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Weekday Planner: Between Bites, Motown Cupcakes, Pancake Tacos, and Whiskey Week

Weekday Planner: Motown Cupcakes Weekday Planner: Eat Motown Cupcakes Motown and cupcakes, together at last! Two of life’s greatest leisurely joys converge thanks to Magnolia Bakery. In conjunction with Broadway in Chicago, in celebration of the Chicago debut of Motown The Musical, the bakery is serving up Motown-inspired cupcakes now through May 22. The chocolate cupcake features a […]

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Apr 22, 2014 06:09 PM
Restaurants Celebrate Earth Day in Chicago

Earth Day in Chicago is coming up on April 22 and with it comes a handful of eco-friendly food and drink deals. Support Gateway Green and keep Chicago beautiful, about Gateway Green: We lead urban beautification and greening projects that make a positive environmental and aesthetic impact on Chicago. Ultimately our work leads to improved quality […]

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Apr 22, 2014 01:19 AM
This May at favorite Lettuce Entertain You spots Bub City, HUB 51 and RJ Grunts

Lettuce Entertain You spots Bub City, HUB 51 and RJ Grunts   Celebrate the Run of the Roses at Bub City On Saturday, May 3, saddle up for a day at the races at country bar and restaurant Bub City (435 N. Clark). Break out the sun hats and don your southern best, as you […]

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Apr 21, 2014 08:00 PM
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Swing Into Spring’s Best 'Culinary' Cocktails

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Fleming's new “couture cocktails” use chef-driven, seasonal ingredients and artisan, small-batch spirits. (Photo: Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar)

The Aviary introduced its award-winning, chef-driven cocktail program last spring, and one year later finds the trend highlighted on quite a few bar and restaurant menus around town.

Texas-based steakhouse and wine bar Fleming’s shakes up its beverage program with the new $12.50 “couture cocktails.” Using seasonal ingredients and artisan, small-batch spirits allows bartenders to take ordinary cocktails to the next level. The Mad Milagro Margarita (see recipe below), for example, starts with Milagro silver tequila, freshly squeezed lime juice and muddled fresh cucumber. Then it’s topped off with a touch of fresh cilantro and spicy jalapeño for a dash of heat.

While The Aviary continues to rack up accolades for its high-concept and high-priced cocktails in the West Loop, not too far away, the just-opened Nellcôte aims to do a similar program that’s more accessible to the masses. Chef/owner Jared Van Camp’s calling his creations “kitchen cocktails,” which incorporate many ingredients the chefs regularly use in the entrées. Right now he’s offering seven on the menu at $10 each to complement his French- and Mediterranean-influenced menu. Highlights include the punch of Remy Martin V.S.O.P. cognac, house-made ginger beer, Carpano Antica vermouth, mint, cucumber and orange; a Bulliet bourbon drink of green chartreuse, house-made peach preserves, peach bitters and basil; and Nellcôte’s version of a Pimm’s Cup (Hendrick’s gin, Pimm’s, fresh pineapple juice, agave syrup and preserved strawberries).

Logan Square now boasts a number of cocktail-focused bars (Longman & Eagle, Scofflaw, The Whistler come immediately to mind) at the top of their game, but Owen & Engine stands apart for its somewhat edible elixirs. Two delightful drinks stand out on the spring menu: the Tempest 10 (Cajun-spiced rum, Domaine de Canton, lime, egg white, anistar, spice tincture) that’s shaken and served up; and Victorian 9 (Pimm’s No.1 Cup, Fentiman’s Rose Lemonade, lemon, pink peppercorn, tincture, cucumber, mint, rose water) that’s served in a tall glass.

Though they feature a new spin on the Bloody Mary with house-made Bloody Mary mix and Thai chili, Sprout proves that brunch cocktails go far beyond the usual. Offerings sound like entrees, from the Rumaki Fizz of house bacon-infused vodka, pineapple, honey soy reduction and ginger beer to the Afternoon Delight of Fernet, raspberry, basil fennel syrup and Prosecco.

And while Tru already gets mega-props for an outstanding wine program, its cocktail menu is just starting to make an impact. A twist on the classic Manhattan features Bulliet rye bourbon, Carpano and Angostura bitters and is topped off with orange “smoke,” and the just-added Scotsman Can Take A Punch highlights the peaty Glenmorangie 10-year with Chartreuse, green tea and fresh ginger.

Mad Milagro Margarita (Fleming’s Steakhouse)

Ingredients:

2 oz Milagro Silver Tequila
2 oz fresh lime sour
4 slices cucumber thinly sliced 1/8 inch
Pinch of cilantro leaves
2 slice Jalapenos de-seeded 1/8 inch

Directions: Muddle cucumbers, jalapenos and cilantro, add remaining ingredients. Shake and pour into rocks glass with fresh ice.

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For more about Steaks see: CHICAGO’S BEST STEAKS & STEAKHOUSES

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