Thanksgiving is coming up fast, in case you needed a reminder to feel stressed/excited. And with it comes Black Friday, everyone's favorite excuse to go ballistic. The official start of the holiday shopping season is marred with frantic crowds and looting-like frenzies, so in order to prepare yourself for battle you'll need to bulk up at a good restaurant. Also, apparently Black Wednesday is a thing. Fortunately, a number of Chicagoland restaurants are preparing Black Wednesday and Black Friday promos to help you beat the mobs. Here are several can't-miss Black dining deals to take advantage of this year.
No better day than Black Friday to begin brunch service, right? Roka Akor Old Orchard opens its doors early on Friday to debut their new brunch menu, feeding the hungry masses at the mall with blue crab cake Benedict, sesame cake bread pudding, and Roka-san sandwiches laden with house-cured Wagyu pastrami.
Black paella is exactly what you want to be eating on Black Friday. The special dish will be available at Tavernita November 29 through December 1. Don't worry, it's not evil it's just got a dark hue. It gets even better the following week, when Tavernita rolls out "leftover turkey" meatball Thanksgiving paella. The best part is that the heaping rice dishes are perfect sustenance for arduous days of shopping.
(Black paella at Tavernita)
Keep the Thanksgiving festivities going with a three-course Thanksgiving-themed menu at Takito Kitchen on Black Friday. Actually the menu is available the entire week of Thanksgiving (expect for the holiday itself, when the restaurant is closed), but we all know that Thanksgiving food just gets better the next day, which is why you'll want to re-experience it anew at Wicker Park's mod Mexican restaurant. Dishes will be paired with three different beers from 5 Rabbit Cerveceria. Start out with a king crab pumpkin gratin paired with 5 Rabbit Golden Ale, followed by Maple Creek Farm smoked pork belly with roasted squash, trinidad pepper glaze, chayote escabeche, pepitas, cilantro, and a glass of 5 Grass Hoppy Ale. The third course is grilled lamb chop with roasted shoulder, cheese polenta, Brussels sprouts, mole negro, crispy sage, pomegranate, and 5 Vulture Dark Ale. The menu costs $32 per person if purchased in advance (reservations can be made here), or $37 per person if purchased during the week of Thanksgiving.
One surefire way to conquer holiday stress is with red wine. Conveniently, Beaujolais Nouveau makes its annual release at this time of year, giving us all something delicious and special to drink amidst all the holiday craziness. Untitled is poised to celebrate the wine on Black Wednesday with a French tasting event curated by Les Vins Georges Duboeuf. Sample hors d'oeuvres, sip wine, and drink in the live cabaret performance produced by The Cabaret Paree Ensemble. The night rages on with the Unbridled French Connection featuring French art performances. It all starts with the complimentary tasting event from 7:00 p.m. until 9:30 p.m., followed by Unbridled, which costs $15 per person. Advanced tickets cost $10 and can be purchased here.
Along with all their other Thanksgiving-y desserts (pumpkin pie, double-crust apple pie, apple crumb pie), one apropos Black Friday confection at Magnolia Bakery is the black bottom pecan pie. Available by the slice, by the mini pie, or by the whole pie, the dessert features pecan pie over a layer of chocolate in a handmade crust.
(El Gobbler at Ay Chiwowa!)
Celebrating the convergence of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah this year, Rockit Burger Bar's Thanksgivukkah Burger will be available for all your pre- and post-Thanksgiving comfort food needs. The special burger features a housemade turkey patty stacked with sage stuffing, spiced cranberry sauce, toasted turkey gravy, and a latke on a wheat bun and a side of sweet potato fries. The burger is available the duration of November.
Another great way to extend your Thanksgiving cravings is with El Gobbler at Ay Chiwowa! Bet you've never had Thanksgiving tacos before. These guys feature shredded turkey and spiced cranberry salsa and they're available November 26 through November 29.