Food Fun Friday

Food Fun Friday

Restaurant week is HERE!!!! Get excited and make a reservation or plan to eat at a bar and wait hours! One chef last night mentioned they are swamped for lunch and dinner! Table 52 has reservations only available on the 21st and only a few 2’s and 4’s. The mania is insane.

Some fun events coming up for Mardi Gras and St Patrick’s Day stuff is coming but let’s get to March first. So if you’re catholic don’t give up being a sloppy drunk in public, yet!

Have a fun and safe weekend and if you go out for Restaurant Week – good luck and have fun trying something NEW!

On Friday, March 2, more than 600 Chicagoans will gather for an evening of both visual and culinary art at One Inspired Evening, at the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Union Hall, 1340 W. Washington.  Proceeds from the gala benefit Inspiration Corporation, which assists individuals and families affected by homelessness and poverty, providing employment services, housing, meals and case management. The Chicago nonprofit organization inspires change and enriches the community by providing people who are affected by homelessness and poverty with essential social services that create choices and enable its participants to lead happier and more fulfilling lives.  For more information or to purchase tickets visit the website at or call 773.878.0981 x222.

Texas de Brazil celebrates Brazil’s biggest holiday with a festive Carnival party and Caipirinha mixology competition featuring Chicago’s top mixologists on Tuesday, February 21 from 6 to 8 p.m. The evening, sponsored by Leblon Cachaca, spotlights Chicago’s most distinguished mixologists including Josh Pearson (Sepia), Pete Gugni (The Bedford), and Benjamin Newby (The Underground). These bar masters will create their spin on Brazil’s national drink, the Caipirinha cocktail, with proceeds from the event benefitting the winner’s charity of choice. In addition to tasty cocktails, guests will enjoy Texas de Brazil’s premier grilled meats and other Brazilian fare amidst a truly “Carnival” atmosphere featuring festive décor throughout the restaurant’s second floor space. Tickets – $30/guest – can be purchased here and include a Caipirinha sampling by each mixologist and plentiful hors d’oeuvres. For more information or phone reservations for the event, call Texas de Brazil at 312.670.1006.

Brownstone, a Four Corners tavern in Chicago’s very own North center neighborhood, is hosting an authentic all-you-can-eat Mardi Gras Crawfish Boil in honor of Fat Tuesday. Indulge on the best food the Bayou has to offer like a local but without the cost of airfare to NOLA. Authentic all-you can eat crawfish boil, Crawfish flown in from Louisiana, Traditional sides dishes include cornbread, gumbo, red beans and rice and Miller/Coors drafts and Hurricanes. Brownstone Tavern, 3937 N Lincoln Ave.Tuesday, Feb. 21, 7 – 10 p.m.

The Gage (24 S. Michigan Ave.) invites Chicagoans and whiskey-lovers alike to encounter the country's only Blind Tiger, an illicit evening of entertainment designed by Spirits Director Clint Rogers in partnership with Templeton Rye Head Brand Ambassador Michael Kilmer. From 7 p.m. to midnight on Monday, February 20, revelers who pay an admittance fee of five cents will be ushered to the restaurant's underground private dining room, where they will witness the rare spectacle and captivating entertainment.

RSVPs are encouraged and must be made through the Blind Tiger Facebook page, but admittance is on a first-come, first-served basis. Space is limited. Should the event reach capacity, the special Blind Tiger elixir will also be available to those on the wait list in small batches ($5 per cocktail) upstairs at The Gage bar. For more information, call (312) 372-4243.

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), is now teaching three different BBQ classes.
For the “Backyard BBQ Class” and the “Competition BBQ Class” Chef McKenna will provide all the meat, rubs, marinades, sauces, injections, etc for the classes at the participants’ homes.
The three different BBQ classes are:

  • Backyard BBQ Class
    Chef Charlie McKenna will come to your home and teach you the proper BBQ techniques to cook everything from ribs to chicken to brisket on any type of home equipment ranging from a Weber to a Big Green Egg to a gas grill. Charlie will also answer and address any and all BBQ questions you have.
    Cost: $750 for two to five hours for up to six guests.
  • Competition BBQ Class
    Chef Charlie McKenna will run down every single BBQ cooking category from either the MBN (Memphis BBQ Network) or KCBS (Kansas City BBQ Society) and will go over the proper prep, equipment, timing, tricks of the trade, how to build blind boxes, and how to resent to judges. Charlie will also cook a specific protein with you to the MBN or KCBS specifications. Charlie will also answer and address any and all BBQ questions you have. 
    Cost: $1,000 for an all-day session.
  • Travel & Compete with the Lillie’s Q Team
    Come be a part of the Lillie’s Q team when we travel on the competition BBQ circuit. Immerse yourself in the competition BBQ circuit and its unique culture while helping the Lillie’s Q team prep and present and (usually) win.
    Cost: $3,000 for the weekend. Airfare and lodging not included. 

Interested participants should email to book a class or for more details. A link to the BBQ classes can be found at

On Tuesday, February 21, SUSHISAMBA rio will host a special Carnaval festivity to mark Rio de Janeiro’s most extravagant celebration. In addition to the delectable menu specials, revelers will enjoy live performances by shimmering samba dancers dressed in elaborate garb, the beats of booming batucada drummers and the spin sounds of a dj! What’s more, SUSHISAMBA rio will broadcast a live feed of the celebration in Rio de Janeiro, bringing the energy and excitement of the world’s largest party straight to the Windy City.

SUSHISAMBA rio offers inventive fare that unites bold Brazilian flavors, precise Japanese technique and traditional Peruvian culinary traditions on one plate. Reservations can be made by calling the restaurant at 312.595.2300. All major credit cards are accepted. Please visit for more information.

Butcher Classes Anyone?

Chef Allen Sternweiler encourages Chicagoans to embrace their inner chef and fulfill their New Year's resolution to "learn something new" by announcing Butcher & the Burger's first butchery classes of 2012. Butcher & the Burger'searly 2012 class schedule, with each event beginning at 7:30 p.m., is as follows: Throughout the month of February, Butcher & the Burger will offer a series of Surf & Turf classes, which include: On February 6, as a pre-Valentine's Day "how to" guide, Chef Al will showcase techniques for buying, preparing and cooking the ultimate beef tenderloin and lobster pairing dinner. ($125 per person

  • Celebrity Chef Govind Armstrong will join Chef Al for the final installment of the restaurant's Surf & Turf series on February 20, presenting an innovative approach to pairing unique seafoods with rare animal proteins. The duo will educate and demonstrate methods of matching proteins and serve attendees a three-course meal illustrating their teachings. All guests who attend this class will depart with a vintage Butcher & the Burger cooler, packed with ingredients showcased throughout the evening so they can test their newfound skills at home. ($225 per person)
  • As a continuation of the spirited holiday, Chef Al will lead a Mardi Gras Fish Monger Class on March 5, designed to help students learn how to select, prepare and cook various preparations of fish confidently in their kitchens, understand sustainable fishing practices, and identify which fish is the best nutritional fit for their families. Chef Al will teach the group how to make his blackened catfish and invite them to taste several fish preparations at the end of the evening. ($100 per student)
  • Advanced registration is required and can be made by calling General Manager Preston Owen directly at (773) 697-3735. Space is limited. All classes are BYOB, and confirmed attendees will receive pairing suggestions in advance. For more information or to view the complete schedule online, visit Details on future classes are forthcoming, and all new class offerings will be posted to the restaurant's website at least two months in advance. Private (two-person maximum) and semi-private (six-person maximum) classes are also available upon request, based on availability.

Markethouse Heartland Cooking Series

Chef Scott Walton of Markethouse Restaurant and Bar (611 N Fairbanks) will launch a new Heartland 101 Chef Series in the new year. Offered twice a month on Wednesday evenings from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., guests will enjoy an informative evening with demonstrations of five themed courses by Chef Scott. Held in the restaurant, each class is $45 per person and limited to 40 guests. Reservations, along with a credit card to reserve the seat, are required and may be made by calling 312.224.2200. Following is the Heartland 101 Chef Series schedule:

  • Wednesday, February 22: Has been changed to Sustainable Seafood.
  • Wednesday, March 14: St. Patrick’s Day. Get in the Irish spirit with Chef Scott’s unique variation on corned beef and potatoes. Green cocktails included.
  • Wednesday, March 28: Spring Lamb. Impress your Easter brunch guests with Chef Walton’s take on lamb. Master cooking techniques and Easter sides using local ingredient

Guanajuato Contemporary Mexican and Tequila Bar (73 Green Bay Rd., Glencoe, IL 60022; 847-242-0501) in Glencoe is set to celebrate yet another national holiday - National Margarita Day, Wednesday, February 22. The north shore Mexican restaurant is perfectly positioned to pay homage to this great libation. Chef/owner Margarita Challenger is known for making a perfect namesake margarita. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days per week. The bar is open Monday-Wednesday, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday, 4 p.m. to midnight; Saturday, noon to midnight; and Sunday, noon to 10 p.m. For more information or to make a reservation, contact Guanajuato at (847) 242-0909 or online at

Architecture and Food Combine

Next month, Roka Akor, in partnership with the Chicago Architecture Foundation, invites steak, sushi and architecture enthusiasts alike to an exclusive lunch experience celebrating the venue's masterfully designed construction. On Sunday, February 26 at 1 p.m., guests will be welcomed into Roka Akor's contemporary dining room, which was designed with careful consideration of the aesthetic flavors of the restaurant. Once diners are seated, Dwayne MacEwen, president and creative director of DMAC Architecture and Roka Akor's Executive Chef Ce Bian, will lead an engaging discussion about the collaborative effort that went into creating Roka Akor's dining room as well as the Sake and Shochu Lounge. After their presentation, the hosts will join the group for a prix fixe lunch menu. Lunch will be served with soda, tea and a signature non-alcoholic beverage.

Immediately following lunch, guests will be taken on a tour of the restaurant, during which MacEwen will point out the custom crafted details that define Roka Akor's unique setting. The "Appetite for Design" lunch costs $55 for CAF members and $65 for non-members, exclusive of tax and gratuity. Space is limited to 50 attendees and advance reservations are required by visiting

Mercadito’s Lucky Leap: At River North hotspot, Mercadito (108 W. Kinzie St) one out of every 10 guests on Wednesday, February 29th will dine for free as Mercadito's lucky leap. With Mercadito's menu of shared seasonal guacamoles, specialty tacos, delicious tequila cocktails and more, the lucky leap guest will be awarded their special surprise of a pass on the bill upon the presentation of the check (up to $50 per lucky leap, includes food and beverage). To increase chances, guests can  tweet @mercaditochi #luckyleap. Reservations can be made at 312.329.9555.
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 also contributes to Chicago.

Leave a comment