Food Fun Friday

Food Fun Friday

Crazy fun week for me – I’m closer to next week’s reservation at NEXT!, I did a fun 20 question segment with Bill Terlato, and it’s football season!!! Lots of fun events coming up soon and even this weekend so read through. Lots of restaurant special nights and deals below…

Have a safe and fun weekend – tall ships and a half marathon hello, gridlock.

Don't forget to make your bets on the Arlington Million!

Cooking for a Cure
Illinois Chapter of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America if hosting a fun event at The Chopping Block at the Merchandise Mart Plaza, Suite 107. There will be food, drink, martini tasting, Cooking demo’s, and fun auctions! Tickets are $65 per person or $120 per couple and can be bought on their site. Proceeds of the event will help fund the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation.

Dose Market
Dose, the monthly food and fashion gathering, returns to Chicago’s River East Art Center, 435 E. Illinois St, on August 14, 10am – 4pm, with 22 new artisans and entrepreneurs and 43 Dosers in total (
Transportation: Nearest El stop at Grand Red Line. 4-hour parking in the Parkview garage for $6 with Dose validation.
Price: $10 admission at the door; $8 pre-orders at

Benny’s Chop House Celebrates National Rum Day, August 16
Celebrate National Rum Day with one of Benny's Chop House's signature rum cocktails! Benny's take on the modern Mai Tai is called the Shh...Rums the Word ($13.00), and it is designed from homemade orgeat syrup, Cherry Heering, lime juice, Cruzan Blackstrap, Ron Barcelo, Ron Matusalem, garnished with a sprig of mint and a cherry. Another rum-lover's delight is the Stormy Weather ($14.00) made with Goslings Black Strap Rum, Zwack Liqueur, blood orange juice, lime juice and garnished with a lime wheel.

Café de Architects
On Thursday, August 18, Café des Architectes will host Les Amis du Chef, a special dining series led by Executive Chef Greg Biggers and Pastry Chef Patrick Fahy. Both spontaneous and interactive, the multi-course dinner with beer pairings features commentary from guest chef Chris Curren of Elate and Blue 13; grower Peter Klein of Seedling Fruit; and brewmaster John Laffler of Goose Island Brewery.
The dinner’s theme will revolve around market-fresh picks from Chicago’s Green City Market. A welcome reception will begin at 6:30 p.m. followed by a communal-style dinner at 7 p.m. on La Terrasse, the outdoor patio for Café des Architectes. Cost is $75 per person, all-inclusive. For reservations, please call 312-324-4063.

Oyster Shucking Contest, 1072 N. Milwaukee Ave., Sunday August 14th 2-5pm. See shuckers from GT Fish, Hugo’s, Tavern, the Publican, The Bedford, Riva and Owen and Engine! $10 suggested donation to benefit Greater New Orleans Foundation.

Custom House
B.Y.O at Custom House Tavern
Custom House Tavern has named August B.Y.O. month at the, giving locals and visitors a like an opportunity to enjoy summer's final month with their personal favorite varietals. Guests are invited to bring as many of their favorite wine selections from home as they wish to pair with Executive Chef Perry Hendrix's signature summer specialties, with no corkage fee. Through August 31.

Summer Vacation Photo Contest
With August being the most popular vacation month, Custom House Tavern also announces a Facebook photo contest celebrating summer travel. The Custom House Tavern team wants to hear about guests' summer travels and dining adventures. All are invited to "like" the restaurant's Facebook page and share their favorite vacation photos on the wall. The fan whose photo has the most "likes" on August 31 will win an exclusive dinner for two prepared by Chef Hendrix. Entrants may submit up to three photos.

The “Mayor” of The Bedford
Starting on August 1st and running throughout the month, check in to The Bedford as many times as you stop by for a chance to become mayor. The mayor will be chosen on the first of September at 12:01 a.m. Bypassing the usual “20% off your meal!” or “complimentary appetizers!” The Bedford is upping the ante and giving the mayor a complimentary party for up to 12 friends in the private dining space. Complete with hors d’oeuvres from Chef Mark Steuer and cocktails from mixologist Pete Gugni, this private party is one sweet inauguration celebration.
• foursquare chooses the mayor at 12:01 a.m. on the first of the month
• Party must be used within the month the prize is claimed
• The Bedford will dictate food and drink
• The Bedford has the right to revoke this offer at any time
• A contestant can only win once every three months

Hamburger Hop is BACK!
Tickets to the second annual Hamburger Hop - the kick off to Bon Appétit presents Chicago Gourmet 2011: a celebration of food and wine - are now available at An ideal launch to a gourmet weekend, 15 of Chicago's top chefs will fire up their grills to compete in the Hamburger Hop, presented by Allen Brothers and MillerCoors' Blue Moon. This lively, interactive event - expected to draw1000 guests - will feature a panel of celebrity industry experts who will judge the juicy entries. Participants and judges to be announced soon.
Harris Theater Rooftop in Millennium Park
205 E. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60601
Friday, September 23, 2011 from 6 to 9 p.m.
$89 per person, exclusive of taxes and fees. The Hamburger Hop is open to the public, and is ticketed separately from Chicago Gourmet and the Grand Cru. To purchase tickets and for more details, visit Attendees must be at least 21 years of age.

Mercat a la Planxa – Tomato fight?
In honor of the Spanish festival La Tomatina, Mercat a la Planxa (638 S. Michigan Ave), the restaurant inspired by Spain’s Catalan region, will host a week-long celebration, kicking-off on Thursday, August 25. La Tomatina is a festival that is held in Buñol, in which participants throw tomatoes at each other the last Wednesday in August. The fight takes place during a week-long celebration filled with on-going festivities, including a paella cooking contest to provide nourishment on the eve of the “throwing of tomatoes”.

To celebrate La Tomatina’s paella tradition, Mercat Chef de Cuisine Cory Morris and Blackstone Executive Chef Eric Liebtag will face-off in a paella cooking contest during a three-course dinner with wine and cocktail pairings on Thursday, August 25 at 6 p.m. Each chef will have the assistance of a surprise sous chef to assist in the battle. The cost is $75 per person and reservations are required.

Santa Margherita Recipe Challenge
Santa Margherita wines recently launched its first-ever Pour & Pair Challenge on Facebook, which challenges foodies and home cooks to share their best recipe pairings for Santa Margherita’s food-friendly wines in exchange for great prizes.
From now until August 14, the brand is inviting recipe pairing submissions for its Prosecco. And, in the next few months, it will do the same with its Chianti Classico Riserva and Pinot Grigio.

Nearly everyone who enters a qualifying recipe will receive a prize and the top pairing for each wine varietal will receive a full case of the wine. (In states where laws prohibit us to ship wines to the winner, we’ll award gift certificates to a top restaurant in the winner’s hometown).
All you need to enter is a Facebook account, and there’s no limit to the number of recipes that can be submitted. For more information, please check out the Pour & Pair tab at

Zealous 18 yr Anniversary and Give-away
Chef Michael Taus is pleased to celebrate 18 years of Zealous. Throughout the months of July and August, Chef Taus will celebrate Zealous' 18th birthday by providing everyone with a unique opportunity to win prizes that also happen to be hugely popular favorites of guests at the downtown Chicago restaurant. Details include:
• Challenge the Chef. Throughout the month of July, Chef Taus asks Chicagoans to fantasize about their "dream meal" and put his culinary prowess to the test. With no restrictions on cuisine type or global influence, everyone is invited to tweet their ideas for what he envisions to be a perfect dinner to Chef Taus at @Michael_Taus or become a fan and post them on the Zealous Facebook page at At the end of August, Chef Taus will select the most original entry and will invite its author and a guest to dine at Zealous, where he will actually create the fantasy meal in five courses with wine pairings. Entries suggesting illegal or endangered ingredients will not be considered.
• A Trip Down Memory Lane. This month, Chef Taus also asks guests familiar and new to become a fan on Facebook at and tell him about their favorite Zealous memories over the years on the restaurant's Facebook wall. Whether celebrating a birthday, engagement, wedding, business success, or whether one happened to stumble upon Zealous and enjoy one of the best meals of their lives, he wants to read about it. No story is too funny, touching or nostalgic. Photos are also welcome to supplement submissions. Authors of the entries with the most "likes" on the Zealous page will have an opportunity to receive a phenomenal set of experiences, which include:
1. Chef for a Day with Chef Taus. The lucky winner of this prize will travel with Chef Taus to Chicago's famed Vietnamese market on Argyle St., come back to Zealous for a complete cooking class using the ingredients, and will be invited to stay on for a five-course dinner with a guest.
2. Five-course dinner for two with wine pairings.
3. "Z" Burgers and Beers for six in Zealous' intimate lounge.
4. Appetizers and drinks in the Zealous lounge for six.
5. A dessert and wine tasting for six.
6. Free corkage for a month (limit one bottle per visit).
*Prizes do not include gratuity.
Both contests run through August 30, 2011. For more information, please call (312) 475-9112.

Locavores Unite
Chicago Botanic Garden Farm Dinners
Wednesday, August 17, 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Wednesday, September 7, 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Join us at the Chicago Botanic Garden for our second season of Farm Dinners; a celebration of Midwestern farmland and the food we love to eat! The format is a bit different than the City Provisions Farm Dinners. Diners will arrive at the gardens and will be treated to a cocktail hour of passed finger foods and drinks by Death’s Door Spirits.

Cost is $200 per person (transportation is not provided to this event) and includes a garden tour, cocktails, appetizers, and a multicourse meal including dessert. Parking is free for ticketed guests. Tickets are available online at or at the Visitor Center Information Desk at the Garden. For questions, please call (847) 835-5440.

Spiaggia Farm Dinner at Nichols Farm
Chef Tony Mantuano, Executive Chef Sarah Grueneberg, and Sommelier Jason Carlen invite guests to join them for the annual Spiaggia Farm Luncheon at Nichols Farm and Orchard in Marengo, Illinois. Guests will travel to Nichols Farm on a chartered bus from Spiaggia with prosecco and treats. Upon arrival at Nichols Farm guests will be welcomed with antipasti, followed by a tractor tour of Nichols farm and farm games such as bocce, croquet and horseshoes.

A three course menu featuring ingredients from the summer harvest will then be served family-style at farm tables. Menu highlights include: a selection of Flame grilled Farm Pizzas, Whole Roasted Side of Becker Lane Pork, Roasted Nichols Farm Corn Salad and a Summer Fruit Granita.
Where: Nichols Farm and Orchard, Marengo, Illinois.
Bus departs Spiaggia, 980 North Michigan Avenue, at 11 a.m. scheduled to return at 7 p.m.
When: Sunday, August 14th, 2011
Cost: $150 per person includes food, wine, tax and transportation
Reservations: Guests may call 312.280.2750 ext. 1004 or email Alexandra Barton

Mercadito Chicago Heats up Late Night with Taco Tues' & Agave Wednes'
Sizzling Summer Fiesta Starts after 9 P.M. with New Late Night Specials - When the sun sets on Chicago, the party at Mercadito (108 W. Kinzie St.) is just getting started. For partygoers looking to take advantage of summer nights, Mercadito introduces new late night specials of $2.75 Taco Tuesdays and Agave Wednesdays available after 9 p.m. Reservations can be made by calling 312.929.9555.

Taco Tuesdays: Choose from 11 tempting taco varieties such as pescado, veracruzana, hongos, rajas, chorizo, pastor, camarón, carne, estilo baja, carnitas, and pollo for only $2.75 per taco after 9 p.m. (minimum order of 2; in restaurant only).

Agave Wednesdays: With approximately 125 tequilas on the menu ranging from Blancos, Reposados, Añejo, Extra Añejo and Mezcales, the knowledgeable Mercadito staff knows the different distinctions and taste tequila has to offer. Experts say that tequila offers more than 600 different flavors and aromas, and after 9 p.m. every Wednesday, guests will be guided through the tasting process by the educated staff with a complimentary small tasting of tequila. The tequila will change every week so guests can come back again and again for late night noshes and a 'spirited' education.

The Bedford
Rolling out two new weekly specials that are sure to cool cravings and start the summer off right! Whether you are looking for a drinks and light bites or a full dinner, The Bedford, will be offering unique weekly specials that are sure to please return customers or first timers alike.

Tuesday: Oysters and Bubbles
Looking for a romantic evening that won’t break the bank? Now perfectly paired with sparkling champagne. Expertly crafted by Executive Chef Mark Steuer, the oysters are made the “old-fashioned way” and are flavored with lemon and mignonette. For $25, couples or singles alike can enjoy a night of gossip, glamour, and romance… with bottomless glasses of bubbles and endless shells of oysters.

Wednesday: Farm Fresh Pre-Fixe
For the foodie fellow or dining darling, Wednesday’s at The Bedford are sure to please. Each Wednesday morning, Chef Steuer heads out to the local farms and farmer’s market to find what he will be cooking that night for dinner! Each pre-fixe menu will be offered for $25. The Bedford will announce via Twitter and Facebook what each Wednesday night menu will be…so, stay tuned to social media for those weekly updates on Twitter @thebedfordchi, or Facebook at

Joe Campagna is the Chicago Food Snob. A former restaurant General Manager, Server and Chef you can find him on twitter @chifoodsnob. You can reach him through email at Joe is retained as a compensated blogger by Pei Wei Asian Diner.


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