Food Fun Friday

Food Fun Friday

Thanksgiving Hangover is gone thanks to a busy week with work! I promise more content next week but I do have a ton of cool events to share. There are some for the holidays already and some for NYE planning so scroll through for the headings and your future ideas of fun.

Hope everyone is enjoying the sun today and has a great weekend. I have a ton going on and hoping my Badgers can win big on Saturday.

Dose Market
This Sunday at the River East Arts Center, 435 East Illinois, say hello to Marianne Sundquist an old friend, she’ll be selling jams and preserves.

Charles Tillman Celebrity Steak-Out at Texas de Brazil
Monday, December 5 at 6:30 p.m., guests can mingle with Chicago Bears player Charles Tillman and Ryan Dempster of the Chicago Cubs as they sip on seasonal cocktails and snack on passed hors d’oeuvres at the Celebrity Steak-Out. Authentic Bears memorabilia will be available for purchase, with Tillman on hand to sign autographs. All proceeds from the live and silent auctions will go to the Charles Tillman Cornerstone Foundation, a non-profit that provides opportunities and resources to children and families in the Chicago area who are in need. 

The event will take place at Texas de Brazil’s downtown location at 51 E. Ohio St. Tickets are $50 per person and include drinks and hors d’oeuvres.  To purchase tickets, please visit

Custom House Baconfest Dinner
Since the wildly popular Baconfest Chicago only comes every April, Baconfest Satellite Dinners are held at numerous restaurants throughout the year to help bacon-lovers get their fix. On Thursday, December 8, Executive Chef Perry Hendrix, Chef de Cuisine Zach Millican and Pastry Chef Erin Mooney of Custom House Tavern will host one such satellite dinner, kicking off with a cocktail reception at 6 p.m., followed by a three-course, family-style meal at 7 p.m. Each dish will star Nueske’s Bacon.

Cost to attend is $75 per person, inclusive of tax and gratuity. Reservations can be made by calling (312) 523-0200.

Sarah Levy Baking Demo
Pastry chef and cookbook author Sarah Levy will showcase three special holiday-themed dessert recipes made with Karo Syrup, including Apricot Coconut Macaroons, Chocolate Cupcakes with Cocoa Fudge Frosting and Decadent Chocolate Almond Toffee. Guests can interact with Sarah, participate in a baking Q&A, sample the sweets and enjoy complimentary wine. Wednesday, December 7 at 6 PM at Mariano’s Fresh Market – 333 East Benton Place in Lakeshore East, second floor

A Night at the Art Gallery at Sabor Saveur
Michelin-recommended Sabor Saveur, located at 2013 W. Division in Wicker Park, is a work-of-art influenced by Chef Yanitzin Sanchez’s culture and Mexican roots. One of her greatest passions is studying her favorite Mexican artists and masterfully creating dishes that serve as an expression of their work. Similarly, Chef Yanitzin has set up the restaurant to resemble an art gallery where each table is set back as if were an art piece on display. On the evening of Monday, December 5, Chef Yanitzin will open her restaurant, normally closed on Mondays, as an art gallery opening, showcasing dishes inspired by her favorite Mexican artists with the use of winter ingredients.

The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a BYOB reception featuring passed appetizers and a chance to meet and mingle with 1st Ward Alderman Joe Moreno. Guests will then sit down at 7:00 p.m. for a four-course dinner including a soup, appetizer, choice of four entrees and dessert. Each course will reflect a Mexican artist that has inspired Chef Yanitzin while incorporating all Mexican ingredients with the use of French technique. Guests are encouraged to bring their favorite bottles of wine, beer and spirits to accompany their experience.

This extraordinary evening is priced at $57.00 per person (not including tax and gratuity). Reservations are required and can be made by calling 773-235-7310.

Salsa Monday!
Spice up your Monday nights at Patron’s Hacienda with salsa lessons and open dancing! For a $5 cover, every Monday evening, put your dancing shoes on for a salsa dancing class with Rick Mangram, founder of HotOn1Salsa and salsero for over 15 years, and special guest Dora Baroti. Mangram’s teaching style allows guests to learn the latest salsa dance moves in a relaxed and fun atmosphere.

And as if learning to salsa isn’t enough, be sure to stay and dance the night away with the open dancing and guest DJ HotOn1Salsa’s DJ Double O. Dancers can move to the sounds of salsa, merengue, bachata, cha-cha-cha and cumbia.  Guests can indulge in Patron’s signature appetizers, all half-off all night long, and the bar will shake things up with $5 margaritas and $5 sangria. Discounted valet parking available.

Every Monday – Salsa Class 8:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Open Dancing 9:30 p.m. – 1:00 a.m.
Patron’s Hacienda – 316 West Erie Street, Chicago, IL 60654

Wine Dinner
On Tuesday, December 13, Sixteen at Trump International Hotel & Tower® Chicago will host a winter wine dinner featuring exclusive wines produced by renowned Winemaker Maggie Harrison. Starting at 6:30 p.m., Beverage Director Rachael Lowe will welcome Harrison for an intimate tasting experience that will highlight three pinot noirs from Antica Terra, as well as a Chardonnay, a Rose and a Syrah from Harrison’s Lillian label, which will be paired alongside a five-course tasting menu by Sixteen Chef de Cuisine Joseph Rose and Executive Pastry Chef Sarah Kosikowski.

While guiding diners through the evening’s wine selections, Harrison will share insight into her journey of becoming a winemaker, which included an eight-year apprenticeship in California at Sine Qua Non, which is known as one of the best small-batch producers of Syrah in the United States.

Sixteen’s winemaker dinner with Antica Terra costs $175 per person, exclusive of tax and gratuity. Space is limited to 30 guests. Reservations are required and may be made by sending an e-mail to

Brunch with Santa in the Suburbs
Celebrate the Holidays Pinstripes Style with a“Pintastic” Brunch and Visit with Santa! Treat the family to a “ho, ho, ho” holiday with Pinstripes Sunday brunch and visit with Santa. Indulge in Chef Cesar Gutierrez’s brunch favorites such as gourmet waffles, made-to-order omelets, carved prime rib and a chocolate fountain for dessert. Kids can make sure to visit with Santa and share their holiday wish lists!

Sunday, December 11 and Sunday, December 18 – Brunch 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.,Visit with Santa 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Pinstripes Northbrook, 1150 Willow Road, Northbrook, IL 60062
Pinstripes South Barrington, 100 West Higgins Road, South Barrington, IL 60010
Brunch is $24 per person for adults; $14 for kids 6-12; Free for kids 5 and under. Reservations are not required.

Neck Bone Wednesdays” is back for the winter months at Viaggio Ristorante!
Every Wednesday starting this coming November 2, Executive Chef Victor Perdue will feature Braised Pork Neck Bones, slow-cooked in white wine and San Marzano tomatoes ($17) as a special on his southern Italian menu, which can be savored alone or with a side of pasta ($3). The perfect solution to help diners combat the chilly Chicago weather, this dish has proven a guest favorite in years’ past and is limited to dinner on Wednesdays, from 4–10pm.

25 Degrees Daily Deals
Mid-day Cravings
Chicagoans looking for an affordable meal option during lunch will be excited to hear that 25 Degrees is now offering a special prix fixe deal. For a set price of $12, guests will receive one of the restaurant’s signature gourmet burgers, a choice of sweet potato or regular fries and a non-alcoholic fountain beverage.

Holiday Party Planning Starts NOW!
Viaggio Ristorante and Lounge (1330 W. Madison St.) invites Chicagoans to gather with friends and family to celebrate the holiday season over a delicious Italian feast, perfected-to-order by Executive Chef Victor Perdue. Conveniently located in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood, the family-owned restaurant provides an inviting and intimate setting for festive gatherings of 4 to 90 guests.

As a special offer for 2011, Viaggio will present a complimentary assortment of antipasto (a $50 value) to any group who makes a booking for a holiday party for 10 or more guests before Thursday, December 1. This promotion is valid only for new bookings and redeemable on the date of the original booking.

For more information or to book an event this holiday season, please call (312) 829-3333 or e-mail

Chris-nukah – I refuse to call it Happy Holidays!
Goddess & Grocer Catering
The Goddess and Grocer invites diners to check “cooking” off their to-do list with mouth-watering catering menus for the Christmas and Chanukah holidays.

Christmas: Open Presents, Not Ovens
Forget Santa – a culinary Goddess is bearing the real gifts this holiday season! The Goddess and Grocer’s crowd-pleasing Christmas menu allows Chicagoans to focus on the spread of presents under the tree – not the dishes atop the buffet. The specialty deli’s expert culinary team will present a variety of popular options that are ideal for dining any time of day.
All orders must be placed by Tuesday, December 20 at 3 p.m. Items will be available for pick-up after 3 p.m. at any location on Wednesday, December 21.  For the full Christmas catering menu, click here.  To place an order, please call 773-292-7100 or email

Chanukah: Fress…. Don’t stress!
The Goddess and Grocer’s Chanukah menu offers cause to spin the dreidel because it’s time for latkes! Sweet Potato & Zucchini Latkes and Traditional Potato Latkes, both served with apple sauce and sour cream (6 for $18) top the menu along with Chicken Matzo Ball Soup ($6.50/pint with 2 matzo balls; $12/quart with 4 matzo balls; $1 per additional matzo ball).
The Chanukah menu will be available in stores Monday, December 19 through Wednesday, December 28. All catering orders must be placed 48 hours in advance. For the full Chanukah catering menu, click here. To place an order, please call 773-292-7100 or email

Custom House
With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season nearly upon us, Custom House Tavern is pleased to announce Christmas Eve Dinner. This year, guests can skip the stress of cooking a holiday meal from scratch and enjoy Custom House Tavern’s seasonal, a la carte menu on Saturday, December 24. The restaurant will be open for breakfast from 6:30 to 10 a.m. and for lunch and dinner from 12 to 8 p.m. Reservations are highly recommended. The restaurant will be closed on Christmas Day.

Give the Gift of Nourishment
From Thursday, December 8 through Sunday, December 25, Custom House Tavern presents a canned food drive to benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Guests who bring in their nonperishables will receive a complimentary “thank you” course during their lunch or dinner.

NYE – Adios, 2011! Hello, 2012 – the Year the Mayans got wrong, I hope!
Roka Akor
Ring in the New Year at Roka Akor (456 N. Clark St.), River North’s hottest new steak and sushi restaurant. Guests can revel in the restaurant’s chic, vibrant dining room while enjoying a succulent, six-course meal expertly crafted by Chef Ce Bian.

Roka Akor’s New Year’s Eve menu is $128 per person, inclusive of a Champagne toast. For an additional $50 per guest, diners can enjoy the carefully selected sake and wine pairings, most of which aren’t usually available by the glass, to accompany and enhance each course. Reservations are mandatory and can be made between 5-6:30 p.m. or 8:30-11 p.m. by calling (312) 477-7652.

Trump Venetian Masked Ball
Sixteen’s New Year’s celebrations include New Year’s Eve Dinner: “A Venetian Masquerade” – Saturday, December 31 Upon arrival at Sixteen’s “Venetian Masquerade”-themed New Year’s Eve celebration, guests marvel over opulent tables dressed with dramatic mask-inspired centerpieces that illuminate the dining room and juxtapose the wintery view from the restaurant’s 30-foot, floor-to-ceiling windows.

Chef Rose’s New Year’s Eve menus will play perfectly into the evening’s theme; guests will enjoy a three-course menu during the first seating or a six- or 10-course tasting menu during the second seating. All menus will feature ingredients and presentations associated with the extravagance and decadence of the famed Carnival of Venice – the origin of all masquerade affairs.

The three-course tasting menu offered during the first seating (from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.) is $135 per person or $185 with wine pairings. During the second seating from 9 to 10:30 p.m., diners can choose from the six-course tasting menu ($235 per person or $335 with wine pairings) or ten-course menu ($340 per person or $480 with wine pairings). Available during the second seating only is a luxe “Royal Experience” dining package, featuring guaranteed window seating, a 10-course menu with wine pairings and a Krug Champagne toast at midnight. The cost for this package is $550 per person. All prices are exclusive of tax and gratuity.

All guests of Sixteen on New Year’s Eve will enjoy a complimentary Champagne toast, and for those staying on after the second seating, a view of the fabulous New Year’s fireworks display from Navy Pier. As a distinctive take-away from the evening, each family or couple will also receive a 375ml bottle of Taittinger Champagne NV to keep the celebration going into the New Year.

Reservations are required for New Year’s Eve at Sixteen and may be made by calling (312) 588-8030. All reservations have a 72-hour cancellation policy. 

Custom House
Ring in 2012 at Custom House Tavern! Guests may make reservations for dinner between 5 and 10 p.m. on Saturday, December 31, and Executive Chef Perry Hendrix, Chef de Cuisine Zach Millican and Pastry Chef Erin Mooney will present both the restaurant’s American, a la carte menu, as well as a special five-course prix fixe supper club-themed holiday dinner for $75 per person (exclusive of alcohol and gratuity).

Beginning at 8:30 p.m., there will be $20 per person cover charge for walk-ins, which will include a champagne toast, party favors and entertainment from a live jazz combo featuring Rachel Charson. Last call will be at 12:30 a.m.
Custom House Tavern will be open for breakfast from 7 to 10 a.m. and lunch until 2 p.m. on December 31. The restaurant will be closed New Year’s Day.

Roots Handmade Pizza (1924 W Chicago Ave) will throw an all-inclusive New Year’s Eve Party featuring a six-hour premium bar package, a food buffet, midnight champagne toast, party favors, DJ Jason Wolfe, and more starting at 8pm on Saturday, December 31.
Tickets must be purchased in advance online for the Roots New Year’s Eve Party at Tickets are $80 each.

Rebar – Land of OZ
“There’s no place like Trump. There’s no place like Trump”… On Saturday, December 31, guests looking to ring in the New Year in style can follow the yellow brick road to Rebar at Trump International Hotel & Tower® Chicago, where a “The Land of Oz: There’s No Place Like Trump”- themed evening will unfold. On this special evening, the downtown Chicago hotel’s chic mezzanine-level lounge will showcase a modern interpretation of Victor Fleming’s classic “Wizard of Oz” film, entirely transforming into a dramatic setting of flowers, lights and drapery. A live DJ will entertain revelers throughout the evening, from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. as they enjoy spectacular ambiance, sweeping vistas and decadent seasonal sushi and cocktail spreads.

Rebar is offering two packages designed for groups up to four people:
• For $450 per table, guests can book the Ruby Package, which includes two bottles of Veuve Clicquot “Yellow Label”, a comfortable table and the guests’ choice of a sweet pastry tower filled with Oz-themed creations by Executive Pastry Chef Sarah Kosikowski or a savory tower from Sushi Chef Ismael Lucero featuring sashimi, maki rolls and more.
• For $600 per table, guests can reserve the Emerald Package, which includes one bottle of Veuve Cliquot “La Grande Dame”, guaranteed window seating that affords prime views of the Chicago River, and their choice of the sweet or savory tower.
Parties exceeding four people are required to purchase seating for additional guests, which costs $125 per person for the Ruby package or $150 per person for the Emerald Package. All prices are exclusive of tax and gratuity.

At midnight, guests partaking in Rebar’s New Year’s Eve revelry will be awed by spectacular views of the Navy Pier fireworks display, as well as a complimentary Champagne toast. Tables are limited, and seatings begin at 9 p.m. Reservations are required and may be made by calling Ariel Lickton at (312) 588-8114. Bookings will be held via credit card, and a $100 no-show fee per person will be applied to any cancellations made within 72 hours of the first seating.

mk The Restaurant
After 13 years of business, mk knows how to throw a great New Year’s Eve party and this year is no exception. The night will be filled with incredible food, wine and music from DJ John Young.

Executive Chef Erick Williams and Pastry Chef Tony Galzin have crafted an elegant four-course tasting menus featuring Maine lobster, Masami Ranch roast Waygu sirloin and a Valhrona dark chocolate bomb. A vegetarian menu is also available that highlights some of the season’s best ingredients such as the beet salad, pumpkin soup and apple cider and Bartlett pear sorbets. Optional wine pairings are also available. mk’s sommelier Robby Nagelberg has selected enticing vintage grower Champagnes and rare red treasures for $35 per person. mk also has an award winning wine selection to please any palate.

For guests who want to dine before heading into the night, early seating is available at half-hour increments between 5:30 and 7:30pm, and is priced at $75 per person.  Guests can also ring in 2012 with mk with late seating reservations starting at 8:30pm and continuing to 10:00pm for $95 per person.  Late seating includes a Champagne toast at midnight. So come drink, dine and dance in style with mk this New Year’s Eve!

Call 312.482.9179 or at to reserve your table now.

Barrio Urban Taqueria
Take a Bite out of New Year’s Eve with Barrio’s Decadent Taco Menu until Midnight! Bring your family and friends to the heart of East Lakeview and indulge on Barrio’s New Year’s Eve Taco Menu!  Chef Martin Cabrera has taken Barrio’s traditional tacos and added extravagant ingredients perfect for the holiday. 

Saturday, December 31, 2011 from 4pm until Midnight. Each taco is priced at $7 or in a trio flight for $18
Barrio Urban Taqueria, 714 W. Diversey Pkwy, Chicago, IL 60614. Reservations are not required.

Whether you are celebrating New Year’s Eve with the kids, a group of friends or a romantic date, D’Noche Latin American Kitchen & Bar offers something for everyone.  Located in Logan Square, D’Noche has been serving its authentic and affordable Cuban, Mexican and South American specialties in the warm, rustic ambience of the restaurant and sure to provide the atmosphere for the perfect New Year’s Eve celebration.

Seating 1: 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Three-course dinner menu includes an appetizer, entrée, dessert
Signature cocktail and a glass of champagne
$45 per person, including tax and gratuity
Kid’s menu includes entrée, drink and  ice cream sundae
$15 per child, including tax and gratuity 

Seating 2: 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Three-course dinner menu includes an appetizer, entrée, dessert
Signature cocktail and a glass of champagne
$45 per person, including tax and gratuity
Kid’s menu includes entrée, drink and  ice cream sundae
$15 per child, including tax and gratuity

Seating 3: 10:00 p.m. – 3:00 a.m.
Three-course dinner menu includes an appetizer, entrée, dessert
Three-hour open bar
A midnight champagne toast
DJ and dancing featuring the sounds of salsa, meringue and Latin beats as well as Top 40 hits
$65 per person, including tax and gratuity
D’Noche Latin American Kitchen & Bar, 2714 North Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647

RESERVATIONS:  Required; call 773-289-4274 or visit

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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