Category Archives: where to eat in Chicago on holidays

News for lovers of BBQ, friends, chocolates and kids

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SWWAN celebrates Galentine’s Day!

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

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

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

Fannie Mae Pixies – perfect for Galentine’s Day!

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

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

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

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

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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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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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Eat out or take Thanksgiving home from 5 Chicagoland restaurants

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312 Chicago sage butternut squash tortelloni

This year spend less time in the kitchen and more time with your loved ones. Whether you want to eat out or enjoy your meal at home, consider partaking in a fully-cooked Thanksgiving Dinner from one of these fine restaurants in the Chicagoland area.

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EAT OUT
Bistronomic, 840 N. Wabash, has a special three-course, prix fixe menu available on Thanksgiving from 11am to 9pm for $65 per person plus tax and gratuity. First courses: Artisanal Smoked Salmon Salad, Hand Cut Yukon Potato Gnocchi, or Belgium Endive Salad. Second course options: Roasted Farm Turkey Breast and Stuffed Leg, Nichols Farm Pumpkin Ravioli, or Fall Vegetable Medley. Dessert: Lemon Tart or Chocolate Hazelnut Bars with orange supreme and Grand Marnier sauce.
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Several Kimpton Hotel operations are welcoming guests for Thanksgiving. Executive Chef Luca Corazzina of 312 Chicago, 136 N. LaSalle St. (next to Hotel Allegro in the Loop Theater District), offers a 4-course traditional Thanksgiving menu on November 23, 2017 from 5-9PM. $55/person or $25/child 12 and under. Reservations online or call 312-696-2420. Antipasti include either Acorn Squash Soup or Warm Beet Salad. Primi options: Pesto 3-cheese Lasagna or Sage  Parmigiano Butternut Squash Tortelloni. For Secondi choose either Italian Style Roasted Turkey, or Roasted Faroe Island Salmon, Mashed Sweet Potatoes, Braised Brussels Sprouts, Lemon-Butter Sauce. Dessert choices are: Pecan Tart: Bourbon Vanilla Gelato with  Espresso Crème Anglaise or Pumpkin Cheesecake with Chantilly Cream, Caramel Sauce, and Caramelized Pecans. Num!
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The shared plates cocktail bar, Sable Kitchen & Bar, next to Hotel Palomar in River North, will be open on Thanksgiving from 4-11PM, drinks until midnight. Newly appointed Executive Chef Amber Lancaster will serve “Thanksgiving on a Plate” ($35):  Herb Butter Roasted Turkey Breast, Sweet Potato, Crispy Maple Brussel Sprouts, Sweet Sausage & Pecan Stuffing, Apple Cider Gravy. Gluten Free variation available. Make reservations online. Sable will also be serving craft cocktails on Thanksgiving Eve from their new cocktail menu launching later this month.

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BRING IT HOME
Pierrot Gourmet, 108 E. Superior, known for its gorgeous pastries, is offering group and individual dinners that feature Amish-raised turkey or pork loin along with chef-inspired seasonal sides. Pre-order by Friday, November 17th by phone (312) 573 6749 or online.
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Whole Turkey Dinner $385 (16-18 lbs. serves 8-10 guests) or Whole Pork Loin, $385 (serves 8-10 guests) or Personal Turkey Dinner $37. All dinners include sides of gravy, country mashed potatoes, stuffing, agave glazed acorn squash with spiced pepitas, braised collard greens, organic green side salad with balsamic dressing, cranberry sauce. And don’t forget dessert! Choose pumpkin, apple crumble or pecan pie: Whole Pie (serves 8-10 guests) $28 or Individual Tarts $7.
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Prairie Grass Cafe, 601 Skokie Blvd., Northbrook, IL, is offering North Shore residents no-cook Thanksgiving-To-Go for home. The complete ala carte feast includes all the dishes served on the restaurant’s Thanksgiving menu plus other mouthwatering options like Apple Sage Stuffing, Homemade Sausage and Giblet Stuffing and Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Chestnuts. Order by phone no later than Thursday November 16. Pick up your dinner on Thursday November 23 from noon to 2 p.m. View the full order form here. For more information, call Prairie Grass Cafe at (847) 205-4433.
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National Pasta Day’s tomorrow October 17

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National Pasta Day is tomorrow, October 17. What a great excuse to go out and indulge yourself in some heart- and stomach-warming dishes made by folks who love cooking Italian.

Nonnina, 340 N. Clark St., named in honor of the grandmothers of partners Tony Priolo and Ciro Longobardo, is offering a design-your-own pasta trio for National Pasta Day – tomorrow only. Choose 3 of your favorites from the menu for just $21. Now that’s amore! Full pasta menu is here. Valid October 17th only.

Down the street a bit, Maggiano’s, 516 N. Clark, is always celebrating pasta. Now until November 1 they’re featuring a host of pasta dishes and other comfort foods like:

Soups: Roasted Butternut Squash and Tuscan White Bean & Nueske’s Ham. Or how about Shrimp Fondue (with Roasted Peppers, Alfredo Sauce, Chives, Garlic Crostinis) or Roasted Butternut Squash Ravioli (Brown Butter Sauce, Parmesan, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Sage, Toasted Hazelnuts). This pasta dish qualifies for Maggiano’s “take home a Classic Pasta for tomorrow” – TWO pasta meals for the price of one. Check the website for more specials and for their new brunch menu.

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July 2017 Chicago restaurant news

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Summer is a busy time for Chicago’s restaurant scene. All season long, patios and rooftops burst with happy diners and drinkers, but air-conditioned interiors beckon more seductively for some – a welcome haven from the heat and humidity and a time to enjoy good food with friends and family. Below are a few restaurant items of interest.
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Shaw’s Chicago Lobster Fest is ON!

Lobster Festival is back at Shaw’s Crab House Chicago, 21 E. Hubbard. All during July, enjoy the decadent taste of everyone’s favorite crustacean. Special menu items for the month include: Lobster Maki. Lobster Tacos. Lobster Roll. Lobster Fettuccine. 1.5 lb Lobster Boil with potatoes, corn, and sausage.

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The Andersonville Chamber of Commerce (ACC) is excited to announce the official launch of Andersonville First Fridays, a late-night, monthly event series beginning this Friday, July 7 from 6-10PM. In an effort to promote local shopping and dining, businesses will keep their doors open late to welcome visitors with promotions, refreshments, and special experiences on the first Friday of each month. This month’s First Friday also coincides with the grand opening of Transit Tees at 5226 N. Clark.” Chicago Reader last month voted Andersonville Chicago’s best overall neighborhood. 
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Maggiano’s Make A Wish white chocolate cannoli cake

Maggiano’s Little Italy, 516 N. Clark, is always busy updating everything they do. It now offers lots of lighter-side pasta dishes, plus vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free Italian options. Browse their new brunch options and their lunch menu that now also includes some of their dinner-time pasta classics like Chicken Parmesan and Veal Piccata, plus Italian recipes with an American twist like Pesto Perlini Mozzarella and Grilled Salmon & Herbs. And don’t forget the kids’ menu – Ziti Pasta, Cheese Flatbread, and Giant Meatball with Spaghetti. Dine in, carry out or get delivery. With many pasta entrees, they give you an extra one to take home for free! Either way you get warmly satisfying food that fills your stomach while it comforts your spirit.

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Troquet River North

Bastille Day, July 14, 2017.  Troquet River North, 111 W. Huron at Clark, is offering an all-day special on Friday the 14th to celebrate. For $12 enjoy a classic croque monsieur with frites and a choice of Kronenbourg 1664 or Kir Royale.

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Bistro Voltaire, 226 W. Chicago Ave., promises a free appetizer glass of champagne to all diners July 14, and also offers a mouth-watering 3-course prix fixe dinner all that week for $38. Escargots, grenouille, tartiflette, bouillabaise, anyone?
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Pre-summer food, music and wine

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Pre-summer blooms off Michigan Ave.

Summer is at hand, people. No reason not to start right now enjoying the music, food and fun that are always on offer throughout our great city from spring through late fall. Here are a few opportunities to get you rolling…

Belmont-Sheffield Music Festival, on Sheffield from Belmont to Roscoe St. Sun. May 27 – Mon. May 28, 2017 – noon to 10pm.  And don’t fail to check out Trader Todd’s karaoke stage and contest – try out for best singer and look forward  to the award ceremonies in June at Trader Todd’s tiki bar, 3216 N. Sheffield. Check out our review on Trader Todd’s brunch here.
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Happy 40thbirthday, Potbelly! Thursday, June 1, they’re giving a $40,000 donation to One Summer Chicago. Check out the limited-time Potbelly birthday menu items,  and enjoy 40% off Originals sandwiches in-shop at Potbelly nationwide between 11am-3pm. Find your nearest Chicago Potbelly location and go enjoy.
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Dog-friendly, burger/beer specials. Burger + Beer promotion at The Patio at Café Brauer. From May 26 – May 29, get a juicy, succulent burger and a domestic beer for $15.95 all Memorial Day weekend. Read our rave review of Cafe Brauer here.
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English: Band shell in Millennium Park by Fran...
English: Band shell in Millennium Park by Frank Gehry – Pritzker, from across Michigan Avenue (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Music at Pritzker Pavillion. Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer – two weeks before the Grant Park Music Festival season begins. To celebrate, order a One Night Pass and get a reserved seat close to the stage for any Festival concert at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. And when you order online this weekend, you’ll save 25% on select seats for any concert in June! Use promo code MEMORIAL when you order online at gpmf.org. Offer expires Monday,  May 29 at 11:59 PM. Or,  explore our entire 2017 season. Choose any four concerts (excluding Beethoven Symphony No. 9 on August 18 and 19) with a Choose Your Own membership and we’ll add the Festival’s Independence Day Salute as our way of saying thank you.

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Rich and rewarding Black Stallion Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

For home barbeques or hostess gifts, consider one of these excellent wines from Black Stallion Estate Vineyards. Black Stallion Chardonnay 2015, Black Stallion Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, and Black Stallion Sauvignon Blanc 2015 are deliciously complex and rich tasting. Perfect companions to grilled shrimp or lobster, super-marbled steak cooked a pointe on the grill, and any favorite traditional accompaniments like mustard potato salad, veggie pastasauteed fresh garlic asparagus or superb sauteed mushrooms.  Get your Black Stallion wines from these Chicago area retailers: SavWay Wine & Spirits, Garfield’s Beverage Warehouse, Sunset Foods, Woodman’s, Heinen’s, or talk to your friendly Binny’s folks.

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And if you’re into  higher-end wines, here’s a list of special Black Stallion wines that have garnered serious recognition lately:

  • Wine & Spirits magazine “100 Best Buys of the Year” – 2013 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: 92 Points
  • James Suckling’s list of “Top 100 Reds of Napa Valley 2016” – 2013 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: 93 Points
  • Decanter: 2013 Barrel Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: Highly recommended, 91 pts; 2013 Transcendent Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon; Highly recommended, 91 pts;  2013 Gaspare Estate Vineyard, Oak Knoll District, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: Highly recommended, 90 pts; 2013 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: Highly recommended, 90 pts;
  • Wine Enthusiast: 2013 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: 90 pts; 2014 Los Carneros Pinot Noir: 90 pts
  • Robert M. Parker, Jr. / Wine Advocate (Barrel samples): 2014 Bucephalus Red Blend: (91-93); 2014 Barrel Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: (90-92); 2014 Transcendent Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: (90-92)
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Kentucky Derby parties and specials around Chicago

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Michigan Ave. spring tulips

Okay, spring is here for sure and tomorrow’s the first big day to celebrate. My daughter’s been giving an annual Derby party for some years now, and Kentucky ain’t got nothin’ on us. Everybody loves dressing up in outrageous hats and fancy duds, drinking champagne, juleps and whatever, and picking horses by lottery.

But whether you study racing stats and place big bets, or you just love looking at those gorgeous horses, the Kentucky Derby is always an excellent excuse to go out and imbibe and eat with friends. And in Chicago there’s never a shortage of places to do that. Here are a few to consider for your drinking and dining pleasure:

Brando’s Speakeasy & The Essaness Room, 343 S Dearborn St., Monday, May 1 through Saturday, May 6, from 3pm: $6 Mint Juleps and FREE fried chicken. on Derby Day (May 6) beginning at 6pm (while supplies last).

Commonwealth Tavern Roscoe Village, 2000 W. Roscoe St., Saturday, May 6, open at 10am, drink specials $2, $4 and $6 Win Place Show special all day featuring $2 14-ounce Miller Lite drafts, $4 Blue Moon pints and $6 Buffalo Trace Mint Juleps. $7 to $14 food specials include a Kentucky Hot Brown (smoked turkey, bacon, tomato, parmesan, beer cheese, sourdough; $14). Watch the race on eight TVs including a 70-inch plasma.

Easy Bar, 1944 W. Division St., Saturday, May 6, from 3pm, $8 cocktail specials and a special Basil Mint Julep for $10 all day (while supplies last). Watch live coverage on TV.

Estelle’s, 2013 W. North Ave., Saturday, May 6, open at 5pm, $8 Mint Juleps. Plus get $1 off your first drink if you’re wearing a derby hat.

Kanela Breakfast Club, Saturday, May 6 from 7am to 3pm, $6 Mint Juleps and complimentary starters. Derby attire gets you a complimentary starter to share.* Kanela’s starter options include the Kanela Roll, Monkey Bread, Loukoumades, Chia Seed Pudding, Potato Pancakes, Mac and Cheese, Greek Yogurt, and Steel Cut Oatmeal. Locations – Andersonville: 5413 N. Clark St., Lakeview: 3231 N. Clark St; Old Town: 1552 N. Wells St.; Streeterville: 502 E. Illinois; Wicker Park: 1048 N. Milwaukee Ave. *Parties of two or more only. One per table.

Remedy Bar, 1910 N. Milwaukee, Saturday, May 6, from 4pm, $8 to $9 drink specials. $8 Maker’s Mark Mint Juleps as well as complimentary Kentucky Burgoo (traditional stew). Anyone dressed in derby hats or attire will receive $1 off drinks. Sound on!

Roanoke Restaurant, 135 W. Madison St. Saturday, May 6, from 10am. $18 to $22 food specials including a Hot Brown (rotisserie turkey, thick sliced house cured bacon, hearth toasted brioche, veal demi glaze, fried egg), Burgoo (confit of duck, rotisserie pork shoulder, rotisserie chicken, lima bean puree, wilted red cabbage, roast potatoes, Cipollini onions, carrots, tomato sauce and beef broth), Country Ham Sliders (house made buttermilk biscuits served with thick sliced true Southern-style country ham, oregano and orange butter, blackberry country mustard) as well as individual Bourbon Pecan Pies.

Tavern On Little Fort, 4128 N. Lincoln Ave., $7 Buffalo Trace Mint Juleps and $6 Kentucky Mules (Moscow Mule with bourbon). TVs in the bar and beer garden (weather permitting) with the sound on. “Best Derby Hat” contest. Large groups can book parties in the Beer Garden which accommodates up to 68 guests.

 

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Winter bar news – aliveOne and Fifolet

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aliveOne Bar comes alive in a few new ways this month. Every Sunday beginning February 19, aliveOne will host Living Room Sessions, an open mic comedy event from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Amateur comedians who want a shot at the stage can sign up starting at 5:30 p.m.

  • Every Sunday
  • 6 pm to 1 am
  • Free to attend; $4 to $5 drink specials
Following Living Room Sessions, Dead Comedy at aliveOne will kick off at 10 p.m. featuring a two-hour stand up showcase with some of Chicago’s best comics. Sunday specials will include $4 Temperance brews, $5 Absolut Bloody Mary’s and FREE pool.
 
aliveOne and Bell’s Brewery will host a Hopslam Ale tapping on Wednesday, February 22; Hopslam beers are $7 all night.
  • Wednesday, February 22
  • 5 pm to close
  • Free to attend; $7 Hopslam beers

Every weekday from 5 to 7 pm, aliveOne’s Happy Hour features half-price beer and cocktails.

And when you’re in the mood for old-school classic house music, aliveOne welcomes “Gramophone Records Presents – Clark St. Jams” in the back room starting 10 pm.  No cover charge. How cool is that?

Fifolet to Host Four-Day Mardi Gras Celebration

Since we can’t all make it to Bourbon St. for Mardi Gras, Fifolet Cajun & Cocktails will be bringing the famous New Orleans festival to you right here in Chicago. Starting on Saturday, February 25th, the new Wicker Part restaurant and bar will be ground zero for all things Mardi Gras.  Four days of festivities will include everything from live music, Hurricane cocktails and face painting to authentic Creole/Cajun food specials, limited edition beers from New Orleans’ favorite brewery, Abita, and more.

Saturday, February 255:00 pm – 2:00 am. 30¢ Beer Flights for 30 Minutes. For one night only, guests can enjoy 30¢ Abita beer flights for a period of 30 minutes. Guests will have the chance to partake in this promotion two times throughout the evening.

Taste of New Orleans. Executive Chef Kevin Crouse has created a special menu designed to allow guests to get a real taste of the Big Easy.  Dishes on the Taste of New Orleans menu are available in half size portions to allow diners to taste as much as they want.  In addition to signature menu items like Gumbo and Jambalaya, the following specials will be available:

Red Beans and Rice, Slow-Cooked Red Beans | Smoked Pork | Andouille | Herbed Wh.te Rice. Mac & Cheese.  Pimentos | Peas | Wild Boar Bacon. Shrimp and Grits – Creamy Stone-Ground Grits | Andouille | Shallots | Garlic | Brussels Leaves | Cherry Tomato | Rich Shellfish Broth. King Cake – Cinnamon Swirl | Mardi Gras Icing *with hidden baby toy. Beverage pairings of Cognac Flights ($15) and Abita Beer Flights ($12) will be available to round out your dining experience. Enjoy Chicago’s largest selection of Abita Brewing Company beers,

Sunday Feb. 25 5pm-12am
Monday Feb.27 5pm-12am
Tuesday Feb.28 5pm-2am

*all available while supplies last. 

Then come to join Abita Brewing Company’s Official Mardi Gras Party at Fifolet, where they proudly host the party for New Orleans’ favorite brewery!  $4 Purple Haze | $4 Light | $4 Mardi Gras Bock

Find the Abita rep at the party and your first beer is on him/her. And party to one of Chicago’s best New Orleans-style bands, Four Star Brass Band, all evening long.

Fifolet will offer a family-friendly environment from 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm.  Kids are invited to partake in face painting and non-alcoholic Abita Root Beers. Face painting, 5pm to 8pm. Local artist Amanda Cohen will paint the fun-loving faces of Fat Tuesday party-goers.  Can’t decide on a design?  Look to one of the many Mardi Gras masks that line the walls of Fifolet for some colorful inspiration!

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Eating out/carry out Christmas 2016 Chicago – redux

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We gave you some ideas for restaurants to eat out or carry out in Chicago at Christmas and Christmas Eve 2016 here. And as the holidays grow closer, here are a few more ideas you might find useful:

Delightful Pastries is at work for you this holiday

Delightful Pastries
Let Delightful Pastries (Jefferson Park, Chicago French Market) accent your holiday meal! Known for their outstanding baked goods and sweets, Delightful Pastries will offer an array of seasonal catering options such as Buche de Noel, a French yule log made out of genoise, filled with chocolate ganache and decorated with marzipan mushrooms and holly berries ($40); Traditional German Stollen, with candied orange peel, raisins, almonds and filled with marzipan ($20); Royal Gingerbread, filled with hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, raisins and candied orange peel and dipped in chocolate ($15); and Butter Cookie Christmas Tree, butter cookies filled with apricot preserves and decorated with royal icing and holiday sugar ornaments ($35).

Savory dishes are an excellent accompaniment to the main course or served as an appetizer. Some of Delightful Pastries’ stand-out dishes include Red Borscht ($8/quart) & Mushroom Turnovers, filled with sautéed mushrooms in a puff pastry ($14/dozen); and Meat Pie, filled with pork and ham and wrapped in bacon ($40).
Additional items include the vegan Holiday Bread ($10), loaded with pecans, cherries, raisins, cranberries, candied orange peel and currants and the vegan Pecan Cranberry Sourdough ($6), a hearty option made with cranberries and chopped pecans. Rum Eggnog($15.99) is sure to be a hit and small or large trays of mini pastries, brownies or assorted cookies are available as well.

To order, call one of the Delightful Pastries locations by Tuesday, December 20 (Chicago French Market, 312.234.9644 or Jefferson Park, 773.545.7215).

Harvest at Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile
Located directly on the Magnificent Mile, Harvest at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile (540 N Michigan Ave.) will offer a festive and delicious feast. The all-you-can-eat buffet will feature a carving station of Slow-Roasted Prime Rib and House-Smoked Ham with au jus and smoked apple butter. A cold buffet will include a Kale Caesar Salad, assorted Local Cheeses and Housemade Charcuterie and Shrimp Cocktail. The hot buffet will feature dishes such as Celery Root and Apple Soup, Housemade Sausage and Sage Cornbread Stuffing, Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Michigan Apples and Bacon and Caramelized Onion Mashed Potatoes. The dessert table will include an assortment of Pecan Tarts, Eggnog Mousse Cups, Red Velvet Cake and more.

The menu will be offered on Christmas from noon to 10 p.m. Cost is $40 per adult and $20 per child under 10 years of age (exclusive of tax and gratuity). Reservations are recommended and may be made by calling 312.836.6334.

Smoke Daddy Will Smoke Your Bird
Smoke Daddy (1804 W Division St.) in Wicker Park will offer a delicious Christmas catering menu. The BBQ restaurant will offer 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 (9 lb., $69). Sides such as Cornbread Stuffing with sausage and spices ($10 per quart); Brussels Sprouts, oven-roasted with a lemon butter sauce ($10 per quart); and Garlic Mashed Potatoes ($10 per quart) and desserts like Sweet Potato Pie ($22) and Pecan Pie ($24) round out the menu. In addition, guests may pick-up bottles of wine ($12-$15) and the fixings for a Bloody Mary Bar ($140 for 20 beverages) and/or Mimosa Bar($100 for 12 beverages).

Pick-up and delivery orders must be made by noon on Monday, December 19. Items will be picked-up cold with re-heating instructions on Thursday, December 22 and Friday, December 23. Guests may place their order online at www.thesmokedaddy.com.

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