Always fun goings-on in the world of Chicago food and drink. Always a spotlight shining on some international holiday or special occasion or worthy cause. Below are three such items for your consideration. Happy can’t-make-up-its-mind weather!
Avli Taverna, 1335 W. Wrightwood, is celebrating the annual Greek tradition of Tsiknopempti, otherwise known as “Barbeque Thursday,” on February 28 with a family-style dinner with seating’s at 6 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. Tsiknopempti always takes place on the Thursday of the week known as Kreatini, when large amounts of meat are traditionally grilled before the fasting leading up to Easter. The event is $60 per person and includes a welcome drink; appetizers including Santorini-Style Tomato Fritters; a family-style Grilled Meat Platter with Greek Sausage, Ouzo and Cumin Chicken Skewers, Lollipop Lamb Chops and Gourounopoulo (Rotisserie Pork);Bourani, a tomato risotto side dish; Kataifi Ekmek, a custard dessert; and three Kir-Yianni wines with dinner. To view the full menu and purchase tickets, visit the Eventbrite here.
Yolk Test Kitchen, 1767 N Milwaukee Ave., honors the birthday of beloved Dr. Suess on March 2. From 7am to 3pm, Yolk will serve for the first time a mini version of their regular fan-favorite menu item Green Eggs and Ham – free for children ages 12 and younger. Yolk Founder and Owner Taki Kastanis said they are constantly pushing the envelope with new and creative breakfasts, specialty juices and their own private label premium coffee in urban, upscale settings. Besides pancakes, Yolk puts its signature on dishes like gourmet five-egg rolled omelet, eggs Benedict, a wide range of skillets and scramblers, frittatas, crepes and many more scrumptious options, along with all-star menu items from the restaurant’s inventive Test Kitchen. For more information or to reserve at any Chicago location, visit www.eatyolk.com, download the Yolk app, or connect on Instagram and Facebook.
Vanille Patisserie (see their four locations) celebrates National Macaron Day on Wednesday, March 20 – the first day of spring. Ten percent of all in-store and online sales will benefit Special Olympics Chicago. Mention #BreakingDownBarriers at any Vanille location on National Macaron Day for a free French macaron. Check out Vanille’s new “Champion Box” of 12 macarons that includes a gold one (like the winning medal) and others that are embossed with the Special Olympics Chicago logo and inspirational words from the special athletes. Order beginning March 1 for shipping nationally and/or for delivery the week of March 20. For more information, vanillepatisserie.com or call a Patisserie Specialist at (773) 868-4574.
Carnevale Restaurant is here to get you in the holiday spirit. Mark your calendar for these fun events: Sundays, December 9 and 16, bring the family and join Mr. & Mrs. Claus and Christmas carolers for a holiday brunch buffet 10:30 – 3pm. Buffet stations include paella, meat carving, tacos, desserts & more. Adults $45, kids 5 to 12 $15 each. December 31 ring in the New Year with The Greatest Showman Celebration. $85 prix fixe menu. Reservations here (required for New Year’s Eve).
Cookies? Yes! Warm Belly Bakery (West Loop and Lincoln Park) just launched its Monster cookie for the holiday. Even bigger than their regular, really big 1/4-lb cookies, the Monster is a 1/2-lb sugar cookie – made with Chef/Owner Joe Dela Pena’s secret “How’d you get it to taste like cookie dough?” recipe – with bits of Snickers®, Twix®, M&Ms® and Butterfingers®. In partnership with Big Monster Toys Company (on Racine Ave. right around the corner from WBB’s West Loop location at 1148 W. Monroe), Warm Belly is donating a portion of proceeds from the sale of all Monster cookies to help the toy company’s charitable efforts for kids at the University of Chicago’s Comer’s Children Hospital. Good reason to bust yourself on a Monster cookie this holiday. But don’t stop there. Buy a mixed dozen in a tin and try to keep from eating more than a 50-calorie bite at a time. We dare you.
More cookies! Publican Quality Meats lets you pick from a selection of chef-driven holiday cookies from the top pastry talents in the U.S. From December 10 to 24 a portion of the proceeds help local nonprofit Deborah’s Place provide interim and permanent supportive housing to women in need throughout Chicago.
Remington’s(20 N. Michigan Ave.) will host a Santa Brunch on Sunday, December 9 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Brunch options include Prime Rib Hash with two eggs over easy, peppers, cilantro and chipotle sour cream ($16) and Lobster Deviled Eggs with three halves loaded with lobster and lobster oil ($12). To view the full menu and make a reservation visit the website or call 312-782-6000.
Smoke Daddy (1804 W. Division St. and 3636 N. Clark St.) celebrates Santa Family-Style Brunch Sunday, Dec.16, 11 to 2pm. And try their holiday catering options: House-Smoked Whole Turkey (11 lb., $65; 20 lb., $9), Pulled Whole Turkey (1 lb., $16) and Glazed Ham, a bone-in, smoked ham with a sweet mojo glaze (half, $69). Sides include Cornbread Stuffing with sausage and spices ($10 per quart); Brussels Sprouts oven-roasted with a lemon butter sauce ($10 per quart); and Green Bean Casserole ($10 per quart). Desserts like Pecan Pie ($25) and Pumpkin Pie ($19) round out the menu. Christmas orders must be made by Wednesday, December 19. Items will be picked-up cold with re-heating instructions. Call 773-772-1697 to place an order for either location. Smoke Daddy is also offering its signature sauces and mix in gift sets ($18 or $35) that include BBQ sauces, Smokin’ Bloody Mary mix, Mojo Spice rub and a Smoke Daddy Koozie. Visit either location – Wicker Park or Wrigleyville to pick-up the sets or order online.
Tuco and Blondie (3358 N. Southport) has turned its patio into a festive Christmas tree farm with family-owned McCluskey Tree Farms now through Monday, December 25. Hours: Monday to Friday from 4 to 10pm and Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 10pm. Prices range from $11 to $17 per foot depending on tree type. Saturday, December 8 from 9 to noon, meet the tree farmer Dan McCluskey and take pictures with Santa. Try a Tuco Hot Cider with apple cider, mezcal, butterscotch schnapps and agave ($8) to warm your spirit! 773-327-8226.
Bistronomic, 840 N. Wabash, celebrates Hanukkah from now through Monday, December 10 with a three-course, prix fixe dinner menu for $39. Choose from three select appetizers, entrees and desserts. Call 312-955-8400 or visit the website.
Chiya Chai will be at Chicago’s Christkindlmarket (50 W. Washington St.) at booth number 14 until Monday, December 24 serving their signature chai as well as Mini Chai Donuts (12 for $7); Chicken Masala and Kale Potato Savory Pies ($8.50); Apple, Blueberry and Pumpkin Spice Sweet Pies ($10); Masala Curry Fries ($5); and Chiya Chili Potatoes ($5).
Back at Chiya Chai’s home location, 2770 N. Milwaukee, look for nine-inch savory pies to-go, perfect for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Options include the Chicken Masala, Chicken Balti and Curried Kale and Potato. Pies are $20 – place your order by Thursday, December 20 and pick up at the café on Sunday, December 23. Order by calling 773-360-7541. Also consider a chai gift set for $35 (three bags of tea leaves and one bottle of concentrated chai). Pick up from 11am to 10pm any day. Call 773-360-7541 ahead to confirm availability.
Avli Taverna (1335 W. Wrightwood Ave.) Lincoln’s Park newly opened contemporary Greek restaurant, is offering a variety of Greek gift baskets perfect for the coffee lover, home chef or foodie in your life. Order by email email@example.com either your prepared basket or your customized selections. Choose from Greek goods such as cookies, oregano, chickpeas, lentils, olive oils and sesame sticks, all also available at Avli Taverna as a part of their Agora To-Go program. Gift baskets include: Kalimera “Good Morning Basket” ($30), Deluxe version ($50). Make-Your-Own Lentil Soup Basket ($30). Make-Your-Own Yiouvetsi Basket (orzo, olive oil, tomato paste and recipe ($30), and more.
Brewpoint Coffee (124 W. Park Ave Elmhurst, IL; 617 N. York Ave., Elmhurst, IL) , a cafe and roastery, is offering a variety of gift sets including the Brewpoint Brewer Box featuring two 12-ounce coffee blends and a pour over brewer ($60-$75); the Eco-friendly Box featuring two 12-ounce coffee blends in bio-tre packaging, a metal straw and a Brewpoint tumbler ($60-75); the Female Empowerment Box featuring two 12-ounce coffee blends from women producers ($35); and the Brewpoint Flight Box featuring four of Brewpoint’s coffee blends including the Holiday Blend, Stargazer and two single origins ($65). Guests may order online at brewpointcoffee.com beginning Thursday, November 15. Call 224-254-7134.
Imperfect Produce, a delivery service that sells odd-looking but perfectly edible produce, is on a social mission to eliminate food waste, help farmers benefit from a full harvest and make healthy fruits and vegetables more accessible and affordable. The produce subscription is perfect for busy families, fitness enthusiasts, young professionals, vegetarians, meal prep lovers and more in the Chicagoland area. 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. To check Imperfect’s delivery areas visit imperfectproduce.com/join.
Acanto Restaurant + Wine Bar, 18 S. Michigan, celebrates the “Feast of the Seven Fishes” with specials from December 16-24. Also known as “The Vigil” (or fasting day), Italians abstain from eating red meat until Christmas Day and instead, eat an abundance of seafood leading up to the holiday. Check out Chef Chris Gawronski’s specials: grilled Spanish sardines imported from Holland; clams and mussels cooked to order stuffed in ravioli that offers a true taste of the ocean; spicy swordfish puttanesca; grilled lobster paired with a sweet passito wine sauce; and the Pulpo a la Siciliana, a popular Sicilian street cart snack turned gourmet with confit potato and Meyer lemon. Something different every day until December 22 (through December 24) – Zuppa dei sette pesci, served for two, $48.