Food Fun Friday

Food Fun Friday

 I feel like this weekend marks the true start of summer since it seems to be FESTIVAL WEEKEND – Festivus summer? I’ll be wandering the Art Fairs Saturday I know that; thankfully this year will be much warmer than last. So I expect even tighter “Cha-chi” shirts on all the muscly guys with guts wearing straw Fedoras. Or am I the only one who rolls his eyes at that fashion disaster? It is an Affliction…haha

With the news of Erwin closing, the Trib forgot, again, to give a bit of credit to who broke the story, (cough) Mike Gebert (cough) and many on twitter lamented the closing. Don’t get me wrong it’s sad to see a restaurant close but, BUT I ask when did you last write about, eat at or recommend someone to go there? Also, they’d been open for 30 years; maybe he just wanted to retire?

Ok on to some events… and happier news – what to do on a perfect Chicago summer weekend? Autre Monde is celebrating their first Anniversary. Oh, you haven’t been? You should go its good – Erwin guilt?

Don’t forget – Father’s Day is next weekend…

Thursday, June 14 marks Autre Monde Café & Spirits one-year anniversary and to celebrate, guests are invited to enjoy $1 oysters on Fridays from 5-7 p.m. throughout the month of June, beginning June 8. Located in the heart of downtown Berwyn at 6727 W. Roosevelt Road, Autre Monde Café & Spirits is open Tuesday through Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 5 to 9 p.m. Brunch is served Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Reservations are recommended and may be made by calling (708) 775-8122. Street parking available.

CigaRBQue - On June 21, 2012, join top chefs from around the country for an intimate evening of fine cigars, food prepared by some of the country's best chefs, beer, wine and cocktails by master mixologists.This is an outdoor smoking event; there is no designated non-smoking area. Get more info on the chef lineup and how to buy tickets on their website. From 6:00 - 9:00 PM at Beyond Design - 4515 North Ravenswood Avenue, Chicago, IL 60640-5201

On Sunday, August, 12th, Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood, will welcome the second celebration of Street Food Artistry, an exploration and adventure of the arts for all ages, families, locals and visitors alike. Street Food Artistry will take place at the Zhou B. Art Center, located at 1029 W. 35th St., from 1PM - 7PM. The festival will include street art and face painting, photography exhibits with Chicago art lovers and gallery owners curators, a Food Truck Pavilion, a sound stage, mixology sessions featuring adult beverages for starters. Sponsors for the event include: Time Out Chicago, beverage partner, Coca-Cola (SmartWater and Fuze brands) and Whole Foods Market.  All activities, food and beverage are included in a single ticket price with crafts and additional beverages available per purchase. Tickets for the festival are $35 (early bird) and $40 after July 1 for adults and $15 for children and available for purchase at

On Monday, June 11, acclaimed chef John Fraser of Dovetail (New York) will join Chef Ryan Poli behind the pintxo bar for a memorable evening, wherein he will showcase signature pintxos and his musical playlist while guests enjoy all they can eat for $20 per person. Barcito's selection of beers, kegged cocktails and wines are also available for purchase.
Amigos of Pintxo takes place every other Monday from 8 to 10 p.m. (with the exception of this coming Monday, June 11, which will begin at 9 p.m.). A portion of the sales from the series are donated to Common Threads - whose mission is to educate children on the importance of nutrition and physical well being, and to foster an appreciation of cultural diversity through cooking.

Chef Poli and Pintxo have confirmed the following lineup of Amigos through November:
• June 11- John Fraser of Dovetail (New York)
• June 25 - Patricio Sandoval of Mercadito (New York, Chicago, Miami)
• July 9 - Chris Macchia of The Florentine
• July 23- Merlin Verrier of Graham Elliot
• August 6- Jason Hammel of Lula Café and Nightwood
• August 20- Brian Huston of The Publican
• September 10- Andrew Brochu of Graham Elliot
• September 24- Dave Beran of Next Restaurant
• October 8 - Justin Large of Big Star
• October 22 - Matthias Merges of Yusho
• November 19 - Charlie McKenna of Lillie's Q

All are welcome to attend. Seating is available on a first-come-first serve basis.

Tavernita and Barcito are located in the heart of Chicago's River North neighborhood at 151 W. Erie St. Tavernita is open seven days a week. Lunch is available Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dinner is served Sunday through Tuesday from 5 to 11 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. and Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Late-night dining is available on Friday and Saturday until 2 a.m. Barcito is open Sunday and Monday from 4 p.m. to 12 a.m., Tuesday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. and Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.

In honor of the first official weekend of summer, Epic Burger will host a BYOB beer swap at its Gold Coast location (40 E. Pearson) on Saturday, June 23. Craft beer fanatics and die-hard PBR fans alike are invited to bring a six-pack (or four) of their favorite brew, then swap bottles with fellow beer drinkers while soaking up some sun on the new 20-person patio. As an added bonus, any Epic Burger Gold Coast customer who places an order with a beer in hand that afternoon will automatically receive 10% off their order. With the exception of 517 S. State Street, all Epic Burger locations are BYOB, welcoming guests to bring a bottle of beer, wine, or spirits to complement their meals with no corkage fee.

To celebration National Steak House Month in June, Michael Jordan's Steak House (505 N. Michigan) is offering their 8oz filet served with their signature crab cake for $50. For an additional $10, guests can complete their meal with a perfectly chilled martini.  For Father's Day,  Executive Chef James O'Donnell will present a few mouthwatering specials for the holiday, and each of the first "23" fathers who purchase Michael Jordan's favorite steak cut -- the Delmonico — with receive a complimentary signature steak knife.

Maison (330 E. Randolph), Lakeshore East's new brasserie serving every day French fare from Executive Chef Perry Hendrix, has began offering a half priced raw bar Monday - Saturday from 10pm-11pm.

Chef Patricio Sandoval of Mercadito (108 W. Kinzie St) will teach guests how to enliven the barbeque with the chiles and spices of Mexico at his Mexican BBQ Cooking Demonstration on Tuesday, June 19 at 6:30 p.m. at Double A, located beneath Mercadito. The five-course meal with paired cocktails is $55, exclusive of tax and gratuity. Reservations are required and may be made by calling 312.329.9555.

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.”

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 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.

Father’s Day

2 Sparrows Father's Day Burger Menu
Kids can let dad put the grill to rest and treat them to 2 Sparrow's special Father's Day burger menu! Featuring seven unique burger options, Chef Gregory Ellis has created a meal that will satisfy every dad, whether he is a meat or veggie lover. Mouthwatering options include:
• Foie Burger: beef patty with bacon foie butter and whole grain mustard
• BBQ Pork Burger: beef patty with pulled bbq pork and a sunny side egg
• Lamb Burger: lamb patty with grilled onions and curried aioli
• Umami Burger: beef patty with shitake duxelle, sesame-cilantro slaw and siracha aioli
• Southwest Burger: beef and chorizo patty with a pineapple habanero salsa, sour cream and queso fresco
• Classic Burger: beef patty with lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles
• Veggie Burger: black bean and veggie patty with avocado, corn salsa and poblano aioli
Each burger will be served on a pretzel roll, with corn on the cob and a choice of tots, fries or side salad. 2 Sparrows is located at 553 W. Diversey.

Butcher & the Burger Father's Day Fun
What dad wouldn't want a cooler of meat to celebrate their special day? Chef Al has put together the perfect gift package filled with the freshest meats to satisfy any carnivore. Butcher & the Burger's Father's Day cooler, which is $99, is filled with the following items:
• 45-day dry aged 16 oz NY Strip
• 45-day dry aged 16 oz Ribeye
• 10 oz filet
• Chef Al's specialty steakhouse blend
• Cutting board
• Butcher & the Burger Hat
• Cooler
10 coolers are  available and guests can call 773.697.3735 to order.
Grilling Class - If Dad needs some help with his grilling skills, then the perfect gift to fine tune his skills is with Butcher & the Burger's specialty grilling class! The class will cover basic butchery and carving, as well as teach great techniques for becoming master of his grill. Every red blooded American man should know how to work his grill, and this class will make him a champ. The class takes place on Monday, June 18th and reservations are required by calling 773.697.3735.

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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