Category Archives: wine and spirits

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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Foodie news from 4 Chicago restaurants

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

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

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

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

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

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

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New menus, new happenings at 5 Chicago restaurants

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

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

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

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

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

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Marriot rooftop hosts Imperfect Produce benefit

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Marriott Mag Mile rootop views

Chicago Marriott Magnificent Mile. On Thursday, July 26, 5 to 8 pm, they are partnering with Imperfect Produce to host a rooftop soiree that celebrates the innovative food service’s milestone of saving 2.6 million pounds of produce in Chicago since its initial launch in the Midwest this past December. Bring your friends to mix and mingle in the rooftop’s beautiful garden while enjoying creative small plates, created by the hotel’s executive chef Frank Sanchez, that feature Imperfect’s produce along with the vegetables and herbs grown in the rooftop garden.

Enjoy beverages like Revolution Brewing beers, select wines from J Vineyards and a variety of craft cocktails and receive a $25 produce credit from Imperfect Produce to continue to fight food waste in Chicago. All ticket proceeds will benefit The Children’s Miracle Network. Such a deal for $20 per person. To purchase tickets, visit the Eventbrite page here or call 312-836-6334.
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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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5 Chicago restaurants – Super Bowl and Valentine’s 2018 +1 new opening!

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

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

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

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

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Cupitol Coffee + Eatery, 455 E. Illinois St. (and 812 Grove St. Evanston) will donate all hot and iced latte proceeds to Open Heart Magic, a Chicago-based, non-profit that uses the therapeutic power of magic and laughter to energize seriously ill children. Additionally, they will also offer Chocolate Dipped Strawberries at each location two for $2. Cupitol lattes feature a specialty espresso blend imported exclusively from Europe that’s based on 100% Arabica beans. Lattes include theChai, Mocha, Nutella, Vanilla, Caramel and Hazelnut Latte. Drink ’em regular or dairy-free with coconut or almond milk. But the menu also features full breakfast, lunch and dinner options plus pastries from the in-house bakery. Both  locations open on Valentine’s Day from 7am to 9pm.
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Coming soon! Sapori Antichi Bar Italiano, 22 W. Ohio, opens its authentic Northern Italian full-service restaurant and bar in March 2018. It’s just down the street from Eataly Chicago, in the former Rev Burger space. With 2,300 square feet to accommodate 50-60 guests, the new 100% Italian – from kitchen equipment to tiles – restaurant will offer breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as a full bar, say founders Michael and Mary Meranda. Look for Italian dishes like Tigelle, an Italian small, round, thickish flat bread and Gnocco Fritto, an Italian bread typically sliced into diamond shapes and then fried. Meet friends and relax at the espresso and breakfast bar and the chef’s table where you might even get tastes not yet on the menu. We can always hope that the prices will be a bit less daunting than some of those at Eataly!
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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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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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Celebrate The Sandwich – pick from these 14 Chicago restaurants

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August is National Sandwich Month. And who among us doesn’t love the glorious carb-loaded deliciousness of a serious sandwich? Good time to indulge your bread-and-filling  sensors in some new and unique ways at the following new and tried-and-true Chicago restaurants:
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Big Jones5347 N. Clark St. An Andersonville destination, Big Jones’ historically-inspired sandwiches are as delicious as they sound. The Carolina Shrimp Burger features Key West pink shrimp ground and seasoned high, topped with cayenne mayonnaise, chow-chow, butter lettuce and a side of creamy grits. The famous Fat Jones Burger brings together Slagel Farm beef griddled with onions and served on a soft egg bun with oyster remoulade, crisp bacon, lettuce and tomato, with a side of ham fat fries. This southern comfort spot is not to be missed for celebrating sandwiches.
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Bonci applies its pizza expertise to sandwiches

Bonci Pizza161 N. Sangamon St. Beginning mid-August, esteemed Rome-based Chef Gabriele Bonci brings Chicagoans his very first American location of Bonci Pizzeria in the West Loop, offering artisanal, seasonally-inspired pizzas, salads and of course – sandwiches! Guests find mouthwatering selections crafted with house made bread for National Sandwich Month including: Meatball with Mozzarella Cheese, Ricotta and Mortadella, Eggplant or Spinach, Sheep Cheese and Spicy Salami.

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Café Robey2018 W. North Ave. Situated at the high traffic intersection of Milwaukee, North, and Damen in the trendy Wicker Park neighborhood, Café Robey promises one of the most mouthwatering fried chicken sandwiches in the city. Featuring an oh-so-juicy chicken thigh breaded and fried, house made tangy pickles, mayo, and Tabasco, it’s no wonder this sandwich has been Instagrammed regularly since the restaurant opened in December.
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Cupital makes fab subs

Cupitol455 E. Illinois St. Chicago  or 812 Grove St. Evanston. Cupitol has the sandwich game covered. The all-day eatery offers a variety of mouthwatering handhelds on house-made bread at both locations. Try the Roast Beef sandwich, with spiced horseradish and au jus on a French baguette, the Falafel Burger with paprika yogurt and cabbage relish on a sesame brioche bun, or the Shroomed Patty Melt with prime beef, wild mushrooms, Wisconsin sharp cheddar and onion compote on rye.

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The Fifty/502047 W. Division St. The Fifty/50’s all-star sandwich, The Four Courser, piles on slow-smoked, hand-pulled pork shoulder tossed in Gouda Béchamel, fried jalapeños, sweet potato chips, a mac ’n’ cheese waffle and smokey BBQ sauce on a pretzel bun. This sandwich masterpiece can be paired with the diner’s choice of waffle, sweet potato or French fries – the perfect complement sure to satisfy every sandwich quest.
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Filini Bar and Restaurant221 N. Columbus Dr. The Double Griddle Burger is everything you’ll want in a hamburger from the moment you take your first bite. With two smashed beef patties, house made bread and butter pickles, a brioche bun and a secret fancy sauce, Filini’s burger is what summer hamburger dreams are made of. Adding to the summer fun is Filini’s dog-friendly patio for pups wanting some sandwich action too.  There’s a Canine Cuisine menu to investigate as well!
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The Florentine151 W. Adams St. For an Italian twist on National Sandwich Month, guests can head over to The Florentine in The Loop to enjoy a variety of delicious, seasonal sandwiches perfect for lunchtime, whether shopping downtown, sightseeing around the city or grabbing a quick bite with colleagues during the week. Crafted by Executive Chef Zach Walrath, sandwich highlights from the menu include:
  • Soft-shell Crab: fried soft-shell, summer slaw, heirloom tomato, lemon aioli, ciabatta
  • Chicken Panini: smoked mozzarella, peperonata, basil, sourdough
  • Veggie Burger: garbanzo beans, quinoa, kale, avocado, peperonata aioli, whole wheat bun
  • Americano Burger: charred onion, house fry sauce, pickles, American cheese, sesame seed bun
  • BLT Burger: smoked bacon, bibb lettuce, tomato, onion, calabrian chili, havarti cheese, brioche
  • Tomato Brisket: tomato braised beef, red onion, provolone, horseradish, rye
Hewn features serious bread in its sandwiches

Hewn810 Dempster St. Hewn serves up the best thing since sliced bread! Evanston’s premier bakery for fresh, heritage grain bread, offers house-made, grilled to order sandwiches. Using entirely local ingredients, made-daily bread, and seasonal produce, these sandwiches showcase an array of flavors in every bite. Each sandwich is grab-and-go, and can be warmed up by the Hewn bakers for instant enjoyment, or tucked away for a tasty meal later in the day. Menu standouts include Turkey on Country with pickled red onions and turkey from local Amish farmers sandwiched between naturally fermented sourdough bread using all-organic wheat, Reuben with Butcher and Larder’s corned beef with Swiss cheese, house made sauerkraut, and house made thousand island dressing served on whole wheat or caramelized onion bread, and Elementary Grilled Cheesefeaturing white sharp cheddar, Parmigiano Reggiano, pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, and pickled onions served on rotating breads.

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Michael Jordan’s Steak House505 N. Michigan Ave. Steakhouse lunching done right. Michael Jordan’s Steak House features a variety of hefty sandwiches to satiate the hungriest of appetites. Try the classic Italian Beef with hot giardiniera and provolone, or the Chicken Sandwich on flatbread, with cilantro and harissa yogurt. Need steak for every meal? Dive into the Steak Sandwich with provolone, pickled onion and giardiniera aioli atop a pretzel bun. Add hand-cut, beef-fat fries and lunch is complete.
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Pork and Mindy’s stacked

Pork & Mindy’s1623 N. Milwaukee Ave. Pork & Mindy’s is celebrating National Sandwich Month with the launch of new ’sangwiches’, developed by Food Network Star and Executive Chef, Jeff Mauro. Working with the Sandwich King himself, Pork & Mindy’s is redefining the local BBQ scene incorporating exciting tastes into new world-class creations at the flagship Wicker Park eatery. With handcrafted new menu items for carnivores and vegetarians, there is a ‘sangwich’ for everyone at the creative BBQ destination. Menu highlights include:

  • Pastramindy Reuben: This griddled take on a Rueben combines Pork & Mindy’s house-cured, smoked, and hand-cut pastrami with P&M Mustard sauce and spicy pickles on a marble rye roll, hitting all the important points for a crunchy, gooey, smoky and cheesy sandwich.
  • Crunchy Pork ‘Sangwich’: This ‘sangwich’ features brined, all-natural pork lion, lightly pounded and hand breaded with a craggily, crispy crust. When that crispy hot pork hits the fresh lettuce and spicy apricot habanero mayo, magic happens.
  • Buffalo Cauli: A vegetarian’s dream come true, this ‘sangwich’ is filled with crispy smoked cauliflower steak, tossed in house-made buffalo sauce to bring the heat. It’s then topped with Gorgonzola and creamy buttermilk dill ranch. This revolutionary ingredient combo will make carnivores forget they ever liked meat!
Roots does it all

Roots Handmade Pizza1924 W. Chicago Ave. and 200 W. Lawerence Ave. The mouthwatering textures of pizza meet the culinary magic of sandwiches for a delicious combination with the Foldovers at Roots Handmade Pizza. Foldovers feature the restaurant’s signature malt crust pizza dough stuffed with high quality ingredients, baked for a melty and tasty one-of-a-kind sandwich. Folderovers you can’t miss include:

  • The Fat Eddie: salami, Canadian bacon, Quad Cities mozzarella, shaved parmesan cheese, marinara sauce, French dressing, diced red onions and chopped romaine
  • The Rock Island Arsenal: specially-seasoned Italian sausage patty, two award-winning and scratch-made mozzarella sticks and marinara sauce
  • Chicken Caesar: marinated, grilled and sliced chicken breast, Quad Cities mozzarella cheese blend, shaved parmesan cheese, Caesar dressing and chopped romaine
 Seven Lions, 130 S. Michigan Ave. A sandwich that appeals to visitors and locals alike, the Michigan Avenue staple is offering a Crispy Chicken Sandwich to satisfy the highest of cravings! With the option of enjoying the sandwich slathered in spicy buffalo sauce, the crispy chicken is topped with buttermilk dressed greens and sweet pickles before being smashed between a delicious bun. Not as hungry? Share the Crispy Chicken Sliders with other sandwich lovers, available during Happy Hour.
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Steadfast120 W. Monroe St. The culinary art of sandwiches goes elegant at the chic downtown escape, Steadfast. Decadent sandwiches available on its lunch menu include the Lobster Roll with east coast lobster tail, Old Bay aioli and trout roe, the Portobello Panini with tomato preserves, buffalo mozzarella, basil pistou and roasted portobello mushroom and the Grilled Chicken Torta with brined and smoked chicken breast, cranberry goat cheese, frisee and crispy shallots.
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The Terrace401 N. Wabash Ave. Indulge in pure decadence with The Benjamin Burger, a Wagyu beef burger stuffed with foie gras served with tomato compote, onion jam, truffle aioli, frisee, 10-year aged cheddar, on a gold bun with fries. Guests can enjoy the complimentary accompanying Fat Elvis Milkshake to finish-swirled peanut butter and smoked vanilla milk shake, roasted banana compote, gilded peanuts, and candied bacon. For $100, it’s the perfect date-night sandwich coupled with the stunning views of the city, Lake Michigan and Chicago River. Enjoy on a Wednesday or Saturday for a truly perfect evening with the best view in town of the Navy Pier Fireworks.
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