Category Archives: spirits and cocktails

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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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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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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Food and drink news at 3 Chicago restaurants

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Broken Barrel Bar, is “SURving” up weekly Monday night watch parties for Season 7 of TV’s highest rated reality show Vanderpump Rules beginning Dec 3! Chef Bryant Anderson has created food and drink specials inspired by the drama-filled show. In addition to *Half Priced Bottles of Wine and Sangria Specials, try one of these: The Pumptini vodka, lime juice, mint, cranberry $10; Vanderpump Rosé $58/bottle*, $15/glass; Tequila Katie chilled tequila, simple syrup, lime juice, served as a shot $6; Fried Goat Cheese Balls with smoked tomato sauce and rosemary-truffle honey $11; “It’s Not About the Pasta” rotating pasta topped with house smoked meats $16. A portion of proceeds from all specials will benefit Lisa Vanderpump’s rescue and adoption center, Vanderpump Dogs.
 
Christmas mania at Frosty’s pop-up bar

WeLoveFrostys.com – a pop-up Christmas bar? Yep, 809 W. Evergreen (at Halsted). Open daily 6pm to 4am – just til the end of December. With three levels, four bars and endless holiday fun, Frosty’s is the ultimate Christmas Bar with everything from elaborate decorations, life-size toy soldiers, sexy Santas and a holiday soundtrack spinning until 4 a.m., Dress up and meet beloved characters from cherished Christmas movies, visit with Santa himself, and enjoy unforgettable Christmas garb, a real Elf on the Shelf, festive tunes and serious seasonal cocktails, plus pick your shot: I’ve been Nice or I’ve been Naughty. Purchase festive snacks like Christmas cookies, holiday popcorn and Aunt Bethany’s Christmas Vacation Jell-O Mold, as a shot of course. Tickets at WeLoveFrostys.com starting at $20. Book your holiday party or event today.

 
One of a Kind Hospitality announces the year-end opening of The Old Plank, 2700 N. Milwaukee in Logan Square. Craft beer and cocktails curated by beverage director Philip Smith (The Walk In, SABA, Boleo), and a Tex-Mex driven menu, The Old Plank, in the original home of Andes Mints at Sawyer and Milwaukee Ave, pays homage to the history of Logan Square. The more-than-100-year-old space is getting new life with plenty of open seating, private booths, multiple bars and an abundance of TVs. Several garage door-style openings let fresh air in, plus a sidewalk cafe and an outdoor patio with a firepit are perfect for spring and summer. When there are no big games to watch, local DJs will set weekends to music. Slated to open before the end of the year with dinner service and weekend brunch. Open on special game days an hour early so sports fans can get settled in to watch their team. Watch for the opening.
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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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