Category Archives: spirits and cocktails

Early summer food and drink Chicago ideas

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Happily, many of us are feeling safe to go out this summer. And our beloved Chicago, stumbling back towards normal, has a lot to offer fans of good food, refreshing drink, and fun events. Here are a few to consider for your calendar.

Cozy up and thank a firefighter or policeman (credit: Firehouse Restaurant)

Thursday, June 23 is National Public Service Day, The Chicago Firehouse Restaurant, 1401 S Michigan Ave., a beloved cornerstone structure in the South Loop neighborhood for nearly 112 years, is offering firefighters and police officers a 25% discount on The Firehouse Executive when they dine in on The Firehouse Executive. It serves two with two cups of lobster bisque, a baby iceberg wedge salad, two prime 8 ounce filet mignon steaks, potatoes au gratin, brussels sprouts, creamed spinach and a choice of house-made dessert.

Cannonball Productions is bringing back its hard seltzer celebration, Seltzerland, to Chicago’s West Loop, The Lot at Plumber’s Hall (1340 W Washington Blvd). This Saturday June 25 taste some of over 100 unique hard seltzer flavors, get a FREE boozy popsicle from Sliq Spirited Ice, dance to a DJ and buy munchies from a local food truck. Ticket prices start at $39. Visit https://www.seltzerland.com/chicago-2022.

July 4th fun and drink specials:

Central Park Bar’s covered ourdoor back bar

 

Central Park Bar, 2924 N Central Park Ave. From late open at 8pm, enjoy $4 beer specials in the 3,500 sq ft Backyard Bar – covered outdoor bar, bumper pool mini, porch swings, picnic tables and fire pit.

aliveOne, 2683 N Halsted St., Monday, July 4; open at 7 p.m. $4 to $7 drink specials; free music trivia and pool.

CODY’S PUBLIC HOUSE, 1658 W Barry Ave. Fourth of July Weekend Cubs Specials and Make-Your-Own Tailgate. $4 to $6 drink specials Friday, July 1 through Sunday, July 3; open at 11 a.m. Also, “Bring Your Own Meat” (BYOM) and grill up your game day favorites in the beer garden featuring TVs, darts and bean bags.

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Eat, drink, mini-golf and more at Navy Pier this summer

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Navy Pier will kick off summer this Memorial Day weekend when its widely anticipated free summer fireworks light up the sky at 10 p.m. on Saturday, May 28. But if you’ve got the time, plan to eat and enjoy some of the Pier’s other entertainments beforehand.

Fireworks at Navy Pier return at 9 p.m. every Wednesday and 10 p.m. every Saturday, through Labor Day. Navy Pier’s signature displays are synchronized to dramatic and popular music, and unique soundtracks for special occasions. Guests are encouraged to arrive early to find a great viewing spot along the Pier.

One of the best vantage points for viewing the fireworks is the Navy Pier Beer Garden, the city’s go-to destination for free, outdoor music all summer long, under the banner Live on the Lake. Opening night performances include John Kimler & Friends, Mike & Joe, and New Orleans funk and jazz artist Shamar Allen. Live on the Lake continues Sunday, May 29, with Fareed Haque, DJ Papa G, and Kofi & the New Roots, and on Monday, May 30, with Libido Funk Circus and Vintage Vinyl.

The Beer Garden is the local home of farm-to-foam beers from Tangled Roots Brewery, which creates a full range of light lagers and ales to dark, experimental brews made with hops grown on their farm right here in Illinois.

Visitors can also enjoy a mouthwatering experience at Ciccio (pronounced Chee-cho) officially opening from 11:00 a.m to.8:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 26. Owner Mario Ferraro is a second-generation Chicagoland restaurateur. His new venture combines traditional Italian cuisine with Chicagoland favorites, like Ciccio’s star menu item, the “Italian Beef” Sandwich. Ciccio’s boasts a 100 percent scratch kitchen giving guests quality in every bite.

New this year, Jake’s on the Lake brings one of Chicago’s favorite restaurants to Navy Pier. Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap (see our previous enthusiastic review) is celebrating its 20th year in business this July, as the city’s hottest destination for hot wings. Jake’s famous wings—once named best in the country by NBC’s Today show—come in heat levels ranging from Spicy Buffalo wings to Firecracker Wings to XXX Wings—packed with habanero, ghost pepper and scorpion pepper. To view the full menu, click here.

Pixar Putt, open May 28 through Aug. 20, lays out a course of 18 fun and interactive holes of mini golf at Polk Bros Park, each based on characters from such beloved Pixar classics as “Toy Story,” “The Incredibles,” “Monsters Inc.,” “Finding Nemo,” “Coco,” “A Bug’s Life,” “Wall-E,” and “Inside Out.”

Pixar Putt, co-presented by Rockefeller Productions and TEG Life Like Touring, will be open from noon to 10 p.m. Mondays-Fridays (with last entry at 8:30 p.m.) and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays (last entry 8:30 p.m.). Pixar Putt is also available to Private Groups and Corporate Groups. Get your tickets at  www.pixarputt.com/chicago.

See Chicago Dance kicks off the 10th annual Chicago Dance Month with a free two-hour performance that samples styles from ballet to fire acts with six different Chicago companies sharing the Lake Stage in Polk Bros Park. The schedule features Nawja Dance Corps, 3 p.m.; Chicago Tap Theater, 3:20 p.m.; Raks Inferno, 3:45 p.m.; Movement Revolution Dance Crew, 3:55 p.m.; Visceral Dance Chicago, 4:05 p.m.; and Last Dance, 4:20 p.m. Live dance performances will return to Navy Pier at 3 p.m. every Saturday throughout summer at the Wave Wall.

Wave Wall Wax, a series featuring Chicago’s most recognized DJs spinning house and dance music, also begins May 28, with Steve “Miggedy” Maestro at 5 to 7 p.m. The series continues at 5 p.m. every Saturday through Sept. 3 at the Wave Wall Platform.

All events subject to change or cancellation. ​​To view the full Navy Pier events calendar, click here.

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Superbowl Sunday stuff in Chicago

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Superbowl’s a big deal for many Chicago sports fans even if the Bears aren’t in it. So in case you’re feeling safe from Omicron and want to head out in public to watch the champs (whoever they may be) square off on February 13, here are a few spots to consider.

Go with your pod people, stay a safe distance from non-podders, and be sure to wear a mask when you’re not actively eating or drinking. That’ll help keep you and everybody else safer. Have fun, people!

BARTOLI’S PIZZERIA
Bartoli’s Pizzeria Offers Super Bowl Game Day Deal
  • Sunday, February 13
  • $44.99 game day package

Perfect for football fans wanting to feast while they tune in from home, Bartoli’s Pizzeria in Roscoe Village and West Town will offer a “Game Day Deal” for the big game on Sunday, February 13. Available for pickup or delivery, the $44.99 package features an 18-inch thin crust pizza with a choice of one topping, 16 piece wings (buffalo or vesuvio) and two one-liter bottles of soda. To order, visit www.bartolis.com.*

*Not valid with any other offer or specials. Must mention offer when ordering. Limit one package per customer.
Roscoe Village: 1955 W. Addison St. Chicago, IL 60613 | (773) 248.0455
Hours: Monday – Thursday: 4 p.m. – 9 p.m. | Friday & Saturday: 11:30 a.m. – 10 p.m. |  Sunday: 11:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.

West Town: 658 N. Ashland Ave Chicago, IL 60622 | (312) 929.4133
Hours: Monday – Thursday: 11 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. | Friday & Saturday: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. |  Sunday: 11 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.
CODY’S PUBLIC HOUSE
Cody’s First Annual Puppy Bowl Viewing Party
  • Sunday, February 13 at 1 p.m.
  • Free attendance
Dog lovers can join Cody’s Public House on Sunday, February 13 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. for their first annual Puppy Bowl Viewing Party. The dog-friendly event will offer a Puptail Cocktail featuring $8 themed cocktails for humans. Ten-percent of proceeds from sales will be donated to PAWS Chicago. Patrons can also participate in a raffle for Cody’s-branded dog bandanas.  The program will be broadcast on eight 65-inch TVs around the bar for a total of 10 throughout the space. Weather permitting, guests can cozy up to the year-round fire pit with their furry friends.
1658 West Barry Avenue., Chicago, IL 60618 | (773) 799-8217 | www.codyschicago.com

Hours: Monday – Friday: 5 p.m – 2 a.m. | Saturday: 11 a.m. – 3 a.m.  | Sunday: 11 a.m. – 2 a.m.

REWIRED PIZZA CAFE & BAR
Super Bowl Sunday Bottomless Mimosa Pre-game at Rewired
  • Sunday, February 13
  • $25 bottomless mimosas; $2 to $14 brunch menu items

Chicagoans can get the Super Bowl Sunday Funday started early and fuel up with a Pajama Brunch at Rewired Pizza Cafe & Bar in Edgewater from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The brunch will feature $25 bottomless mimosas, show tunes and new cartoon-themed brunch menu items like a Panchito Pistoles Bowl with al pastor meat, pineapple, pickled onion, potato, salsa verde, cilantro, and an over easy egg, Porky the Pig Benedict with pulled pork, poached egg, and hollandaise, Cowabunga Breakfast Pie personal-sized white sauce pizza with choice of protein and over easy egg, and more.

Entree purchase is required for the bottomless mimosa special. For reservations, visit https://www.exploretock.com/rewiredcafe/.

 

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Music, mood & menus – winter merriment at 3 Chicago spots

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We always enjoy hearing about the interesting promotions our local hotels and restaurants come up with to entice us to get out of the house in our traditionally-the-worst-time-in-the-winter days and nights. We like some of these for starters: music-themed fun throughout, late Restaurant Week fun and honoring women entrepreneurs with tequila and tidbits.

Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park, 200 N. Columbus Dr., is turning its February environment into a paean to the joys of music. From cocktails at The Bar to special pricing for Spa services and dining options at Columbus Tap, the Sweet Sounds of Fairmont programming kicked off with a complimentary concert for guests featuring Jalen N’Gonda. Look for weekly Culinary Concertos and the Bar’s classic cocktails through March 29. This symphony for the senses extends to much-need R&R with mySpa treatments, guestroom packages, and meetings and events promotions. For more information, visit their website or call 312-565-8000.

 

Grant Park Bistro Restaurant Week

Grant Park Bistro, 800 S. Michigan, part of the LM Restaurant Group, you can still get in on Restaurant Week through Sunday February 9. For $36++. You choose from starters like Wild Mushroom Soup brioche, thyme oil; or Fennel Ceviche grapefruit, espelette, cilantro, noisette; or Burnt Endive red wine poached pear, blue cheese, pistachio, red wine vinaigrette. Moving on from there, entrees included in the deal range from Duck Breast, Scallops, Butternut Squash or Celeriac Steak. Then dessert options Cinnamon Apple Tart or Brownie fudge brownie, with praline cremeux and caramel mousse. Or check out their very cool daily specials – like BYOB with your dinner on Saturday nights (no corkage fee)!

 

VU Rooftop steak

VU Rooftop bar, 133 E. Cermak Rd., invites you on Sunday March 3, 11zm to 2pm, to celebrate international women’s day with an exclusive boozy brunch to honor women entrepreneurs with an all-inclusive brunch and special guest, former State Senator, Toi Hutchinson. With exquisite dishes and liquor forward cocktails, the event is co-hosted by Fino Tequila, the Connection for Abused Women and Children (CAWC), and Toi Hutchinson, the former Illinois State Senator and the current senior advisor to the governor for cannabis control. A portion of the proceeds from select Fino Tequila cocktails will go to benefit the CAWC. For $35 get all you can eat from VU’s signature brunch men – items like Buttermilk Fried Chicken & Belgian Waggle; Chilaquiles Casserole with eggs, beans, roasted corn, and Chihuahua cheese; a Vegetable Frittata and more. The event will feature pop-ups that showcase women-focused brands, including makeup by Dior and more.

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Happy hour and other news at 10 Chicago eateries

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Raised rooftop bar at the Renaissance Hotel downtown Chicago

We never run out of news on the restaurant front in Chicago. Recently discovered a new and long-awaited improvement at French Market’s Pastoral bar and a bunch of rooftop and regular happy hours to perhaps put in rotation for your early-evening pleasure. Here are a few ideas for getting out there and enjoying.

If you’re like me, you’ve probably wondered why in the world Pastoral at the French Market did not have a place to sit down and sample their wares. You had to choose your bottle and go home. With Pastoral’s nice menu of artisanal cheeses, sandwiches and more, it only makes sense that customers should be able to relax and enjoy right while they’re there. And finally now we can!! It’s a cozy new spot located within the market that offers small production wines by the glass and bottle; cheese, charcuterie boards and gourmet snacks; a new wine club; and a selection of craft beers and cocktails. The Wine Bar will be open Monday to Friday beginning at 11am with last call at 7pm and on Saturday beginning at 10am with last call at 5pm. Click here for full menu.

Bobby’s Lincoln Park, Lincoln Park’s new contemporary American restaurant, is offering a delicious happy hour. Guests may indulge themselves with a list of intricate chef creations with an Italian flare and quench their cocktail thirst with decadent beverages, both classic and new, in Bobby’s beautiful upscale dining space. Patrons may start off with a selection of signature cocktails for $8, a selection of $6 wines by the glass, $3 regular Hop Beers, and an assortment of $4 Crafted Hops. The happy hour menu is available from 4-6:30pm during the week and 2:30-4pm on weekends.

VU Rooftop Bar, South Loop’s first rooftop bar, set 22 stories above the city, has refreshed their happy hours Monday through Thursday from 4pm to 6pm to include $5 Bites, $5 Miller High Life, $8 Red or White Sangria, and an $8 Dealers Choice Specialty Cocktail where the mixologist will ask guests a few questions and create a specialty cocktail based on their likes.

ROOF on theWit, the newly renovated hotspot rooftop bar in the Loop, has added a refreshed happy hour deal to accompany their brand new space. Ultra-chic and sophisticated, the completely rejuvenated ROOF includes a new open-aired space, The Gallery, and their Patio has undergone a fresh, stylish renovation. The new lush lounge seating invites guests to step in and soak up a ROOF like never before, with captivating contemporary art and dynamic video technology amidst a stunning ambiance and Monday through Friday from 4:30 to 7:30, guests can receive 20% off the entire menu at ROOF.

ROOH Chicago, one of Chicago’s only fine dining Indian restaurants, located at 736 W. Randolph St., is offering Chicagoans and visitors alike happy hour specials to accommodate all taste buds with its rotating cocktail and wine selections. These deals include $5-6 beers and featured cocktails and glasses of wine for $8. Dishes include an $8 “Chicken 65” crafted with peanut chutney, podi masala and lemon sour cream; and a $7 Cauliflower Koliwada with curd rice mousse and peanut thecha. Happy hour is available from 4:30-6PM on Sunday, and Tuesday through Thursday.

Replay Lincoln Park, Chicago’s popular arcade bar known for fun pop-ups located at 2833 N. Sheffield Ave., is hosting a weekly happy hour every Friday from 4 – 8 p.m. The Friday Funky Hour features $3 cocktails, $3 craft cans, $3 craft drafts and free funk!

Kinton Ramen Wicker Park offers 50% off all appetizers like Kimuchi, Takowasabi, Salmon Tataki, Ton Ton Don, Edamame, Ikapiri and the restaurant’s famous original and spicy Karaage every Monday-Friday from 4pm-7pm. On top of this, the restaurant’s happy hour includes $2 Sapporo Draft, $3 House Sake, $4 Wines by the glass and $5 cocktails such as Kinton Panache with Sapporo Beer and Kinton Lemonade; Matcha Colada with rum and coconut cream; Saketini made with vodka and sake infused cucumber; and Shochu Hi complete with shochu and green tea. The 2,100-square-foot restaurant features 54 main dining room seats and 11 open-kitchen bar seats.

Raised, perfectly situated on the third floor of the Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel at 1 W. Wacker Drive, is inviting ski enthusiasts of all calibers to experience the Alpines without ever leaving the city with the official launch of its Apres This Way indoor winter activation. Guests will also have access to a special Happy Hour and enjoy après ski, a time to warm up and unwind with friends, available Mondays through Thursdays from 4-6 p.m. featuring $6 draft beer selections, $12 rotating old fashioneds, and $9 glass & a half wine pours.

Ocean Prime Chicago, located at 87 E. Wacker, offers a special happy hour Monday through Friday from 4-6p.m. including both drinks and specialty dishes. Patrons may receive half off select wines by the glass, all beers, and signature cocktails featuring the Prime Manhattan, Cucumber Gimlet, Black Orchid and Pineapple Picante. In addition to quenching guests’ thirst, Ocean Prime Chicago’s happy hour includes half off any appetizer, sushi or oysters.

The Albert, located in Hotel EMC2 at 228 E. Ontario, offers a happy hour special Monday through Friday from 3-5p.m. The menu is inclusive of drivers, cocktails, wine and small bites. Featured drinks include the Lavender Lemonade, This & That, C.O.T.D, the Albert Red, and Fireside. Those looking for a light snack may choose from an array of options including the Puffed Anson Mills Hominy, House Made Pretzel, Herb Tossed Fries, Salt Cod Croquettes and House Made Bread.

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3 food and drink news items for late summer in Chicago

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No matter what the season, Chicago restaurants are always coming up with interesting offers that tempt us to partake. Now’s a good time to share the news in case you want to schedule some fun occasions with friends or family. Herewith, descriptions of a new kid-friendly venue – complete with beer and wine – in our wonderful in-city zoo, a delicious selection of goodies during happy hour at Eddie V’s, and a fascinating cocktail program at all 70 locations of the Fairmont Hotel chain.

Bird’s Eye Bar & Grille offers Levy foods – and catering, too

Lincoln Park Zoo has reimagined and rebranded the expansive rooftop outdoor space above the gift shop. Now called the Bird’s Eye Bar & Grille, the shaded, breezy area offers comfortable chairs and tables for a restful break from the rigors of navigating the zoo. The new spot features Levy-provided foods like sandwiches, salads and snacks and a select few options of wine and beer. Best of all for parents, there are table games like foosball and air hockey and plenty of room for kids to play together. The gift shop with the restaurant on top – oh, and by the way, there is a ramp in the rear for non-stair-climbing visitors – isn’t far from the main zoo entrance. Another good reason to visit our wonderful last-of-the-free-zoos-in-the-country treasure.

Eddie V Hours – Spicy marg arita and tacos

Eddie V’s, 521 N. Rush St. offers happy Eddie’s Hours with an impressive array of options, including 13 teasers and appetizers and four masterfully prepared oyster dishes served on the half-shell ($7-$8). Think:East Coast Oysters ($2/oyster), Asian Fusion Oysters – two half-shells ($7), Mini Filet Sandwiches with blue cheese and onion jam ($9), Salt and Pepper Shrimp with spicy soy ginger vegetables ($9). Pair with one of five cocktails, including the Spicy Margarita and Bulleit Sour, or one of four wines poured by the glass for $8. Consider trying some of their seafood flown in from pristine waters around the world or their premium hand-carved steaks. And check the website for hours for daily duets and trios playing soothing jazz performances.

Fairmont Hotel new cocktails

Fairmont Hotel, 200 N. Columbus Drive, is the Chicago star in the Fairmont Hotel global galaxy of hotels and resorts – over 70 properties, including The Savoy in London, The Plaza in New York, as well as properties in Shanghai, Barcelona, Vancouver, Bali, Montreal, among others. The new cocktail menu, Classics Perfected – available at every single property in the world – pays homage to some of the most well-known cocktails in history – and exciting new ones:

  • Material Girl: Inspired by the Cosmo, this gin-based version features Botanist Gin and St-Germain, lemon and apple juice.
  • Orange Trip: Inspired by the Whiskey Sour this one features Woodford Reserve bourbon, orange juice, bitters and lemon.
  • Chai Tai: Pulling inspiration from the Mai Tai, this one’s made with Botanist Gin along with Mount Gay Black Barrel rum, pineapple juice, lime and a hint of chai.
  • Soul Reviver: Honoring the classic Corpse Reviver, this mix is Botanist gin, Casamigos Blanco, Cointreau and Lillet Blanc, blackberries, lemon and a touch of absinthe.

 

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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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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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6 Chicago restaurant news bytes for spring 2019

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Hubbard Inn “Mad Men” martinis

Well, we’re getting our first tastes of spring out there – the beginning of the best season for fun in this great city full of patios and decks and rooftop venues. But whether you’re inside or out, it’s a great time to celebrate the return of this joyous season – however brief it may be. So here are a few party and celebration ideas to get you started.

Estelle’s, 2013 W. North Ave. in Wicker Park, is hosting a Pre-Earth Day Fundraiser on Friday, April 19 starting at 5pm. Enjoy drink specials and a raffle with $1 from all drinks sold being donated to the Gardeneers, the only Chicago-based nonprofit providing school garden programs that give communities equal access to healthy food and food education. Try Estelle’s special $10 themed cocktail, The Green Thumb and munch on “green” menu items like Fried Pickles Spears ($7) and Southern Style Green Beans ($6.50), both served with chipotle ranch, while you play at the Earth Day DIY seed activity table from 6 to 9pm (while supplies last).

Hubbard Inn, 110 W. Hubbard. Happy hour every Monday – Friday from 4 to 7pm. If you’ve got a yen to relive the 60s, come bask in the bar’s “Mad Men”-themed happy hour. Watch 1960’s movies like James Bond, The Graduate, Sound of Music, West Side Story and The Good The Bad and the Ugly. Or sing along with 60s music favorites like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, The Beach Boys and Bob Dylan. Ad agency employees (proof of employment, please) enjoy 15% off their total bill. Other specials include:

  • $1 oysters on-the-half-shell or shucked clams
  • $2 shrimp cocktail, scallop crudo, or king crab legs
  • $3 oyster shooter
  • $5 Manhattans and Martinis
Jake Melnick makes craveable stuff

Jake Melnick’s, 41 E. Superior, is sporting Music Bar Bingo. Instead of reading off letters and numbers, listen to clips of popular songs. 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 prizes every time. Jake’s partners with several beer companies for samples and awesome prices for upcoming Bar Bingo dates: April 9 & 23 (partnering with Half Acre); May 14, 28 (partnering with Lagunitas); June 11, 25 (partnering with 21st Amendment). Try these April specials while you’re playing or just enjoy: the Buffalo Chicken ($16.95); the Fiesta Wings ($13.95); Sriracha Chicken Mac ($12.95).

Kizuki, 1457 N. Halsted and 1482 N. Milwaukee, welcomes patrons on Monday, April 15 with a Tax Day special on all-you-can-eat unlimited refills of noodles added to any ramen order. Choose noodle type Chuka, Tonk, Tsukemen, Shirataki or Kale. Happy Hour from 5 to 7pm. A few Tax Day specials include: – $1 beers, one per person, with a signature ramen purchase (ask your server for specifics);- $3 Sake Bomb, $5 House sake; $5 House red/white wine; $7 Daily special sangria, $7 Momotoro, and several food specials.

Remedy Bar, 1910 N. Milwaukee, supports Earth Day on Monday, April 22, with an $8 “Sprouts Honor” gin cocktail. Bring friends, sip and watch episodes of Planet Earth on TV throughout the evening. A portion of proceeds from each cocktail will be donated to help kids become better students using project-based learning for STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) subjects via Project SYNCERE.

Wings galore! Throw calorie caution to the winds and come sample from dozens of wing experts at the 20th annual Chicago’s Best WingFest on Saturday, April 13, 2019 from 12 to 4pm. Watch Chicago Police Dept and Chicago Fire Dept contestants compete to eat the most. Credit Union 1 Arena (formerly known as UIC Pavilion at 525 S. Racine Ave.). After party! Elliot Bambrough is hosting it for $50 a person at 551 Live (551 N. Ogden Ave.), a new live music venue featuring Live Band Karaoke from 5 to 8 p.m. with $4 drink specials and a 551 Live swag giveaway. VIP tix also available. Visit https://wingfest.net.

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Greek family dining, Dr. Seuss party, and macarons for Special Olympics Chicago

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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 Barbeque Thursday

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’s Special Olympics Chicago macaron

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.

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