Food Fun Friday!

This week has been brutal but there is a TON of stuff coming up to get you to the finish line of July! Burgers, contests and more…check out what’s going on in the City for fun with food!

National Hamburger Day July 28!
Benny’s Chop House – (444 N. Wabash Avenue, Chicago, 312.626.2444)
Benny’s Chop House offers four delectable burgers available 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Burger enthusiasts can enjoy the Benny’s Burger with Maytag Blue Cheese, port wine onions and truffle fries ($9.99); the Fried Egg and Truffle Aioli Burger with organic egg and black pepper fries ($10.99); the Chicago Style Burger with Italian sausage, peppers, onions, horseradish and Parmigiano-Reggiano fries ($9.99); and finally, the Classic Burger with choice of Cheddar, Provolone or blue cheese with hand-cut fries ($9.99).

Pop Up Dinner Next Weekend
Logan Square Kitchen, the shared-use sustainable commercial kitchen and event space, presents Gypsy – a pop-up restaurant offering globally inspired street food. Gypsy’s menu is developed by Chefs Oliver Poilevey and Scott Jambrosek of La Sardine and Le Bouchon. These wonderful, long-standing Chicago restaurants are cooking up big flavors for Gypsy. This culinary event is for one weekend only during the Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival. Food will be designed to travel, allowing folks to explore the music stages and art galleries while eating delicious food!

Food will be designed to grab-and-go, but also available to enjoy it in the lovely Logan Square Kitchen dining room. Pints of local craft beer will be available for $5, as well as red and white wines for $5 and $8 a glass. This event is open to the public, will be CASH ONLY and will offer quick counter service. Item prices will range between $3-$9 for food and drinks.
Friday, July 29, 4pm – 11pm
Saturday, July 30, 12pm – 11pm
Sunday, July 31, 12pm – 11pm

Logan Square Kitchen
2333 N. Milwaukee Avenue
Chicago, IL 60647

Santa Margherita Recipe Challenge
Santa Margherita wines recently launched its first-ever Pour & Pair Challenge on Facebook, which challenges foodies and home cooks to share their best recipe pairings for Santa Margherita’s food-friendly wines in exchange for great prizes.
From now until August 14, the brand is inviting recipe pairing submissions for its Prosecco. And, in the next few months, it will do the same with its Chianti Classico Riserva and Pinot Grigio.

Nearly everyone who enters a qualifying recipe will receive a prize and the top pairing for each wine varietal will receive a full case of the wine. (In states where laws prohibit us to ship wines to the winner, we’ll award gift certificates to a top restaurant in the winner’s hometown).
All you need to enter is a Facebook account, and there’s no limit to the number of recipes that can be submitted. For more information, please check out the Pour & Pair tab at

Zealous 18 yr Anniversary and Give-away
Chef Michael Taus is pleased to celebrate 18 years of Zealous. Throughout the months of July and August, Chef Taus will celebrate Zealous’ 18th birthday by providing everyone with a unique opportunity to win prizes that also happen to be hugely popular favorites of guests at the downtown Chicago restaurant. Details include:

• Challenge the Chef. Throughout the month of July, Chef Taus asks Chicagoans to fantasize about their “dream meal” and put his culinary prowess to the test. With no restrictions on cuisine type or global influence, everyone is invited to tweet their ideas for what he envisions to be a perfect dinner to Chef Taus at @Michael_Taus or become a fan and post them on the Zealous Facebook page at At the end of August, Chef Taus will select the most original entry and will invite its author and a guest to dine at Zealous, where he will actually create the fantasy meal in five courses with wine pairings. Entries suggesting illegal or endangered ingredients will not be considered.

• A Trip Down Memory Lane. This month, Chef Taus also asks guests familiar and new to become a fan on Facebook at and tell him about their favorite Zealous memories over the years on the restaurant’s Facebook wall. Whether celebrating a birthday, engagement, wedding, business success, or whether one happened to stumble upon Zealous and enjoy one of the best meals of their lives, he wants to read about it. No story is too funny, touching or nostalgic. Photos are also welcome to supplement submissions. Authors of the entries with the most “likes” on the Zealous page will have an opportunity to receive a phenomenal set of experiences, which include:

1. Chef for a Day with Chef Taus. The lucky winner of this prize will travel with Chef Taus to Chicago’s famed Vietnamese market on Argyle St., come back to Zealous for a complete cooking class using the ingredients, and will be invited to stay on for a five-course dinner with a guest.
2. Five-course dinner for two with wine pairings.
3. “Z” Burgers and Beers for six in Zealous’ intimate lounge.
4. Appetizers and drinks in the Zealous lounge for six.
5. A dessert and wine tasting for six.
6. Free corkage for a month (limit one bottle per visit).
*Prizes do not include gratuity.

Both contests run through August 30, 2011. For more information, please call (312) 475-9112.

Locavores Unite
Chicago Botanic Garden Farm Dinners
Wednesday, August 17, 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Wednesday, September 7, 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Join us at the Chicago Botanic Garden for our second season of Farm Dinners; a celebration of Midwestern farmland and the food we love to eat! The format is a bit different than the City Provisions Farm Dinners. Diners will arrive at the gardens and will be treated to a cocktail hour of passed finger foods and drinks by Death’s Door Spirits.

Cost is $200 per person (transportation is not provided to this event) and includes a garden tour, cocktails, appetizers, and a multicourse meal including dessert. Parking is free for ticketed guests. Tickets are available online at or at the Visitor Center Information Desk at the Garden. For questions, please call (847) 835-5440.

Sepia Private Dining
Chicago’s Michelin star-rated Sepia restaurant is proud to announce the debut of its new private event venue, Private Dining by Sepia. Located next door to the restaurant Private Dining by Sepia offers a warm, inviting, stylish space for hosting events of all sizes. Designed to cater to any occasion, it serves as the perfect backdrop to the inventive seasonal American cuisine created by Executive Chef Andrew Zimmerman.

Available seven days a week for lunch, dinner, cocktail receptions, and meetings, Private Dining by Sepia offers an intimate venue to host a Chicago event. The space can accommodate 70 for a seated meal and 120 for a cocktail reception, and boasts a patio that can accommodate 60 for an outdoor reception. For more information, or to plan an event, please call Martha Sarno at 312.441.1920.

Trump Chicago
• On Saturday, July 30, Sixteen, in collaboration with Pastry Chicago, will host a Pastry Crawl featuring the culinary talents of Executive Pastry Chef Sarah Kosikowski. From noon to 2 p.m., Sarah will entertain guests by taking them on a tour of her pastry kitchen where she makes all of the desserts for the restaurant’s various dining venus, leading them through an intricate dessert demonstration, and then treating them to a tasting of several pastries inside the River Room – one of Sixteen’s private dining rooms. The event costs $50 per person, and reservations can be made by calling 312.588.8030.

• On Sunday, July 31, Sixteen will present Harvest Brunch, a sustainable spin on everyone’s favorite midday meal, during the Prairie Produce installment of its “Feasting at Sixteen” series. From 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., diners can feast on unique alternatives and classic favorites, all showcasing local ingredients. Sixteen’s Harvest Brunch is priced at $65 per adult, exclusive of tax, alcohol and gratuity, and $25 for children   age 8 and under; there is no charge for children under the age of 4. Also during the week, the hotel will host its second Trump Bridge to Bridge farmers market on the Riverwalk on Trump International on Thursday, July 28 from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Fun cooking class/party – I went last month!
Mercadito July Cooking Demo 
 Chef Patricio Sandoval utilizes the best of the summer garden with pickled strawberries, steak tacos with grilled peaches and more on Monday, July 25. Everyone looks forward to the best of fresh summer produce, and Chef Patricio Sandoval of Mercadito(108 W. Kinzie St) will show how put a savory spin on your favorite summertime fruits at the July Summer Menu Cooking Demonstration on Monday, July 25 from 6 to 9pm at Double A, located beneath Mercadito. The cost is $55 per guest, exclusive of tax and gratuity. Reservations are required and may be made by calling 312.329.9555.

Lillie’s Q 1 Yr Anniversary Party
Lillie’s Q, (1856 W North Ave), will celebrate it’s 1-Year Anniversary Party on Monday, August 1. Chef McKenna  will pass out all the different cuts of his signature 30-pound smoked whole hogs (ham, belly, pulled shoulder, tenderloin, bark) for free to patrons starting at 9pm during the Lillie’s Q 1-Year Anniversary Party on Monday, August 1.

Lillie’s Q will sell $1 samplers of their latest moonshine cocktail, the Lillie’s Q-Rita, for only $1 from opening to close. Lillie’s Q will also run a video contest leading up to its its 1-Year Anniversary Party where they will give away for free a 30-pound whole hog with 8 starters and sides for six to eight people that’s normally sold for $325 to one lucky patron. To participate, people must make a video of themselves saying and demonstrating why they should win the free whole hog dinner. Participants must post their video on the Lillie’s Q Facebook page ( ) by noon on Monday, August 1 to be eligible to win. The contest winner will be announced at noon on Tuesday, August 2 on the Lillie’s Q Facebook page.

Spiaggia Farm Dinner at Nichols Farm
Chef Tony Mantuano, Executive Chef Sarah Grueneberg, and Sommelier Jason Carlen invite guests to join them for the annual Spiaggia Farm Luncheon at Nichols Farm and Orchard in Marengo, Illinois. Guests will travel to Nichols Farm on a chartered bus from Spiaggia with prosecco and treats. Upon arrival at Nichols Farm guests will be welcomed with antipasti, followed by a tractor tour of Nichols farm and farm games such as bocce, croquet and horseshoes.

A three course menu featuring ingredients from the summer harvest will then be served family-style at farm tables. Menu highlights include: a selection of Flame grilled Farm Pizzas, Whole Roasted Side of Becker Lane Pork, Roasted Nichols Farm Corn Salad and a Summer Fruit Granita.

Where:             Nichols Farm and Orchard, Marengo, Illinois.
Bus departs Spiaggia, 980 North Michigan Avenue, at 11 a.m. scheduled to return at 7 p.m.    
When:              Sunday, August 14th, 2011
Cost:                $150 per person includes food, wine, tax and transportation
Reservations:  Guests may call 312.280.2750 ext. 1004 or email Alexandra Barton

Mercadito Chicago Heats up Late Night with Taco Tues’ & Agave Wednes’
Sizzling Summer Fiesta Starts after 9 P.M. with New Late Night Specials – When the sun sets on Chicago, the party at Mercadito (108 W. Kinzie St.) is just getting started. For partygoers looking to take advantage of summer nights, Mercadito introduces new late night specials of $2.75 Taco Tuesdays and Agave Wednesdays available after 9 p.m. Reservations can be made by calling 312.929.9555.

Taco Tuesdays: Choose from 11 tempting taco varieties such as pescado, veracruzana, hongos, rajas, chorizo, pastor, camarón, carne, estilo baja, carnitas, and pollo for only $2.75 per taco after 9 p.m. (minimum order of 2; in restaurant only).

Agave Wednesdays: With approximately 125 tequilas on the menu ranging from Blancos, Reposados, Añejo, Extra Añejo and Mezcales, the knowledgeable Mercadito staff knows the different distinctions and taste tequila has to offer. Experts say that tequila offers more than 600 different flavors and aromas, and after 9 p.m. every Wednesday, guests will be guided through the tasting process by the educated staff with a complimentary small tasting of tequila. The tequila will change every week so guests can come back again and again for late night noshes and a ‘spirited’ education.

The Bedford
Rolling out two new weekly specials that are sure to cool cravings and start the summer off right!  Whether you are looking for a drinks and light bites or a full dinner, The Bedford, will be offering unique weekly specials that are sure to please return customers or first timers alike.

Tuesday:  Oysters and Bubbles
Looking for a romantic evening that won’t break the bank?   Now perfectly paired with sparkling champagne.  Expertly crafted by Executive Chef Mark Steuer, the oysters are made the “old-fashioned way” and are flavored with lemon and mignonette.  For $25, couples or singles alike can enjoy a night of gossip, glamour, and romance… with bottomless glasses of bubbles and endless shells of oysters.

Wednesday:  Farm Fresh Pre-Fixe
For the foodie fellow or dining darling, Wednesday’s at The Bedford are sure to please.  Each Wednesday morning, Chef Steuer heads out to the local farms and farmer’s market to find what he will be cooking that night for dinner!  Each pre-fixe menu will be offered for $25. The Bedford will announce via Twitter and Facebook what each Wednesday night menu will be…so, stay tuned to social media for those weekly updates on Twitter @thebedfordchi, or Facebook at

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 is retained as a compensated blogger by Pei Wei Asian Diner.

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