Category Archives: dinner

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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Exotic or homegrown – Chicago bars and restaurants have it all

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Restaurants serving exotic dishes from various cultures abound in Chicago. Lucky for those who travel a lot or are simply excited to try different cuisines. Peru is considered by some – including a friend of ours who partook of high-end cuisine there last Thanksgiving and pronounced it fabulous – to be a top international foodie stop for gourmets. We’ve also heard about the glories of Peruvian chicken. Consider this:

Tanta (118 W Grand Ave.), Chicago’s premier Peruvian restaurant, celebrates both Peruvian Independence Day (July 28) and their five-year anniversary with three new specials , now running through August 12.  These dishes, crafted by Executive Chef Giancarlo Valera, showcase the variety of global cuisines that have shaped Peru’s diverse food culture over hundreds of years and multiple waves of immigration to the country. Check them out – and in case, like us, you have no idea what most of these terms mean, here’s a glossary of terms in Peruvian cuisine):

  • Tiradito Bachiche. Inspired by Peru’s Italian immigrants and the flavors they brought with them, this dish features thinly-sliced fresh fluke, 22-month aged parmesan sauce, crispy garlic, crisp faux fish skin and basil oil.
  • Anticucho Carretilla. Anticuchos, or grilled skewered meats adopted by Peruvians as popular street food, draw inspiration from various African cuisines. This version features sweetbreads, veal heart, aji panca, marble potato, aji amarillo & huacatay sauce
  • Paiche Charapa. Paying homage to Peru’s native peoples, this dish features paiche (a favorite Amazonian fish), green plantain tacacho, double smoked bacon, and mishkina steamed in a banana leaf and garnished with cilantro and grilled pineapple chalaca sauce.

And talk about glories, consider the below haute Italian dining and  American cross-country bar options:

Spiaggia, among the finest Italian restaurants in the city, is heading to Oak Street beach on August 15 to celebrate the Italian holiday Ferragosto. Dress is casual for this beachside party where $75 gets you whole roasted lamb, the best of local seasonal vegetables, gelato, Italian wines, rose, and much more. Chef Tony Mantuano, Rachael Lowe and Executive Chef Joe Flamm, winner of Top Chef Season 15, will be joined by four guest chefs: Sarah Rinkavage (Marisol), Carolina Diaz (Terzo Piano), Keith Potter (Cindy’s Rooftop) and Bill Motagne (Nico Osteria). Tickets are available  HERE.

Gino’s Brew Pub, 500 North LaSalle Ave., welcomes The Bruery and Bruery Terreux, two distinctive breweries from Southern California for Thirsty Thursday Tap Takeover. Come try their one-of-a-kind barrel-aged and experimental ales, Thursday, August 2, 6 – 9pm. Live music from Matt Keen (guitar, vocals), who’s the inspiration behind Gino’s Brew Pub’s own in-house tap Keen Greens IPA. A rocker at heart, he’s known for his scorching vocals and killer guitar licks, some reminiscent of early Doors and Zeppelin. Talk to Brewmasters Kevin McMahon and Keith Pumilia (Terreux Production Supervisor) with any questions about the featured beers on tap, The Bruery, and the Gino’s East Brew Pub.

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New menus, new happenings at 5 Chicago restaurants

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Fort Willow, DMK’s newest spot inspired by the adventure of a childhood tree fort at 1721 N. Elston, introduces new spice-driven cocktails and a selection of small plates inspired by the cuisines of Korea, Mexico and Indonesia. Try a spicy Rooster Shooter (vodka, Sriracha, peach and lime $12). Or a Piston Splitter (mezcal, Ancho Reyes, raspberry and root beer bitters $13). Planter’s Punch is a blend of rum, nutmeg, angostura bitters and lime, $13. All house cocktails are priced at $5 during happy hour from 5-6pm T-F. New bites include elote fritters (grilled sweet corn, cotija and chili lime aioli, $8), tandoori prawns (marinated in Indian butter sauce, $12); softshell crab (topped with scallions and roasted tomato vinaigrette, tossed in a black bean salad, $14), and Argentinian grilled skirt steak (with jalapeño chimichurri, $12). Plus several new Asian-inspired bites. Yum! Can’t wait to try ’em!

Marchesa, 535 N. Wells, a chic and cozy River North eatery, now offers Saturday brunch with Continental breakfast and lunch selections from 11am to 3pm. Enjoy bottomless Bubbles, Bloody Mary’s or Bellinis for $25. Sit in the beautiful Marchesa inside space or dine outside amid the greenery of its intimate new dog-friendly sidewalk cafe adorned with flowers, beautiful fabrics and modern sculptures. Choose from brunch items like Salmon Benedict, lobster & eggs, quiche, steak & eggs, and pastries. Lunch items include French takes on scallops, mushrooms, lobster, salmon, chicken and more.

Carnivale in West Loop is hosting a totally 80s Murder Mystery night on Thursday, August 2, 6:30-9pm. Cocktails first, then dinner and show. Dress in your best ‘80s concert gear while you solve the crime with your friends. Poison Ratenstein is in town for a killer concert, but his fans may be looking for a refund after this twisted tour turns tragic with a murder and a mystery to solve.

Jake Melnick’s Chef Nick and the knowledgeable crew at Great Lakes Brewing present BEER & BBQ PAIRINGS: On Tuesday, August 21st, Chef Nick and the knowledgeable crew at Great Lakes Brewing are teaming up to bring diners an evening packed with Jake’s BBQ classics paired with top Great Lakes brews – an ale, a lager, a porter and more. Beginning at 6pm you can talk beer with a team of experts as they enjoy the evening’s spread inside Jake’s Keg Room. Tickets are $50 per person (tax & gratuity included). Sample menu items: Grilled Poncho Wings, BBQ Brisket Sliders, House-smoked Oktoberfest Braised Brats, Braised Pork Belly Crostini and Peanut Banana Cups. Reserve online or call 312-266-0400.

River Roast (315 N. LaSalle Street), known for elegant American tavern fare and breathtaking city and water views in River North, will host its very first ‘River Boil’ on Thursday, August 16. From 6–9pm guests will enjoy an eclectic outdoor feast on the veranda along the Chicago River. Selections will include a freshly shucked oyster bar and grilled oysters, housemade charcuterie and terrines, and a flavorful summer seafood boil featuring assorted seafood, housemade sausages and more. In true boil form, Miller High Life will be flowing as the beer of choice, and New Orleans-inspired cocktails will be poured. $50 per person (21 and over only). Purchase tickets here. Or call 312-822-0100.

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4 fun food and drink ideas for summer in Chicago

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Macys Cocktail and Bar Cart Event – Fun!

Macy’s, 111 n. State St., is hosting an interactive cocktail making and bar cart styling event with Lifestyle Blogger Helen Berkun and James Beard Award-winning craft cocktail bar, The Violet Hour, on Thursday, June 28 at 6pm. Your $25 ticket gets you in to see Helen share some of her favorite tips and tricks for entertaining. Then enjoy a Violet Hour mixologist teaching you how to prepare both a classic Old Fashioned and the perfect summer punch in this hands-on cocktail-making experience inside one of Chicago’s finest retail stores.

Maillard Tavern, 494 N. Milwaukee in River West, celebrates National Fry Day on Friday, July 13. Nothing completes a burger like a side of duck fat Norwis potato fries that Eater Chicago calls truly out of this world. And on National Fry Day celebrate with shaved black truffle fries for $5. Chef Tony Priolo serves up American comfort food classics like custom griddled double patty hamburgers with those great fries, specialty sandwiches, soups, ice cream-centric desserts and a full service bar. Open seven days a week for lunch, dinner and late night snacking. First come, first serve. Follow Maillard Tavern on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Moody Tongue Brewing Company, 2136 S. Peoria St., announces its newest beer: Frozen Banana Hefeweizen, a medium-body, German-style wheat beer that showcases the flavors of a frozen banana with aromatics of both bubblegum and banana. The light honey-colored beer pairs well with grilled sausages, beer-battered fish and other summertime fare. Frozen Banana Hefeweizen will be on draft in the Tasting Room beginning Wednesday, June 27, and at Chicago-area restaurants and bars the first week in July.  The Hefeweizen, part of the Seasonal Series, celebrates the arrival of summer; the Brûléed Banana Dunkelweizen, the first release in this series, was a dark German wheat beer meant to complement cold-weather dishes. Keep your ears tuned to this Pilsen brewery for continuing innovations in brewing.

The Optima – music and food to satisfy your soul

The Optima, 1252 N. Wells, opened in April and is now offering brunch Saturdays and Sundays from 10am – 3pm. Check out such elevated classics as Chicken and Waffles Benedict (spicy Hollandaise sauce on sourdough, Parmesan-herb French Toast, prosciutto jam, caramelized onions and a sunny side up egg). Americana Breakfast features scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes and toast. How about Avocado Toast on garlic toasted ciabatta, or Funnel Cake with fudge and seasonal jam, or in-house-made Cinnamon Rolls with orange cream cheese frosting? Num! High-energy atmosphere and lively live music weekends and sometimes more. All brunch dishes are listed at the bottom of the full menu here.

 

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Exciting summer news from 9 Chicago restaurants

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Chicago restaurants are full of ideas for making  summer-in-the-city  the most fun you can have with your clothes on. From huge deals – like Hard Rock’s 71-cent burger to picnics on the go to deals on magic, pasta meals, beer and wine – Chicago is one of the best summer cities in the world. Check a few of these out:

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One hour only! Hard Rock Cafe Chicago, 63 W. Ontario St., celebrates its 47th birthday on Wednesday, June 14, by serving an Original 1971 Legendary® Burger offer for just 71 cents. First-come, first-serve from 11am to noon. Beef patty with smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, a golden fried onion ring, crisp lettuce and vine ripened tomato, served on a toasted brioche bun with Hard Rock’s seasoned fries.

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Magic Night at Carnivale, 702 W. Fulton, June 14, 7-9:30pm. An unforgettable evening of mystery and laughter featuring the comedy and magic of Ken Mate. Ken performed on the NBC Special “The Worlds Greatest Magic.” He combines slick sleight of hand with the timing of a nightclub comic. $75 tickets include passed appetizers, tapas bar and magic. Carnivale is listed by Open Table as one of the top 100 nightspots in 2017.

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Picnic on-the-go. Columbus Tap, the inhouse restaurant of the Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park, 200 North Columbus Dr., is now offering a special Picnic-in-the-Park menu. Selections range from wine and cheese, a full dinner of charcuterie, chicken salad, wine and dessert, to an elegant champagne and chocolate dessert picnic. Blankets and folding chairs can also be rented for $10 each and orders can be placed online. And now Fairmont Chicago offers complimentary rickshaw tours for hotel guests through Millennium Park from June 1 – August 31.

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And speaking of picnics to go, Remington’s (20 N. Michigan Avenue), has launched its summertime curated Picnic-Baskets-To-Go, available for pick-up only at Remington’s, located directly across from The Bean. Attendees of the Grant Park Music Festival or Millennium Park Summer Film Series are encouraged to place orders 24 hours in advance. Customize your basket with artisanal meats and cheeses, hot and cold sandwiches and salads like the Italian SubShaved Prime RibWrightwood Salad, and Crab Louis, and snacks like Trout DipGuacamole and ChipsHummus and Pita, Grilled Artichokes, Housemade Coleslaw and Housemade Chips. Starting at $43 (repacks for only $28), picnic menu package orders come packed with everything you need, down to the wet naps. To view the full picnic menu, click here.

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Ravioli&Co, the new quick-service pasta and wine bar located on the first floor of Eataly, features three seasonal dishes and rotating daily specials priced under $15. Using pasta made fresh every morning by experts, dishes are prepared in real time while you watch at the Ravioli counter. Perfect for your work day lunch or quick healthy dinner fix during the week; available to dine-in and to-go. Optional Italian wine pairings available.

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AIRE, 100 W. Monroe, the hot rooftop bar on the 24th floor of Hyatt Centric The Loop Chicago, is now featuring a pop-up grill from  Kuma’s Corner to offer guests a new food experience this summer. Now open for the 2018 season, come for the hand-crafted cocktails, seasonal, shareable plates, and local craft beers. Perfect for happy hour meals and group get-togethers. Kuma’s Corner will offer its Led Zepplin, Darkthrone, WASP, and Pig Destroyer burgers for $10 at AIRE on Saturdays from 4–9pm.

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Ballast Point Tasting Room & Kitchen open now at 212 N. Green St. in the West Loop. Hours: 11– 11pm (kitchen 11–10:30pm). The new brewpub comes to Chicago by way of Ballast Point Brewing Company®, a pioneer in the craft beer movement in San Diego with a 20-plus-year history of supporting the art of home brewing and developing high-quality, innovative, award-winning beer.

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DMK Restaurants’ newest venture, Fort Willow, 1721 N. Elston, is set in a reimagined childhood tree fort, drawing inspiration for chef-driven cocktails and rotating food specials from around the world. Right now they’ve launched a new series of “Big Bites,” special sandwich combinations with global roots, each version available for two weeks only. Hurry in now to try the “Classic” Big Bite, available until June 21. It combines gooey cheddar cheese, buttery Havarti and ramp pesto and is paired with a baked goat cheese and tomato “soup” – but let’s be honest, that soup is for dipping!

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River Roast, 315 N. LaSalle Street, in the heart of River North, announces its new, cool Reid Bar. The place by day specializes in coffee, cold press, tea and made-fresh-daily layered donuts. Then, in the evenings, Reid Bar transforms itself into a showcase for curated craft cocktail items that feature extraordinary spirits along with delectable bites. You’ll love the atmosphere.

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5 Chicago restaurants – Spring is here 2018

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What a view from Cafe Brauer

We’ve been saying “It’s spring” for too long. This time, it seems to have actually arrived. Not only is our fair city simply glowing with beautiful flowers and leaf buds, but outdoor spaces are opening everywhere – including a favorite of ours in Lincoln Park Zoo, The Patio at Cafe Brauer. It’s time to dig out your spring duds, bring a light jacket and get out there to enjoy some of the city’s great restaurant options. Here are a few more:

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Dos Toros announces the opening of its newest location at 300 S Wacker Drive, the 16th location overall, and second in Chicago for this SF Bay Area-inspired taqueria. Close to the Willis Tower and sitting on the Chicago river waterfront, this location provides an elevated (and scenic) fast-casual experience for taco and burrito lovers. Relax in the updated Dos Toros aesthetic of Heath tile, lighter wood finishes, abundant potted succulents, and rustic black & white photography inspired by the original California Dos Toros taquerias. Guests also enjoy cashless check-out and the brand-new “market vegetables” option that features a fresh mix of Butternut Squash, Tuscan Kale, Cremini mushrooms, and Shishito peppers sauteed in coconut oil.
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Epic Burger, with locations around Chicago, announces its 10th birthday celebration on Tuesday, May 22. Come enjoy 10 CENT BURGERS*** (single-patty beef burgers, while supplies last) and a special Epic Birthday Cake Shake featuring a Sweet Mandy B’s mini-burger cupcake shake-topper. Home of “A More Mindful Burger,” Epic Burger provides Chicagoans with sustainably sourced meats and produce, Halal certified beef and chicken, a revolutionary plant-based Beyond Burger, and more.
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***Available in-store only, 11am-9pm while supplies last, one per person, The $.10 Epic Birthday Burger includes the basic build-your-own toppings (lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion, Epic Sauce) — additional toppings like premium Wisconsin cheeses, fresh avocado, nitrate-free bacon, or an organic fried egg, available at extra cost.***
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  • Lincoln Park bakery, Sweet Mandy B’s teams up for the special Epic Birthday Cake Shake. Comprised of birthday cake ice cream, strawberries and organic milk, topped with whipped cream, rainbow sprinkles and a so-cute-you-die mini burger cupcake, it’s  priced at $10 (in honor of turning 10!).
  • While you’re there on this one day only (5/22), Epic Burger will accept cash donations benefitting Growing Home, Chicago’s leading expert in farm-based training for people with employment barriers.
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Mother’s Day banana pancakes

Bistronomic840 N. Wabash, the contemporary bistro rooted in French culture in Chicago’s Gold Coast, will offer a special three-course, prix fixe brunch menu on Mother’s Day, Sunday May 13, for $42 per person or $56 per person with bottomless mimosas (for 1.5 hours) plus tax and gratuity. A $20 two-course menu will be available for children under the age of 10.

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Look for Paris-inspired dishes like Eggs Benedict with artisanal smoked salmon, poached eggs and lemon hollandaise; Asparagus & Seasonal Mushroom Omelette with farm eggs, capriole goat cheese and port wine reduction; Flat Iron Steak & Two Eggs with duck fat new potatoes, roasted garlic purée and a red wine reduction; andHomemade Pancakes with buttermilk and strawberry-rhubarb marmalade. For the full menu and reservations, visit Bistronomic’s website or call 312-944-8400.
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Intercontinental Hotel’s Hall of Lions

InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile, 505 N. Michigan, honors Chicago and its landmark property by hosting “Uncork the Archives,”  a monthly series of tours combining history, wine, and live music. The next installment is Wednesday, May 30, 6-8pm, and offers a sommelier-hosted tasting featuring wine, cheese and chocolate from ENO Wine Bar. Hillary Marzec, an expert guide and founder of Inside Chicago Walking Tours, leads guests on a tour highlighting the hidden secrets, famous guests, and historical and architectural features. Afterwars, continue the party back at ENO, with live jazz and swing music entertainment and a complimentary glass of wine. www.icchicagohotel.com $48/ticket here.

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5 more Chicago culinary news notes

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Spring keeps poking up its lovely head and then pulling it back down again. But, hey, this is Chicago and we know exactly how to handle those crazy fickle ups and downs. We go out to eat and drink! And our beloved Chicago culinary industry is always there to give us more reasons to do so. Here are 5 ideas for your consideration:

  1. minigrow28 S. Wabash. Opening March 20, this one-of-a-kind, fast-gourmet dining experience elevates everyday eating. From the creators of Philadelphia-based honeygrow, purveyors of wholesome stir-fries and salads, minigrow brings consciously sourced, chef-driven food to the heart of The Loop.  Custom mazemen noodle and salad bowls, cold-pressed juices and chocolate chip cookies made in-house daily, and more.
  2. Perry’s Steakhouse and Grille, 5 Oakbrook Court, Oak Brook, introduced three new cocktails this year. The place is on the outskirts of Chicago but worth a visit if you’re into intriguing cocktail combos. Check out these unique drink ideas if you’re heading out west soon:
    • The Jameson Mocha Old Fashioned ($15) mixes Jameson’s Caskmates Irish Whiskey with  housemade coffee syrup and Bittermens mole bitters for a slight caffeine hit and a definite buzz – a great way to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day.
    • The PassionNut for Port ($15) mixes Fonseca Bin27 Port with DonQ Coconut Rum, Passion Fruit puree and fresh pressed lemon juice for a fresh and robust tropical escape. Pair it with Perry’s Beef & Bleu ($13.95) for a mouthwatering balance of sweet and savory.
    • The Rosé Collins ($15) is a wine-based cocktail that mixes Botanist Gin with rosé wine and fresh lemon juice. Try it with Perry’s Bacon Wrapped Scallops ($19.95).
  3. SAVE THE DATE! WhiskyX at the United Club in Soldiers’ Field – April 27, 2018. Music, food and many new and venerable brands of bourbon, Scotch whisky and more. This spring some of Chicago’s most beloved chefs will serve whiskey-inspired and infused dishes for VIP ticket holders. Several of the city’s favorite food trucks will be on-site selling food throughout the event as well. An  “early bird special” ticket (20% discount) on sale only between March 6 and 13. Beat the sell out and buy now.
  4. Osteria Via Stato, 620 N. State St., invites you to enjoy Chef David DiGregorio’s array of springtime brunch delights on Easter Sunday, or Pasqua as it is known in Italy, 10:30am to 3pm. Omelet station,  and a bounty of Italian-inspired offerings like ciabatta ‘French’ toast; house-made sausage & vegetable strata; and a Ricotta Doughnut station where the tender-on-the-inside, crispy-on-the-outside treats will be handmade-to-order. For the kids, an Easter Candy table will be set up. $54.95++ per adult, children aged 10 and under are $19.95 and children aged five and under eat free. Reserve at 312-642-8450.
  5. Through March 31, snack madly with Garrett Popcorn Shops® and their new, limited-time, handcrafted Hickory Smoked Bacon CheeseCorn, both in shops and online at GarrettPopcorn.com.  Garrett Chef David Funaro  created this gourmet flavor by infusing signature Garrett CheeseCorn with juicy, hickory-smoked bacon flavor. Watching basketball with a gang? Try Baller Bundles – scoops and empty bags for filling and sharing in either Garrett Mix® or Hickory Smoked Bacon CheeseCorn, online only at www.garrettpopcorn.com through March.
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5 Chicago restaurants – Super Bowl and Valentine’s 2018 +1 new opening!

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Chicago is a marvelous place to eat out any time, but some places go out of their way to offer specials for specific occasions. Too bad about the Bears, but you can still enjoy Super Bowl goodies in places around Chicago. And of course, it’s not too early to plan your Valentine’s Day – or anti-Valentine’s Day – celebration. And then, imagine this: a very large authentic Italian eatery opening up just down the street from – you guessed it – Eataly!
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 Ella Elli (1349 W. Cornelia Ave) in Lakeview  offers a chic alternative to the Super Bowl. No TVs on Super Bowl Sunday but you can have flights of rosé wines, rosé cocktails and frosé! Regular brunch menu from 10am to 2:30pm and dinner from 4 to 10pm. The “Super Bites” menu includes Shrimp Avocado Salad, pink shrimp with diced avocado, red onion and cilantro in a grapefruit-honey vinaigrette with crispy pita chips ($9); French Onion Dip and Chips, creamy onion dip with crispy pancetta and housemade potato chips ($6); Prosciutto Meatballs, fontina-stuffed beef and prosciutto meatballs simmered in a spicy tomato basil sauce over creamy polenta ($8); Potato Croquettes, three crispy parmesan potatoes with spicy Calabrian-Chile aioli and cilantro ($6); and Nduja-Stuffed Dates, over Gorgonzola fondue and topped with Marcona almonds ($7).
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Smoke Daddy smoked wings

Smoke Daddy (1804 W Division St.) in Wicker Park welcomes Super Bowl fans  for the game from 4 to 9pm for an all-you-can-eat pig roast buffet and build-your-own chili bar – all for $20 per person (plus tax and gratuity)! Price also includes one Lagunitas pint. Reservations are strongly recommended; call 773.772.6656. OR pick your favorites from their popular catering menu for any Super Bowl party. Options include their signature wings ($30 feeds 10, $55 feeds 20), BBQ sliders ($40 feeds 10, $75 feeds 20), mac and cheese ($25 feeds 10, $45 feeds 20) and more. A la carte options include pulled pork ($16 per lb.), St. Louis-style ribs ($20 per lb.) and BBQ beans ($14 per lb.). Orders must be made by January 31 via email (catering@4srg.com) or phone (773.772.6656).

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STK Chicago, 9 W. Kinzie St., revs up the winter with fun specials like Game Day at STK. The Bears may be done, but you can still celebrate Super Bowl on Feb. 4 with $3 beers and $5 bites, plus a special half-time performance. Office Hours – Every Sunday thru Thurs 5 to 7pm, STK Chicago’s own take on happy hour gets you specific menu items like $5 cocktails and $7 small plates like Lil’ BRGs, Tuna Tartare, Crispy Rock Shrimp and more. Then consider Wine Down Wednesdays – half off bottles of wine every Wednesday.
ETA Restaurant avocado toast

ETA Restaurant + Bar, located inside Loews Chicago Hotel at 455 N. Park Dr., has lots of winter fun specials. Snow Days – warm up at ETA every time it snows in Chicago. $1 off Local Stops and Exotic Locations cocktails for every inch of snow predicted in the forecast (maximum 10 inches) that day by www.weather.com for zip code 60611. $10 off your cocktail! Chicago Restaurant Week, ETA Restaurant + Bar will be participating for the first time  this year – special prix-fixe menu for lunch ($22++) or dinner ($33++). Game Day Specials, February 4. Sit down in front of the 7’ by 12’ TV screen in the hotel lobby to enjoy the Big Game, and chow down on menu items like ETA Burger (double patty, gouda, crispy onions, and tomato jam, $17), the Brat in a Blanket (with hot pepper jam, $10), and Chicken Wings (choice of bacon-buffalo sauce or garlic-parmesan sauce, $14), plus snacks and beer specials. Pro- or Anti-Valentine’s Day weekend! February 14-17 – enjoy the 4 Cs of Valentine’s Day (hint: Cupid isn’t one of them!): [fried] Chicken, Champagne, Cake, and Comfort. Whether you’re pro- or anti-Valentine’s Day, you can enjoy 3 days of special deals at ETA. From February 14-17, buckets of Hot Sauce Fried Chicken are only $39 each – a whole bird (8 pieces) served with buttermilk biscuits and house-made jam ($39). Champagne – splits of JP Chenet, Rosé Dry are $15. Chocolate Stout Cake – Nutella ganache, chocolate pretzels, and cherries ($9) makes the perfect dessert to enjoy with friends in the Comfort of ETA’s cozy ambiance.

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Cupitol Coffee + Eatery, 455 E. Illinois St. (and 812 Grove St. Evanston) will donate all hot and iced latte proceeds to Open Heart Magic, a Chicago-based, non-profit that uses the therapeutic power of magic and laughter to energize seriously ill children. Additionally, they will also offer Chocolate Dipped Strawberries at each location two for $2. Cupitol lattes feature a specialty espresso blend imported exclusively from Europe that’s based on 100% Arabica beans. Lattes include theChai, Mocha, Nutella, Vanilla, Caramel and Hazelnut Latte. Drink ’em regular or dairy-free with coconut or almond milk. But the menu also features full breakfast, lunch and dinner options plus pastries from the in-house bakery. Both  locations open on Valentine’s Day from 7am to 9pm.
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Coming soon! Sapori Antichi Bar Italiano, 22 W. Ohio, opens its authentic Northern Italian full-service restaurant and bar in March 2018. It’s just down the street from Eataly Chicago, in the former Rev Burger space. With 2,300 square feet to accommodate 50-60 guests, the new 100% Italian – from kitchen equipment to tiles – restaurant will offer breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as a full bar, say founders Michael and Mary Meranda. Look for Italian dishes like Tigelle, an Italian small, round, thickish flat bread and Gnocco Fritto, an Italian bread typically sliced into diamond shapes and then fried. Meet friends and relax at the espresso and breakfast bar and the chef’s table where you might even get tastes not yet on the menu. We can always hope that the prices will be a bit less daunting than some of those at Eataly!
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Mago Grill & Cantina rings in Hanukkah & holidays with Mexican flair

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The holidays for many ethnic groups are fast approaching. and Mago Grill & Cantina has the perfect addition to any celebration table. Mago is featuring a full size (9”) Eggnog Tres Leches and Pumpkin Cream Cheese Flan inspired by Chef Juan’s late grandmother’s holiday recipes, both $35, through December 31. They are both available with just 24-hour notice at any Mago Grill & Cantina location (Chicago, Arlington Heights, Bolingbrook or South Barrington). Perfect for those last-minute Friendsgiving, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah or Christmas dessert needs!

Mago Grill & Cantina fabulous holiday desserts

You might be surprised to learn there is a large Mexican-Jewish community in Chicago that draws influences from both cuisines. To honor this group, Mago decided to combine traditional Hanukkah dishes with a Latin flare, thus culinarily fusing Mexican and Jewish culture. Hanukkah Menu Items  available only 12/12/17 – 12/20/17)

Playing off the traditional Hanukkah short rib meal, Mago will offer a limited-time Beef Short Rib entrée for $26 (Pulque braised, fork tender beef short rib served with Mole de Manzana, or Apple Mole and cilantro potato latkes). Or try Roasted Half Chicken for $20 (wild mushroom huitlacoche cream, roasted Yukon gold potatoes).

Honoring the Jewish tradition of eating apples with honey during Rosh HaShanah, Guava and Apple Crisp dessert for $8 (Baked granny smith apples with guava topped with a cinnamon crumble). Apples in the cocktail line: La Manzanita cocktail for $13 (Apple & cinnamon infused Patron Blanco Tequila, apple cider, fresh lime juice).

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Celebrate the season at a few of these 13 Chicago restaurants

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Chicago holiday restaurant delights

Chicago is a magnificent place to celebrate the holiday season – the lights downtown alone are magical. Not surprisingly, then, that  around this time of year you can find a sleighload of restaurants that offer special featured food items, family brunches with Santa, Christmas Eve brunch, prix fixe menus and more. Take a gander at these and make your reservations now.

  1. Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap, 41 E. Superior, invites you to indulge in The 12 Wings of Christmas (LOL!).  Now through December 12, Jake Melnick’s is offerings a different special wing of the day to get in the holiday spirit. Chef Nick Santangelo has come up with some interesting flavor combinations such as Apricot Siracha, Aaron’s Coconut Red Curry and Grilled Maple Mustard wings ($13.95). You get a punch card with your first wing order – get the card punched for 4 out of the 12 days and get a $50 gift card. Check out the rest of Jake’s fun and funky wing flavors here.
  2. Shaw’s Crab House, 21 E. Hubbard, can make your holiday meals easier with their own dishes for your table. Choose from a variety of sides, appetizers, soup, salads, sushi and desserts – all Shaw’s classics – now available for pickup or delivery during regular business hours. Order at least 24 hours in advance for appetizers and sides and 48 hours for desserts.For more information or to order items, 312.527.2722. Also, Santa is coming for brunch, pictures and visit to Shaw’s Chicago for Christmas Eve brunch starting at 9am. $75 adults, $20 kids.
  3. Ella Elli, 1349 W. Cornelia Ave., will be open for a pre-Christmas brunch on Friday, December 22 and Saturday, December 23 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and for Christmas Eve brunch on Sunday, December 24 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Guests can enjoy items such as the Bakery Board with fresh a croissant, housemade everything bagel, local pastries, preserves and seasoned whipped butter ($10); Stuffed Brioche French Toast with chocolate, berries and cardamom powdered sugar ($12); and Prosciutto Flatbread with farm eggs, arugula and crispy potatoes ($14). Drinks including Mimosa Bottle Service with a bottle of Caposaldo Prosecco and a trio of fresh juices ($42); and Rose Sangria with Rose, Pampelmousse, Lime Cordial and fresh fruit ($10) will also be available. Reservations are recommended 773-935-3552.
  4. Tuco and Blondie (3358 N. Southport Ave) will be open for a pre-Christmas brunch on Friday, December 22 and Saturday, December 23 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. “Mexifun” menu items available include the El Sombrero Benedict with chorizo, poached eggs, black beans, hollandaise and pico de gallo ($13); and Chilaquiles with roasted chicken, over easy eggs, salsa verde, Chihuahua cheese, sour cream and pico de gallo ($12). Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 773-327-8226.
  5. Crosby’s Kitchen (3455 N. Southport Ave) will be open for a pre-Christmas brunch on Friday, December 22 and Saturday, December 23 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and for Christmas Eve brunch on Sunday, December 24 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Crosby’s Kitchen will offer menu favorites including the Chicken Chili Benedict with black bean chili, cornbread, poached eggs, cheddar cheese and scallions ($12); Crosby’s Omelet with mozzarella, bacon, wild mushrooms and spinach hollandaise ($11); and the Chicken Dip Sandwich with rotisserie chicken, jack cheese, mayo, tomato, onion, arugula and chicken au jus ($12). Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 773-883-2525.
  6. Dunlays on Clark (2600 N. Clark St) and Dunlays on the Square (3137 W. Logan Blvd) will be open for a pre-Christmas brunch on Friday, December 22 and Saturday, December 23 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Guests can enjoy brunch menu classics such as French Toast with crunchy French bread dipped in eggs, cinnamon, vanilla and orange liqueur ($9); and the Dunz Omelet with sundried tomato, basil pesto and smoked provolone cheese ($10). Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling Dunlays on Clark at 773-883-6000 and Dunlays on the Square at 773-227-2400.
  7. Frasca Pizzeria and Wine Bar (3358 N. Paulina St) will be open for a pre-Christmas brunch on Friday, December 22 and Saturday, December 23 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Guests can enjoy menu favorites including Breakfast Pizza with three over easy eggs, sausage, bacon and cheese atop housemade crust ($14); and the Roscoe St. Omelet with three eggs, mozzarella, provolone, Italian sausage, bacon and caramelized onion. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 773-248-5222.
  8. Smoke Daddy (1804 W. Division St) will be open for a pre-Christmas brunch on Friday, December 22 and Saturday, December 23 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Guests can enjoy house specialties including the Pulled Pork Benedict with pulled pork and chipotle hollandaise served with fresh fruit or hash browns ($12); and the Fried Egg Sandwich with two eggs over easy, cheddar, bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion and mayo on rye bread ($10). Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 773-772-6656.
  9. Remington’s (20 N. Michigan) will be open for a pre-Christmas brunch on Friday, December 22 and Saturday, December 23 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and on Christmas Eve from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Remington’s will offer classic American menu favorites include The Remington 18-oz dry aged prime bone in strip; Short Rib with roasted heirloom carrots and braised cipolinni onion; and the Chicken Dip Sandwich with rotisserie chicken, jack cheese, mayo, tomato, onion, arugula and chicken au jus. The last dinner reservation is at 7 p.m. and can be made by calling 312-782-6000.
  10. The Windsor (160 E. Huron St) will be open for a pre-Christmas brunch on Friday, December 22 and Saturday, December 23 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Guests can enjoy classic menu items including The Windsor Club with ham, turkey, bacon, truffle aioli, tomato and basil ($13); and signature Monkey Bread with cream cheese frosting ($10). Reservations are recommended 312.943.7777.The Windsor is also hosting a Santa Brunch on Sunday, December 10 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Stop in after holiday shopping to enjoy a delicious brunch and watch as kids visit Santa and receive a festive gift bag. The visit with Santa is free and parents are encouraged to bring their camera for the perfect holiday photo.
  11. The Smoke Daddy (1804 W. Division St.), BBQ in Wicker Park is offering holiday catering. House-Smoked Whole Turkey (11 lb., $65; 20 lb., $90), Pulled Whole Turkey (1 lb., $16) and Glazed Ham, a partial bone-in, smoked ham with a sweet mojo glaze (half., $69; whole $129). Sides such as Cornbread Stuffing with sausage and spices ($10 per quart); Brussels Sprouts oven-roasted with a lemon butter sauce ($10 per quart); Green Bean Casserole ($10 per quart); and desserts such as Apple Pie ($22) and Pumpkin Pie ($20) are available. Items will be picked up cold with re-heating instructions.
  12. Bistronomic (840 N. Wabash), the contemporary French bistro, will offer brunch and a three-course prix fixe dinner menu on Christmas Eve (10am to 2:30pm; 5 to 10pm) and on Christmas Day (noon to 8pm). Brunch favorites include Quiche Lorraine ($13.95); Brioche crème brulee French Toast ($11.95); and Croque Madame with handcut French fries ($14.95). Bottomless mimosas ($18.95 for 1.5 hours) when you purchase a brunch entrée or sandwich.Dinner both evenings is $70 per adult ($20 for a two-course children’s menu) plus tax and gratuity. The three-course prix fixe dinners include vegetarian options and feature produce from the Green City Market. Cauliflower Velouté with glazed chestnut, Everton cheese, truffle oil and brown butter; Homemade Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Maine lobster, baby broccoli, star anise and tarragon lobster emulsion; Prime Beef Short Ribs with butternut squash pureé, glazed cranberry, French beans, almond and Aigre Doux sauce; Winter Wild Mushroom Ravioli with seasonal mushrooms, roasted hazelnut, Jerusalem artichoke pureé and leek nage; Baked Alaska with poached pear, brioche, and bittersweet chocolate sauce, and more. To view the full menu, visit the website. Reservations are recommended and can be made on OpenTable.
  13. Harvest, inside The Chicago Marriott Magnificent Mile (540 N. Michigan), is offering a festive menu on Christmas Day from noon to 8pm. The menu includes Slow Roasted Prime Rib, House-Smoked Ham, Housemade Sausage, Sage Cornbread Stuffing, Cheese and Charcuterie, Shrimp Cocktail, Miniature Sweets and more. $40 per person and $20 for kids 10 and under, plus tax and gratuity. Reservations are recommended (312) 836-6334.
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