktail.

CHE City Lights night ABOVE the town!

5. Chicago Helicopter Experience (CHE) is offering a truly unique alternative to a night out on the town? The City Lights Experience is a truly “bucket-list” experience that takes romance and fun to new heights. Like all of CHE’s tours in their luxury helicopters, it’s just one of the many CHE tours that provide breathtaking views high above Chicago’s brilliant skyline. and offer one-of-a-kind opportunities from private tours, to group events. The City Lights Experience, besides the breathtaking sky tour, includes a $100 credit for dinner and cocktails at the incomparable hot spot The Duck Inn. Vouchers can be purchased in advance, and guests can call to schedule their experience for whenever works for them. Limited pricing per couple is now available for only $347. Come on. You know you want to!

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Fall foodie news on 5 spots in and around Chicago

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Three Embers at the Marriott

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

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

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

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

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

Wood Fire 1/4 dark w/ mac’n’cheese

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

IT’SUGAR giant peanut butter cup

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

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Fall fun 2018 at 6 Chicago restaurants

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

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

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

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

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

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

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5 unique Chicago food and arts events for early fall

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One wonderful place to enjoy fall in Chicago – Cafe Brauer

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

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

Carnivale Samba Night

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

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

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

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

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Foodie news from 4 Chicago restaurants

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

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

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

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

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

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

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5 Chicago restaurants’ late-summer news

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

Bohemian House desserts

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

Beautiful elegant Ella Elli

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

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

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

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

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