Food Fun Friday

Food Fun Friday

If you’re a fan of food, this is a GREAT weekend for you! WHY? Uh, Baconfest is Saturday if you don’t have tickets I apologize for rubbing that in. But, you can hit Dose on Sunday which has a pretty badass lineup.

Lots of fun events for the upcoming Derby which is also Cinco de Mayo…can Mint Juleps and Margaritas have a better weekend?

Lots of other cool events as well…enjoy and good luck with the Bacon consumption!

Dose Details
Spring is here! Celebrate by sprucing up your space and filling your pantry (and your belly) with seasonal eats. Here’s how to say hello to spring at April’s Dose: For more April details, keep an eye on Facebook, Twitter and See you April 15!

What: Dose, a monthly food and fashion market (
When: Sunday, April 15, 2012, 10 a.m.– 4 p.m.; one Sunday per month thereafter
Where: River East Art Center, 435 E. Illinois St. (312-321-1001;
Transportation: Nearest El stop at Grand Red Line. 4-hour parking for $6 with Dose validation in the Parkview garage (456 E. Illinois St.; before the light at Peshtigo Ct.).
Price: $10 admission at the door; $8 pre-orders at

2 Sparrows, in partnership with FEW Spirits...invites cocktail enthusiasts to partake in the first spirit-focused installment of the restaurant's monthly beverage dinner series on Friday, April 20 at 7 p.m. FEW Spirits Master Distiller and Owner Paul Hletko will be on-hand with 2 Sparrows General Manager Steven Fladung to guide diners through a four-course menu that pairs savory and sweet courses from Executive Chef Greg Ellis alongside cocktails made with FEW Spirits and seasonal, housemade mixers.

$75 per person, exclusive of tax and gratuity. Reservations are required. Please call (773) 234-2320. Space is limited to 60 guests. 2 Sparrows - 553 W. Diversey Pkwy - (773) 234-2320

Roka Akor, in partnership with the Chicago Bulls, invites steak, sushi and sports enthusiasts alike to an all-star event benefiting two local Chicago charities - The Greater Chicago Food Depository (GCFD) and Chicago Bulls Charities, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, which supports a number of charities throughout the Chicagoland area including those that focus on youth education, health and wellness and violence prevention.

On Monday, April 23 at 6 p.m., guests will be welcomed into Roka Akor's stylish Sake and Shochu Lounge, where they'll sample a plethora of flavorful favorites from Executive Chef Ce Bian's exquisite menu while mingling with former Bulls players Bob Love and Sidney Green. Chicago Bulls mascot Benny the Bull and members of the Chicago Luvabulls team will also be in attendance.

For $50 purchased in advance (or $65 at the door), guests will enjoy beer, wine and a signature cocktail as well as a delectable sampling of menu items. Guests at "Hoops for Hunger" will also have the exclusive opportunity to participate in a silent auction for a framed autographed jersey of Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah, a pair of Chicago Bulls tickets, and a Roka Akor Omakase dinner for two - a special menu where guests enjoy a one-of-a-kind multi-course dining experience where all selections are created by Executive Chef Ce Bian.

Space is limited for this special night and advance reservations are required by visiting

An Evening with Matt Santos
On Saturday, April 28, 2 Sparrows will host an event celebrating the culinary, visual and audio arts to benefit Artists for Harmony (AFH), a non-profit organization that helps students of the Illinois Center for Rehabilitation and Education(ICRE) express their voice through the creative arts in a safe environment.

At 6 p.m. that evening, Grammy-nominated singer — and AFH supporter — Matthew Santos will kick-off the benefit by serenading guests with an intimate acoustic set. While enjoying the live entertainment, partygoers will feast on wine and hors d'oeuvres from 2 Sparrows Executive Chef Gregory Ellis that were hand – selected to complement the various art displays by AFH Founder Michael Trullis, which will be on display throughout the restaurant.  Tickets for the event cost $20, with all proceeds benefiting ICRE students.  For more information about the event or to purchase tickets, please visit the AFH website.
In advance of grilling season, Executive Chef Scott Walton of Markethouse Restaurant and Bar (611 N. Fairbanks) will introduce his new line of made-to-order sausages, bacons, pâtés, and mustards. The carry-out menu is inspired by Markethouse’s farm-to-table philosophy, as well as the need for a quality selection of meats to be cooked at home. For Walton, the housemade sausage program is a natural extension of his commitment to providing quality ingredients like the use of his rooftop garden and dependence on local purveyors.

The made-to-order sausage menu, available for viewing on on April 1, will be offered seven days a week during the restaurant’s normal business hours. Markethouse requests that customers place their orders at least 48 hours in advance by e-mailing

New Southern, Biodynamic Dinner
As Chef Art Smith has embraced a healthier style of cooking and a fitness-focused lifestyle, he’s been on the vanguard of a New Southern cuisine. This April sixteenth, Table Fifty-Two invites you to enjoy five courses of new and healthier takes on traditional Southern cuisine paired with six different biodynamic wines by wine director Mark Gallagher.

Courses will include Smoked Trout to start, paired with Leclerc Briant, “Cuvee Extra”, Brut, Champagne NV and Filet of Tenderloin with the first Spring mushrooms and berries paired with a duo of Chateau La Roque Pic Saint Loup Rouge, Languedoc 2007 and Nicolas Joly “Clos de la Bergerie” Chenin Blanc, Loire 2007.

Come celebrate the start of Spring and all the bounty of vegetables and fruits soon coming to the farmer's market with wines produced in the most natural way possible, including a stunner from the founder of Biodynamic practice. Table Fifty-Two, 52 West Elm Street, Chicago, Monday April 16th, 7 PM, $90. Per guest inclusive. Make reservations by calling (312) 573-4000

Mercat a la Planxa offers The Catalan Express, two courses and a fountain drink, for just $18. The first course offers options such as Mercat’s variety of cheeses and charcuterie; the Serrano Ham and Fig Salad, made with la peral, baby spinach and sherry vinegerette; and the Arroz a la Cazuella, a saffron scented broth with shrimp, chicken, chorizo, artichoke confit and piquillo aioli.

For the second course, patrons choose from the 8oz Black Angus burger, with la peral, padron peppers and red wine onion jam; the yellow fin tuna, accompanied by black olive orange escabeche and saffron sunchoke salad; and the house smoke veal sausage, truffled white beans and carrot escabeche, among many others.
Mercat a la Planxa - 638 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60654

The Florentine is hosting a special dinner, April 19,  pairing fine wines produced by renowned Vintner Marc Nuara from Frederick Wildman & Sons, LTD with Executive Chef Todd Stein’s innovative interpretation of seasonal Italian cuisine.  Beginning at 6 p.m., Marc Nuara will join Chef Stein to lead guests through an intimate four-course tasting. Reservations are required. Please call (312) 660-8866. Cost is $80 per guest, exclusive of tax and gratuity.

ENO Wine Room Invites Guests to Toast Renowned Tuscan Winemaker Cosimo Masini at a Special Tasting Event - Calling all Tuscan wine lovers! Do you know what happens to Trebbiano when the grape skins are left on for a few days? Or are your curious about the unique aspects of biodynamic farming techniques in Tuscany?

On Wednesday, April 25 at 5:30 p.m., ENO Wine Room will present an exciting tasting event co-hosted by the always-exuberant Tuscan winemaker Cosimo Maria Masini, who will be on-hand to answer guests’ questions about his award-winning wines. Guests in attendance will have the opportunity to purchase the Cosimo Maria Masini Flight ($20) featuring Nicole Sangiovese, Nicolo Cab and Trebbiano. These unique wines will also be available by the glass, priced at $12, $15, and $18, accordingly. Reservations are recommended. Please call (312) 321-8738. 

On Tuesday, April 17, Ada St., (located at 1664 N. Ada St.) will host a special performance of Dog & Pony Theatre Company's, "The Dinner Party Project." The show features a singularly peculiar scientist and his mysterious memory food experiment: a dinner party of the psyche, where each dish uncovers some small piece of a lonely woman's fragmented past.

Ada St. Chef/Owner Michael Kornick will prepare three signature dishes complemented by cocktails by Ada St.'s spiritual advisor Tim Lacey. Doors will open at 7 p.m., with dinner beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $90 including tax and gratuity and must be purchased in advance here.

On Thursday, April 26, 2012 EdgeAlliance hosts its 19th annual Dining Out For Life event, benefiting children and adults living with HIV/AIDS on Chicago’s West Side. Chicago is one of 60 cities across the United States and Canada participating in the event, making Dining Out for Life the single largest HIV/AIDS benefit in the country! Last year more than 80 Chicago restaurants pledged a portion of the night's proceeds to EdgeAlliance raising more than $125,000!

With the generous support of this year’s Diamond Sponsors – Crew Bar and Grill, Club Lucky, Broadway Cellars, The Signature Room on the 95th and Zapatista – Cuisines of Mexico – this year, EdgeAlliance hopes to raise $150,000 for Chicagoans living with HIV/AIDS!
For more information on Dining Out for Life, this year’s participating restaurant or EdgeAlliance, please contact Eric Pomajzl, Manager of Community & Special Events, at 773.359.0122 or You can also visit the official Dining Out for Life website at for full details! Dine out. Fight AIDS!

On Sunday, May 13, in honor of Mother’s Day, Executive Chef Scott Walton of Markethouse Restaurant and Bar (611 N. Fairbanks), will cook a feast at the home of the Facebook fan who receives the most “Likes” on a post describing their favorite culinary experience with their mother. To win the ‘Like My Mom’ contest, fans must post this experience on the Markethouse® page Facebook Wall( The entrant must then secure the most “Likes” of their post.

The contest will launch on Monday, April 9 when Markethouse® will ask fans on Facebook to describe their favorite food-related experience with their mom. The contest will continue until Monday, April 30, when the post—or Mom—with the most “Likes” will have the opportunity to have Chef Walton come to their home and cook for up to ten people (within a 15-mile radius of the restaurant), or opt to have brunch in the restaurant on Mother’s Day. In the event there is a tie, Chef Walton will choose the winner.

Kentucky Derby
Brownstone’s Derby Day Crawfish Boil
Sport your most stylish “derby hat” or seersucker blazer and enjoy this eighth annual Kentucky Derby party. Details are as follows:
• Where: Brownstone, a welcoming North Center tavern (3937 N Lincoln Ave.)
• When: Saturday, May 5, starting at 11 a.m.
• What: $30 all-you-can-eat crawfish buffet – 1,000 lbs flown straight from New Orleans
o Also includes gumbo and red beans & rice
o $5 Maker’s Mark Mint Juleps and Saratoga Sunrises
o $500 grand prize and giveaways after each race

Gaslight's Derby Day Whisky Brunch
Relax and enjoy the Derby in style with Gaslight’s second annual Whisky Brunch. Details are as follows:
• Where: Gaslight, the culinary-forward Lincoln Park bar one block north of Fullerton (2426 N. Racine Ave.)
• When: Saturday, May 5, at 1 p.m.
• What: Includes five courses prepared by chef Chris
o Fine whiskey and cocktail pairings with each course
o Tickets sold in advance for $45 at

Cinco de Derby Pub Crawl
Spice up the “fastest two minutes in sports” like only Four Corners Tavern Group can. The fun is sure to rival only the Derby Infield. Salud!
• Where: Start and finish at any of three bars:
o Schoolyard (3258 N Southport Ave.)
o Kirkwood (2934 N Sheffield Ave.)
o Crossing (2548 N Southport Ave.)
• When: Saturday, May 5, from 1 – 5 p.m.
• What: Pub crawl
o Includes a taco bar, Coronas and Avion Margaritas
o Tickets are $20 in advance at

Benchmark Kentucky Derby Party
If you’re going to spend a day watching the races, you’d better look the part. Benchmark is offering a case prize for the best Derby outfit! Party details are as follows:
• Where: Benchmark, home of the retractable roof in Old Town (1510 N Wells St.)
• When: Saturday, May 5
• What:
o $500 prize for best Derby-inspired ensemble
o $6 Triple Crown Drinks: Maker’s Mark Mint Juleps, Black Eyed Susans and Belmont Breezes
o Bring in your winning off track betting (OTB) ticket for a special prize

Cinco De Mayo
Zest Bistro has everything you need to celebrate Mexican heritage and pride this Cinco de Mayo. If you’re dining at the bistro that day, start your celebration with a Mexican favorite, the margarita! Guests can sip on house made margaritas, served on the rocks in original or strawberry, prepared with fresh squeezed lime juice and a salt rim to complete the cocktail ($5). If beer is what you crave, grab your friends and cheers to the holiday with ice cold Mexican brews with our Corona beer buckets ($15). Available for dine-in or carryout, indulge in Chef Tim Canning’s Niman Ranch filet tacos served with fresh salsa, Mexican cheese and two traditional side dishes ($5). 

Saturday, May 5. Specials available for lunch and dinner.
Zest Bistro -  935 West Burlington Avenue, Downers Grove, IL 60515 - 630.969.YUMY (9869)

This year, celebrate Cinco de Mayo at Barrio Urban Taqueria and sip on smooth tequila shots and listen to the beats of some of Barrio’s favorite musicians and DJs.
Enjoy the tastes of Tanteo Spirits’ 100% agave tequila naturally infused with the most popular flavors of Mexico, jalapeño and tropical fruit. Chilled shots of Tanteo Tropical, served with an orange slice, and Tanteo Jalapeño with a sangrita back will both be offered at $5 each.

Saturday, May 5 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Barrio Urban Taqueria - 714 W. Diversey Pkwy, Chicago, IL 60614 - 773.360.8316

Mercadito (108 W. Kinzie St.) unites both U.S. and Mexican traditions to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Chef Patricio Sandoval showcases authentic recipes for guests to throw their own Cinco de Mayo fiesta at his cooking demonstration on Tuesday, April 24 at 6:30 p.m. Mercadito continues the celebrations on Saturday, May 5 with a special sharing menu for $40. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 312.329.9555.

Cinco de Mayo Cooking Demonstration (Tuesday, April 24 at 6:30 p.m.): In Mexico, Cinco de Mayo celebrations are reserved for the town of Puebla. Rich in history as the birthplace of Cinco de Mayo or “The Day of the Battle of Puebla,” locals celebrate the holiday as the triumphant victory of the outnumbered Mexican army against the French during the French Intervention in Mexico. In addition, Puebla’s culinary lineage runs deep as the ceremonial center for street food as well as Poblano cuisine, a mix of indigenous fare and influences from Spanish nuns who developed many of the traditional dishes from Puebla today. Reflecting on his travels to Puebla, Chef Patricio Sandoval will share recipes for dishes like mole poblano (which originated in Puebla) to celebrate the authentic traditions of the holiday during the Cinco de Mayo Cooking Demonstration.

Cinco de Mayo Specials (Saturday, May 5): Mercadito will serve as party central for Cinco de Mayo with the party starting at 11:30 a.m. with specialty cocktails and a family-style sharing menu offering an array of guacamoles, salsas, tacos, sides and dessert to share at the table for $40 per person. From spicing up typical guacamole with the toreado (sautéed chile Serrano, garlic, oregano and tomatillo pico de gallo) to the famous estilo baja tacos (beer battered mahi mahi, Mexican style coleslaw and chipotle aioli) guests can pick and choose their favorites from the Cinco de Mayo menu. Mercadito makes the most of this year’s Saturday celebration with mariachi performances throughout the day and dancers and DJs at night. Addition specials for Cinco de Mayo only includes the Ponce Zaragoza cocktail, tequila reposado, orange, grapefruit, guajillo, Grand Marnier and yucateca. Sharing menu will be priced at $50 per person after 9 p.m.

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.

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