Food Fun Friday

Food Fun Friday

Well after 8 LONG months this is the weekend of the Chicago Triathlon. I’m a bit nervous but I know it will be over before I know it. Amazing how time flies and next weekend is the last of the summer. But life goes on and we have some very cool events coming up in the near future…Who likes Pappy? If you don’t know what Pappy is? Nothing to see here move along…kidding. Check out the top event and get the tickets quick they will sell out.

Have a fun weekend and think of the pain I’ll be in on Sunday about 10am! But don’t worry I’ll be eating a donut by noon I’m sure.

BOKA welcomes Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery from Frankfort, KY - home to the two best rated whiskeys in the world - and Three Floyds Brewing Co LLC, from Munster, IN for an exclusive evening of extraordinary craft beers and artisan whiskeys, paired with a six-course, fall menu presented by Chef/Partner Giuseppe Tentori.

For one night only, 90 guests will enjoy meeting the products' makers while experiencing some of the most rare tastes in the world. For this special occasion, BOKA welcomes two members of this generation of the Van Winkle family: Julian III, grandson to the legendary "Pappy" Van Winkle, and his son Preston, who each continue The Old Rip Van Winkle family tradition. The team has secured sought-out selections that spirit aficionados long to try - like the once-a-year brewed Three Floyd's Dark Lord, or the coveted Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve, 20 Year (the #1 rated bourbon whiskey in the world) - resulting in a truly one-of-a-kind tasting opportunity.

Tickets for this exclusive evening will be available for purchase beginning at noon on Tuesday, August 28. Please call BOKA directly at (312) 337-6070. Only 90 tickets are available for this event, representing 90 Proof, to complete the 'spirited' theme of the night. The evening begins at 6:30 pm and is priced at $160 per person (exclusive of tax and gratuity).

Tavernita is pleased to announce the addition of Tippling Nights, a new monthly wine and spirits dinner series. The series kicks off on Tuesday, August 21 at 6:30 p.m. with The Flavors of Spain's Basque Region, featuring selections from Heritage Wine Cellars.

Led by the award-winning Tippling Bros. - Paul Tanguay and Tad Carducci - as well as Chef/Partner Ryan Poli, the series provides guests with an opportunity enjoy a delicious and educational evening in the vibrant, fun setting for which Tavernita has become known. Each dinner includes a four-course menu showcasing Chef Poli's Spanish-inspired cuisine as it is paired with carefully selected wines or specially crafted cocktails. Paul, Tad and Chef Poli will guide the experience, along with brand ambassadors who will share insights about the evening's featured products. The cost to attend is $55 per person (exclusive of tax and gratuity).

Additional dinners in the lineup include:
• September 25: Wines of Argentina
• October 23: Spain's fall ingredients, paired with Wines of Spain from Olé Imports
• November 13: Thanksgiving-inspired dinner, infused with Hennessy
• December 11: Holiday-inspired warm up with Belvedere Vodka

Reservations are required and may be made by calling (312) 274-1111.

Mercat a la Planxa (638 S. Michigan Ave.), the modern tapas restaurant inspired by Spain’s Catalan region, introduces its September summer wine dinner series. Offered on Thursday, September 6 and Thursday, September 20 from 5 to 11 p.m., guests will enjoy a festive, four course dinner created by Executive Chef Jose Garces. Inspired by Barcelona and Spain’s Catalan region, this month’s menu features seasonal cuisine and wine pairings of Garnacha.
Offered in the restaurant’s main dining space, the Garnacha menu is $85 per person. Reservations are required and may be made by calling 312.765.0524.

Chicago Gourmet's Supreme Shucker
Guests are invited to cheer on their favorite chefs at two preliminary qualifiers for "Chicago Gourmet's Supreme Shucker." Four shucky winners will go on to compete in the oyster shucking finals hosted by Supreme Lobster & Seafood Co. at Chicago Gourmet on Sunday, September 30 to take home a $2,000 grand prize along with bragging rights for out-shucking the city's finest culinary talent. A la carte specialty oysters - as well as wine selections and cocktails curated by Southern Wine & Spirits of Illinois will be available for purchase at both events.

  • Round 2: Chicago Gourmet's Supreme Shucker at BOKA: Sunday, September 16: The shuck-off continues at BOKA, 1729 N. Halsted St., where, from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., the remaining 10 oyster-shucking finalists go head to head for another $500 cash prize and the chance to compete in the Final Four at "Chicago Gourmet's Supreme Shucker."

Judges for the semi-finals include blogger Joe Campagna, Chef/Owner of Yusho Matthias Merges, and Ari Bendersky of Eater Chicago. Michael Muser, General Manager of the forthcoming Grace Restaurant, will emcee the event.

Chicago will play host to The Magnificent Mile Shopping Festival presented by MasterCard from August 24, 2012 through September 6, 2012.  As part of the two-week celebration, Michigan Avenue will set the scene for ‘A Magnificent Taste,’ a culinary event featuring popular local and national chefs who will cook up seasonal bites to raise funds for Common Threads, a Chicago-based organization dedicated to educating children from low-income families on the importance of nutrition.
Guests will sip and sample seasonal creations from well-known chefs, including Top Chef Season 9 Winner Paul Qui while enjoying rare access to The Magnificent Mile as it has never been offered before.

“I am thrilled to be part of an event that raises money for such a good cause and celebrates Chicago’s contributions to food and fashion. Michigan Avenue is one of the most iconic streets in the world and it is the perfect backdrop for what is sure to be a magnificent event,” said Qui.

Other participating chefs and restaurants include the following:
Anthony Martin of Tru
Arnie Tellez of Shaw’s Crab House
Doug Psaltis of RPM Italian
Lee Wolen of The Peninsula Chicago
Patricio Sandoval of Mercadito
Rick Gresh of David Burke’s Primehouse
Nathan Huntington of Argent Restaurant & Raw Bar
Ryan Poli of Tavernita
Joseph Rosetti of Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse
Federico Comacchio of Phil Stefani’s 437 Rush
Bar Toma
La Colombe
Magnolia Bakery
Paul Katz of Sweetwater Tavern and Grille
The Signature Room at the 95th

‘A Magnificent Taste’ will take place on Tuesday, August 28, 2012 from 6:30pm to 9pm at Pioneer Court (401 N Michigan Avenue). General admission tickets can be purchased for $125 and VIP for $200 that will include an exclusive meet and greet reception with Paul Qui, 5:30pm – 6:30pm. Tickets can be purchased at or This event is a featured offering For more information on The Magnificent Mile Shopping Festival, visit

Additionally, throughout the month of August, David Burke’s Primehouse and Nestlé Waters will donate $2 for every Acqua Panna or San Pellegrino bottled water sold. Proceeds will benefit Harvest Moon Farms. David Burke’s Primehouse is located at 616 N. Rush at The James Hotel. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 312.660.6000 or visiting
Michael Jordan's Steak House, in the Intercontinental Hotel, is currently running 2 promotions to celebrate their one-year anniversary.

  • 23 is the Magic Number. Throughout the 23 days leading up to August 23, Michael Jordan’s Steak House will surprise 23 lucky tables in the restaurant’s breathtaking dining room by completely covering the check for the group assigned with the 23rd ticket in honor of the anniversary.
  • 1-Year Anniversary = $10 Anniversary Entree. In the sleek, stylish first-floor bar at Michael Jordan’s Steak House, Executive Chef James O’Donnell will serve a mouthwatering one-year anniversary dinner special for just $10 -- the 6oz Italian Beef-Style Hanger Steak accompanied with fries, onion jus and spicy giardiniera from That Pickle Guy, a local company based in Lisle. This special will be available for 23 days, from August 1 through the anniversary on August 23.

Enjoy the South of France at Le Bar this summer! Journey through the south of France with a celebration of music and food! Each night features cuisine by Chef Greg Biggers, wine and cocktails inspired from each of your favorite French summer destinations.
Soleil Thursdays this summer beginning at 5:30 p.m:

  • 8|23 - Nice
  • 9|13 - Bordeaux

Relax and enjoy an eclectic DJ set featuring French house music. A hotel stay in the South of France with Accor Hotels will be given away at each event! Le Bar - 20 East Chestnut Street, Chicago 60611
(312) 324-4063

Barcito! - 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:
• 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.

PL8 Simply Asian will celebrate a culinary tour of the Far East this summer with three events, each featuring a different Asian destination. Guests can experience summer food and wine with Far East flair without even leaving Chicago!

  • Thursday, September 13
    PL8 will tantalize your taste buds with Singapore Slings, RumTinis and San Miguel Beers. Guests can sample an assortment of Malaysian and Philippine appetizers like Shanghai Lumpia, Kilaw Crisps, Curried Samosas and Ukoy. PL8 Chef Jose Galvan will demonstrate how to prepare a traditional dish at home using authentic ingredients and flavors.
    July 12, August 9 and September 13; 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
    $25 per person, all-inclusive for each event

PL8 Simply Asian - 736 West Northwest Highway, Barrington, IL 60010 - 847-382-1988

Weekend Saturday Brunch Spots
SUSHISAMBA rio: The Peruvian, Brazilian and Japanese River North hotspot is dishing up favorites like quinoa waffles, feijoada and lobster eggs benedict alongside brunch cocktails such as Bahia punch, rum lattes and sakegria, a sake take on sangria.

Lockwood: Located in the Palmer House Hilton, Lockwood serves a spectacular brunch with innovative takes on classics like a Benedict Oscar with poached eggs, sautéed spinach and fresh crab and Swedish breakfast of smoked salmon, lemon crepes and lingonberries and a wide variety of mimosa and Bloody Mary selections.

Mercadito: Guests can enjoy some spicy Mexican flair during the festive brunches all weekend at Mercadito. Choose from signature dishes like huevos ahogados served with crispy corn bread and chipotle hollandaise sauce or pancakes with manchego cheese, strawberries and cinnamon butter. Brunch sippers include cocktails like the Auntie Ox with green tea vodka, passion fruit, agave, orange and guajillo.

Estate: Get a hair of the dog with cocktails like the cereal milk martini and whiskey for breakfast while refueling over the lobster mac and cheese or buttermilk pancakes with blueberry-lavender maple syrup.

Markethouse: Chef Scott Walton dishes up fan favorites all weekend such as Biscuits and Beignets. What makes them unique are the flavor pairings: a roasted beet beignet with goat cheese and maple blis, a Meyer lemon ricotta beignet with salted butterscotch and honey crisp apples, and biscuits with a variety of gravy offerings such as foie gras and brisket “burnt ends” gravy.

Hash House A Go Go: Opening in late July, the twisted farm food restaurant will offer delicious dishes like sage fried chicken benedict, meatloaf has with roasted red peppers, fresh spinach and smoked mozzarella; and made-to-order Bloody Mary’s.

Picnic’s Yogi Bear would LOVE - HEY BooBoo
Steve's Deli delivers picnics just about anywhere Chicagoans gather in the summer
Just a few folks on your outing? Then everyone will need their own Sandwich Box. It comes with an overstuffed sandwich that can be selected off Steve’s carry out menu, a choice of potato salad, coleslaw or healthy coleslaw and a cookie or brownie…all for just $9.99.

  • Steve’s Trio Salad Picnic is great for groups of 5 or more and includes tuna salad, chicken salad, egg salad or egg white salad. Plus it comes with tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, onions and pickles. Yes, there is healthy coleslaw, Swiss and Muenster cheese and a choice of bagels, rye, onion or Kaiser rolls. And it’s only $9.99 per person.
  • Steve’s Cold Cut Picnic includes roast turkey breast, lean corned beef, rare roast beef and turkey pastrami. It also comes with Swiss and American cheese as well as a choice of potato salad, coleslaw or healthy coleslaw. Pickles, mustard, Russian dressing and rye bread make it complete. And this is a deal at $7.99 per person and is recommended for groups of 5 or more.
  • Looking for something light on those hot summer days? Steve’s Cheese and Fruit Picnic is the perfect choice. Seasonal fruit including cantaloupe, honeydew, pineapple, red and green grapes, strawberries, watermelon and berries are accompanied with an assortment of cheeses, Parmesan bagel thins, crackers and pita chips. A cool $5.99 per person.

It’s recommended that picnic orders be made 24 hours in advance but, if possible, Steve’s will do same day orders. Contact: Steve’s Deli - 354 West Hubbard, between Orleans and Kingsbury - 312-467-6868

For the Oenophile in Nearby Millennium Park
Wine Totes from BIN 36 / Adjacent to Hotel Sax: Available in BIN 36’s retail Market, custom-stocked wine backpacks come in two sizes: two bottle totes for $22 and three bottle totes for $40. Each tote includes a wine key, two wine glasses, and a personalized selection of cheeses, snacks, and other picnic-perfect accompaniments hand-curated by the BIN 36 cheese experts. Also available for purchase at BIN 36 are ‘Picnic Stix,’ a $14 set of three wire stakes that can be easily planted into the ground to hold up wine glasses and bottles. (339 N. Dearborn St.; 312.755.9463)

For the Campesino in Nearby Grant Park
Spanish Demo and Picnic from Mercat a la Planxa / Adjacent to Blackstone Hotel: Chef de Cuisine Cory Morris will demo how to put a Spanish twist on traditional picnic favorites. Following each demo, the chef will pack picnic lunches for guests to enjoy, such as bocadillos like the El Ravel with Ortiz Tuna and Celery Caper Aioli as well as the La Baceloneta with North Country Bacon, Egg & Cheddar. Priced at $25 per guest, the demo and picnic are offered on the following Saturdays at 12 pm: Saturday, June 30; Saturday, July 14; Saturday, August 11; Saturday, August 25. (638 S. Michigan Ave., 312.765.0524)

For the Indecisive in Nearby Daley Plaza
‘PICKnic’ from Lobby Lounge at JW Marriott Chicago: Executive Chef Michael Reich of the landmark, luxury hotel has created a menu for hotel guests and Chicago locals alike. Priced at $30 for two people, guests can select three items from the “PICKnic” menu of locally-sourced, portable dishes and receive a JW Marriott Chicago branded picnic tote. Half bottles of Apaltagua Chardonnay or Pinot Noir can be added for an additional $14. Picnic regulars are invited to bring back their picnic tote and restock throughout the summer months for only $20, which represents over 30% savings. The ‘“PICKnic” menu will be available now until Labor Day. (151 W. Adams St., 312 660 8200)

For the Sausage King in Nearby Milton Olive Park
House made Sausages from Markethouse Restaurant / Adjacent to DoubleTree Magnificent Mile: Executive Chef Scott Walton will pack up a selection of house made specialty sausages (seafood, lamb merguez, veal and pork bratwurst, hot or sweet Italian pork, spiced apple chicken sausage), rolls, house made mustards (violet, apple cider or tarragon), and salads (Markethouse Chopped and Markethouse Garden Tomato, Cucumber and Basil). Priced at $12 per person, Markethouse will offer these picnics throughout the month of July in honor of National Picnic Month.
(611 N. Fairbanks Ct., 312.224.2200)

For the Foodie With Everything in Nearby Lakeshore East Park
Luxury Package from Filini Bar & Restaurant / Adjacent to Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, Chicago: This July, the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel will unveil a new luxury picnic package, featuring a lavish keepsake “basket” filled with an impressive presentation of the crème de la crème of canapés and caviar. Designed to make a romantic al fresco meal even more memorable, each dish will showcase the contemporary Italian flair of Filini’s Executive Chef Christian Fantoni. Price and additional details available upon request.
(221 N. Columbus Dr., 312.477.0234)

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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