Food Fun Friday

Food Fun Friday

Welcome to November! I hope your loved ones fared well and are all ok out East. So much coming up before Thanksgiving.

Ladies, Let’s Get Ready for Some Football – Rockit Burger Bar, located at 3700 N. Clark, launches the second Sports Divas Game Day Training Brunch of the season, on Sunday, November 4 at 10:30 a.m. Instead of feeling lost with game day lingo, let the ladies of Sports Divas teach the essentials of the NFL, the game, the players and everything Bears, all with a woman’s style and perspective. 

While chitchatting with other Chicagoans that need to brush up on the difference between a wide receiver and running back, arriving guests will feast on a brunch buffet and sip on game day mimosas and Skinny Red Wine in the cozy upstairs lounge before becoming a football maven in the NFL 101 course. Afterward, guests are invited to go downstairs and show off their new expertise while the Bears face off against the Titans at 12 p.m. Tickets to this event are $25 including two drink tickets per person.  For more information or reservations, visit

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:
• November 5 - Joe Campagna the Chicago Food Snob - Yep, me!
• 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.

Owners Yamandu Perez and Matthew Van Valkenburgh, announce the Grand Opening of their new restaurant, TWO, in West Town, November 3rd and 4th.  Both Saturday and Sunday, the public is invited to join the celebration with the entire TWO team. The name TWO is based on the two partners opening their second restaurant, Zak’s Place in Hinsdale being their first. The kitchen will be serving the prix fixe menu from 5 p.m-10:30 p.m. Saturday with complimentary hors d'oeuvres beverages in the bar area starting at 6:30 p.m. On Sunday, the bar area festivities begin at 5:30 p.m. with the prix fixe menu being offered from 5:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. Reservations are highly recommended for grand opening dinner guests.

Spiaggia Sommelier Jason Carlen has joined forces with Master Sommelier/The Boarding House proprietor Alpana Singh to host the inaugural Spiaggia Sommelier Smackdown on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012 at Spiaggia Private Events. They’re bringing 10 of the city’s best wine experts together to educate guests while also competing for best wine pairings.

For each course, two sommeliers will battle “head-to-head” and offer up their best pairing for that dish, following a theme of Old World vs. New World wines. Guests will taste the dish with the two wines and then vote on their favorite pairing. At the end of the night, five sommeliers will be named the night’s victors and champions of the inaugural
• Chad Ellegood – NoMI Kitchen
• Arthur Hon – Sepia
• Shebnem Ince – Henri, Gage
• Rachael Lowe
• Tona Palomino – Trenchermen
• Dan Pilkey – Hilton Worldwide, Chicago Hotels
• Jeremy Quinn – Telegraph
• Aaron Sherman – Girl and the Goat
• Jean Tomaro – Gilt Bar, Maude's Liquor Bar, Au Cheval, Bavette's Bar & Beouf
• Jason Wagner – Nellcote, RM Champagne Lounge

The Spiaggia Sommelier Smackdown begins at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 14, 2012 at Spiaggia Private Events located at 980 North Michigan Avenue, third floor.  Tickets are $195 per person, with $50 donated to The Cancer Research Foundation in memory of Henry Bishop, the first sommelier of Spiaggia. To reserve, please call 312.280.2750 or email

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:
Quarter Finals: Mondays 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

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:
• 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.

In the first of its kind Chicago Taste of Spain Week, presented by the Olive Oil Commodity Board from Spain (, local restaurants including Vermilion and Mercat a la Planxa will offer special menu items which feature the ingredient in unique, unexpected ways. November 5 - 12 restaurants will transform their menus to include plates inspired by Spain, taking local restaurant goers on a global journey.

The public is invited November 7 at 7 p.m. to attend "A Spanish A-Fare" at Vermilion, where olive oil expert Alfonso J. Fernandez will be available to share tips on how cooking with different olive oil varietals, such Hojiblanca or Arbequina, can infuse distinct, vibrant tastes into any meal. Meanwhile both Vermilion and Mercat a la Planxa will boast a unique olive oil-themed Spanish dish all week long.

Tickets will be sold for $50 for a 3-course meal and $75 for a 3-course meal and wine pairings. Reservations can be made by contacting Vermilion at (312) 527-4060 and must be paid in advance of the event.

Le Bar at Sofitel is celebrating Solstice - a journey through northern France. One Thursday a month will feature a different region of northern France with inspired food, wine and cocktails and a live DJ.
• November 8: Champagne region
• December 13: Alsace region
• January 24: Alps region
• February 7: Brittany region
• March 7: Normandy region

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:
• November 8, A Spanish Lesson

In partnership with Wirtz Beverage Illinois, Henri’s Spirited Dinner Series is co-hosted by Beverage Development Manager Eric Hay, as well as Thomas Mooneyham, who oversees the bar program at The Gage. Each date is dedicated to one genre of spirit, chosen and provided by Wirtz Beverage. The beverage gurus and their teams must craft five cocktails featuring the chosen spirit and provide their cocktail menu to the Henri team to utilize in the development of the complementing dinner menu. Every dinner begins with a reception featuring a pair of punches – one each by Clint and Thomas – presented with passed hors d’oeuvres. At the seated dinner, each guest bartender creates his signature drinks, which are paired with Chef Dirk Flanigan ‘s French-inflected five-course meal.
Henri’s Spirited Dinner Series showcases top mixology talent from the following establishments. The lineup includes:

  • Rum Wednesday, November 14, 2012 Mike Ryan & Team - Sable Kitchen and Bar
  • Cognac Wednesday, December 5, 2012 Michael Simon & Team - Carriage House
  • Gin Wednesday, January 23, 2013 Danny Shapiro & Team - Scofflaw

Each Spirited Dinner is priced at $100 per person (excluding tax and gratuity) and begins at 6:00 p.m. Reservations are required. Please call 312.578.0763. Seating is limited

2 Sparrows (553 W Diversey) announces fall Turducken making classes with Executive Chef Gregory Ellis during the month of November.  This series of two classes (November 7 and 14) will guide guests through the process of preparing Turducken, including recipes, hands-on special instruction from Chef Gregory and tips for what to ask at the butcher.  Turducken will be prepared ahead of time and cooked during each class, to be enjoyed at the conclusion of the lesson. $30 per person. Reservations are required. Please call (773) 234-2320. Space is limited to 30 guests.

The Florentine, 151 W. Adams, 312-660-8866 -Pasta Italiano! Join Executive Chef Chris Macchia of The Florentine on November 8 at 5:30pm for an Italian pasta making class followed by a four-course pasta dinner. Chef Macchia will be demonstrating techniques on how to make various types of pasta from scratch for guests to bring back to their home kitchens. The class costs $40 and reservations are required. Please call 312-660-8866.

As the weather turns, meat eaters may be looking to embrace their inner chef, but lack the education to create that perfect meal. For an up-close view of a professional butcher at work, Chef Allen Sternweiler of Butcher & the Burger is continuing to present intimate, hands-on classes demonstrating the art of breaking down fresh, seasonal meats to novice and pro butchers alike.

Butcher & the Burger's October and November 2012 class schedule includes:
• Monday, November 5: In the heart of venison season, Chef Al will be tackling the magnificent feat of butchering a Fallow Farms half deer. After the demonstration, which is $95, class members will enjoy a venison themed dinner and are welcome to purchase any part of the deer at a special wholesale price.
• Monday, November 12: Just in time for Thanksgiving, Chef Al is going to put participant's minds at ease by demonstrating how to cook the perfect turkey. Guests will learn how to deconstruct the bird the proper way and will also get to sit down to a turkey dinner following the class.
All classes begin at 6:30 p.m. and will cost $85 unless otherwise noted. Advance registration is required and can be made by calling General Manager Preston Owen directly at (773) 697-3735. Space is limited. All classes are BYOB, and confirmed attendees will receive pairing suggestions in advance. For more information or to view the complete schedule online, visit

SUSHISAMBA rio is ringing in the fall with their hit Sushi & Sake 101 classes, teaching guests how to master the art of making maki and tasting sake! As you may know, the restaurant that continues to host the Sushi & Sake 101 series; the signature sushi and sake classes are led by Sake Sommelier Hayes Swope. Guests can sample SUSHISAMBA’s 60 plus sake offerings, gain insider tips from SUSHISAMBA’S chefs and enjoy Peruvian and Brazilian inspired dishes, all while learning the art of sushi and how to make it at home, led by MasterSushi Chef Shigeru Kitano.
Tuesday, November 13
Tuesday, December 11
Tuesday, January 8

Sushi & Sake 101 classes are held from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. They are $75 per person and limited seating is available.

This year's Thanksgiving offerings at Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago include brunch and dinner service, and for the at-home entertainer, a delicious Thanksgiving at Home menu to-go:

Brunch at Sixteen On Thanksgiving Day, Sixteen brings the year's bountiful harvest to life by presenting a festive brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. inside the stunning dining room that affords breathtaking views of Chicago's architectural landscape, the Chicago River and Lake Michigan. Guests can indulge in traditional Thanksgiving favorites and other specialty items during the festive brunch buffet.

Thanksgiving brunch at Sixteen costs $130 per person and $35 for children 8 years and younger, exclusive of tax, alcohol and gratuity. Seating times are 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Reservations are highly recommended and may be made by calling (312) 588-8030.

Dinner at Sixteen - Sixteen will be open for dinner beginning at 5:30 pm, offering a warm and inviting setting for those looking to enjoy a celebratory evening meal. Executive Chef Thomas Lents will offer innovative items from the new fall menus, along with dessert creations presented by Executive Pastry Chef Patrick Fahy.

Thanksgiving at Home For those who love to entertain at home, but would rather leave the cooking to the pros, Trump Chicago provides the perfect solution: Thanksgiving at Home, a delectable dinner designed to serve two to four people at $265 (exclusive of tax) or six to eight people at $345 (exclusive of tax)  prepared by the award-winning culinary team at Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago and available for pick-up on Thanksgiving Day.
The Organic Farm-Raised Maple-Roasted Turkey feast arrives with numerous seasonal accoutrements, including Sage-Apricot and Chestnut Cornbread Stuffing; Giblet Gravy; Cranberry Chutney; Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes; Vegetable Medley; Seasonal Green Salad; Holiday Breads and Parker House Buns and for dessert, a choice of Homemade Apple, Pumpkin or Pecan Pie.

For those seeking an alternative or addition to turkey, a Slow-Roasted, Salt-Crusted Prime Rib of Beef with Au Jus and Creamy Horseradish will also be available. It arrives with the same delicious accoutrements (stuffing excluded) serving six to eight people at $425, exclusive of tax.Orders must be placed by Friday, November 16, and may be picked up between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. To place orders or for more information, please call Private Events Sales Manager Ariel Lickton at (312) 588-8114.

For those guests who wish to extend their Thanksgiving day and stay overnight, Trump Chicago is offering a promotion to spend three nights, and receive the fourth night on a complimentary basis, with rates starting at $395 per night.  This is perfect for families and friends hoping for a relaxing, home-away-from-home holiday retreat.  Reservations may be made by calling (312) 588-8000 or (877) 45-TRUMP or by visiting

Give thanks at David Burke’s Primehouse (616 N. Rush) this Thanksgiving as Executive Chef Rick Gresh puts an innovative twist on favorite holiday dishes. Available on Thursday, November 22nd from 11am-10pm, Thanksgiving at David Burke’s Primehouse is complete with all of the trimmings for a delectable four course family meal.
David Burke’s even covers the leftovers. Guests will receive complimentary Thanksgiving leftovers, the best part of a Thanksgiving meal, to enjoy the following day. Prices include:  $58 per adult, $19 for ages 12 & under and free for children 5 & under. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 312.660.6000 or visiting

Coco Pazzo Cafe is having their Tuscan Thanksgiving again this year. The 4-course prix fixe menu is $42 and they'll also be offering their regular menu so diners have a  choice.The Thanksgiving Day feast will be served from noon to 9 p.m. and reservations are recommended. Coco Pazzo Café Restaurant- 636 N St Clair St, Chicago IL 60611- 312.664.2777  –

Palmer House Hilton will kick off the season at 3 p.m. on November 17 with the annual tree lighting ceremony and gingerbread house decorating. The celebrations will continue on through December with everything from holiday feasts to tubas in the Grand Ballroom. It wouldn’t be the holidays without a big family meal and Lockwood’s Executive Chef Joseph Rose will be whipping up a seasonal menu on Thursday, November 22. Guests can dine on dishes from free-range Wisconsin chicken with button mushroom and bacon lardons as well as Nichols Farm butternut squash with candied pecans and cinnamon cream. Reservations are required and can be made by calling Lockwood at 312.917.3404.

Steve's Deli (354 Hubbard, 312-467-6868) is Thanksgiving headquarters. Your holiday dinner has never been so easy. Folks can pick up their Thanksgiving spread or have it delivered Wednesday, November 21. There's a lot to choose from and it just needs a little warming on the big serious cooking involved, but they’ll be plenty of delicious aromas and flavors.Pre-orders (for 5 or more people) should be made at least 24 hours in advance but same day Thanksgiving selections are available through November 21. To view the full menu go to

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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