Category Archives: spirits and cocktails

Chicago restaurants summer ‘holiday’ news 2018

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You know, almost any day of the week all year you can celebrate a declared holiday. For example, coming up is Single Working Women’s Week (July 29-August 4, 2018) and Single Working Women’s Day August 4. Check it out if you see any hard-working single women in your life.

But, we digress. Here in Chicago, our restaurants are constantly surprising us with ‘holiday’ specials, so here are a few happenings you might like, organized by dates of occurrence. Enjoy!

Green City Market’s Chef BBQ 2018, Lincoln Park (approximately 1817 N. Clark). On Thursday July 19, 5:30-8pm, attendees will get to try tasting portions prepared utilizing fresh produce, meats and craft beverages made with ingredients provided by local farmers and vendors. (Click here for a complete list of participants.)

Use public transportation, taxis, and ride-shares because parking could be tough. Limited parking is available in the Chicago History Museum lot at their regular rate ($19-$32 depending on how long you’re there). Tickets at GCMBBQ.eventbrite.com. RAIN or SHINE. – no refunds. Supported by Breakthru Beverage, FIG Catering, Midwest Foods, and Tablescapes.

Castaways, 1603 N. Lake Shore Dr. at Chicago’s popular North Avenue Beach, is the perfect spot to throw one back in honor of Discovery Channel’s #SharkWeek. Sunday July 22 to Sunday July 29 Castaways will offer a special “The Hammerhead” cocktail for $9 each. The ocean-colored cocktail is made with Captain Morgan Coconut Rum, pineapple juice and blue curaçao.

Four Entertainment Group (4EG) outlets will celebrate Shark Week by donating $1 from every full-price signature house cocktail sold at aliveOne, Easy Bar, Estelle’s, Remedy, and The Owl – 50 cents to Chicago’s Shedd the Straw Campaign and 50 cents to For a Strawless Ocean. All week, you can see free showings at all locations of movies like Free Willy, JAWS and other aquatic-themed films while you make cash donations to support both initiatives aimed at reducing plastic straw waste in our oceans.

Carnivale, 702 W. Fulton Market, says summertime in Chicago calls for a cool patio for drinks and good company. HAPPY HOUR: Monday-Friday 4:30-6:30 in the lounge and on the patio. An unmatched chilled white wine list. Lively entertainment every Friday night. INDUSTRY NIGHT: Every Sunday enjoy $1 Coronitos with a shot and 25% off appetizers. SAMBA DANCE NIGHT: Dance the night away starting July 17th and every third Wednesday of the month.

Green City Market’s Chef BBQ 2018, Lincoln Park (approximately 1817 N. Clark). On Thursday July 19, 5:30-8pm, attendees will get to try tasting portions prepared utilizing fresh produce, meats and craft beverages made with ingredients provided by local farmers and vendors. (Click here for a complete list of participants.)

Use public transportation, taxis, and ride-shares because parking could be tough. Limited parking is available in the Chicago History Museum lot at their regular rate ($19-$32 depending on how long you’re there). CTA Bus routes that stop at the event include 22 Clark, 36 Broadway, 73 Armitage, 151 Sheridan. L stops nearby: Sedgwick Brown Line (walk east on North Avenue to Clark) and Clark/Division Red Line (walk north on Clark). Tickets at GCMBBQ.eventbrite.com. The event will be held RAIN or SHINE. No refunds. The event is supported by Breakthru Beverage, FIG Catering, Midwest Foods, and Tablescapes.

Piccolo Sogno, 464 N. Halsted, celebrates its 10th anniversary all this month of July: a delicious Italian staple, Tagliolini with summer truffles for only $10 along with $10 bottles of Prosecco. They’re also celebrating National Lasagna day on July 29.  Chef Priolo and and partner Ciro Longobardo say that Piccolo Sogno is their “little dream,” and eating their lasagna might just be yours! Lasagna Tipica di Bologna (traditional lasagna with green pasta sheets layered with béchamel and Bolognese sauce, $16) – deemed by some as the best in Chicago. And the ambiance here – including the lovely patio – is absolutely delightful. You might even feel like you’re in Italy.

Connie’s Pizza, 2373 S. Archer or at McCormick Place. Since 1963, Italian family recipes and pizza – also in your Midwest grocer’s frozen section. July 29 they’re celebrating their 55-year anniversary on National Lasagna Day. Every order of Mama Sue’s 55-year-old lasagna recipe – kept alive by popular demand – comes with a $5.50 discount off the regular $12.99 price. Such a deal! They can host a party or bring it to you with delivery, catering and pizza shipping anywhere in the United States. 312.CONNIES (312.266.6437), visit their website and follow the restaurant  on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Dairy Queen, a perennial favorite of all soft-serve fans, is out to help sick kids. On Miracle Treat Day Thursday, August 2 2018 they will be donating $1 from every  Blizzard® Treat sold at participating DQ Grill & Chill® and Dairy Queen locations throughout the U.S. Donations go  to the local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital.  All kids want to have fun, so DQ® will Miracle Treat Day support critical treatments and healthcare services, pediatric medical equipment and charitable care to help save and improve the lives of local children.

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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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Late December restaurant news in Chicago

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Love to learn about the specials some of our Chicago restaurants put together for the holidays. Fun. Festive. Food and drink to celebrate with. Check out these news bytes about 6 of them. And Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, etc. etc.

  1. Naoki Fried ChickenDecember 22nd & 23rd only. Naoki’s savory Japanese-style fried chicken, prepared by half or whole bird and served with Yuzo coleslaw, Roasted sweet potatoes and Teriyaki & Toban Jan dipping sauces. Available dine in or carry-out. To place an order or make a reservation, call 773-868-0002.
  2. Texas de Brazil, 210 E. Illinois, will open early on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve (11am to 9pm) with their full rodizio-style menu available all day, as well as Horseradish Crusted Ribeye (a special holiday item). Pricing for Chicago here and Schaumburg here. Closed on Christmas Day, but open regular hours with the regular menu on New Year’s Day.
  3. The Shelby, 2759 W. Augusta Blvd. (their website isn’t up yet but Google has reviews)  opened December 19. Open 5pm weeknights, and 11am Saturday and Sunday. Casual restaurant/bar with a hearty beer program, a full bar, and Chef (formerly with Haywood Tavern, Bite Cafe, Longman & Eagle, and Spiaggia) Rodney Staton-created snacks, salads, and a load-your-own burger and baked potato program.  Enjoy their no-bull approach to food, drink, socializing, and service in soulful, well-worn surroundings (denim upholstery, dark wood carpentry, whitewashed brick walls, and canary yellow stools), and with a soundtrack influenced by the Memphis music scene: Stax records artists, Sun records’ Big Star, Isaac Hayes, and The Grifters, to name a few.
  4. ENO Wine Room, 505 N. Michigan in the InterContinental Hotel, will be popping bubbles every hour to ring in 2018. Learn about ENO’s New Year’s Eve celebration here. If you’d rather celebrate at home, ENO’s General Manager and champagne expert, Amanda Herrell, suggests breaking out the bubbly bar yourself! Her beverage and food pairing recommendations include: Don’t feel pressured to serve only champagne! Other good dry bubbles: Crémant de Bourgogne, Cava, and Franciacorta. Sweeter  tasty bubbles: Lambrusco, Brachetto, and Moscato d’Asti. Pair them well! With dry bubbles, stick with rich triple cream cheese. The rich and decadent flavors will be complemented by the bubbles. For the sweeter bubbly drinks, indulge in foie gras mousse. The effervescence combined richness and the berry flavor of the wine will mesh well with the savory dish.
  5. Celebrate the New Year at Ceres Table, 3124 N. Broadway. Sunday, December 31 | 5:00pm – 11:00pm (reservation times) A special four-course, regional Italian meal, presented by Executive Chef Steven O’Neill. For $55/person (*Special: reservations before 6:30pm and after 10:30pm, only $45/person) guests will enjoy their choice of one dish per course from the complete menu.
  6. Lowcountry, 1132 S. Wabash Ave., Chicago’s premier boil-in-a-bag seafood destination announces a second location opening in the South Loop early 2018. At Lowcountry South Loop, the magic four steps remain the same: choose your protein, like snow crab legs, head-on shrimp, mussels and more, then choose a sauce, a spice level, and add-ons like corn, sausage, and potatoes. New boil combinations launch upon opening, and now you can get pre-set seafood bags built for one, two, three, or four people filled with a variety of shellfish and add-ons. Love the music on their website!
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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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5 cool December-in-Chicago happenings

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We hate to admit it, but for many of us the holidays are an official excuse to overindulge ourselves – in sweets, in over-the-top decor, in food and wine. And why not? That’s why New Year’s comes right after the holidays, right? So we can make resolutions to lose the weight, get back in shape, forego ice cream or booze or whatever our particular downfalls might be.  So here are a few ideas to get you started overindulging – and one for helping save the farmers while you eat healthy.
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  1. Naha quiche

    Cocoa + Co., 1651 N. Wells St., debuts a new savory café menu in partnership with Michelin-starred Naha’s Pastry Chef Craig Harzewski. The Old Town café just started offering a rotating selection of flavors to reflect the season: Empanadas ($5.50) – Duck, squash and cannelloni bean or Ratatouille; Quiche Tart ($5.75) with bacon and chard or without bacon; Gluten Free Baked Oats ($4.50) – apples, raisins and house-made plum preserves. Also, Chef Harzewski will now be crafting Coca + Co.’s signature items like Apricot Oat Cookies, Salted Big Chip Cookies, Inside-Out German Chocolate Cake, Salted Caramel Brownies and more.

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2. Hilton Chicago, 720 S. Michigan, is sporting a giant gingerbread hotel with city skyline, as well as extravagant décor for the holiday. The gingerbread hotel stands over six feet tall and took three pastry chefs more than 270 hours to create using 380 pounds of flour, 280 pounds of powdered sugar. Celebrating the building’s 90th anniversary, Executive Chef Mario Garcia this year added to the Chicago skyline display that includes gingerbread replicas of famous landmarks like the John Hancock, Willis Tower, The Bean and more. Watch a time-lapse video here. And check out the hotel’s iconic decorations – the 24 ft. Christmas tree with thousands of metallic ornaments, 2000 inches of decorated garland, a 30”-diameter Poinsettia kissing ball, and 60-foot wreaths throughout the hotel. 60 FEET!? Wow.

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3. Maggiano’s, 516 N. Clark St., is now offering its Holiday Lunch Family Style. Enjoy the riches of Maggiano’s menu while you celebrate the holidays together. Check out their lunch menu – warm and comforting food without the hassles of cooking and serving yourself. Family style lunch only available November 27th to December 29th, Monday-Friday 11am – 3pm. $19.95 per person, $12.95 for kids ages 5-12.

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Peninsula chocolate bar

The Peninsula Chicago and Executive Pastry Chef Dimitri Fayard present ‘Chocolate at The Pen,’ Chicago’s premier chocolate bar in The Lobby at The Peninsula Chicago, accompanied by live jazz music by Stephanie Browning. Friday and Saturday evenings from 7 to 10:30pm. Pick from a selection of one- and two-bite elegant chocolate desserts and petite chocolate delicacies or a hot chocolate station. Call for reservations 312.573.6695 or e-mail diningPCH@peninsula.com.

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5, Imperfect. One in five fruits and vegetables grown in the U.S. don’t meet the strict cosmetic standards of grocery stores, usually causing them to go to waste on the farm. The curvy carrot, the miniature cherry and the oddly-shaped orange are all delicious and nutritious, but are often left to rot in fields or sent to the local landfill.

Why? To eliminate food waste, help farmers benefit from a full harvest and make healthy fruits and vegetables more accessible and affordable. Each customized box is filled with a variety of organic or conventional ugly fruits and vegetables priced at 30 to 50 percent below grocery rates, grown regionally and shipped from Imperfect’s Northlake, IL distribution center. Choose boxes for singles or families, and customize the mix of fruits and veggies in your box each week. Chicago residents can sign up for the new delivery service, that launches Monday, December 4.
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3 Saturday/weekend fun events at Chicago restaurants

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Fizz Eatery & Soda Fountain in Belmont Heights (out west near Oak Park) this Saturday, 11/11 honors National Sundae Day with “buy one, get one free house sundaes” from 10 to 3pm. Banana Split ($7.50), Turtle Sundaes with Wisconsin-made ice cream ($4.95-$6.15), or Build Your Own Sundaes (2 or 3 scoops of ice cream, whipped cream, a cherry, and your choice of 2 toppings ($4.95-$6.15). Kids 12 and under who come in to celebrate National Sundae Day will be entered to win an ice cream social for up to 12 people!
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Chicago Brewseum Hot Dog Fest. An intimate, low- to no-wait beer event – only 300 tickets will be sold. Saturday November 18, 1 to 5pm at Theater on the Lake, 2401 N. Lake Shore Dr.  It’s all about Chicago, hotdogs, beer and fun! Support the The Chicago Brewseum, a non-profit organization aiming to build the country’s first museum dedicated to telling the story of beer. What you get: A welcome beer courtesy of Old Style; 3 oz tastings of all the specialty beers; a Chicago style hot dog courtesy of Ball Park (vegetarian/vegan option available); access to the newly reopened Theater on the Lake; outdoor games (weather permitting); vinyl spins courtesy of DJ Charlie;  hot dog themed art for purchase; access to the secret and illicit speakeasy.  Tickets from $25 to $100.
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Hot toddies and deep-fried Oreos at Jake Melnick’s

Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap. The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival returns November 17 and one of the best places to warm up and enjoy special food & beverage offerings is Jake Melnick’s. Consider this: a Hot Toddy made with either Spiked Hot Chocolate and/or Irish Coffee PLUS incredible, batter-dipped, deep-fried Oreos for $15. Get ’em while they’re hot – special price only on November 17 + 18, 2017.

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Bistronomic now doing monthly wine dinners

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Bistronomic840 N. Wabash, is a contemporary bistro rooted in French culture in Chicago’s Gold Coast. Now it will begin hosting a two-course wine dinner beginning on November 9 at 6:30pm and thereafter on the first Thursday of each month. The first dinner will feature wines from France’s Loire Valley paired with Seasonal Oysters with Nichols Farm diced apple, ginger and preserve lemon and Coq Au Vin with seasonal mushrooms, bacon lardons and shallot puree. Cost is $59 per person (plus tax and gratuity). Make your reservations on the website or by calling (312) 944-8400.

Bistronomic sommelier Edy Orozco

The dinners are hosted by Bistronomic’s newly appointed sommelier, Edy Orozco, who recently completed his sommelier certification. A Guatemalan native, Orozco began his career in the United States in 2003, working as a busboy and attending Truman College to learn English. He developed his passion for food and wine throughout his career, including working at Seven Lions and Michelin-starred Takashi. In his management position at Seven Lions, Orozco attended wine training with Master Sommelier Alpana Singh and took over the restaurant’s wine training program in April 2016. 

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