Food Fun Friday

Friday before Chicago Gourmet and Hamburger Hop! Hopefully, you have a lot planned if not there is always tons to do this weekend and this week before the Chicago Food Event of the year. Check out some of the really cool stuff going on around town.

Sepia’s James Beard Award nominated executive chef,Andrew Zimmerman, will welcome San Francisco’s SPQR Executive Chef Matthew Accarrino into his kitchen for a collaborative dinner at Private Diningby Sepia on Saturday, October 13. The two nationally-acclaimed chefs will join forces for a prix fixe menu celebrating the launch of Chef Accarrino’s new cookbook,SPQR: Modern Italian Food & Wine.

The evening will begin with an hors d’oeuvres reception at 6 p.m., followed by a five-course tasting menu of rotating courses from both renowned chefs, all paired with wine offerings from Sepia Wine Director Arthur Hon. The dinner, which begins at 7 p.m., is priced at $125 per person, and includes a copy of the brand new cookbook and a donation to Meals on Wheels. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 312.441.1920.

Foodies can give back to the community and satisfy their sweet tooth with a delicious mini key lime pie dessert ($8), available at C-House and C-View, which benefits theAnn & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. The hospital will receive $1 for each dessert sold. The scrumptious mini key lime pie is made up of rum infused cherries and features a dollop of coconut ice cream. The special dessert is available through Dec 31, 2012. C-House, an American contemporary restaurant, and C-View, a seasonal rooftop lounge, are both located at 166 East Superior Street atMileNorth, A Chicago Hotel™. For more information call (312) 523-0923 or

Meals on Wheels Chicago has announced some wonderful updates to the Celebrity Chef Ball, taking place on Friday, October 12, 2012. For the first time ever, the event, which supports Chicago's homebound senior citizens and individuals with disabilities will be hosted at Venue One (1044 West Randolph Street), the sprawling rustic space conveniently located near the bustling restaurant row in West Loop. As it has done in years past, the evening will allow guests to mix and mingle with some of the city’s hottest chefs; past participants have included Paul Virant, Chris Pandel, and Jimmy Bannos. This year, guests will have two ways to enjoy the party:

  • VIP Chef’s Table Dinner-- The VIP Chef’s Table Dinner, offered at $350 per person, will be an interactive dining experience in which seated guests can mingle with the 28 chefs who are preparing their elaborate meals. This unique dining adventure will provide a behind the scenes look at what the chefs are doing, as well as a fun evening talking to some of Chicago’s best chefs.
  • Chef’s Tasting Party-- After the VIP dinner, guests are welcome to stay for the Chef’s Tasting Party, during which over 60 chefs will be serving signature dishes at tasting booths throughout the venue. For those who would like to attend only the Chef’s Tasting Party, the cost is $150 per person. The Party features a well-stocked bar and live entertainment.

Chicago chefs raise more than $200,000 each year the charity at the Meals on Wheels Chicago Celebrity Chef Ball.  The organization generates almost one-third of its annual revenue at the ball, which in turn funds over 70,000 meals to homebound senior citizens. Tickets for the Meals on Wheels Chicago Celebrity Chef Ball will soon be available online at

Double A, the cocktail lounge located below Mercadito (108 W. Kinzie St.), has served as an industry watering hole for nightlife professionals since opening in 2009. Now, bartenders can face off against their friends and colleagues for a $4,000 prize from Pernod Ricard and Estrella Damm in the Double A Bar Joust competition. See how Double A is “getting ready to rumble” and all the details with the Double A Bar Joust.

The Double A Bar Joust is open to all with bartending experience. Interested participants should enter here at by Thursday, September 27. Bartenders are asked to submit any “behind the bar” experience as well as both a classic and creative cocktail recipe that can be served the night of their joust.

The rules are simple: The bartender to attract the largest crowd and bring in the most cash wins the joust. The 16 amateur and professional bartenders (must have some bartending experience) will enter a bracket system featuring four rounds of competition. In each Bar Joust, two competitors will face off from 7 until 11 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays at Double A—mixing their own signature cocktails in addition to serving shots, beer, and more.  Double A’s resident “referee” and mixologist Paul Sauter will check the registers and update the score throughout the night. Team costumes are encouraged, and guests will be asked to show their loyalty by sticking to their mixologist’s side of the bar, based on the physical divider line drawn down the middle of Double A. The winner of each round will not only receive their tips for the night, but 10% of all their own sales from that night.

The Double A Bar Joust competition will take place on the following dates:
First Round: Mondays and Tuesdays of October 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, and 23
Quarter Finals: Mondays of October 29 and November 5, 12, and 19
Semi Finals: Mondays of November 26 and December 3
Final: Monday, December 10
Bar Joust rules, brackets and schedule can be found at

On Sunday, September 23, Spiaggia Chefs Sarah Grueneberg and Chris Marchino and Sommelier Jason Carlen invite guests to the Fifth Annual Spiaggia Farm Luncheon at Nichols Farm and Orchard. Guests will travel by chartered bus for an afternoon of bocce, croquet, farm tours and plenty of food and drink with a three-course, family-style farm dinner.  This is perfect opportunity for guests to enjoy the cuisine of Spiaggia and the fresh fall harvest of Nichols Farm.  Cost is 150.00 per person, all inclusive. The bus departs Spiaggia (980 North Michigan) at 11 a.m. and returns at 7 p.m. Guests may make reservations by contacting Alexandra Barton at 312.280.2750 or

Bistronomic - featuring Chef/Owner Martial Noguier's innovative interpretation of French bistro classics - is pleased to invite guests, both Gold Coast-based and beyond, to enjoy a three-course prix-fixe dinner special beginning Sunday, September 16. Available Sunday through Tuesday from 5 to 10 p.m., Bistronomic's Gold Coast Neighbor Menu will change weekly to reflect seasonal offerings from local sources, as well as include a vegetarian option. Diners can select three delectable courses from Chef's Noguier's prix fixe for $30 (exclusive of tax and gratuity).

"This menu is a token of our appreciation for the loyal guests we've had since opening," said Chef Noguier, who can be found in his kitchen daily.  "We've been very fortunate to be a part of such a diverse and welcoming neighborhood, and hope to continue building a strong relationship with the residents, retailers and guests of the Gold Coast for many years to come by consistently providing quality, affordable dining in the neighborhood." Bistronomic's a la carte offerings are also available, which can be viewed here.  The restaurant's Parisian-style patio is also open for seating, weather permitting. Large and private parties can be accommodated upon request.  Please call (312) 944-8400.

Tavernita is pleased to announce the addition of Tippling Nights, a new monthly wine and spirits dinner series. 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.

As the air gets crisp and leaves begin to fall, ENO Wine Bar on Michigan Avenue is excited to announce new seasonal offerings for wine enthusiasts of all levels:

  • Easy Cheesy - Awesome Autumn Cheese Picks. As the weather begins to cool, certain cheeses hit their peak of perfection. This fall, ENO guests can sample Assistant Wine Director Shara Bauer's newly added cheeses, along with a perfectly-paired wine recommendation, including:
  • Rosemary Panoleta - A hard textured goat's milk cheese from Cati, Spain pairs perfectly with the 2010 Valle dell'Acate Frappato, an herbaceous wine similar to a Pinot Noir from Sicily, Italy that complements the rosemary encrusted goat's milk cheese.
  • Marigold - An ENO exclusive, this hard textured jack-style cheese from Roelli Cheese Haus in Wisconsin pairs well with the dry, crisp Latitude 50 N Sekt Brut Weiss, a sparkling wine from Germany, that is the perfect balance for the buttery jack-style cheese.
  • Bohemian Blue - ENO recommends pairing this sheep's milk cheese from Hidden Springs Creamery in Wisconsin with the granache-based dessert wine, Mas Amiel Cuvee Speciale 10 Ans d'Age from Maury, France, to achieve the perfect combination of salty and sweet.
  • Test Your Taster with Blind Flight Tastings! Whether guests are looking to break out of a "wine rut" or channel their inner wine guru, ENO offers Blind Flight Tastings every Sunday and Monday. Guests can earn points by guessing the age, type and region of unusual, exciting new wines they may not pick on their own - the more attributes guessed right, the cheaper the flight! Normally $18, those who score highly can enjoy the flight for just $5.05 (ENO Wine Bar is located at 505 N. Michigan Avenue). And for expert imbibers who land a perfect score, ENO will award a free bottle of the guest's favorite wine.
  • Marvelous Meats on the Magnificent Mile. ENO Wine Bar has recently began working directly with Smoking Goose Meatery in Indianapolis to provide guests with the best handcrafted, flavor-packed protein treats from local farms, including:
  • Pig & Fig Terrine - A rustic country style pate of coarsely ground pork shoulder, red wine and figs, pairs perfectly with the Milbrandt Riesling, which ENO recently added on tap.
  • Gin & Juice Salame - Finely ground lamb salame spiked with juniper and orange zest tastes best with Inama Carmenere fromVeneto, Italy.
  • Stagberry Salame - Kenneth Volk Negrette from Calleri Vineyard in San Benito, California best complements this finely ground elk studded with organic blueberries soaked in honey wine.
    For more information, please visit ENO Wine Bar's website or call (312) 321-8738.

Executive Chef Chris Macchia from The Florentine will be participating in "Primo Classico D'Italia" benefitting the Primo Center for Women and Children on Sunday, September 30th at the Lake Forest estate of Diane and Quintin Primo. The theme of this year's event - Cars, cuisine and fashion - will be highlighted with a showcase of luxury Italian cars (Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Bugati and others), professional models wearing the latest fashions from exclusive Italian design houses and the event's culinary centerpiece, "Il Primo Mercato," a recreated Italian marketplace. Featuring cuisine from Executive Chef Chris Macchia of The Florentine, along with other participating restaurants, including Pelago, Prosecco, Tocco and Fred's at Barneys Chicago. The event will also feature a silent auction, along with a live auction hosted by celebrity designer James Charles, a regular on HGTV’s hit “House Hunters” show. General tickets to “Primo Classico d’Italia” begin at $100 each, with all net proceeds donated in support of The Primo Center for Women and Children.

Regional Wine Journey program atLockwood in the Palmer House Hilton. These classes are great for wine connoisseurs and wine novices alike. Each class focuses on a different type of wine, includes several pours of different varietals, and provides a fun environment to learn more about wine. For $25 per person, guests get to enjoy a fun evening of wine education and perfectly paired bites, all crafted by Lockwood’s Sous Chef Valeria Benner, who also leads the classes. Upcoming sessions include:
• September 27, Uniqueness of Rhone Wines
• October 25, Italy in a Red Dress
• November 8, A Spanish Lesson

Barcito! - Amigos of Pintxo takes place every other Monday from 8 to 10 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 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.

Breast Cancer Awareness Events
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, ‘think pink’ and head over to I Dream of Falafel for your favorite ‘pink’ protein- steak! Throughout the month of October, I Dream of Falafel will be grilling up their new Steak Kebabs and for each order purchased, $1 will be donated back to Bright Pink, a Chicago based organization focusing on the prevention and detection of breast and ovarian cancer in young women while providing support for high risk individuals. The juicy skewers of charbroiled steak filet will be available for lunch, dinner and carryout and are served at medium temperature for that perfect ‘pink’ center.
I Dream of Falafel
3 Chicago Locations: 331 S. Franklin or 112 W. Monroe or 555 W. Monroe

Dine for a cause this October at Sullivan’s Steakhouse of Chicago! For the fourth year running, this River North steakhouse (and its two sister restaurants in Lincolnshire and Naperville) are raising awareness for the fight against breast cancer with a “Pink Menu” – three courses for just $39.95. $5 from every Pink Menu purchased will be donated to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

Guests have a choice of four starters including Wild Mushroom Bisque with Chive Infused Oil and Sullivan’s famous Iceberg Wedge Salad. For the main course, guests can choose from Filet Mignon, Cajun Dusted Salmon Fillet with Truffle-Red Pepper Chili Butter, Roasted Chicken Breast with Wild Mushroom-Madeira Ragout and Crab Stuffed Shrimp with Chive Beurre Blanc, along with a choice of a signature side – such as the Horseradish Mashed Potatoes or Skillet Mushroom Caps. Dessert options include New York Style Cheesecake and Bananas Foster Bread Pudding, among others.
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

Leave a comment