Food Fun Friday

Food Fun Friday

I’m in a bit of limbo mentally since last night was one of the best Thai meals I may ever eat. Yep, I was at next for the second Kitchen Table experience in as many menus. The flavors were well done and the entire meal was a fun night thanks to great food, service and friends!

This weekend is all Air & Water Show, all the time. I love the planes and it reminds me of last year when someone said I hated the planet for liking the Air Show! Locavores…

Have a fun weekend and check out some cool events coming up in the next few weeks!

Cooking for a Cure
Friday August 26, 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.

Purple Asparagus, the non-profit that educates children, families and the community about eating that’s good for the body and the planet, will host its Seventh Annual Corks & Crayons Benefit.
Sunday, August 28, 2011 - 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
$60 for adults ($65 at the door), $15 for ages 5-20 ($20 at the door). Kids under 5 are free.
Tickets can be purchased via credit card at or by check payable to Purple Asparagus sent in care of Melissa Graham, 1824 W Newport Ave, Chicago, IL 60657
Uncommon Ground
1401 W. Devon Ave.
Chicago, IL  60660

Hawaiian Seafood Dinner at L2O
Tuesday, August 30, at 6:30 p.m.
In conjunction with the Supreme Lobster Company, seven of Chicago’s top chefs will create a seafood-filled menu, with proceeds benefiting the Hawaii Seafood Council. Chefs include:
Chefs Francis Brennan, Matthew Kirkley, and Stephanie Prida (L2O)
Chef Curtis Duffy (Avenues)
Chef Todd Stein (The Florentine)
Chef Paul Virant (Perennial Virant)
Chef Andrew Zimmerman (Sepia)
The evening starts with a cocktail reception and passed canapés at 6:30 p.m. The chefs will mingle with the guests until 7 p.m. when the dinner portion of the evening commences. The inspired multi-course menu with wine pairings will showcase each chef’s particular style while using seafood provided by Hawaii’s hard-working fisherman. The cost is $175 per person plus tax and gratuity. Reservations are required, and should be made by calling Meredith at 773-868-0002 or emailing

With summer coming to an end in the coming weeks, Chicago diners can look forward to bringing the party indoors at River North hot spot SUSHISAMBA rio (504 N. Wells Street). The restaurant, with its worldly cuisine continues the Sushi & Sake 101 series; the signature sushi and sake classes led by Sake Sommelier Hayes Swope. Guests can sample SUSHISAMBA's 60 plus sake offerings paired with delectable bites whilelearning the art of sushi and how to make it at home, led by Sushi Chef Shigeru Kitano.
Sushi & Sake 101 classes are held from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. They are $75 per person and limited seating is available. Classes will be held on the following dates:
Tuesday, September 13
Tuesday, October 11
Tuesday, November 8
Tuesday, December 13
Reservations for Sushi & Sake 101 are recommended and can be made by calling the restaurant at 312.595.2300. Gift cards to classes are available for purchase at SUSHISAMBA rio.

Michelin star-rated Sepia restaurant, on September 19, 2011, Sepia will partner with Brooks Winery to present a four-course tasting menu paired with a unique line-up of wines from the Oregon winery. Wine Director Arthur Hon has worked closely with Brooks Managing Director Janie Brooks Heuck and Winemaker Chris Williams to carefully select current releases as well as vintages from the Brooks Riesling and Pinot Noir library collections to complement the flavors of Executive Chef Andrew Zimmerman's inventive seasonal cuisine.

These pairings offer guests a rare retrospective opportunity; both the 2002 Pinot Noir and 2003 Riesling are the creations of the late Jimi Brooks, the company's original winemaker and founder who passed away in 2004. As such, the dinner will offer wine lovers an exceptional chance to appreciate Brooks's present collection, as well as highlights from years past.

The event will begin with a reception at 6:30 p.m., followed by dinner. The cost is $95 per person, excluding tax and gratuity. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 312.441.1920.

Bleeding Heart Bakery & Cafe open to the public Monday, August 22
Bleeding Heart Bakery & Café will open at 6am Monday, August 22, and will feature sit-down brunch specialties; a full-service Alterra coffee/espresso and Rare Tea Cellar tea bar; counter service to-go, sit-down and wholesale pastries, baked goods, breads, and more.

Greg and Scott will run all business and operations aspects of the Bleeding Heart Bakery & Café which will allow Michelle and Vinny to focus all their time and effort to be creative in the kitchen and with their award-winning cakes. Bleeding Heart Bakery & Café will stay true to the original Bleeding Heart mantra of using the best local, organic, and sustainable items in their sit-down brunch menu and in all their pastry and baked goods.

The Bleeding Heart Bakery & Cafe – a two-story 8,500 square foot space – is located at 1916 W Chicago Ave adjacent to Roots Handmade Pizza in West Town (773.904.1414)

People can order any of the Bleeding Heart cakes, pastries, bread and baked goods online on the new Bleeding Heart Bakery website that should be live soon at

Café Hours (sit down all-day brunch menu available):
Monday - Thursday 7 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Friday 7 a.m. through Sunday 4 p.m. (57 straight hours!)

Bakery Hours (counter service for coffee/tea and counter service pastries and other baked goods):
Monday - Thursday 6 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Friday 6 a.m. through Sunday 9 p.m. (63 straight hours!)

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.

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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