Food Fun Friday!

Food Fun Friday!
It's cold today, but this may help put you in a happy place!

Happy almost Thanksgiving! I refuse to put anything about Christmas – I’ve gotten a ton of info already – up before the Thanksgiving Holiday. The Indians who saved the poorly traveled Pilgrims deserve their day. I don’t think I’m cooking this year, which is the first since I’ve left the restaurant world. I will enjoy spending the day with my new nephew and having NO repsonsibilities.

But if you need some ideas on how to cater or a place to go since you don’t or won’t cook I’ve got a lot here…There is other stuff but I put the Thanksgiving stuff up top – I’m not like the grocery store hiding milk in the back. Then again they do make a lot of money…No in the front with all the other impulse ideas…

Ok so there was one cool event that benefits Ronald McDonald House that is going on this weekend which breaks the no Christmas/Hannukah events rule. I can’t say no to helping sick kids.

Texas de Brazil Chicago’s Breakfast with Santa, taking place on Saturday, November 19, at 9 a.m., in conjunction with the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival. The buffet breakfast benefits the Ronald McDonald Houses of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana. The breakfast kicks off the 20th Annual Magnificent Mile Lights Festival and includes a visit from Mr. Claus himself, who will hand out gifts to children from the Ronald McDonald House. The event takes place from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Texas de Brazil’s downtown location at 51 E. Ohio St.

Tickets for the buffet breakfast cost $25 for adults and $15 for children, and can be purchased at Proceeds from the ticket and raffle sales will benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana, particularly its efforts to build the world’s largest facility in Chicago’s Streeterville neighborhood.

Gold Coast Options
e.leaven Food Company's annual Thanksgiving menu. Diners will find classics such as Whole Organic Free Range Turkey ($9.50/lb) and Traditional Vegetable Stuffing ($8.50/lb) prepared with the expertise and creativity only e.leaven can provide.  For those looking to avoid the kitchen all together, e.leaven even offers a pre-set meal option of sliced Turkey Breast, Mashed  Potatoes with Gravy, Creamy Peruvian Corn with Manchego Cheese, Salad, Challah Rolls and choice of individual pie for $25/person, minimum two  people. Now this combination of comfort food at its best is sure to relieve some of that holiday stress!

More details and online ordering can be found at or by calling 312.202.0899.

Palmer House
Keeping with Lockwood tradition, Executive Chef Greg Elliott will provide guests with a seasonal menu for this cherished meal on Thursday, November 24. Featuring flavorful dishes such as Free Range Wisconsin chicken breast with button mushroom and bacon lardons and Nichols Farm butternut squash with candied pecans and cinnamon cream, brunch service will also be offered from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and a la carte service will take place from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Prices are: Adults: $60; Seniors (older than 65): $50; Children (under 12): $25; children under six are complimentary(prices do not include tax and gratuity).

Ya, Suburbia!
This Thanksgiving, leave the pots and pans to the Claddagh Irish Pub! The annual grand holiday buffet at the restaurant, located at 1702 Commons Drive in Geneva, IL, will feature stations for every Turkey Day craving, including hot carvery, sides, salads, and desserts. Offerings will include both breakfast and lunch items (see menu below). Watch the day’s NFL football games, enjoy a pint of Guinness, and reflect on what you’re thankful for this Thanksgiving at the Claddagh Irish Pub.

The Claddagh’s Thanksgiving buffet is available from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 24, and the buffet closes one hour after the last seating. The price is $22.95 for adults, $9.95 for kids ages 5 to 10, and free for kids 4 years old and under. Reservations are strongly recommended and can be made by calling the restaurant at 630.208.0337.

SUSHISAMBA rio: Add some Brazilian, Japanese and Peruvian flair to the traditional Thanksgiving dishes! Feast on short rib gyoza with kabocha puree and mojo roasted organic turkey with linguica quinoa stuffing and crispy brussel sprouts. All of the Thanksgiving items will be offered a la carte. The full regular menu will also be available. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 312-595-2300.

InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile: Executive Chef Kurt Mittelberger has planned a decadent holiday buffet that will include traditional dishes as well as revised classics. The seafood station will be comprised of fresh oysters, crab claws, mussels, shrimp and smoked salmon. Meat lovers can head to the carving station for holiday turkey and ham with traditional gravy and cranberry sauce. Seasonal dishes like quail stuffed with wild rice and gnocchi with butternut squash and chestnuts are festive and perfect for fall. For gourmands, a pear and foie gras terrine as well as duck rillette with country bread will be available for the taking. The cost is $85 per person, including one glass of wine. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 312.321.8798.

C-House, Top Chef Master Marcus Samuelsson’s restaurant, is serving up creative twists on Thanksgiving favorites created by Executive Chef Nicole Pederson and Executive Pastry Chef Melissa Trimmer. The three-course pre-fixe menu is $45 per person ($19 for children under 12).  Additionally, guests can start with a selection of East or West Coast oysters, $10 for four, and can also add a variety of scrumptious side dishes to their meal, $4 each, including roasted sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, pan-seared apple stuffing, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese and turnip gratin.   

Lillie's Q, where chef/owner Charlie McKenna serves award-winning competition BBQ along with Southern favorites and sides in Bucktown (1856 W North Ave), will sell smoked turkeys for Thanksgiving. Each 15-pound turkey will be dry-rubbed with "Q Rub”, and will be smoked over peach wood for about five to six hours at the restaurant. The cost is $75 for each smoked turkey, and payment must be made in cash.

The smoked turkeys can be ordered by calling Lillie's Q (773.772.5500) and in person at the restaurant. There will be a limited number of smoked turkeys available. Orders must be placed by noon Tuesday, November 22 at the latest. The smoked turkeys must be picked up at Lillie's Q between 10am –11am on Thanksgiving (Thursday, November 24).

Chicago's favorite gourmet food store The Goddess and Grocer is the go-to chef for those looking to host an unforgettable Thanksgiving gathering - with no roasting, stuffing, mashing, or baking required! From Tuesday, November 22 to Sunday, November 27, The Goddess and Grocer will present an array of Thanksgiving favorites and exciting accompaniments designed to help Chicagoans spend more time with family and friends...and less time in the kitchen. (And no one will be the wiser that the feast is not homemade!)

Whether entertaining two or 20, The Goddess and Grocer's a la carte menu allows hosts to select all the courses they need for their Thanksgiving Day meal. All items on The Goddess and Grocer's Thanksgiving catering menu will also be for sale in-store at its three locations (Gold Coast - 25 E. Delaware; Bucktown - 1646 N. Damen; and Elston - 2222 N. Elston) from Tuesday, November 22 throughSunday, November 27.

Orders must be placed by Monday, November 21 at 3pm, and can be made by calling (773) 292-7100 or emailing A credit card is required to secure orders. Delivery is available for an additional fee.
Custom House Tavern offers two excellent options to celebrate Thanksgiving Day:

Thanksgiving Helpers
Custom House - Back by popular demand - Executive Chef Perry Hendrix and Chef de Cuisine Zach Millican are pleased to reintroduce Thanksgiving Helpers - a menu of traditional holiday side dishes available to go. Home entertainers can avoid the stress of cooking beyond the bird and simply select a number of sides to complement their meal. All dishes are available in small (serves 2-3) and large portions (serves 6-8).

Orders for Thanksgiving Helpers must be placed by Sunday, November 20. Items will be available for pickup on Wednesday, November 23 and Thanksgiving Day.

Celebrate Thanksgiving with A la Carte and Prix Fixe Dining Options
Chef Hendrix, Chef de Cuisine Zach Millican and Pastry Chef Erin Mooney will present the restaurant's seasonal, a la carte menu, as well as a three-course prix fixe holiday dinner. The meal will begin with a sweet potato soup topped with a black pepper marshmallow and spiced peanuts, and for dessert, warm apple crostata served with ginger-spice ice cream and cranberry gastrique. The cost is $46 per person (exclusive of alcohol, tax and gratuity). Kids 12 and under may enjoy a smaller version of the prix fixe for $16.

On Thanksgiving Day, Custom House Tavern will be open for breakfast from 6:30 to 10 a.m., and will be open again from 12 to 8 p.m. Reservations are highly recommended. For more information and reservations, please call (312) 523-0200.

Brunch at Sixteen
On Thanksgiving Day, Sixteen will bring this year's bountiful harvest to life by presenting a festive brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. inside the stunning dining room that affords features breathtaking views of Chicago's architectural landscape, the Chicago River and Lake Michigan. Guests can indulge in traditional Thanksgiving favorites and other specialty items during the festive brunch buffet.

Thanksgiving brunch at Sixteen costs $125 per person and $35 for children eight years and younger, exclusive of tax, alcohol and gratuity. Seating times are 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Reservations are highly recommended and may be made by calling (312) 588-8030.

Not up for Brunch? – Thanksgiving Dinner at Sixteen
Infusing a modern American twist into the traditional Thanksgiving meal, Chef de Cuisine Joseph Rose and Executive Pastry Chef Sarah Kosikowski have created a dinner menu sure to satiate. With the option to select a three- or five-course tasting menu, guests will savor a variety of seasonally inspired dishes.

The three-course menu costs $95 per person, and the five-course menu costs $125 per person ($185 with wine pairings). Prices are exclusive of tax, alcohol and gratuity. Seatings are available from 6 to 9 p.m. Reservations are highly recommended and may be made by calling (312) 588-8030.

Sixteen - Turkeys to go!
For those who love to entertain at home, but would rather leave the cooking to the pros, Chef Rose provides the perfect solution: Thanksgiving at Home, a delectable dinner designed to serve six to eight people prepared by the award-winning culinary team at Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago and available for pick-up on Thanksgiving Day.

Orders must be placed by Sunday, November 21, and may be picked up between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. To place orders or for more information, please call Food and Beverage Coordinator Ariel Lickton at (312) 588-8114.

Custom House Baconfest Dinner
Since the wildly popular Baconfest Chicago only comes every April, Baconfest Satellite Dinners are held at numerous restaurants throughout the year to help bacon-lovers get their fix. On Thursday, December 8, Executive Chef Perry Hendrix, Chef de Cuisine Zach Millican and Pastry Chef Erin Mooney of Custom House Tavern will host one such satellite dinner, kicking off with a cocktail reception at 6 p.m., followed by a three-course, family-style meal at 7 p.m. Each dish will star Nueske's Bacon.

Cost to attend is $75 per person, inclusive of tax and gratuity. Reservations can be made by calling (312) 523-0200.

Neck Bone Wednesdays" is back for the winter months at Viaggio Ristorante!
Every Wednesday starting this coming November 2, Executive Chef Victor Perdue will feature Braised Pork Neck Bones, slow-cooked in white wine and San Marzano tomatoes ($17) as a special on his southern Italian menu, which can be savored alone or with a side of pasta ($3). The perfect solution to help diners combat the chilly Chicago weather, this dish has proven a guest favorite in years' past and is limited to dinner on Wednesdays, from 4–10pm.

25 Degrees Daily Deals
Mid-day Cravings
Chicagoans looking for an affordable meal option during lunch will be excited to hear that 25 Degrees is now offering a special prix fixe deal. For a set price of $12, guests will receive one of the restaurant's signature gourmet burgers, a choice of sweet potato or regular fries and a non-alcoholic fountain beverage.

Holiday Party Planning Starts NOW!
Viaggio Ristorante and Lounge (1330 W. Madison St.) invites Chicagoans to gather with friends and family to celebrate the holiday season over a delicious Italian feast, perfected-to-order by Executive Chef Victor Perdue. Conveniently located in Chicago's West Loop neighborhood, the family-owned restaurant provides an inviting and intimate setting for festive gatherings of 4 to 90 guests.

As a special offer for 2011, Viaggio will present a complimentary assortment of antipasto (a $50 value) to any group who makes a booking for a holiday party for 10 or more guests before Thursday, December 1. This promotion is valid only for new bookings and redeemable on the date of the original booking.

For more information or to book an event this holiday season, please call (312) 829-3333 or e-mail

Football Specials and Fun
Lillie's Q, where chef/owner Charlie McKenna serves award-winning competition BBQ along with Southern favorites and sides in Bucktown (1856 W North Ave), will give away one free order of boiled peanuts (regularly $4) to every paying patron wearing Florida State gear while the Seminoles are playing on Saturdays starting September 3.

Lillie's Q will also sell the boiled peanuts for only $1 to every paying patron wearing any SEC (Southeastern Conference) team gear while their teams are playing during college football Saturdays. Lillie's Q will show Florida State and SEC (Southeastern Conference) games on its three flat screens. McKenna is a proud Florida State graduate and a longtime SEC football fan.

Roots Handmade Pizza (1924 W Chicago Ave) has added a new and unique Bloody Mary to its beverage program that’s perfect to drink while watching football at the West Town restaurant and bar. The Roots Bloody Mary is comprised of Roots’ housemade Bloody Mary mix and Tito’s Handmade Vodka. The rim of the pint glass is dipped in a mixture of freshly-squeezed lime juice and buffalo wing sauce, and it is rimmed with housemade BBQ spice rub. The Roots Bloody Mary is served with a skewer featuring a cube of hand-pulled mozzarella coated in crispy prosciutto and crispy pepperoni, a salami wedge, and a pepperoncini. The Roots Bloody Mary costs $8.

Roots is showing all the Big Ten football games on Saturdays, all Bears games with sound, and every Monday Night Football game with sound on its 12 flatscreens.

DMK Pigskin Burger! The Pigskin Burger contains root beer braised, naturally raised pork, an all grass-fed beef patty, aged organic Wisconsin cheddar, bread & butter pickles, onions & love. It’s $10 and available every home and away Bears game.

Frontier, on Milwaukee in West Town, has a $15 buffet from 12-3pm every NFL Sunday with $5 Bloody Marys or Mimosas, $15 Miller/Coors Buckets, $20 Craft Sampler Bucket, or $20 Hurricane & Colada Pitchers!

Fun Classes
SushiSamba Announces Fall/Winter Lineup for Sushi & Saki 101
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 while learning 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, 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.

Lockwood Wine Classes
This fall and winter, step into the beauty that is the historic Palmer House Hilton and experience a wine journey like no other! The Bar at Lockwood, located in the Lobby of the property, will continue with The Regional Wine Journey - an exploration of the world's most thriving wine destinations. This series of bi-weekly classes will be held every other Tuesday from September through December 2011.
Hosted by Lockwood Wine Director Sasa Sinanagic, each class will feature a different region while focusing on the history and individual fermenting process native to that region. The classes run from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and are $25/per attending oenophile. The price includes wine pairings along with a selection of charcuterie, cheese and other various accompaniments.

The following schedule will be explored this season:
November 29, 2011: RedBordeaux varietals
December 13, 2011: Syrah/Shiraz
December 27, 2011: Madeira

Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling (312) 917-3404 or online 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 and also contributes to Eater Chicago.



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  • I just found a place called Printapons where I can get my fav. restaurant coupon for 90% off!! all you have to do is just print and take it.

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