Mardi Gras celebration at Houndstooth pop-up turns Wrigelyville into the Big Easy

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Mardi Gras transforms Clark St. into Bourbon Street as Houndstooth Saloon becomes a French Korner pop-up

Are you ready Chicago?

Hurricane season is just around the corner. Starting Tuesday, February 4 watch out for scattered hurricanes accompanied by sazeracs, crawfish and jambalaya with a chance of beignets.

Beignets will be on the menu at the Houndstooth pop up

Beignets will be on the menu at the Houndstooth pop up

Although Mardi Gras celebrations are in the works around the city, the Houndstooth Saloon, pop-up sounds like the real deal.

The 21-day celebration at French Korner at Houndstooth will showcase the music, food, drink and merriment of Mardi Gras. Houndstooth, the Wrigleyville bar that recently made a splash as the infamous Griswold’s,  “Christmas Vacation” will be taking Cousin Eddie’s RV, parked on the Houndstooth patio, and  making it over into a classic Mardi Gras parade float.

Guests are invited to grab a hurricane and head into the RV that will be filled with beads, masks and more beads for an Instagram-worthy pic.

Inside, the Bourbon Street vibe and décor continues, with food and drink specials and a full slate of entertainment.

The Houndstooth culinary team, which includes award-winning Louisiana chef David Dickensauge, has created a menu of Creole and Cajun specialties exclusively for French Korner. 

Here’s a look at some of the traditional dishes:

Gumbo Ya-Ya comes with coleslaw poured tableside into the bowl the Creole way.

Gumbo Ya Ya

Gumbo Ya Ya

The Chicago Creole Dog combines the best of both worlds: a sausage topped with crawfish chili, crab-boiled pickles and pickled collard greens.

Chicago Creole Dog

Chicago Creole Dog

For dessert, freshly baked King Cake Cupcakes feature Bavarian crème and strawberry filling inside red velvet and cinnamon roll-flavored cake, along with Chef Dickensauge’s homemade Beignets. 

King Cake Cupcakes

King Cake Cupcakes

 Guests can also look forward to elevated versions of classic Bourbon Street cocktails—the Hurricane, Hand Grenade and punch, among them—from the talented, fun-loving beverage team at Houndstooth.

Mardi Gras-inspired events will take place daily at French Korner, from burlesque to a masquerade ball and traditional crawfish boil.

Highlights include:

  • Tuesday, Feb. 4: French Korner kick-off. Be the first to see the transformation from Houndstooth to French Korner! Enjoy food and drink specials and live entertainment.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 11 + 18: Mask painting with half-priced wine bottles. Pick a mask from French Korner’s collection and use glitter, paint, feathers and gems to make a personalized mask ahead of the Masquerade Ball or just for fun! Enjoy half-priced bottles of wine all night.
  • Friday, Feb. 14: Find your Masked Match. Guests will be handed a mask upon arrival - find your mask match at the bar and receive a complimentary drink.
  • Saturday, Feb 15: Masquerade Ball. Dance all night long and enjoy Southern-inspired bites. Those who bring their own mask will receive a complimentary glass of champagne.
  • Friday, Feb. 21: Voodoo Hot Wing Challenge. A specialty house-made spice blend is sure to set mouths on fire. Prove you are the spice king and enter to win.
  • Saturday, Feb. 22: Houndapalooza! Spend Saturday at The French Korner at Houndstooth for a day filled with live music and a crawfish boil with Chef David Dickensauge.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 25: Fat Tuesday Celebration with live music. Celebrate Fat Tuesday with traditional eats, drinks and a Fat Head parade all night long.

Weekly events during the pop-up will include a Bourbon Street Burlesque show on Monday evenings and live music, including local jazz and blues musicians, on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings. Finish off the weekend with Live Band Karaoke every Sunday, with a specialty Masked Karaoke night on Sunday, Feb. 23. The full event list will be posted on Houndstooth Chicago during the pop-up.

Small Bites of Chicago

First Bites Bash,

First Bites Bash, the kickoff event for Chicago Restaurant Week takes place from 6-9 p.m. tonight, January 23, at the Field Museum. with hosts Thai Dang and Danielle Dang (of HaiSous and Ca Phe Da). The evening will feature more than 70 chefs, offering samples of their Restaurant Week dishes (lots of beverages, too). A limited number of tickets at $125 are available at firstbitesbash.com

Drunken Paczki and more

Delightful Pastries’ signature Drunken Paczki offer three booze-filled options: Vodka & Vanilla Bean Custard, Jameson Whiskey with Chocolate Custard and Moonshine & Lemon. A host of other options are also available.

Visit DelightfulPastries.com for full Paczki menu.

Or call or stop in Delightful Pastries to inquire about pricing or place an order. All orders must be received by February 21 for Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday/Paczki Day. 773-545-7215

The Hyde

The Hyde, a Prohibition-style speakeasy in Hyde Park, celebrates its first anniversary with a new elevated dinner hour and completely new menu, as well as late-night entertainment. The Hyde Park Hideaway fuses fine dining and a prohibition-era vibe with musical performances, cabaret-style jazz & burlesque and updated house rules. The Hyde, 5121 S Harper Ave., Hyde Park, Dinner Reservations: (773) 493-9333

Dry January

Dry January seems to get bigger every year and who knows, spirit-free “cocktails” may just become a trend in the new decade.

A host of options are available throughout the city. One of my favorites comes from leading cocktail experts Paul McGee and Shelby Allison, the Parchita--that brings a taste of summer to a cold Chicago January. You can find the Parchita at Secret Sound – the speakeasy at the newly opened Time Out Market Chicago – this spirit-free creation features Seedlip Spiced, passionfruit, pineapple and tonic ($12). 916 W. Fulton Market. (312) 637-7888.

Harbor opens in the South Loop

Parelta Hospitality, LLC has just announce the opening of  Harbor in the former Gioco space in the South Loop at 1312 South Wabash. 

Harbor reinvents traditional American fare with a locally sourced menu by Chef/Partner Anthony Bernal (Mastro’s Steakhouse), and unique beverage program, both influenced by the Great Lakes and the founders’ personal passion for sailing. The sleek, open space invites guests to unwind, indulge and enjoy the ultimate sensory dining experience in Chicago’s South Loop.

The Grand Chefs Experience
Saturday, February 8th at The Field Museum
 
Chicagoland's finest chefs team up with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to provide an evening filled with inspired culinary creations. The event features over 35 Chefs Tasting stations, each including a signature hors d'oeuvre, followed by dinner with Maximo, the world's largest dinosaur. The celebration continues with live music, dancing, custom curated cocktails, delicious desserts, and late-night bites during the Nitecap. Participating restaurants include: Bad Hunter, Bandit, Bar Siena, Bistronomic, BLVD, Bristol, Daisies, Flora Fauna, Honey Butter Fried Chicken, Kennison, Portsmith, Steadfast, Tanta, Woodwind, and more.
The Grand Chefs Experience is from 6pm - 12am. Ticket prices are as follows -- $500, individual; $100, nightcap only; $5000, table sponsor. For tickets and more information, please click here.

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