Food Fun Friday

Food Fun Friday
Courtesy of the Ghostbusters

 So WT? is up with this weather? I’m blaming the Mayan prophecy. Not only do they predict the world is going to end but I have a feeling they cursed the end of days weather…you all laugh or roll your eyes but it’s as plausible as any other guess right? You know the weatherperson doesn’t know what’s up. Hence the Anchorman character name – BRICK!

sooooo anyway…I blame the coming zombie-pocolypse.

Maybe I’ll see some of you at Zoo –o-logy tonight or some of these other cool events coming up. Don’t forget Father’s Day is coming – get that gift.

Have a fun weekend!

Chicago Gourmet & Café des Architectes present Les Amis du Chef, a multi-course dining experience with wine pairings on Thursday, June 7 in Cigale, the private dining space for Café des Architectes.  Chef Greg Biggers and Pastry Chef Patrick Fahy will welcome guest chefs Justin White of Small Bar and Dirk Flanigan of Henri and The Gage, along with Master Sommelier Serafin Alvarado of Southern Wine & Spirits. 6:30 p.m. cocktail reception - 7:00 p.m. dinner. Tickets are $90 all inclusive and can be purchased here:

The Ballydoyle Burger Throwdown
Do you own an apron that says “License to Grill”? Do you get teary-eyed when you get served an over-cooked burger? Do you believe burgers are their own food group? Do your family and friends constantly praise you for your burger flipping abilities? Then we want YOU for the 1st Annual Ballydoyle Burger Throwdown! You will compete for a chance to win a $125 cash prize, your winning burger featured on our summer seasonal menu, pub recognition and most
importantly, 364 days of bragging rights! Don’t want to compete? Then come down to EAT!

Head down to your favorite Ballydoyle location this June - June 2nd at Bloomingdale, June 9th at Downers Grove and June 16th at Aurora - to compete or eat at the Ballydoyle Burger Throwdown. The grilling starts at 3pm sharp. Get there early. For directions to their 3 locations visit the website -

Sullivan’s Steakhouse in Chicago is gearing up for an eventful summer. Starting this week, Sullivan’s will hold a month-long fundraiser to benefit the soon-to-open world’s largest Ronald McDonald House® AND it begins its seasonal deal “Summer of ’79,” a special $79 three-course menu for two.

Ronald McDonald House® Fundraiser: Sullivan’s will offer its customers $25 gift cards in exchange for retailer gift cards of $25 or more. In preparation of its June 26 opening, Ronald McDonald House® at Lurie Children’s will use these gift cards to purchase essential items from its “wish list” and registry.

“Summer of ‘79”: From Memorial Day to Labor Day, Sullivan’s will feature a three-course menu for two for just $79. Guests can begin with one of Sullivan’s signature starters, including Chilled Asparagus Bisque with Jumbo Lump Crab & Chive Oil or their famous Iceberg Lettuce Wedge, then move on to a choice of Filet Mignon, Salmon Fillet, Roasted Chicken or Shrimp Francese paired with one of Sully’s signature house-made side dishes. Finish it off with a perennial dessert favorite such as Bananas Foster Bread Pudding, Key Lime Pie, Chocolate Mousse or New York-Style Cheesecake.
Sullivan’s Steakhouse, 415 North Dearborn, Chicago (312) 527-3510

Charlie McKenna, chef and owner of Lillie’s Q that serves award-winning competition BBQ along with Southern favorites in Bucktown (1856 W North Ave), will sell bracelets throughout the month of June that come with perks at the restaurant to honor his aunt who died of breast cancer.

Chef McKenna’s aunt, Katherine McKenna Brothers, died in 2000 after a seven-year battle with breast cancer. Charlie’s father, Quito (who was Katherine’s brother), and his uncle, Chris Brothers (who was Katherine’s husband), set up The Katherine McKenna Brothers Scholarship Fund several years ago. The fund provides scholarship money for students at the all-women's school Brenau University in Gainesville, Georgia, where Katherine received her undergrad degree.
Patrons who donate at least $10 will receive one of the pink silicone gel bracelets -- which feature the Lillie’s Q name, Katherine’s initials (KMB), and a pig – and will also receive 10 % off all their tabs at Lillie’s Q for the lifetime of the restaurant. The only stipulation is that patrons must be wearing the bracelet to get the discount.

Patrons who donate at least $50 will receive one of the pink silicone gel bracelets, 10 % off all their tabs at Lillie’s Q for the lifetime of the restaurant, and one future reservation at Lillie’s Q. Lillie’s Q does not accept reservations otherwise. The only stipulation is that patrons must be wearing the bracelet to get the discount and reservation.

“My aunt was born in June, so that’s why we’re honoring her with this special fundraising effort for the entire month,” Charlie McKenna said. “She was a tremendous inspiration to me, and I miss her and think about her every single day. We’re hoping to raise $10,000 for her scholarship fund this June. If we hit that goal with the help of our customers, it’ll mean more to me than any award.”

Known for their devotion to pet-friendly initiatives, the storied Palmer House Hilton will turn into pet-central for the annual Doggie Tea Party celebration taking place on Thursday, June 7, 2012 in the famed Empire Room. The event, put on by The Anti-Cruelty Society, an organization dedicated to helping pets and educating people about humane pet practices, will take place from 11:30 a.m., ending at 1 p.m.

The furry attendees will relish in a gourmet, multi-coursed lunch prepared exclusively by Chef Joseph Giannini of Urban Out Sitters and human guests will be able to sip on Champagne while man’s best friend gets the spotlight. Attendees will be provided with a photo opportunity by a professional photographer in attendance, serving as the perfect takeaway gift.

The five finalists from City Clerk Susana Mendoza’s first-ever “Dog of Distinction” promotion, an initiative that led to a 122% uptick in dog registration, will be in attendance. As a result, all dogs registered with the city were eligible for the contest and at random, the five attending finalists were chosen by the public. Contest finalists will be in attendance including the winning dog, Wilma, a chocolate lab. City Clerk Mendoza will make an appearance, discussing the importance of dog registration and welcoming the finalists of the promotion. For more information, please visit City Clerk Mendoza’s website here:
Tickets are $30 per attendee and can be purchased by visiting for details and registration or call (312) 644-8338 ext. 307

To celebrate the launch of Santa Margherita Sparkling Rose, the brand created a limited edition nail polish kit with four wine-themed shades: Chianti, Pinot Grigio, Prosecco and Rose. They will be offered exclusively in Beauty Bar locations (and via Facebook). Here are the details: June 1, 7, 14, 21, 28, at Beauty Bar’s West Town location (1444 W. Chicago) Deal: Buy a glass of bubbly (or wine) and get a free manicure and Santa Margherita nail polish to take home. Additionally, Beauty Bar will be giving away beauty prizes, including full nail polish kits on the dates above. Santa Margherita will also be giving away 200 kits on its Facebook page, through June 30.

Graduation Gifts from Chipotle - Between now and June 30, 2012,Chipotle Mexican Grill is offering a promotion for grads across the country: A $30 gift card for the graduate in your life and a free burrito, order of tacos, salad or bowl at any Chipotle for the gift-giver.

On Monday, June 4, Geja’s Café, 340 West Armitage, invites guests to enjoy a fondue dinner paired with the best of Oregon’s Argyle Winery. The Argyle Winemaker Dinner, part of Geja’s Café’s ongoing popular Winemaker Dinner series, will be a special and informative event featuring a representative from the winery on hand to provide commentary and answer questions on the wines.

The evening begins with a 6:30 reception followed by dinner at 7:00pm. Geja’s Sommelier, Michael Roberts and a representative of the winery will engage the guests a lively discussion of the evening’s wines. The four-course dinner features Geja's house Salad, Cheese Fondue, Beef Tenderloin, Chicken & Jumbo Shrimp Entree, and Flaming Chocolate Fondue for dessert. Each course will be paired with the appropriate all-you-can-drink wine. Cost for each dinner is $55 per person, which includes the wines, dinner, tax, and gratuity. Reservations are required for the dinners, and interested parties are encouraged to act quickly as the popular Winemaker Dinners tend to sell out. For more information and to reserve, please call 773-281-9101.

Father’s Day

What better gift than a package of Markethouse Chef Scott Walton’s made-to-order sausages, charcuterie, bacons, and pate for the home cook? Gift givers can customize their orders 48 hours in advance or walk-in the restaurant last minute to pick up some of Scott’s specialty sausages (Seafood Sausage, Lamb Merguez Sausage, Veal and Pork Bratwurst, Hot or Sweet Italian Pork Sausage, Spiced Apple Chicken Sausage.)

Grilling fans can also enter Markethouse’s Father’s Day Sweepstakes to win a package of Chef Scott’s specialty sausage, famous charcuterie, housemade mustards, a Markethouse apron and a new set of grilling tools to grill with their dad this Father’s Day.  Markethouse, 611 N. Fairbanks Ct., Chicago, IL 60611 - 312.224.2200

Chicago-based Lezzet Spices offers high-quality, health-benefitting spices and salts that have been procured from all around the world; from the Black Sea to the Himalayan Mountains and the Anatolia region of Turkey. The spices make amazing seasonings for grilling meats and vegetables, and adding them to any meal is an easy way to add new flavors to old favorites. Perfect for culinary experts and occasional cooks alike, the quality of Lezzet’s ingredients complement and elevate dishes, allowing dads to confidently take charge in the kitchen and impress significant others, family and friends, and even the in laws! Lezzet offers two dedicated gift boxes, each curated beautifully in the company’s signature green boxes and filled to the brim with the most popular products, including Red Stamp Pepper; Isot Pepper; Mediterranean Oregano; Poultry Seasoning; Sumac; Sweet Purple Basil; Mint Flakes; Fenugreek Powder; Murray River Salt and Alaea Hawaiian Sea Salt.

Available online only at, spices are available a la carte, ranging in price from $3.50 to the $8 range. Additionally, gift boxes of their most prized products are available in groups of 6 ($36) and groups of 10 ($58). I’d be more than happy to provide additional information, imagery, and press materials, so please let me know if you’re interested and I’ll gladly send that along. Also, feel free to check them out on Facebook at 

RedEnvelope - Father's Day is fast approaching, and this year there is a new way to shop and to show Dad (and the online world) what Dad-style means in 2012. Participants are asked to sign up and then create a pin board at featuring five of their favorite RedEnvelope products from the website that they think will make great gifts for their dad. Two winners will receive all five products selected on their pinboard, up to $1,500 in retail value, and five additional winners will each get a $250 shopping spree (gift card) at the RedEnvelope website. The contest runs from June 1, 2012 to June 15,

For more information and Sweepstakes Rules, please visit the contest page on RedEnvelope's Facebook at or on Pinterest at

The Father’s Day celebration starts a day early at Lemon Tree Grocer with a grill out sure to get the Dads hungry! Bring the whole family and start off the day with tasty grilled breakfast treats including Canadian bacon, Italian sausages and more. Join Chef Tim Canning as he shows you how to fire up, flip and sizzle summer grill favorites such as Italian sausages, bratwursts and sirloin steaks. Grab a seat on the patio and listen to the sounds of students from the Rock Academy. Be sure to stop by the Downers Grove Junior Women’s Club sponsored dunk tank and with a throw of the ball, dunk local delegates and officials including Mayor Martin Tully, DG Commissioners Robert Barnett and Geoff Neustadt, and “Coach” Josh Porter.
Grilling Schedule:
8:30 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. - Canadian bacon and Italian sausages
10:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. - Hot dogs, Italian sausages and bratwursts
12:30 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. - Sirloin steaks and pork chops
(Prepared food items also available for purchase)
Saturday June 16, 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. - $5 for various food selections; free hot dogs for children 12 and under. Lemon Tree Grocer - 935 West Burlington Avenue, Downers Grove, IL 60515 - 630.969.YUMY (9869)

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 and

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