Food Fun Friday!

Food Fun Friday!

I hope everyone has a fun weekend planned! So many fun events to do in the city before the big 4th of July weekend.

Enjoy the awesome weather and the short week!

Note: The info has been pulled and edited from various press releases.


If you think you can stand the heat, sign-up to get in the kitchen! Open casting calls for chefs interested in competing in this culinary competition series will be held in cities across the country starting on Saturday, June 21, 2014.

Chicago - Saturday, July 12th

Centered Chef Food Studios

177 N. Ada St. #101
Chicago, IL 60607


For additional updated casting information and to apply visit:

TWO announces the first edition of Seasonal Slam, a cooking competition where guests choose the winner, Sunday, July 27. Chef Tom Van Lente and Head Bartender Graham Crowe of TWO faces Executive Chef Ryan McCaskey and Head Bartender Arunas Brunzas of Acadia in a battle of creative cookery and spirits. Following each of the three courses, guests vote for their favorite plate and cocktail without knowing which restaurant made which item. The restaurant with the most votes wins. Plate Magazine Editor Chandra Ram emcees the event and has selected the ingredients that each chef and mixologist must feature: corn, cherries, and basil.

The evening begins with a cocktail reception at 5 p.m., with the seated dinner to start at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $85, including of food, drink, tax, and tip, and can be purchased online here.

A far cry from what was once known as a cheap, college student pantry staple, ramen is currently taking the states by storm with new authentic shops popping up around the country. This fall, Chicago will celebrate the beloved noodle dish with the city's inaugural Ramenfest at bellyQ on Saturday, November 8 from 12pm-3pm benefitting Common Threads. Owner and Executive Chef Bill Kim is gathering chefs from around the city - both ramen experts and novices - to prepare their culinary interpretations of the classic dish. Ten chefs will try their hand at ramen for the event including Chicago favorites like Chef Lee Wolen (Boka), Chef Jared Van Camp (Nellcote) and more!

A portion of all proceeds from the event and all proceeds from the silent auction will benefit Common Threads, a non-profit charity founded by Chicago Chef Art Smith. Common Threads is a national nonprofit organization committed to educating underserved communities about healthy food choices through hands-on experiences.

Can't wait until November? Highly regarded as one of the best ramen restaurants in the city, bellyQ's sister restaurant urbanbelly will kick off monthly ramen specials beginning this July and leading up to Ramenfest. Beginning July 1, for $13 (or $15 with a beer pairing), urbanbelly will be offering a seasonal, refreshing take on ramen - Chilled Ramen Noodles with Chicken Katsu and Almond Caesar Dressing (urbanbelly's twist on a Caesar salad).

Tickets for Ramenfest are $45 online/$55 at the door and include food, cocktails, wine & beer $45 per person; includes food and drinks Tickets are limited and can be purchased online.

The Boarding House - the restaurant uniquely-owned by Master Sommelier Alpana Singh - will host a new series featuring signature pizzas and wine pairings selected by different sommeliers each month.  Aptly named "Let's Eat Somm Pizza!", the series highlights the popular coupling of pizza and wine, as well as shines a light on the impressive sommelier talent found throughout the city.

July 2014

  • Sommelier: Fernando Beteta, Master Sommelier, Tenzing
  • Pizza: Spicy Italian Sausage, Shaved Fennel, Fennel Seed, Mozzarella, Olive Oil, Salt and Cracked Pepper.
  • Wine: 2012 Mauro Molino Barbera d'Alba, Italy
  • Tasting Notes: Served lightly chilled, the wine enhances the anise flavors from the fennel, and the bright acidity is refreshing. The wine is low in tannins with no oak and doesn't overpower the spiciness from the sausage.

The "Let's Eat Somm Pizza" special will only be available in the restaurant's bar and is offered daily with the exception of Sundays. Pricing will vary slightly each month based on selected wines and toppings. For more information visit or call (312) 280-0720.

Café des Architectes will celebrate Fête de la Musique on Saturday, June 21 with a live jazz brunch.  A summer festival originating in France, Fête de la Musique promotes music from all over the world, often through impromptu performances. The Isaiah Spencer Jazz Trio will be playing from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Known for his innovative sound, Isaiah Spencer has carved out a unique reputation in Chicago and on the national and international music stage.

Café des Architectes - Fête de la Musique Jazz Brunch

(312)324-4063 20 E. Chestnut St. (inside Sofitel Chicago)


Executive Chef John Coletta and the entire customer-obsessed Quartino staff invite you to experience the delicate and fragrant aromas found in foraged Italian Summer Truffles June 1st, through July 31st. Chef Coletta  will offer endless ways for diners to experience Italy’s finest  Summer Truffles.

Truffles will be available to add on to ANY of the authentic regional Italian preparations on the Quartino Menu, for only $5 per dish (5g or 1/6oz).

Italian Truffles are abundant during the summer months, and are best enjoyed shaved fresh onto seasonal dishes ranging from vegetable salads, to light paste, to delicate risotti.

Quartino Ristorante & Wine Bar
626 North State Street, Chicago - 312.698.5000

Fourth of July Options

Castaways Bar and Grill

Castaways Bar & Grill on North Avenue Beach announces their Fourth of July weekend entertainment lineup (full schedule below). Castaways will serve lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (weather permitting). Menu items include fresh salads, wraps, sandwiches, and quesadillas accompanied by frozen cocktails and even Corona in a can (No bottles on the beach). Castaways now offers cabanas available for rent daily through Labor Day. The two cabanas are located on the North end of the Castaways upper deck with a capacity of 10 - 12 people (max) each. The cabanas are available for rent from 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. ($1,500 F&B minimum).

Friday, July 4 DJ Jem & The Dance Floor Junkies

Saturday, July 5 103.5 KissFM Live Broadcast DJ Jem & The Dance Floor Junkies

Sunday, July 6 Hat Guys

Frontier All American Bison BBQ and Craft Beer Sampling

Guests who visit Frontier, 1072 N Milwaukee, over Fourth of July weekend will enjoy a Bison BBQ and Craft Beer Tasting from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, July 5 for only $30 per person. Featured menu items will include bison burgers, bison sausages, smoked chicken, baked beans, potato salad, and mac and cheese. The Craft Beer Sampling will feature a selection of beers from Lagunitas, Metropolitan Brewing, and Greenbush Families of Beer from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Fourth of July Weekend Recovery at IVme

  • Friday, July 4 to Monday, July 7
  • Base Package: $139/$119 (if no oxygen)

Those who overindulge during Fourth of July Weekend celebrations can stop in IVme Hydration Clinic, 1437 N Wells, all weekend long. Designed for those who are suffering from dehydration due to hangover, exhaustion, or cold or flu symptoms, IVme will offer patients expedited hydration therapy through IV delivery of fluids, nutrition and medication. After IVme therapy, patients will be able to reclaim their day and get back to work and other obligations. Appointments required.

Kanela Fourth of July Al Fresco Brunch

  • Friday, July 4 to Monday, July 7

Guests who dine at Kanela Lakeview or Old Town can enjoy a Fourth of July weekend brunch featuring new menu items like the Stuffed Raspberry Cheesecake French Toast, Chilaquiles, Hummus Wrap, Smoked Salmon Wrap, and a Spicy Black Bean Pesto Wrap. Guests can also try several new seasonal cocktails including Strawberry Basil Lemonade, Pineapple Mojito Sangria, and Iced Rumchata Chai. The charming enclosed patio at the Lakeview location seats up to 40 guests and full food and drink menus are available for al fresco dining. The Old Town location offers intimate al fresco dining, weather permitting. The flower-lined sidewalk patio features seating for 14 guests, and full food and drink menus are available.

Fireworks Outdoor Dining at The LandShark Beer Garden

The LandShark Beer Garden, on the East End of Navy Pier, announces a full lineup of live music during Fourth of July Weekend (complete schedule below). Guests can also enjoy a prime fireworks viewing spot on both Wednesday, July 2 and Friday, July 4. Headlined by its signature, Landshark Lager, imports, micro-brewed and domestic beers are always served at the Landshark Beer Garden, as well as cocktails and frozen drinks. Favorite picnic foods including pizza, bratwurst soaked in Landshark Lager, Italian beef, hot wings, hamburgers, Chicago style hot dogs and much more are also available.

Wednesday, July 2 7 p.m. - 10 p.m., Too White Crew

Thursday, July  3 2 p.m. - 4:30 p.m., Billy Flynn 5:30 p.m. - 8 p.m., U.S.A.F. - Airmen of Note 9 p.m. - 11:30 p.m., Ultimate Concept

Friday, July 4 2 p.m. - 4:30 p.m., Briar Rabbit 5:30 p.m. - 8 p.m., U.S.A.F. - Airmen of Note 9 p.m. - 11 p.m., 97Nine

Saturday, July 5 2 p.m. - 4:30 p.m., Safe Haven 5:30 p.m. - 8 p.m., Todd Kessler & The New Folk 9 p.m. - 11:30 p.m., Samadhi Vibe

Sunday, July 6 2 p.m. - 4:30 p.m., Eliminator 5:30 p.m. - 8 p.m., Creedence Revived

Lottie’s “Let’s American” Fourth of July Party

Guests who visit Lottie’s on Friday, July 4 will enjoy a “Let’s American Party” with specials like $4 Redds Apple Ale, $4 Miller Lite, and $4 Blue Moon. Patrons are encouraged to wear their best “American Party” attire such as sports jerseys, trucker hats, flannel, and solo cup accessories. “Let’s American Parties” are sweeping Europe and other countries. For more information, search hashtag #letsamericanparty or visit

MAK Fourth of July Al Fresco Dining

  • Friday, July 4 to Monday, July 7

Now serving alcohol and perfect for outdoor Fourth of July dining, MAK offers casual al fresco dining, weather permitting. The patio features seating for 28 guests and full menus are available including a unique selection of Asian Beers like Sapporo, Kirin Light, Tiger, Tsing Tao, Lucky Buddha and Hitachino White as well as sake and wine. MAK offers the dynamic flavors of traditional Chinese cuisine with a healthy and modern twist featuring flavorful food based on recipes handed down from generations.

The Pony “Let’s American” Fourth of July Party

Guests who visit The Pony on Friday, July 4 will enjoy a “Let’s American Party” with specials including $4 Redds Apple Ale, $4 Miller Lite, $4 Blue Moon, $5 Independence Pony Punch. Patrons are encouraged to wear their best “American Party” attire such as sports jerseys, trucker hats, flannel, and solo cup accessories. “Let’s American Parties” are sweeping Europe and other countries. For more information, search hashtag #letsamericanparty or visit

RIVA Cafe Outdoor Dining and Fireworks

This more casual version of Riva Crab House, Chicago's premiere seafood restaurant, will please visitors and locals alike on lively Navy Pier during Fourth of July weekend. Guests can enjoy a prime fireworks viewing spot on both Wednesday, July 2 and Friday, July 4. Riva Café accommodates guests with a superb seafood menu, gourmet sandwiches, soups and salads. The café's outdoor seating area provides a beautiful view overlooking Lake Michigan as well as access to all of Navy Pier's fun and excitement. (Patio Capacity: 150 - 175).

Takito Kitchen Fourth of July Pairing Special

Guests who visit Takito Kitchen over Fourth of July weekend can dine al fresco on the sidewalk patio and enjoy a $20 wine and taco pairing special. The pairing includes Fried Chicken Tacos created by Chef/Partner David Dworshak and a choice of wine selected by Beverage Manager/Partner Adam Weber. The wine options include Chandon American Summer (split), or Charles and Charles Rosé (glass).

Fourth of July Special at Terrace on Clark

Guests who visit Terrace on Clark over the Fourth of July will enjoy half-off select appetizers and flatbreads from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and $5 Ketel One cocktails. Guests can enjoy the special on Terrace’s new outdoor patio, which features seating for 100, one of the largest in Chicago’s Loop.

Sweetwater Tavern and Grille’s cocktail specials and competition between lead bartenders Sam Scholl and Kevin Blake.

Starting today and running through July 4, two Independence Day themed cocktails will be offered on the menu:

  • Sammie’s American Dream – a special patriotic blend of Tito’s Handmade Vodka, St. Germain, fresh watermelon, lime, mint, and blueberries $10
  • Kevin’s Patriotic Elixir – an all-American classic made with Jeremiah Weed, strawberry puree, and lemonade $10

Once Independence Day rolls around, the time will come for Scholl and Blake to battle it out for the title of Mr. or Mrs. America – the cocktail edition. Starting at 2 p.m., a complimentary cocktail competition will begin. With the panel of judges (general manager, director of operations, and two volunteer judges) and votes tallied up for the two week special, a winner will be announced!

Summer Fun Options

Get serious about comedy this summer

·         Picture 400 women performing in 70 shows over the course of 4 days, and you’re at the 3rd Annual Chicago Women’s Funny Festival at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont. From June 5-8, comediennes from around the country – and world – will unite in Chicago to embrace the best in female comedy. The festival features everything from improv and standup, to musical and vaudeville, with headliners such as SNL writer Katie Rich and Chelsea Lately contributor Beth Stelling. Workshops are available as well. For tickets or more information, visit

Prepare Ye for the most anticipated show of the summer

·         The Marriott Theatre is proud to present a unique revival of one of Broadway’s most legendary rock musicals, GODSPELL. Conceived and originally directed by John Michael Tebelak, GODSPELL is a groundbreaking reflection on the life of Jesus, embracing the message of community, kindness and love.  Director and Choreographer Matt Raftery delivers a fresh, organic, intimate production, literally “illustrating” the parables of the New Testament and bringing its lessons to life on the Marriott stage. For tickets, call 847.634.0200 or visit

Live Happily Ever Laughter

·         From Chicago’s legendary sketch comedy theatre The Second City comes the smart, cutting edge revue, Happily Ever Laughter, presented at Theatre at the Center, 1040 Ridge Road, Munster, on Friday, June 13 and Saturday, June 14 at 8 p.m. Drawing on classic material from The Second City archives and scenes pulled from the morning headlines, Happily Ever Laughter features some of the best sketches, songs and improvisation from The Second City’s 53-year history. The Second City continues to deliver hilarious, satirical revues as the leading voices in comedy while touring the globe. Dinner is available beforehand at an extra cost. Visit

Put a sizzling twist on your typical fundraiser

·         Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont, puts a spin on the traditional fundraiser with THE FUN HOUSE – a festival of FUN!, an annual event to benefit the nonprofit Chicago-based venue on June 14 from 3 p.m.-12 a.m. THE FUN HOUSE will feature family-friendly indoor and outdoor entertainment, a performance by The Jesse White Tumblers, a photo booth, interactive games and more! Tickets for the event are only $10 for folks 15 years and older and free for folks under 15 years of age. All proceeds directly benefit Stage 773. For tickets, visit

Escape the summer heat with a massage and facial  

·         Enjoy mini massages, refreshments and tours of the brand new Massage Envy Spa Mount Prospect, at their Grand Opening event on Tuesday, June 17 from 5-6:30 p.m. Mayor Arlene A. Juracek and the Chamber of Commerce will be in attendance for a ribbon cutting at 5 p.m. The new clinic will be located at Randhurst Village Shopping Center, 1052 Center Drive in Mount Prospect, and will feature 3,600 square feet of space with 14 therapy rooms, 4 spa rooms and a tranquility room. Email to rsvp to the event.

·         There’s a fresh face in the north suburbs: Massage Envy Spa will open in Niles/Skokie in July at Village Crossing Shopping Center, 5661 W. Touhy Ave., Unit A. The relaxing 3,600+ square-foot clinic has 9 therapy rooms and 4 dual-purpose rooms. The spa is centrally located to serve the communities of Niles, Skokie, Lincolnwood, Morton Grove, Park Ridge, and the Chicago neighborhoods of Edgebrook, Wildwood, Sauganash, Norwood Park, Jefferson Park and Edison Park. Like them on Facebook for a chance to win a free facial or massage. For more info, call 847.588.0900 or visit

For the perfect family summer outing

·         Throw on a kilt and pass the haggis at the 28th Annual Scottish Festival & Highland Games on June 20-21 in Itasca. The festival, which benefits the Scottish home, Illinois' oldest charity, is open to the public on Friday, June 20 from 4:00pm - 10:00pm and Saturday, June 21 from 8:00am - 9:00pm. The CHICAGO SCOTS invite everyone to be Scottish for this weekend-long annual summer celebration. Offering an extensive array of unique Scottish traditions, revelry, and culture for the whole family! Visit for more information.

Step into the spotlight and S-H-I-N-E on stage

·         Drury Lane Theatre will continue its landmark 30th anniversary season with the smash hit Tony Award-winning musical comedy THE 25th ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE. The show previews June 19, opening Thursday, June 26 at 8 p.m., and running through August 17 . To raise the comical bar, four audience members get the opportunity to participate in this hysterical musical as onstage contestants. For tickets, call 630.530.0111 or visit

For the perfect outdoor summer performance

·         First Folio Theatre, Mayslake Peabody Estate, 31st St. & Rt. 83, Oak Brook, presents Shakespeare’s classic comedy THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR on its outdoor main stage as part of the Shakespeare Under the Stars summer series. THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR stars Shakespeare’s greatest comic character, Sir John Falstaff, who was too huge to be contained by his original appearance in Henry IV. Short on money, the rotund Falstaff sets out on a quest to seduce not just one, but two wealthy married women, who then decide to turn the tables on Falstaff and teach him a lesson in fidelity and honesty. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

Grab your cowboy boots for the down-home, boot-stompin’ musical of the summer

·         After 200 episodes and 9 seasons as America’s beloved 1960s sitcom, The Beverly Hillbillies is making strides on stage as a musical for the first time ever. Theatre at the Center presents the World Premiere of THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES, THE MUSICAL, running from July 10 through August 10 with a press opening on Sunday, July 13. Written by David Rogers and Amanda Rogers, and directed by Jeff Award nominee David Perkovich with a musical score by award-winning Chicago composer Gregg Opelka, THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES, THE MUSICAL follows the nouveau-riche Clampett family as they move to the privileged society of Beverly Hills after discovering an oil reserve on their land. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

The perfect Father’s Day gift

·         Looking for Father’s Day gift ideas? Grab a few tickets to see Chris Lemmon portray his father in the World Premiere of Chris Lemmon in JACK LEMMON RETURNS! Due to popular demand, the show will be extended from June 25 through July 20 at The Royal George Theatre, 1641 North Halsted Street. The production that has been called "A very classy solo tribute!" (Chicago Tribune); "An honest, loving ‘living memoir’!" (Chicago Sun-Times); and “An affectionate and all-together absorbing tribute!”  (TimeOut Chicago) will return to Chicago for this strictly limited engagement. The production is written and directed by Hershey Felder (George Gershwin AloneMaestro Bernstein and last season’s smash hit Mona Golabek in The Pianist of Willesden Lane) and based on the true story of the legendary Jack Lemmon (Mister Roberts, Some Like it Hot, Days of Wine and Roses, The Odd Couple) and his relationship with his son, actor and musician Chris Lemmon (Duet, That’s Life, Lena’s Holiday, etc.). For tickets or more information, visit

Unlock your inner artist this summer

·         Discover Oak Brook’s newest chic hotel, Le Méridien Chicago – Oakbrook Center, officially opening its doors this July after undergoing a $25 million transformation. Located in the former Renaissance Hotel building, the brand new property boasts a spectacular new outer façade, which opens into the brand’s signature, award-winning arrival experience, Le Méridien Hub™. Re-interpreting the traditional lobby into a social gathering place, the Hub consists of four elements: large-scale artwork in high impact areas; the sensory experience, illustrated through Le Méridien signature scent, sound and use of light; UNLOCK ART™ programme, featuring artist designed key card collections that offer access to the hotel’s UNLOCK ART™ partner, The Elmhurst Art Museum; and a 24-hour curated soundtrack featuring the music of French Bossa Nova band, Nouvelle Vague. For more information or to make a reservation, visit

For a romantic summer date night

·         Having been the site of 137,963 first dates and 16,254 engagements, Chicago’s most romantic restaurant Geja’s Café will celebrate its 49th Anniversary Sunday, June 29 through Friday, July 4. Geja’s will offer 49% off all food bills and will host its 5th annual recipe contest and 4th annual poetry challenge during the 6-day anniversary celebration. Guests are encouraged to compose original poetry about their experiences at Geja’s over the years. Aspiring fondue foodies are invited to submit an original dipping sauce to accompany Geja’s signature meats and seafood entrée. The winners from each contest will win a dinner for 6 with selected premium wines. For more information or to make a reservation, visit

Take a staycation at the Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park with exclusive summer packages

·         The perfect treat for the runner in your family, The Runner’s Reward Package at the Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park includes overnight accommodations in a luxurious guestroom as well as a soothing 50 minute Journey Pedicure in mySpa to pamper tired feet. Rates start at $275.

·         The Urban Goddess Package is an ideal option for a lovely summer escape with friends. Steps from Michigan Avenue shopping and the city’s hottest nightlife destinations, Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park is a sophisticated oasis for an unforgettable girlfriends getaway weekend—whether plans include relaxing at the hotel’s peaceful retreat, mySpa, or going out on the town. Rates begin at $299 and include accommodations for two as well as a $100 credit per room/per paid night to apply to a service at mySpa.

·         Summer vacation is quickly approaching and for many locals, that means consistent (and sometimes stressful) visits from family and friends. For those who need a little more space to accommodate out-of-town guests over the spring and summer holidays, Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park offers its Relatives and Room Service Package.  The package includes overnight accommodations and a $25 food and beverage credit.  Rates start at $244.

·         No trip to Chicago is complete without a visit to the stunning Magnificent Mile, which features world-class shopping destinations and sophisticated locally-owned boutiques. The To Give or to Get Shopping Package provides guests with a $50 gift card to Saks Fifth Avenue, a benchmark for luxury shopping that is synonymous with extraordinary customer service. Also included in this package is a lavish breakfast buffet in aria Restaurant to kick off a day exploring the iconic shops on Michigan Avenue as well as overnight accommodations. Rates begin at $265.

·         For those who are celebrating their anniversary, Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park provides a relaxing, romantic retreat. As part of the Suite Memories offer, couples who bring proof that they are celebrating their anniversary during the same month of their stay will receive an upgrade to the best available room in the hotel.   Rates begin at $169. For reservations, visit and use booking code PSUI.


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

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