Food Fun Friday

Food Fun Friday

The weather outside is FRIGHTFUL! I’m actually leaving town today for the week and glad to be missing the cold and ice. I won’t be going anywhere tropical but it’ll be nice to break free from town for a few days. Scroll through and check out the fun events and some great Valentine’s Day and Lenten Options.

Have a safe and warm weekend…

Michael Jordan’s 50th birthday this February, Michael Jordan’s Steak House (with locations in Chicago, New York and at the Mohegan Sun casino in Uncasville, CT) is pulling out all the stops.  Each restaurant will offer a five-course Terlato wine dinner February 17 that will take guests on a journey of the basketball legend’s life and career through the past five decades. The special menu (available for $125, exclusive of tax and gratuity) was created in collaboration with the culinary teams at all three steak houses and features personal favorites from Jordan’s wine cellar. For reservations at the Chicago location, guests can call (312) 321-8823.

Additionally, for those who can’t make the wine dinner, but still want in on celebrating Michael Jordan’s 50th birthday, all three restaurants are offering a slice of celebratory chocolate cake to each table who dines on Jordan’s birthday, Sunday, February 17.

Friday, February 22, 2 Sparrows will be welcoming Virtue Cider for a dinner highlighting the Chicago-based craft cider company's offerings, along with a complementing menu from Chef Gregory Ellis.  Acclaimed Brewmaster and Founder of Virtue Cider, Greg Hall, will be in attendance, along with others from the team, to personally present their craft ciders, including a first look at the brand new "The Mitten."  February in Chicago is all about cider, with two world-class events taking place, including CiderCON, a mix of education and networking opportunities for cider producers from February 6-9, ending with Cider Summit on February 9, the largest tasting of artisanal ciders from around the world.

The Virtue Cider dinner will begin at 7:00 pm and is priced at $50 per person, including all three cider varieties.  Additional tastes of the ciders will be poured during the fourth course. Reservations for both dinners are required by calling (773) 234-2320.

Fat Tuesday/Lenten Fun

Markethouse Executive Chef De’Ann Wellwerts will offer an all-you-can-eat fish fry every Friday night during Lent for just $20. For the special, Chef Wellwerts will serve unlimited amounts of her Bell's Ale Battered Atlantic Pollack Fish & Chipswith tartar sauce and malt vinegar powder, an exciting twist on the traditional fried fish topping. The restaurant will also offer $4 Goose Island Green Line Pale Ale pints. Reservations can be made by calling 312.224.2200.

February 12th SUSHISAMBA will host a special event to capture the spirit of Rio de Janeiro’s most elaborate festival. Guests will be awed by the live performances of shimmering samba dancers, dazzled by the beats of the batucada dancers and will dance the night away to the sound of a spinning dj. In addition to exclusive Brazilian menu specials,  SUSHISAMBA has created a cocktail unique to the event, the carnaval caipirinha with leblon cachça, tangerine juice, honey and lime. Chicago, 504 North Wells, Chicago, Reservation Phone: 312.595.2300

Step inside of Untitled on Fat Tuesday, Tuesday, February 12 from 4:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m., to experience the centuries-old celebration from costumed servers to the parading guests, traditional New Orleans fare and a surfeit of purple, gold and green.

Throughout the evening, the Lowdown Brass Band will take their horns off the stage and to the floor, leading guests in a New Orleans-style second line parade. Festive party favors will be provided and servers will be covered in beautiful Venetian masks and vibrant colored beads. Diners can feast on customary holiday cuisine from Chef Joseph Heppe including a Crawfish Boil, Rabbit Crawfish Gumbo Fritters and Slagel Farms Chicken Jambalaya. Guests that evening will also have a chance to enter in a raffle for a $100 gift certificate to Untitled and a $75 gift certificate to Goorin Bros Hat shop.

Promotions and Specials

25 Degrees is launching a new Sunday night dinner program called "Southern Fried Sundays," featuring, you guessed it…Southern Fried Chicken! The special kicks off early next year on January 13th, 2013. Every Sunday guests can feast on Chef Tim Goodell's Southern cooking with the eatery's new Fried Chicken special for $12 (includes two side dishes, choose from mashed potatoes, gravy, mac & cheese, collard greens, coleslaw and cornbread, additional sides are $4 each).

The Florentine (151 W. Adams) just started offering a new Happy Hour special. Any guests who dine at the bar Monday through Friday from 4-6pm will receive a complimentary pizza with purchase of an alcoholic beverage.

BEL 50 (738 N. Clark) is launching a new promotion on Sundays. Customers who order a breakfast waffle sandwich anytime on Sunday (8am to 8pm) will be offered a complimentary Bloody Mary or Mimosa with their order. This will be offered for the months of December and January.

Dinner/Drinks Series

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

• March 7: Normandy region

Valentine's Day

West Town Bakery & Diner executive pastry chef Chris Teixeria has created a host of unique Valentine’s Day specials for the 3-Star Certified Green Restaurant (1916 W Chicago Ave). You can view all of the Valentine’s Day offerings from Teixeria (formerly of Sixteen) below. Orders can be placed via walk-ins at West Town Bakery & Diner, by emailing customer.service@westtownbakery.com or by calling the bakery at 773.904.1414.

Everything about Ada St. exudes romance, from the secluded street entrance to the dim, 45-seat dining room with flickering candles filling the room. Chef Zoe Schor has created two separate Valentine's Day tasting menus for two, overseen by Chef Michael Kornick, perfect for a private meal with that special someone.  Tucked away on an un-assuming stretch, Ada St.'s industrial-chic location makes for the perfect atmosphere to enjoy indulgent and delicate dishes, plus wine pairings or cocktails.

Optional wine pairings are available to add on to either tasting menu for an additional fee.  Seductive craft cocktails are also available to accompany your meal.  Reservations can be made by visiting www.adastreetchicago.com or directly on Open Table.

Love is in the air!  On Thursday, February 14th,  Mercadito Hospitality's newest destination, Little Market Brasserie, located at 10 East Delaware (tel: 312-640-8141) will offer a special prix fixe Valentine's Day menu.  The dinner menu will be served family style for $49 per guest.

At Henri, a refined French-inspired five-course tasting menu by Executive Chef Christopher Gawronski presents offerings for a truly indulgent occasion, and is served alongside the à la carte dinner menu.  The prixe fixe menu is priced at $120 per person, and optional wine pairings from Jason Wagner are included for an additional $70 per person. For more information or to make reservations, please call 312.578.0763 or visit  www.henrichicago.com

The Local Chicago (198 E. Delaware Pl.), the recently opened Gold Coast eatery from the restaurateurs behind the award-winning Chicago Cut Steakhouse, will offer a special 'opposites attract' themed menu on February 14. Whether you like savory and your date likes sweet, or they like seafood and you like meat, The Local Chicago's variety of wines and spirits, decadent desserts and refined, all-American fare will be, whatever the preference, love at first bite.

The Local Chicago, aptly named to appeal to the "locals," is open 365 days a year for breakfast, lunch and dinner and offers daily specials. Reservations are recommended and available at www.thelocalchicago.com or by calling (312) 280-8887.

Because what says romance like slurping noodles with a special someone... Slurping Turtle (116 W. Hubbard St.), is launching a weekend full of Valentine's Day fun, beginning with romantic dinner menus handcrafted by Chef Takashi on Thursday, February 14 (also offered Friday and Saturday evening) and ending with a festive Pajama Brunch on Sunday, February 17. For reservations, please call (312) 464-0466.

Whether you’re single or coupled up this Valentine’s Day, Untitled has celebratory options for everyone. Cozy up with your sweetheart in the Library and Dining rooms and indulge in Chef Joseph Heppe’s specially designed five-course Valentine’s Day menu with optional beverage pairings. Untitled will also be offering a limited dinner menu that evening.

After dinner, be sure to stop in the Lounge area for ‘Drink & Wink’ – a festive gathering for those that want to enjoy Valentine’s Day outside of a table for two. Send that special someone or dreamboat from across the room a ‘Flirt-O-Gram’ – buy a hand-crafted cocktail, glass of wine or whiskey and for an additional $1, send it with a note to your crush. All $1 proceeds will benefit the American Heart Association. Between 6:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m., grab your date or a close-by-cutie and get your picture taken in a photo booth for just $2! Once the ‘Flirt-O-Gram’ has been delivered, grab your date and dance the night away with the old-school rhythm and blues and early jazz sounds of the dynamic Rhythm Rockets. Catch a bit of burlesque and other scintillating surprises! Be sure to stay and close out the night with DJ Greg Corner from 11 p.m. to close.

Tavernita invites couples to get cozy this Valentine's Day by offering a special sharing menu for two on February 14. Romantic revelers will enjoy getting up close and personal with succulent cuisine and creatively curated beverages in the stunning and vibrant setting of one of River North's hottest destinations. The couple's sharing menu includes a choice of one raw bar item, two specialty flatbreads, three small plates, one entree and dessert tasting for the table. View the complete holiday menu here.  Valentine's Day at Tavernita is $45 per guest (exclusive of tax and gratuity). Reservations are required and may be made by calling (312) 274-1111.

Alpana Singh, Proprietor and Master Sommelier of Chicago's wine-driven destination, The Boarding House, will host a Wine Lovers' Soiree, the second in a monthly wine event series, on Thursday, February 14 from 6 to 8 p.m.  Singles are invited to mingle with other oenophiles and taste Alpana's most romantic wine picks, paired with passed appetizers from Executive Chef Christian Gosselin.  The event will be hosted in The Cellar, the restaurant's subterranean lounge - complete with soft lighting, sex appeal, and sips of the world's oldest love potion! A cash bar will follow the event.  Space is limited.  Tickets to the Singles Wine Lovers Soiree are $40 per person and available at TicketLeap.com.

Alternatively, guests can opt for a three-course prix fix dinner in The Boarding House's enchanting, third floor dining room. Wine pairing is also available a la carte for $45.  The prix fix menu is available for $65 per person. Dining room reservations are required for February 14 and are available by calling (312) 280-0720 or visiting OpenTable. Bar seating is available on a walk-in basis.

Chicago’s most romantic restaurant, Geja’s Café, 340 W. Armitage Ave, sets hearts on fire with an eight day Valentine’s Festival including Double Anniversary Discount on Monday, February 11th, where couples will receive a double discount on their food purchases with proof of total years married.  On Love Note Tuesday on February 12th, all guests are encouraged to bring in a copy of their most meaningful love note that was written to their significant other at some point in the relationship.

The writer of the most romantic and heartwarming love letter will win dinner for two, once a year for the number of years the note is old (limit $150 per visit). The Valentine’s Day dinner package includes Geja’s creamy Gruyere cheese fondue, a glass of champagne, Geja’s salad with tangy Dijon vinaigrette, entrée fondue of Beef Tenderloin, Lobster Tail and Jumbo Shrimp, Geja’s luscious flaming chocolate dessert fondue with coffee. Tickets go on sale Sunday, January 13 at 9:00 a.m. For information, visit www.gejascafe.com.

After recently completing the World’s Longest Candy Cane at 51 feet on December 8, Chef Alain Roby is reaching new heights at his All Chocolate Kitchen, 33 S. Third St in Geneva, on Valentine’s Day, February 14, with a 20-foot enchanted chocolate tree in the middle of the store, made with 1,200 lbs of chocolate. The All Chocolate Kitchen is also offering a delicious Dessert & Coffee package for two, which includes raspberry crème brulee with a sugar rose for $14.99. Reservations are available by calling 630.232.2395. A Certified Master Chef of Pastry and Sugar Artistry, and Hall of Fame member in both Pastry Art & Design and Chocolatier magazines, Chef Roby is internationally known for his talent in creating sugar and chocolate masterpieces. He also holds the record for World's Tallest Cooked Sugar Building and World's Tallest Chocolate Sculpture. For more information, visit www.AllChocolateKitchen.com.

The Ultimate Romance Dinner Package for $2,000 AND the four-course prix fixe menu for $95 at The Signature Room at the 95th. First, The ULTIMATE Romance Dinner Package offers an exclusive, private dining setting for two in a candle-lit private room in which to share a gourmet menu complemented by Dom Perignon Champagne, live musical entertainment, and more.  Availability is limited and reservations are accepted through February only.
The entire Signature Room® Ultimate Romance dinner package includes:

  • Sophisticated butler service in a private dining room set for two
  • One dozen red roses in a vase to take home
  • A bottle of chilled Dom Perignon champagne upon arrival
  • Cocktail and wine service throughout dinner
  • A gourmet four-course menu selected from the dining room’s seasonal dinner selections
  • Private musical entertainment
  • Minimum cost of $2,000 plus gratuity
  • Additional arrangements can be made directly with your private event planner

Second, The Signature Room at the 95th® offers couples an exclusive Valentine’s Day four-course prix fixe menu served only Thurs., Feb. 14 and Sat., Feb. 16. Lunchtime on Valentine’s Day and other mealtimes surrounding the holiday weekend will offer the classic a la carte menu for guests. The Valentine’s Day menu includes gourmet appetizers, a choice of homemade soup or fresh salad, an exceptional entrée, one glass of champagne per person for a bubbly toast, and a sweet ending with housemade dessert, plus soft drinks, tea and coffee all for $95 per person, exclusive of tax and gratuity.

Bistronomic Chef/Owner Martial Noguier invites guests to begin a love affair with French cuisine this Valentine's Day. From Thursday, February 14 through Sunday, February 17, diners will enjoy a three-course prix fixe menu for $55 (exclusive of tax and gratuity). Based entirely on recipes from Chef Auguste Escoffier, the father of modern French cuisine, the menu features a variety of classic dishes tailored for the season and updated with Chef Martial's modern approach, as well as vegetarian options. Reservations are highly recommended and available at (312) 944-8400.

For Valentine's Day, couples can heat up the romance with a Latin-inspired five-course meal at Skokie's Libertad.  Executive Chef Armando Gonzales has designed a menu that showcases indulgent ingredients, zesty flavors and pink accents, perfect for a celebratory meal.  The atmosphere at Libertad, featuring dark wood, red walls and dim lighting, makes for a romantic ambiance to enjoy a cozy dinner with that special someone.  Food lovers can sneak away to Skokie to enjoy this fiery menu in an intimate setting.

The prix fixe menu includes a glass of champagne, and is priced at $50 per person.  An extensive wine list to accompany the meal, curated by award-winning consulting sommelier Shebnem Ince, is available for guests to select bottles or by-the-glass options.  A seasonal cocktail list designed by beverage expert Adam Seger also offers unique creations to really spice up the evening. For more information about about celebrating Valentine's Day at Libertad, call (847) 674-8100 or visit the restaurant's website.

Sepia's sexy vibe and chic atmosphere will set the tone for an unforgettable Valentine's Day. On Thursday, February 14th, we welcome romantics to dine under candlelight and indulge in an over-the-top menu full of aphrodisiacs and bold flavors.  James Beard Award-nominated Chef Andrew Zimmerman created a decadent menu for the holiday, paired with exquisite wines expertly selected by Wine Director Arthur Hon. The four course menu includes fanciful dishes like Kusshi Oysters with grapefruit, black pepper, and tarragon; Seared Sea Scallop with yuzu-kumquat marmalade, celery root, and coffee; and Grilled Wagyu Beef with foie gras croquette, pommes anna, and black trumpet mushrooms. As if the night wasn't sweet enough, Pastry Chef Cindy Schuman completes the meal with a variety of dessert delights.

The four-course prix-fixe menu is $90 per person, exclusive of tax and gratuity, with an optional wine pairing for an additional $65. For more information about our Valentine's Day menu, or to make reservations, please call 312.441.1920 or visit www.sepiachicago.com.

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 chicagofoodsnob@hotmail.com. Joe has also contributed to Eater.com Chicago and mydailyfindchicago.com.

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