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Dining Chicago Christmas Drinking Guide 2017

Where to eat, drink, dance and be merry this Christmas. Petterino’s: Santa’s coming to town a little early this year, and he’s hungry for brunch. Pay a visit to Mr. Claus at Petterino’s, where he’ll be stationed December 16 and 17 from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. both days. The perfect stopover before an afternoon […]

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Dec 09, 2017 07:40 PM
Chicago’s Weekly Planner: TWO’s Restaurant Royale

 TWO is gearing up to host its first annual Restaurant Royale Get ready for a culinary smackdown for the ages, because TWO is gearing up to host its first annual Restaurant Royale on December 13 at The Ivy Room (12 E. Ohio St., #100). In conjunction with Terlato Distell Artisan Spirits, the competition is a bit of restaurant […]

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Dec 08, 2017 05:44 AM
Weekly Planner: Sip & Paint Party, White Truffle Season, Half Acre Tap

White Truffle Season at Spiaggia In addition to booze and merriment, this is also the season for white truffles, one of the most coveted and opulent ingredients of the year. No better place to celebrate the mighty truffle than at Spiaggia, where chef/partner Tony Mantuano and executive chef Joe Flamm have upped the ante on […]

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Nov 30, 2017 06:09 AM

Strawberry Bucket List 2014

Strawberries are (finally) in season. These things are constantly some of the most feverishly anticipated ingredients of the year, but especially this year given their delayed season. Across the city, restaurants and bars are making up for the slow start with a slew of strawberry ceations. 

Michael Jordan's Steak House
(Cheesecake is on at Michael Jordan's Steak House)

The Boarding House: When it comes to showcasing seasonal, summery fruits, cobbler is key. At The Boarding House, pastry chef Julia Fitting celebrates strawberries in all their sweet glory with a new farm strawberry cobbler. Served in adorable mini cast-iron pans, the cobblers come bedecked with creme fraiche for a splash of tang. As the summer progresses, cobblers at the restaurant will feature various seasonal fruits from Nichols Farm. 

Paramount Events: Strawberries are all over the menus at Paramount Events, from appetizers to drinks to desserts. It's strawberries every which way! Start your event with a frisee and sorrel salad with balsamic- and black pepper-macerated strawberries, whipped goat cheese, toasted pine nuts, pickled rhubarb, mint, basil, and olive oil. Follow that with a strawberry-basil mojito made with macerated strawberries, Myers’s Light Rum, lime juice, mint, basil, and club soda. For dessert, there's lemon olive oil cake with balsamic-macerated strawberries, buttermilk caramel, pine nuts, mint, and basil, as well as a simple, sublime preparation of balsamic-macerated strawberries and Brie on walnut raisin toast. 

RA Sushi: Some of the most inventive uses of strawberries right now can be found at RA Sushi. Unless you deem banana split-inspired maki to be typical. RA's version of sushi for dessert features fried banana maki topped with whipped cream, fresh fruit, and a drizzle of raspberry and chocolate sauces. The sushi restaurant is also shaking up Strawberry Saketinis with Absolut Citron, Nigori sake, strawberry puree, and lemon juice. 

Bread & Wine: If it's a John Lennon-inspired strawberry cocktail you desire, boy are you in luck! The Mimi Smith at Bread & Wine is a drink named for John Lennon's aunt, who told him to go to Strawberry Fields as a child, thus inspiring some of the lyrics. The drink contains muddled strawberry, rosemary, and lemon peel with gin, fresh lemon juice, and strawberry simple syrup. It's all capped with a splash of Prosecco, a sugar rim, and a lemon peel and strawberry garnish. Lennon would love it. 

Shaw's Crab House: When it comes to seasonal springtime dining at Shaw's Crab House, one might assume it's all about the soft-shell crabs. But don't overlook the dessert menu, currently home to sensational strawberry shortcake and strawberry-rhubarb cobbler. The former contains housemade buttermilk biscuits, Mick Klug strawberries, and fresh whipped cream, while the latter features housemade vanilla bean ice cream and more Klug fruits. 

RA Sushi
(Banana split maki at RA Sushi)

MAX's Wine Dive: The restaurant just opened in Wicker Park, but MAX's Wine Dive is wasting no time grabbing spring/summer by the horns. One of the stars of their weekend brunch menu is vanilla bean French toast made with thick Texas toast, macerated strawberries, and maple syrup from Indiana's Burton's Maplewood Farm. 

Anteprima: At Andersonville's quintessential Italian haunt, they think outside the strawberry box. Case in point, Anteprima is serving up strawberry and spinach risotto and pickled green strawberries foraged from Indiana, to be included on salumi plates. 

Ombra: Just down the block, Anteprima's sister spot Ombra is embracing strawberries in its own right. Look no further than the Strawberry-Rhubarb Bellini and Strawberry-Basil Bellini. Also: Strawberry-Ginger Bellini. It's strawberry bellini-palooza! 

Michael Jordan's Steak House: In terms of strawberry desserts, there's a lot more than shortcake to be had out there. i.e. this sensational confection at Michael Jordan's Steak House: strawberry balsamic cheesecake with strawberry rhubarb purée and Greek yogurt sorbet. 

Vie: Showcasing strawberries innate knack for sweet AND savory, Paul Virant flexes his creative, seasonal muscles at Vie. The dish sounds like a composed cheese plate, featuring blue cheese fritters, fresh strawberries, strawberry-rhubarb jam, pickled fennel, shaved radishes, and arugula. 

Sepia: One of the best ways to showcase intense strawberry flavor is via chilled soup. Particularly when said soup is being served by Andrew Zimmerman at Sepia. The restaurant's strawberry gazpacho is a real stunner, toeing the line betwixt sweet and savory with whipped mascarpone, black pepper, and almonds. 

Waffles: Looking for an apt excuse to eat dessert at an early hour? It's Waffles to the rescue, with their red velvet, strawberry-laced waffles. The lustrous stunners feature strawberry cream cheese, fresh strawberries as bright as Dorothy's slippers, and a chocolate drizzle. 

Fulton Market Kitchen: The strawberry cocktail at Fulton Market Kitchen basically sounds like the best thing ever, starting with the saucy name: False Sense of Insecurity. Meow. The drink is the handiwork of beverage director Brian Sturgulewski, who combines vodka with housemade strawberry syrup, cynar, Licor 43, crushed ice, cinnamon, and strawberries.   

Summer House Santa Monica: Panna cotta has a way with making everything seem drastically more elegant. Case in point, a particularly entrancing dessert at Summer House Santa Monica made with Greek yogurt, strawberry, rhubarb, and pistachios atop a bed of silken panna cotta. 

Mott Street: Ah, duck heart and strawberries. As classic as PB&J. Or not really. But regardless, you'll want to give the combo a try at Mott Street, served with basil and celery. 

- Matt Kirouac

Sushi, cocktails, and other Japanese dishes abound at Ra Sushi, a national chain with three locations in the Chicagoland area.

Anteprima serves Italian home-style cooking with an emphasis on local and organic producers. What's super cool is that diners may order the popular house-made pasta dishes in half-size portions. Tagliatelle,...

A destination spot in Western Springs for finely crafted American cuisine with an emphasis on locally grown ingredients.

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The New England vibe of the seafood-focused Shaw’s Crab House helped make it an institution. But Shaw’s also is famous for doubling up as one of Chicagoland’s best steakhouses. Alongside...

The name pretty much sums up what'll be served at this South Loop restaurant owned by former Japonais manager Alex Hernandez. Waffles offers two varieties of Belgian waffles, Liege and...

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Bread & Wine’s duck confit pierogi, with pickled red onion and herb crème fraiche. (Photo: Bread & Wine) The owners have transformed a former laundromat into a neighborhood American bistro,...

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Master Sommelier and Chicago television personality Alpana Singh (longtime host of WTTW’s Emmy-award winning Check Please!) opened this ambitious project in the historic location of 720 N. Wells St. in...

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Art and food are in perfect harmony at this Fulton Market newcomer, set to open March 21, 2014 from a vet of Black Bull. The restaurant marries rotating art collections...

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