Food Fun Friday - Holiday Dining, Cochon 555 and more

Food Fun Friday - Holiday Dining, Cochon 555 and more

I hope you and your families have a wonderful weekend celebrating the holidays! Many fun events have been added to the lineup below. With the weather seemingly better, the food event season is about to blow up.

Cochon 555 is back! There is no better place for a supporter of artisanal producers and heritage breeds to be April 26-28th than in Chicago. From a guest chef dinner by James Beard Nominee Andrew Zimmerman at Sepia to the Third Annual Pastoral’s Artisan Producer Festival and 5th Anniversary of the Cochon 555,heritage breed pig cook-off Chicagoans have an incredibly tasty opportunity to participate in promoting artisan craftsmanship and sustainable farming.

Arriving in The Windy City on Sunday, April 28 at the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago, Cochon 555, the pork-centric tour, gathers together five chefs, five pigs and five wineries at each event – ultimately touching down in 10 cities across the country and bringing its message of nose-to-tail cooking, breed diversity and family farming to food enthusiasts nationwide.

Sunday, April 28, 2013 - 4 p.m. (VIP); 5 p.m. (general admission) Four Seasons Hotel Chicago – Official Host of Cochon 555 - 120 E Delaware Pl, Chicago, IL 60611 **For hotel reservations and special packages please call: (312) 280-8800

$125 (general admission) and $200 (VIP); to purchase tickets, visit www.cochon555.com

bellyQ (1400 W. Randolph) is teaming up with men’s fashion expert haberdash to host a “Fashion Rocks” charity event benefitting Common Threads and West Loop Community Organization April 7th from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm. The special evening will feature cooking stations and passed appetizers from some of Chicago’s most acclaimed restaurants, beer from local breweries as well as wine, liquor and kegged cocktails from participating sponsors, live fashion installations and a silent auction.

All proceeds from the evening will benefit Common Threads, a non-profit charity founded by Chicago Chef Art Smith that focuses on educating children about different cultures through food and art, and West Loop Community Organization, which serves as an active voice for residents and businesses in bellyQ’s home of the West Loop.

Tickets for the evening are available to purchase for $150 via Brown Paper Tickets (fashionrocks@brownpapertickets.com). For more information, please call (312) 563-1010.

Brew & View with a Japanese Twist! Slurping Turtle (116 W. Hubbard) is excited to launch Beer & Bincho Movie Nights starting Monday, March 25 from 10pm to 1am and continuing every Monday thereafter. Featuring a different movie theme each week, along with specials, such as Togarashi Popcorn ($2), Mini Ramen Bowls ($7) and various Bincho specials starting at $3.50, the Turtle will serve as the perfect destination for late weeknight revelers and industry insiders. Guests joining for the kickoff on March 25 are in for a thrill as the inaugural week's theme is classic horror movies. We'd tell you which one but we'd have to kill you. Reservations are not required, but for additional information, please call (312) 464-0466.

Café des Architectes presents Les Amis du Chef, a multi-course dining experience with wine pairings on Thursday, April 11 in Cigale, the private dining space for the restaurant. Chef Greg Biggers and Pastry Chef Leigh Omilinsky will welcome the evening’s special guests from the Perigord region of France: Chef Vincent Arnould from the restaurant Le Vieux Logis and Winemaker Daniel Hecquet from Chateau Haut-Sarthes and Chateau Puy Servain. The evening’s menu will showcase the very best cuisine from this region, including truffles, foie gras and chestnuts.

6:30 p.m. reception - 7:00 p.m. dinner - Tickets are $150 all inclusive and can be purchased here:  http://lesamisduchef.eventbrite.com

On Thursday, April 4, ItaliAsia, 350 West Mart Center Drive, hosts the next installment in their cooking demonstration series. This month's demonstration will focus on The Art of the meatball. Meatballs are the result of combining different ground meats into a small ball and sometimes adding other ingredients such as breadcrumbs, minced onion, spices, eggs or herbs. These balls are typically rolled by hand then cooked by frying, baking, steaming or braising in sauce. At April's demonstration, ItaliAsia Chef de Cuisine Johnny Foster will teach attendees how to make the perfect meatballs and prepare ItaliAsia's signature Bucatini with Meatballs. This dish features house made veal meatballs and bucatini pasta in a marinara sauce with ricotta salata cheese. As guests experience the creative culinary process, they will be treated to samples and wine pairings.

Class is complimentary - Limited to 40 participants. To sign up, email italiasia@martplaza.com

In anticipation of Chicago's Baconfest, taking place on April 20th, 2 Sparrows' Chef Gregory Ellis is celebrating this popular pork with a Wine and Swine dinner on Friday, April 5. Paired with complementing wines, the bacon-inspired meal will feature four courses of mouthwatering dishes that will have guests ready for one of Chicago's most popular food fests. The Wine and Swine Dinner will begin at 7:00 pm and is priced at $60 per person, exclusive of tax and gratuity. Reservations are required by calling (773) 234-2320.

To enter to win a trip to the James Beard Foundation Awards with Acqua Panna, “Like” the Acqua Panna Facebook page and follow the instructions to complete the entry. The sweepstakes starts on March 6th, 2013 at 9:00 p.m. PT and ends on April 18, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. PT, and is open to any U.S. resident 21 or older. After the sweepstakes period closes, one winner will be chosen at random and will receive:

  • Round-trip coach class airfare to New York City for two
  • Two night’s hotel accommodations for two
  • Two tickets to the 2013 James Beard Foundation Gala Awards & Reception on May 6th, 2013
  • Dinner for two in New York City

For more information about the James Beard Foundation and upcoming awards visit www.jamesbeard.org. To learn more about Acqua Panna visit www.acquapanna.com.

EdgeAlliance’s Dining Out for Life (DOL) celebrates 20 years of helping men, women and children impacted by HIV/AIDS by partnering with local restaurants!  On Thursday, April 25th, 2013, participating restaurants around the city will donate a portion of their proceeds to EdgeAlliance, allowing its residents to sustain healthy lives. Chicago is one of 60 cities across the United States and Canada participating in the event, making Dining Out for Life the single largest HIV/AIDS benefit in the country!

For more information on Dining Out for Life, or on how to become a participating restaurant or a Volunteer Ambassador, please contact Eric Pomajzl, Manager of Community & Special Events, at 773.359.0122 or epomajzl@edgealliance.org. Visit the official Dining Out for Life website at www.diningoutforlife.com for full details!

Cru Kitchen & Bar is joining with Bright Pink for “Sequins at Breakfast,” 9am-11am on Friday, April 5, a women-focused networking breakfast celebrating women, empowerment, food and fashion! Tickets are $35 per person and a portion of the proceeds benefits Bright Pink.  Glittery girl talk will be led by Lindsay Avner of Bright Pink and Erica Strama of The Shops at North Bridge, followed by breakfast and a raffle. Swag bags will also be given away to 50 lucky ladies. Tickets can be purchased at www.stayclassy.org/sequinsatbreakfast.

EnvisionDo will be hosting experts in the food industry from all over the country for the first-ever Chicago GastroConference on April 13th! Chefs, restaurateurs, nonprofit directors, researchers, and entrepreneurs will gather to talk about what it means to start a business in the food industry, how some of the most celebrated restaurants in Chicago create unforgettable experiences, and what can be done about problems of food and poverty in Chicago. Keynote Speakers will include Barry Nalebuff, CEO of Honest Tea

Throughout the day we will have three time slots offering a total of six panels.  Come by for food, knowledge and interesting conversation. Tickets are free of University of Chicago students. The cost of the event is $10 for non-University of Chicago students and $20 for the general public and faculty.  Tickets can be purchased HERE.

Chicago Mart Plaza hotel presents the exclusive Ninth Inning Baseball Package starting at $149. From April 1 through October 31, 2013, guests are invited to catch all the Chicago baseball action while enjoying deluxe accommodations and affordable travel options at the contemporary River North hotel.

Package includes:

  •  Deluxe View Room Accommodations
  •  One bag of peanuts
  •  One box of Cracker Jacks (per guest)
  •  Two CTA Fun Passes each night booked
  •  $15 self-parking ($42 value)
  •  15% off coupon to be used at Clark Street Sports

April 1, 2013 - October 31, 2013 -- Starting at $149 Booking Code: IKJD1

CHICAGO MART PLAZA 350 West Mart Center, Chicago IL 60654 - 312-836-5000 www.martplaza.com

April Fools Day

Lottie's Pub in Bucktown, 1925 W Cortland,  and The Pony in Lakeview, 1738 W Belmont, invite guests to celebrate April Fool's Day on Monday, April 1. Both locations will feature specials including $3 Malort shots, $3 Soco Pepper and more (complete list of specials available below). Guests are invited to submit their best April Fool's prank ideas to prank@pioneertaverngroup.com. The winners will receive help staging their prank at either Lottie's or The Pony.

The Pony will also have a $3 "Bob for Beers" Prank Tank in which guests can pick a beer from the tank and receive anything from Smirnoff Ice and Big Flats to Lagunitas, Little Sumpin Sumpin, Half Acre Daisy Cutter and Revolution Wit.

Tax Day Deals

In honor of Tax Day (April 15), C-View, an outdoor rooftop terrace and indoor lounge located one MileNorth, A Chicago Hotel’s 29th floor, is offering 15% off tabs of $15 or more during the entire month of April.  Filers can also enjoy the refreshing “Taxed” libation mixed with Crown Royal, Peach Tree, Red Bull and a splash of cranberry juice.

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.

On Sunday, April 7, Mercat a la Planxa (638 S. Michigan Ave.), the modern tapas restaurant inspired by Spain’s Catalan region, will kick-off its Cochinillo Asado Sunday Supper series, a four-course menu featuring the restaurant’s signature suckling pig, along with additional tapas dishes and a craft beer pairing. The four-course menu and a pint of selected craft beer from Tyreana Brewing Company in Milwaukee will be offered every Sunday evening, from 4 to 10 p.m. Each month, a new brewery will be introduced to the series. The offering is family-style and a two person minimum is required.

Dinner/Drinks Series

The next Tavernita Dinner Series event, the "Spirits of Spring," will take place on Wednesday, March 20, at 6:30 p.m., the official first day of the season. To help usher in Spring, the event will introduce diners to new kegged cocktails now available on tap at Tavernita, paired with a flavorful, inspired four-course menu from Executive Chefs/Partners Ryan Poli and Greg Bastien. Each month, the dinner series provides guests with an opportunity to enjoy a delicious and educational evening in the vibrant, fun setting for which Tavernita has become known. The Tavernita team will guide the experience, along with beverage 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. Upcoming Tavernita Dinner Series events, each spotlighting a different spirit or wine, as well as theme, will take place on the following dates:

  • April 17: Down to Earth (vegetarian)
  • May 15: Barbecue & Brews
  • June 19: From the Farm
  • July 24:  American Picnic
  • August 21: Fruit of the Sea
  • September 18: Breakfast for Dinner
  • October 23: Halloween Spirits
  • November 20: Cornucopia of Cocktails
  • December 4: Christmakwanzakah

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

Executive Chef De’Ann Wellwerts of Markethouse Restaurant and Bar(611 N. Fairbanks Ct.), the farm-to-table restaurant celebrating the flavors of America’s heartland, will kick-off her “Entertaining with De’Ann” series, a monthly cooking demonstration series of culinary arts and crafts kicking off on Thursday, March 21 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Guests will enjoy an informative demonstration from Chef De’Ann on an all-American entertaining activity, along with themed bites, a cocktail and fun take-home gift.

  • Thursday, April 25: Herbs for Spring. Chef De’Ann will show participants how to plant seedlings of different herbs and infuse them into delicious dishes. Guests will get to take home their own herb plant to use in dishes at home and taste Chef De’Ann’s fresh herb pasta primavera.
  • Thursday, May 16: Perfect for a Picnic. Chef De’Ann will demo Markethouse’s housemade hummus, perfect for a summer picnic. Guests will go home with a new recipe and a fun accessory to add to their picnic basket.

Each demonstration is just $10 per person and limited to 20 guests. Following each demo, participants may receive 20% off dinner in the restaurant during the same night only. Reservations are required and may be made by calling 312.224.2200.

Passover

This Passover, gather your family and friends around a table at Glenview House and feast on traditional Seder favorites. Chef Grant Slauterbeck will feature a 3-course unleavened Passover Tasting Menu including his twist on celebratory dishes eaten during the week-long holiday. The special menu will be available for both lunch and dinner. Monday, March 25 through Tuesday, April 2 from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. $35 per person, not including tax and gratuity. Reservations are recommended. Passover is menu available for dine-in only.

Glenview House - 1843 Glenview Road, Glenview, IL 60025 847-724-0692

From March 25 to April 2, 2013, Bistronomic will offer a seasonal Passover menu with a French accent.  Perfect for diners attending services in a neighboring place of worship, the restaurant is offering the option to include value parking with a holiday package. Packages are priced (exclusive of tax and gratuity) as follows:

  • Package 1: 3-courses prix fixe menu ($40)
  • Package 2: 3-courses prix fixe menu & 3 hours of parking ($52)
  • Package 3: 3-courses prix fixe menu & 5 hours of parking ($58)

Reservations are highly recommended and available at (312) 944-8400.

The Goddess and Grocer is offering a catering menu perfect for celebrating Passover, Monday, March 25 to Tuesday, April 2. Start the tradition with a Seder Plate ($15). Follow the reading of the Haggadah with Chicken & Matzo Ball soup, ($6/pint; $12/quart),housemade Traditional Gefilte Fish ($5.50)with fresh horseradish and beet puree, or Chopped Chicken Liver ($9/lb)garnished with hard cooked egg. Fresh and flavorful salads include Smoked Whitefish Salad ($48/6-8 servings) with shaved fennel, baby arugula, celery, orange, lemon, and olive oil and Spiced Quinoa & Carrot Salad ($10/lb) with carrots, roasted zucchini, cilantro, scallions, currants, paprika and citrus vinaigrette.

For the main course, dig into Braised Beef Brisket ($18/lb) with mushroom, shallot and red wine sauce, Matzo Crusted Chicken Breast ($9.50) stuffed with dried figs, toasted almonds and oranges, or Baked Whitefish ($9.50) herb crusted with lemon and white wine sauce. Hearty sides include Matzo Cheese Kugel ($30/10-12 servings) with toasted almonds and granny smith apples and Tzimmes ($9/lb) with carrots, sweet potatoes and apples braised in orange juice with prunes and honey.  Go for the sweet stuff! Goddess is featuring an array of choices, including Chocolate Decadence Cake ($50/12-16 servings), a rich, flourless chocolate cake served with a raspberry coulis, Chocolate Ganache Cheesecake ($6/slice; $45/whole, 10-12 servings) with vanilla cheesecake covered in chocolate ganache on a chocolate coconut base and Lemon Tart ($35/8-10 servings) with creamy lemon filling in a coconut macaroon crust with raspberries.

The Passover catering menu is available from Sunday, March 24 to Tuesday, April 2. The menu will be available in stores starting Saturday, March 23. Orders must be placed 48 hours in advance by calling 773.292.7100, emailing catering@goddessandgrocer.com or visiting a store.

Easter

Tavernita, 151 W Erie, will offer a special Easter Brunch sharing menu on Sunday, March 31. The holiday offering, perfect for family or a group of friends, will include the chef's choice of amuse bouche, four dishes for the table, and one cocktail per guest for $30 per person (excluding tax & gratuity). Kid-friendly menu items, including Chocolate Chip & Berry Pancakes and Macaroni & Cheese, will also be available for $5 per dish along with a selection of homemade sodas. The menu, curated by Executive Chef/Partner Greg Bastien, features a selection of crostinis and sliders, small plates, eggs, and sweets for diners to choose from.  Brunch cocktails, kegged cocktails and sangria will be available, as well as Raw Bar items and vegetarian options, to please a variety of palates. Reservations are required and may be made by calling (312) 274-1111.

Join us on Sunday, March 31, to celebrate Easter with a seasonal and decadent brunch at Sepia. James Beard Award nominated Chef Andrew Zimmerman and Pastry Chef Cindy Schuman have created a four-course menu full of fresh flavors and produce for you to share with family and friends. The cost per person is $48 for adults and $26 for children age 12 and under, exclusive of beverage, tax, and gratuity. Brunch libations are available for $10. The special menu is available on Sunday, March 31, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Reservations for Sepia's Easter brunch are recommended and can be made by calling the restaurant at 312.441.1920.

Easter Brunch at Fulton’s on the River, sure to please everyone in the family! On Sunday, March 31 from 10am to 3pm, Executive Chef Kevin Schulz is offering a spread for $49.95 for adults and $15.95 for children 12 and under (excluding tax and gratuity). Brunch also includes an Easter Egg Hunt for the kids, occurring throughout the day, with eggs filled with treats under seats and hidden among tables.

Enjoy spectacular views of the Chicago River while taking your pick of dishes off the chef’s tables. Don’t miss Fulton’s “Build Your Own” Bloody Mary Bar. Brunch wouldn’t be the same without the delicious cocktail! Seats are limited, so please call 312.822.0100 to make reservation.

Bistronomic will offer a lavish Easter Brunch, available for $29 (exclusive of tax and gratuity), on Sunday, March 31.  Bottomless mimosas are also available for an additional $15. Reservations are highly recommended and available at (312) 944-8400.

Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar announces the return of its annual three-course Easter brunch. Guests can enjoy classic brunch favorites done the Fleming's way for $36.95 per guest and children under 12 available for $17.95.. In addition, each party will receive a $25 dining card valid for a future visit. Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar - Chicago - 25 East Ohio Street. Easter Sunday - March, 31, 2013 from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. www.flemingssteakhouse.com to make reservations please call 312-329-9463.

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.

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