Category Archives: food and wine

Chicago it’s summer! (almost) – 5 new ways to enjoy

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Every nice day in summer is another great excuse to indulge yourself – after you work, do your chores and exercise of course, right? And Chicago is a place ideally suited to such indulgences. Everywhere you turn, another opportunity presents itself to help you get creative with your enjoyment. Here are just a few restaurant ideas and home cooking/drinking products to get you rolling:

1. River Roast is getting ready to celebrate summer with their weekday happy hour Oysters & Rosé special. Every weekday from 3 to 5 pm enjoy a dozen oysters and bottle of Rose wine for $35. Sit at the bar or along the river soaking in the sun all while enjoying a refreshing summer combo that’s irresistible. AND on National Donut Day, Friday, June 7th, get a complimentary skewer of three donut holes with the purchase of coffee from Reid Bar. What’s a better way to kick off the morning than with free donuts??

Round Barn sangria makes a great aperitif – or even dessert!

2. Round Barn Winery, located in the hills of Southwestern Michigan, complete with tasting room, is making canned wine products – like their most popular one, Sangria. A fizzy, lightly sweet version of the drink beloved by so many in Spain, this Sangria is a nice combination of fruit, dry wine and sweetness. Be aware of the calories, though. A single 12-ounce can packs a whopping 290 calories, so feel free to consider this dessert, even though it doesn’t taste overly sweet at all. A no-fuss way to chill your cocktail (or dessert) and bring it to the picnic or other outdoor celebration.

3. Pereg Natural Foods makes classic spice blends that are perfect to rub on your meat, poultry and even vegetables. They’re made from fresh, natural, 100% pure spices, and bring quality to your table that’s backed by more than 100 years of experience. Herewith a few examples:

  • Pereg’s Koobah starts with baharat, a ubiquitous Israeli and Mediterranean staple, and then adds warm layers of cinnamon, allspice, rose, nutmeg, and cardamom for a complex finish.
  • It wouldn’t be shish kabab without Kabab seasoning. Douse cubes of chicken, beef, or lamb liberally with Pereg’s hearty mash-up (paprika, black pepper, coriander, garlic, and cumin) and thread on skewers with vegetables of your choice.
  • Another food truck favorite, Shawarma is easy to make with Pereg’s perfect mixture of cumin, coriander, allspice, garlic, paprika, turmeric, and salt rubbed onto thin slices of chicken, beef, lamb, or turkey. Marinate a zipper top bag with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and red onion, and grill.
  • Traditional recipes for Moroccan Ras el Hanout seasoning call for up to 100 ingredients! You could make your own, but why not try Pereg’s intriguing blend of cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg, allspice, cumin, ginger, turmeric, cardamom, to enhance anything from burgers to brisket. A key component of soups, stews, and tagines, it can also be used a table-top condiment. Sprinkle it on vegetable dishes or even over popcorn for a punch of flavor.
Come on in for Carnivale cocktails

4. Carnivale Restaurant, 702 W. Fulton St. Things are heating up outside AND inside at Carnivale, where talented chefs and mixologists have created a new Lounge menu that features a Charcuterie Tabla, Sliders, Carnivale Mai-Tai, Jackie’s Daiquiri, and much more! Lounge open: Monday – Thursday from 4-10, Friday 4-11, Saturday 5-11, Sunday 5-9. *Every Weekday, enjoy Happy Hour from 4-6:30pm.

5. Cindy’s Rooftop, 12 S. Michigan Ave. Pride in Our Industry: An Afternoon of Drink & Discussion, on Sunday, June 23, from 11:30am to 1pm at The Tank on the building’s first floor. Chicago’s community of strong LGBTQ+ voices helps mold the city’s bar, restaurant, and events scene in innovative and progressive ways. Join us to hear from leading individuals in hospitality on how to create greater representation, produce intentionally progressive menus, and offer safe spaces for all guests to feel welcome. Try one of June’s featured cocktails: Fire Island Sunset – $16, made with Plantation 3-Star rum, Aperol, Manzanila sherry, lemon and love, and garnished with a rainbow umbrella. Best paired with the summer sunset over the terrace view. Queen of Hearts – $16, made with Plantation Xaymaca rum, Rhine Hall oak-aged plum brandy, Campari, and Cocchi di Torino. Perfect to celebrate Negroni Week (Monday 6/24 – Sunday 6/30), when a portion of proceeds is donated directly to the Greater Chicago Food Depository,

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3 Chicago restaurant news notes as we lumber into summer!

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  1. Blue Door Farm Stand, 2010 N. Halsted St., has red, white and blue pancakes for Memorial Day weekend. All day May 25 through 27, enjoy some red velvet pancakes with white yogurt sauce and blue blueberries.Num!!

Music Bar Bingo at Jake’s, Rush & SuperiorFor those who like the idea of games at the bar but hate the idea of thinking too much, come hang out and drink with your friends for Music Bingo – and win prizes! The game is almost exactly the same as regular Bingo, except we’ll play clips of popular songs rather than reading off letters and numbers. The music ranges from the 50’s to today’s top hits including fun themed rounds like 80’s rock, 90’s hits, and more! Music Bingo is free but pays out in real prices every single time. Upcoming Bar Bingo Dates June 11, 25 (partnering with 21st Amendment)

Torchio Pasta Bar, 738 N. Wells St. in River North, is now open serving authentic Italian-inspired cuisine. Chef/Owner Bill Varley says Torchio means “press” in Italian, and relates to both the vintage hand-crank pasta press and the torch-base pasta shape from Abruzzo. He and wife, Janice, traveled the country and studied with Nonnas from Venice to Palermo. Dinner menu examples: Baked Semolina Gnocchi, Bucatini Puttanesca with anchovies, capers, Gaeta olives, Spring Vegetable Pappardelle in a lemon basil butter sauce, Gemelli and Pesto with string beans and sautéed potatoes) and more. Dinner served 5-9pm T – Th and 5-10pm F and Sat – prices $9 to $32. Lunch service starts Friday, June 7.

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5 cool ChiTown food news bits for late spring 2019

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Okay, gradually we’re getting warmer… Well, some days, but it’s coming. But never fear, our great city has plenty of food and drink activities to keep you on the go no matter what the weather. So without further ado…

ZED451, 739 N. Clark St., celebrates 10 years in River North on Thursday, May 16, 5-11:30 pm. This authentic Brazilian steakhouse kicks off Chicago’s highly anticipated alfresco season with a Rooftop Launch Party featuring DJ music (8:30pm) with fabulous food and drink samples. Take in cool views of the city on their new rooftop and sample the ZED451 Experience by trying complimentary chef selections like charcoal-grilleld bottom sirloin and Moroccan chicken, along with samples of William Grant Hendrick’s Gin and ZED451 signature cocktails like Caipirinha or Leblon Spritz. A cash bar will also be available all night. Rooftop capacity is limited and the event is first come, first serve.

Nando’s PERi-PERi really appreciates teachers! They’re proving it this Teacher Appreciation Day, Tuesday, May 7, by offering teachers free flame-grilled chicken at all Nando’s restaurants. Any teacher, educator or school employee with a valid school ID is entitled to a free ¼ chicken entrée at Nando’s in Chicago and all across the 42 U.S. locations. The promotion is valid from opening (11am) to closing on May 7. No purchase necessary; sides sold separately.

Chicago City Markets! Next Thursday morning (May 9), COUNTRY Financial and the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) will announce the winner of the Chicago City Markets reusable bag design contest. The winner is a local high school student, and his/her artwork will be featured on more than 11,000 reusable bags that are given out at the market. The student and the first two runners-up will also receive scholarships from COUNTRY Financial. The finalists will be in attendance and are available for interviews and photos. This announcement will take place during the official kickoff of the Chicago City Markets on Thursday, May 9 at 9 a.m. at Daley Plaza. The reusable bags are free to patrons of the market. More info on the Chicago City Markets. More info on the Chicago City Markets Reusable Bag Design Contest

Mr. Maki, the latest from the team behind Ramen-San and Sushi-San, just rolled into Streeterville at 676 N. Saint Clair. New from LEYE, Mr. Maki offers quality fish with touches that make for unique takes on classic Japanese dishes. The Softshell Crab Maki with avocado and masago aioli is the team’s version of a spider roll; the Tempura Shrimp Roll gets a blast of spice with Korean gochujang and a sprinkling of black sesame. Spicy Tuna Roll at Mr. Maki includes avocado, cilantro and jalapeño. Their Super Combo Teishoku is a version of the home-style all-in-one meal found in local eateries throughout Japan. Mr. Maki’s teishoku sets come with a choice of a main dish plus roasted edamame, miso soup, a side and house salad. Choose from a variety of stir-fry, teriyaki, maki and sashimi.

Old St. Pat’s street fest. W. Monroe St. & S. DesPlaines. The 35th Annual World’s Largest Block Party (WLBP) is Chicago’s ultimate summer party, featuring fun music and entertainment for all ages, along with great food. Directions for getting there.

Friday, June 21 | 2-9:30pm. Live bands, great food and a dance party fill the evening.

  • 5—6pm Happy Hour with free admission. Otherwise $10 entry fee.
  • Bands: 5:15pm Stache, 8:15pm Hello Weekend
  • In the courtyard: 5:30–9:30pm the 50 and older crowd will dance to swing, jazz and groovin’ oldies provided by Burnell Music.

Saturday, June 22 | 2-10:30pm. Family activities and performers on tap.

  • 2–6pm. Block Party Kid family activities including bounce houses, balloon artists, games and snow cones! Live bands begin at 2 p.m., with plenty of music, food and drinks.
  • Attendees can cheer on the Jesse White Tumblers.
  • Bands: 2pm Motown Nation, 3:30pm Walk-Ins. 5:30pm Seventh Heaven, 8pm Sixteen Candle
  • Attendees can also take part in a bags tournament, starting at 6pm each evening, and try for cash and prizes.
  • Food trucks & food vendors provided by Old St. Pat’s Grill, Taste of the Philippines, Three Legged Taco, Bob CHA, Tacos Mario’s, Dinky Delights, Beaver Donuts
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Spring 2019 news from 6 more Chicago restaurants

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Spring is a great time in Chicago, made even more exciting by the special offerings and cool event venues in our fine city. Here are just 6 ideas for spicing up your springtime leisure: a new gourmet French restaurant in South Loop, a chef-inspired wine dinner in Lakeview, a graduation-party planning bonus, a  happy-birthday-
Rome dinner downtown, a street party raising funds for a cool Chicago ‘hood, and a tried-and-true Latin-inspired food and entertainment experience in the West Loop for your next gathering.
Grant Park Bistro chicken liver mousse

Grant Park Bistro, 800 S. Michigan, just opened in the Hotel Essex. This new French Bistro from LM Restaurant Group is daily serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, all featuring shareable French dishes like house-made terrines, quiches, and flatbreads along with grilled meat and seafood. French classics get new twists: Boeuf Bourguignon is made with braised beef cheek instead of brisket, and their Coq au Vin is simmered in white Vouvray (made with Chenin Blanc grapes) instead of red wine.

Your mouth will water when you read the breakfast/brunch menu, too. Check out the French-inspired beverage program, too. Happy hour specials Monday-Friday from 4-7pm in the bar area. Outdoor patio seating for 40 will be coming as the weather warms up. Reservations for Grant Park Bistro are available on Resy or by visiting grantparkbistro.com. And while you’re there, pick up a shamelessly decadent dessert at Petite Vanille, also open now in the hotel – pain au chocolate, almond croissants, French macarons and slices of Vanille signature cakes

mfk restaurant, 432 w. Diversey. On Monday April 29, come join a pair of James Beard-recognized chefs as they present a four-course family-style prix fixe menu highlighting fresh seafood, conservas and seasonal vegetables. Chef Alisha Elenz was recently announced as a James Beard award finalist for Rising Star Chef. At only 25 years old Elenz has worked her way up the ranks in the kitchen to lead this award-winning Michelin ranked Lakeview restaurant. This month she’s teaming up with another young female chef, Sarah Rinkavage (Marisol, Lulu Cafe), who was a 2018 finalist for the same award. One fun night of collaborative cooking will pay homage to the restaurants namesake, MFK Fisher. Tickets are $100 per person and include drink pairings and tax and gratuity.

Maggiano’s, any location, always a grand place to celebrate graduation – or any occasion – is offering a special bonus when you book a sumptuous family-style banquet for your larger circle of extended family and friends. Book your graduation or other celebration by June 30 and receive $50 in Be Our Guest cards for every $500 you spend in banquet events booked between May 1 and June 30. If you’d rather do your party in your own home or other space, Maggiano’s will cater it and give you a $25 Be Our Guest card for every $250 spent in catering booked between May 1 and June 30. Contact a Maggiano’s catering specialist.
Osteria via Stato Roman dinner

Osteria via Stato, 620 N. State St., by-the-way an LEYE restaurant, invites you to celebrate the birthday of the “eternal city” with a Roman Dinner on May 1, 6:30pm. You’ll start with passed Roman pizzas and go on to a four-course dinner featuring dishes that honor Roman cuisine, all served with wine and cocktail pairings for $65 ++. Reserve your spots here.

Pilsen Cantina Crawl returns on Saturday, May 4, `12 – 6 pm to celebrate Cinco de Mayo and support the year-long fundraising efforts for the community’s signature cultural event in August, Pilsen Fest. Sponsored by Banhez Mezcal, Cantina Crawl invites patrons to dress in Cinco de Mayo costume and either stroll or ride complimentary trolleys to 13 participating bar and restaurants offering live musical performances, specialty dishes and hand-crafted cocktails vying for best in the ‘hood honors. Participating Cantina Crawl 2019 venues include: Alula Brewpub, Caminos de Michoacán, Harbee Liquors & Tavern, Honky Tonk BBQ, La Luna, La Pulquería, La Vaca Margarita Bar, Monnie Burke’s, Punch House, Simone’s, The Barrel, La Mejikana, and the Twisted Cantina. Tickets are $35 at BrownPaperTickets.com.
Carnivale has event spaces for any size party

Carnivale, 702 W. Fulton Market, is another fabulous event space. From an intimate gathering of 10, to an extravagant 1,000-person event, Carnivale delivers exotic cuisine and exceptional service for every celebration.​ Their expert private dining team works closely with you to create a one-of-a-kind experience for you and your guests. They can accommodate a wide range of events in one of our 7 event spaces, from weddings and graduations to corporate parties and seminars. Full-venue buy-outs available for truly private events.

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Food product reviews 2018: chocolate, food storage and vegan sauces

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Giving gifts can be a huge challenge. Here are a couple of products to consider for your chocoholic friends, your kitchen-neatnik pals, and your vegan-only-please circle, Or for you if the shoe fits.

American Heritage Chocolate makes old-fashioned chocolate, and the company behind it is the Mars Wrigley Confectionary Company, so you know they know what they’re doing. Yes,  delicious chocolate in grated, chunk and other forms, as well as things with chocolate in them, like hot cocoa and bark and so on. Their downloadable original recipes for both savory and sweet chocolate treats.are good to make for your holiday guests , or pass them on to your giftees so they can make the most of your gift of chocolate. The company has even established a historical research grant. Launched in 2013, the Forrest E. Mars, Jr. Chocolate History Research Grant, named after the company’s owner, awards grant funds for projects that investigate/educate the public on the history of chocolate or the chocolate making process from one or more cultural, historic or scientific perspectives. A good reason to gift friends and loved ones with chocolate, especially when it’s artisan-made and you can get 20% off (coupon on their website) from Amazon.

Wellslock single-snap storage containers. The container portions are made of a really sturdy, super clear, freezer and microwave safe plastic (but don’t put it in there empty), and their unique locking lid is leak-proof with one double-snap. Took us a bit to figure out how to get the lids off smoothly. Sometimes the closure was so firmly seated that we had to use a sharp knife to pry it open – which we were pretty sure was not the right approach. But once we figured it out, they come off pretty easily. The trick is to push/slide the lid to the opposite side once you release the double-snap closure tab. We love the sizes and shapes these come in – several interesting ones that you don’t typically find in storage containers. One configuration, for example, is perfect for holding two partially cut lemons or limes or a cut avocado, notoriously difficult-fit items. And happily, these actually are airtight. Some containers claim to be but then fail. These are great for storing food items and, really, for anything you want to be able to see into the containers to identify. No cloudy plastic to confuse the issue. The lids are made of regular somewhat cloudy plastic, but the containers themselves are almost as clear as glass, without the weight or the breakability factors. Don’t know how much scratching will happen over time with using knives and forks in the dishes. So far no sign of that. Prices start at $9.99 for a single large container and then up to $29.99 for the 22-piece set. BPA free, freezer and microwave safe. Great gift for the foodie or crafty types on your gift list.

Just Sauces. This collection comes with mayo, Ranch, Chipotle and others. These are lower-calorie, vegan options for dressing salads, fish or whatever. You’ll need to test out the flavors for yourself; opinions seem to vary widely. Our tasters thought the taste and appearance were somewhat artificial (it does contain modified food starch and canola oil – said to be genetically modified), so it doesn’t feel like a “whole food” kind of product. But then, it’s vegan. Many of us meat-poulty-fish-egg-eaters might feel that way about anything vegan. And as many Amazon reviewers complained about their purchases, our samples arrived with imminent expiration dates. This line of products is a great idea but seems not to have thoroughly overcome its birthing pains yet, so do your research.

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Cookies, food and fun at 13 Chicago holiday connections

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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).

Warm Belly tin o’ cookies

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 brunch

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 info@avli.us 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.

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Food and drink news at 3 Chicago restaurants

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

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

 
One of a Kind Hospitality announces the year-end opening of The Old Plank, 2700 N. Milwaukee in Logan Square. Craft beer and cocktails curated by beverage director Philip Smith (The Walk In, SABA, Boleo), and a Tex-Mex driven menu, The Old Plank, in the original home of Andes Mints at Sawyer and Milwaukee Ave, pays homage to the history of Logan Square. The more-than-100-year-old space is getting new life with plenty of open seating, private booths, multiple bars and an abundance of TVs. Several garage door-style openings let fresh air in, plus a sidewalk cafe and an outdoor patio with a firepit are perfect for spring and summer. When there are no big games to watch, local DJs will set weekends to music. Slated to open before the end of the year with dinner service and weekend brunch. Open on special game days an hour early so sports fans can get settled in to watch their team. Watch for the opening.
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Late fall news at these 6 Chicago restaurants – and more

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November 20, Yūgen, the highly anticipated Japanese Restaurant helmed by Chef Mari Katsumara…announces reservations now open to book for the opening on Tuesday, November 20! Guests will be able to book online reservations via Open Table to experience the restaurant’s tasting menu focusing on contemporary Japanese cuisine. Yūgen will be open for dinner service starting five nights a week (Tuesday through Thursday from 5-9:30pm and Friday through Saturday from 5-10:30pm) More information and reservations may be found by calling (312) 265-1008 or opentable.com.

November 12 – 27, in honor of Giving Tuesday (November 27th), Bar Allegro, named one of Michigan Avenue’s “Coolest Hotel Bars in Chicago,” will be shaking up a special fall cocktail, Autunno, for Snow City Arts (SCA). SCA is a non-profit that provides art therapy and instruction to children in hospitals. Enjoy the inspired “Autunno” hand-crafted cocktail for $12. $2 from each cocktail sold will be donated to SCA on Giving Tuesday. (Note: all other signature cocktails at Bar Allegro are priced at $13). Chic, Art Deco-inspired Allegro Bar is on the second floor lobby of the Kimpton Hotel Allegro at 171 W. Randolph. SCA will also pop-up during the hotel’s daily Wine Hour (5-6PM) on Giving Tuesday to sell artwork with proceeds donated to their non-profit.

Wednesday, November 21 the Korean restaurant Passerotto, home of fun, approachable small plates from Chef Jennifer Kim, is hosting a wine bar pop-up in lieu of their regular service. Podopop – from Korean for grape (podo) and pop-up – opens to the public at 5pm featuring wines from Beaujolais made with its local grape Gamay. 5 for $15 or individual wines by the glass, in addition to Passerotto’s regular selection. On December 2 they’ll be hosting a Winter Market at the restaurant from 12-7pm. Local artists (many of whom are also members of the Passerotto team) will be popping up in the space selling a variety of handmade wearables, jewelry, sculptures, artwork, stationary, floral arrangements, beauty products and food items. Neighboring wine shop, In Fine Spirits, will also be joining in on the fun and will be selling wine and hosting vendors in their shop. A full vendor list can be found at passerottochicago.com/events. And look for the Snaggletooth pop-up in the space from 12-4pm (or until the food runs out). The Passerotto team will be offering wine, coffee and tea for sale and Coquetel Spirits will be on site selling mulled wine.

Open now! Months in the making, Chicago Indoor RazzmatazzChicago is relaunching. The R39 restaurant’s new menu features signature burgers, hand-cut fries, a variety of salads, finger foods and desserts. Top mixologist Diana Cruz is creating a range of craft cocktails to please any palate. R39’s new Chief Operating Officer, Juan Valenzuela, says, ideal combination of “…young, hip residents, nightlife and a vibrant entertainment scene” that includes DJ Monroe’s original mixes and playing in the lounge area some old-school games like giant Jenga, Connect Four & retro board games.

Football and fine Italian food, Sunday at Armand’s Victory Tap, 1416 S. Michigan. Besides the food and the games, check out their virtual tour highlighting the handsome spaces and architectural details that take the ambiance to a higher level inside Victory Tap. For a video about Chef Joe Farina’s famous dish, click Mama’s Meatballs here. Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere, game camaraderie and good food with friends or family.

Games and affordable menu options. When we city dwellers to head up the North Shore, we’re in for a treat when we take ourselves to Evanston to eat at The Barn Steakhouse. With the restaurant’s new daily specials menu on tap, designed by owner Amy Morton at more affordable prices, it’s a charming place to spend time with friends and family in the intimate dining room, or gathered around the outdoor firepit, or sitting around a table playing board games. Enjoy drinks and hearty dishes that make your mouth water just reading about them. Mafalda’s Lasagna (fresh mozzarella, sausage, fresh pasta), the Beef Wellington (puff pastry, beef tenderloin, mushroom duxelles) and the Chicken Pot Pie (creamy chicken velouté and flaky pastry crust). And for the first time this season, pasta to make your heart sing: Bison Bolognese (hand-dipped ricotta, red wine, warm spices, chitarra pasta) and Crab Spaghetti (jumbo lump crab, white wine, shallots, garlic, chili, Parmesan). Consider The Barn Steakhouse gift cards for the giftee who has everything – give a $100 gift card and receive an extra $20 gift card (good between January 1- March 31, 2019). Or try one of The Barn’s spectacular wine dinners. Reservations here for their December 5th dinner with Brewer-Clifton Winery.

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5 hot ways to enjoy Chicago this fall!

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From celebrating Halloween at any age, to flying the skies over Chicago, this great city has the food, the drinks and the fun to keep you hopping and happy this fall. Check out these 5 cool ways to make the most of this gorgeous time of year:

1. Halloween in Andersonville takes place Saturday, October 27 and Sunday, October 28 with over 100 businesses participating. Trick-or-Treat on Clark Street on Saturday from 12 to 3pm. Then on Sunday 2 to 5pm, take the Andersonville Sweetish Stroll (formerly the Dessert Crawl) produced by the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce (ACC).

Halloween in Andersonville

The Trick-or-Treat on Clark Street and Costume Contest invites families to come in costume and collect candy from any business with an Orange Pumpkin sign on its storefront door. Register your costume at AlleyCat Comics (5304 N. Clark) between 11:30am and 3pm. The winner will be announced at 3:30 p.m. Gus Giordano Dance School’s Zombie Dancers will also perform “Thriller” and “Monster Mash” at the corner of Clark and Farragut at 12:40pm during the Trick-or-Treat time frame.

Additional Saturday events include the 48th Ward and Edgewater Triangle Neighborhood Association Halloween Parade. Gather at Peirce Elementary School (1423 W. Bryn Mawr) at 10am. Parade kicks off at 11am and travels north on Glenwood Avenue to Gethsemane Garden Center (5739 N. Clark) for the annual Children’s Fall Fest (11am to 4pm). List of October/Halloween events in Andersonville here.

Jake Melnicks Detroit pan pizza looks good enough to eat!

2. Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap is bringing a slice of Detroit to Chicago with its new Detroit Pan Pizza ($15.95). The fluffy squared crust with caramelized cheese is topped with mozzarella, fresh tomato sauce, shaved Parmesan, and fresh Basil; choose artisan pepperoni or spicy Italian sausage. Jake’s is celebrating Halloween all month long with their Nightmare on Superior Street Burger ($16.95). Jake’s half-pound fresh beef patty is hand-packed with habanero and cheddar. Topped with lettuce, tomato, crispy jalapeno bottle caps, pepper jack cheese, and XXX mayo, plus a dash of ghost pepper dust, this burger is not for the faint of heart.

New piano siteline at Redhead

3. The Redhead Piano Bar, 16 W. Ontario, celebrates 25 years of business with over $1 million in renovations, a new Happy Hour and specialty Cigar Program. This swanky downtown establishment, which has long been attracting tourists and locals alike for its cocktails and sing-alongs, has revamped and expanded its wine and craft cocktail list. Now, Chicago’s creative studios, Studio CM and Urban Innovators, have designed a dramatic makeover that includes a new custom walk-in Humidor with over 150 types of cigars for purchase, a year-round covered and heated outdoor smoking lounge, a repositioned piano to improve sight lines, a new state of the art sound and lighting system, and more to come. The Redhead’s new Happy Hour and Cigar Program starts November 1, 2018. Every Friday 5 – 7pm enjoy live music along with half-off bottles of wine and signature cocktails. In the piano bar enjoy a Cigar Program that features three different tiers, each of which includes a free monthly cigar, discounted merchandise, complimentary reservations to specialty events and tastings, priority seating, and more. For more information, call (312) 640-1000.

4. Roka Akor, 456 N. Clark St. invites you to brush off the day at the Roka Bar – an elegant lounge with a sultry, moody atmosphere. The happy hour menu features tasty bites and drinks at happy hour prices. Sample $5 bite choices include: Robata Grilled Shisito Peppers with Ponzu and Bonito Flakes, Wagyu Beef and Kimchi Dumplings and more. Sample $6 bites: Signature Tataki Trio: Butterfish, Tuna and Yellowtail, Lobster & Shrimp Dumplings, Prime Beef Skewers with Chili Ginger Sauce, Vegetable Tempura Roll and more. $3 for Sapporo Drafts and $5 for select wines, sakes or a Specialty Cocktail.

CHE City Lights night ABOVE the town!

5. Chicago Helicopter Experience (CHE) is offering a truly unique alternative to a night out on the town? The City Lights Experience is a truly “bucket-list” experience that takes romance and fun to new heights. Like all of CHE’s tours in their luxury helicopters, it’s just one of the many CHE tours that provide breathtaking views high above Chicago’s brilliant skyline. and offer one-of-a-kind opportunities from private tours, to group events. The City Lights Experience, besides the breathtaking sky tour, includes a $100 credit for dinner and cocktails at the incomparable hot spot The Duck Inn. Vouchers can be purchased in advance, and guests can call to schedule their experience for whenever works for them. Limited pricing per couple is now available for only $347. Come on. You know you want to!

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Fall fun 2018 at 6 Chicago restaurants

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Broken Barrel Bar .jpgBroken Barrel Bar, 2548 N. Southport, the newest concept from Wine Not Hospitality, is now open in Lincoln Park. Executive Chef Bryant Anderson (think: award-winner at Chicago’s Best Wing Fest, Bacon Fest, Mac & Cheese Fest and WACO Wing Fest) introduces the chef-driven tailgate restaurant and bar in the former Crossing space. Anderson is smoking meats in a custom smoker using hickory and oak logs to elevate the flavors in his tacos, sandwiches and flatbreads. Just one example of the creative and clever menu items to try: The Hangover Sandwich – smoked brisket, fried egg, Merkts cheddar, arugula, tomato, crispy onions, toasted pretzel bun. Watch college teams University of Kansas and University of Notre Dame and of course Chicago sports on 40 flat-screen TVs. Broken Barrel Bar will also feature daily specials and local DJs on Friday and Saturday nights beginning at 10pm. Facebook and Instagram @brokenbarrelbar

Revival Food Hall is excited to announce the fourth installment of its quarterly rotating pop-up series with Pub Royale (Bon Appétit’s 50 Best New Restaurants 2016, Chicago Magazine’s 50 Best Bars 2017), the Anglo-Indian-inspired pub from Heisler Hospitality, joining the all-local, chef-driven food hall from October 1st through December 28th. Known for her inventive takes on Indian fare and flavors, Pub Royale Chef Joanna Stachon heads to Revival from Wicker Park to tackle the Loop’s bustling lunch scene with an eclectic menu of the restaurant’s most popular items, such as the beloved Royale with Cheese, Gobi Manchurian and more.

Estelle’s, 2013 W. North Ave., in Chicago’s Bucktown/Wicker Park neighborhood invites you to celebrate its 19th anniversary on Friday, September 28. Starting with its half-price-everything happy hour (excluding shots and food) from 5-7pm, enjoy the new ambiance – fresh redesign features bold new wallpaper, soft, cozy lighting over the bar and tables, and refinished dark-wood, accented table tops. Other all-night specials will include $4 draft beers and $5 Jameson shots. Starting at midnight, guests will enjoy FREE baskets of fries on the 19th minute of every hour (12:19am, 1:19am, 2:19am and 3:19am) in addition to anniversary toasts at midnight and last call. Estelle’s also offers a “Beer Pairing Menu” until 3am daily. The menu features burgers and sandwiches (ranging from $8-$12) paired with craft beers (always $4 each).

Reid Bar at River Roast celebrates National Coffee Day on Saturday, September 29. Come enjoy $1 Coffees and some of Beverage Director Ken Pritz’s new $8 “Craft Coffee Libations” – items such as BULLETPROOF (coffee, coconut oil, grass-fed butter), BLACK MIRROR (cold brew coffee, old fashioned syrup, indian tonic, mint) and KICKSTARTER PUNCH (bourbon vanilla tea, peach shrub, apple cider, lemon, carbonation), among others. Come relax in Reid Bar’s speakeasy vibe that honors the historic area of River North that gained notoriety as the city’s “Red Light District” in the mid 1900s.

Weather Mark Tavern, 1503 S. Michigan. Friday Sep 28, 2018, 8:30pm – ?, and Saturday Sep 29, 2018, 12:00am. Blues and soul masters Sons of Chicago come for the first of their performances this fall – again on October 27, November 30. Come out for a great night of live music, good food, and awesome drinks.

The Barn Steakhouse, a cozy hideaway Evanston favorite since its 2016 opening, caters to diners who crave steak from the finest quality Midwestern Heritage Black Angus beef. Now the menu has expanded with nightly specials offering some moderately priced non-steak options. Wednesdays try the Crispy Chicken Paillard with baby arugula and lemon ($20.95) or the Friday special 1/2 Roasted Duck with roasted vegetables and cherry demi-glace ($33.95). Check out the full menu here.

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