Food Fun Friday

Food Fun Friday

It seems summer is gone and fall is here with the rain and chill of autumn. I’m holding out hope for a weekend or week of Indian summer, El Nino or Nina owes us! Lots of added events for charity, classes, football specials and other great one offs. With Halloween close at hand I’m sure I’ll start getting lots of stuff for that soon.

My week was highlighted by seeing Ferran Adria speak. I did a write up on Eater Chicago if you want to read more about that. Have a good Friday and weekend!

Mercadito Celebrates National Taco Day with $5 Tacos
Paying homage to America’s love of tacos, Mercadito (108 W. Kinzie St) will celebrate National Taco Day on Tuesday, October 4. The River North hotspot will serve two tacos for $5.50 from 5 pm until close (choose from any of their 11 creative taco varieties). Reservations may be made by calling 312.329.9555.

BIG Charity Events!
Greater Chicago Food Depository
The charity is beginning its fall run of event dinners at various Chicago restaurants. For more info and tickets go to – tickets are $150 each and all proceeds go to benefiting the Greater Chicago Food Depository. The restaurants and dates are:
October 24, 2011- Boka
October 31, 2011 – NAHA

Meals on Wheels Chicago
Meals on Wheels Chicago announced the chef line-up for the 23rd Annual Meals on Wheels Celebrity Chef Ball to be held at the historic Macy’s on State Street (111 N State) on October 14, 2011. Host Chefs Stephanie Izard of Girl & the Goat, Chris Pandel of The Bristol and Paul Virant of VIE and Perennial Virant will join Host Mixologists Charles Joly of The Drawing Room and Lynn House of Blackbird to welcome 80 of Chicago’s finest chefs and eight of the Windy City’s top mixologists to the singular chef event of the year and one of Chicago’s longest-running culinary fundraisers.

Known as The Chef’s Table, the first event of the evening is a seated dining experience with live cooking and cocktail pairings by celebrated chefs and mixologists that takes place from 6 to 8 pm. Priced at $325 per ticket, The Chef’s Table provides guests with a more intimate dinner option.

Priced at $125, the Chef’s Tasting Party takes place from 8 pm to 12:30 am as a reception-style ball. Attendees can savor countless chef tastings, premium cocktails, wine and beer, silent auction, casino gaming, an interactive photo station, a live band – Rock Candy, and Chef-DJ David Ochs from Girl and the Goat.

Blackhawks Season Opening Puck Drop Party at The Fifty/50 on Friday, October 7
Wicker Park sports bar, The Fifty/50 (2047 W Division St) will throw a “Blackhawks Season Opening Puck Drop Party” starting at 6pm on Friday, October 7 featuring a hosted Stoli reception, drink specials, giveaways, and more.

The Fifty/50, an official Chicago Blackhawks Bar, will show the Hawks v Dallas Stars season-opener on its 18 flatscreens with sound at 7:30pm. There will be a hosted Stoli reception from 6pm to 8pm. Stoli mixed drinks will be $5 before and after the hosted Stoli reception. The Fifty/50 will also give away Hawks tickets, a Hawks jersey, and Hawks tee shirts throughout the party.

Autumn Harvest Supper at Heritage Prairie Farm
Featuring Stephanie Izard (Girl & the Goat) & Guiseppe Tentori (Boka, GT Fish & Oyster)
Sunday, October 9
This is a great opportunity for folks to see a terrific farm, spend time with Stephanie and Guiseppe and there’s even a bartended bus trip out for early ticket buyers. All this supports the good works of Family Farmed as they work to nurture and expand the growth and distribution of locally grown food.

Chili Cook Off
3rd Annual Half Acre Charitable Chili Cook Off on November 5th is looking for contestants. To get more info or buy tickets check out their website

Farm to Fork at Terzo Piano
Chef Tony Mantuano, Terzo Piano’s Chef di Cucina Meg Colleran Sahs and the restaurant’s favorite local farmers will join for the second annual Farm to Fork Fest dinner. A cocktail reception on the Bluhm Terrace kicks-off the evening and includes: specialty cocktails, passed appetizers and booths showcasing each farmer. Farmers will set-up tables to offer tastings, answer questions and even sell products to take home. Confirmed farms include: Seedling Fruit, Nichols Farm, Prairie Fruits, Pinn Oak and Dietzler.

The excitement continues as the restaurant hosts its very own spin-off of Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters” Quickfire Challenge! Tony will meet face-to-face again with Season 2 competitor Chef Carmen Gonzalez. They will pair with either Pinn Oak or Dietzler farms to create an appetizer. Terzo Piano’s Wine Expert Cathy Mantuano will emcee the challenge and select guests to judge the competition.

Lastly, guests will enjoy a four-course seated dinner paired with wines, and Tony will introduce each course and its featured farmer. Courses will offer a mix of family-style and individually plated dishes. A cash bar will be available throughout the night for local beers or specialty cocktails.

Terzo Piano, 159 East Monroe, Chicago, IL. Third-floor of the Modern Wing at The Art Institute of Chicago
Thursday, October 13th, 2011
6:30 p.m. Cocktail reception
6:45 p.m. Quickfire Challenge
7:30 p.m. Seated four-course dinner with wine pairings
Cost: $75 per person plus tax and gratuity
Reservation: Guests may call 312.443.8650 for reservations

1st Annual Germany’s Best & Oktoberfest at Navy Pier
Friday, September 23rd – Monday, October 10th
Brought to you by the people behind Chicago’s beloved Christkindlmarket, you can expect the same authentic, traditional German experience, from beer and brats to music and atmosphere. Oktoberfest festivities will take place under two massive tents, faithfully recreated like those in Germany. Tents will feature blue and white draping, traditional 7 ft long Bavarian-style tables and benches, waiters and waitresses in lederhosen and dirndls and lots of German music. For that special touch, guests can reserve a private table or “stammtisch” to entertain business clients or friends and family.

For further background info, visit our Web site:

Chef Showcase Series at 694
Starting this Monday, 694 Wine and Spirits, 694 N. Milwaukee, Chicago, will be hosting a twice monthly Shift Series. They will be inviting chefs to come and take over the restaurant for the night. The chefs will bring a theme of their choice and create a 5 course (+dessert course) dinner and 694 will be providing pairings of boutique liquors and small batch wine and beers. The chefs will be challenged because 694 doesn’t have a full kitchen so the creative menu will come from the execution off of grills, presses, burners etc.

On October 3rd, Sachin and Megan, the husband and wife team, from the Pilsen dining club (S&M Underground) have chosen a theme of “Roots.” Future dinners will take place on the first and last Monday’s of the month. There are only 25 seats available with tickets costing $100 per head. You can reserve your spot by emailing or calling 312-492-6620. Each event will take place between 6-9 PM.

Football Specials and Fun
Lillie’s Q, where chef/owner Charlie McKenna serves award-winning competition BBQ along with Southern favorites and sides in Bucktown (1856 W North Ave), will give away one free order of boiled peanuts (regularly $4) to every paying patron wearing Florida State gear while the Seminoles are playing on Saturdays starting September 3.

Lillie’s Q will also sell the boiled peanuts for only $1 to every paying patron wearing any SEC (Southeastern Conference) team gear while their teams are playing during college football Saturdays. Lillie’s Q will show Florida State and SEC (Southeastern Conference) games on its three flat screens. McKenna is a proud Florida State graduate and a longtime SEC football fan.

Roots Handmade Pizza (1924 W Chicago Ave) has added a new and unique Bloody Mary to its beverage program that’s perfect to drink while watching football at the West Town restaurant and bar. The Roots Bloody Mary is comprised of Roots’ housemade Bloody Mary mix and Tito’s Handmade Vodka. The rim of the pint glass is dipped in a mixture of freshly-squeezed lime juice and buffalo wing sauce, and it is rimmed with housemade BBQ spice rub. The Roots Bloody Mary is served with a skewer featuring a cube of hand-pulled mozzarella coated in crispy prosciutto and crispy pepperoni, a salami wedge, and a pepperoncini. The Roots Bloody Mary costs $8.

Roots is showing all the Big Ten football games on Saturdays, all Bears games with sound, and every Monday Night Football game with sound on its 12 flatscreens.

Hoyt’s, 71 E. Wacker, is offering a special menu for Saturday and Sunday Football games. Sliders and wings are $10 and you can also find a Bottomless Bloody as well!

Frontier, on Milwaukee in West Town, has a $15 buffet from 12-3pm every NFL Sunday with $5 Bloody Marys or Mimosas, $15 Miller/Coors Buckets, $20 Craft Sampler Bucket, or $20 Hurricane & Colada Pitchers!

Fun Classes
Chef Scott Walton of Markethouse Restaurant and Bar (611 N Fairbanks) kicks off his popular Heartland 101 Chef Series for the fall and winter seasons. Offered twice a month on Tuesday evenings from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., guests will enjoy an informative evening with demonstrations of five themed courses by Chef Scott. Held in the restaurant, each class is $45 per person and limited to 40 guests. Reservations are required and may be made by calling 312.224.2200. Following is the Heartland 101 Chef Series schedule:
Tuesday, October 11: Apples & Cider
Tuesday, October 25: Pumpkins
Tuesday, November 8: Roots vegetables soups
Tuesday, November 22: Thanksgiving dinner
Tuesday, December 13: Duck
Tuesday, December 27: New Year’s

SushiSamba Announces Fall/Winter Lineup for Sushi & Saki 101
With summer coming to an end in the coming weeks, Chicago diners can look forward to bringing the party indoors at River North hot spot SUSHISAMBA rio (504 N. Wells Street). The restaurant, with its worldly cuisine continues the Sushi & Sake 101 series; the signature sushi and sake classes led by Sake Sommelier Hayes Swope. Guests can sample SUSHISAMBA’s 60 plus sake offerings paired with delectable bites while learning the art of sushi and how to make it at home, led by Sushi Chef Shigeru Kitano.
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. Classes will be held on the following dates:
Tuesday, October 11
Tuesday, November 8
Tuesday, December 13

Reservations for Sushi & Sake 101 are recommended and can be made by calling the restaurant at 312.595.2300. Gift cards to classes are available for purchase at SUSHISAMBA rio.

Lockwood Wine Classes
This fall and winter, step into the beauty that is the historic Palmer House Hilton and experience a wine journey like no other! The Bar at Lockwood, located in the Lobby of the property, will continue with The Regional Wine Journey – an exploration of the world’s most thriving wine destinations. This series of bi-weekly classes will be held every other Tuesday from September through December 2011.
Hosted by Lockwood Wine Director Sasa Sinanagic, each class will feature a different region while focusing on the history and individual fermenting process native to that region. The classes run from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and are $25/per attending oenophile. The price includes wine pairings along with a selection of charcuterie, cheese and other various accompaniments.

The following schedule will be explored this season:
October 4, 2011: Riesling
October 18, 2011: Napa Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot
September 6, 2011: Wines of Austria
November 1, 2011: Malbec
November 15, 2011: Wines ofCroatia
November 29, 2011: RedBordeaux varietals
December 13, 2011: Syrah/Shiraz
December 27, 2011: Madeira

Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling (312) 917-3404 or online 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 and also contributes to Eater Chicago.


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