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Weekly Planner: Gauguin-inspired Specials, Brunch Returns to Chop Shop, New Lunch at Bittersweet and More

Gauguin-inspired Burger and Cocktail at Seven Lions

In honor of the new Paul Gauguin Artist as Alchemist exhibit opening at the Art Institute of Chicago, the conveniently located Seven Lions is rolling out an inspired burger and cocktail special to run the duration of the programming, starting June 25. Courtesy of chef Patrick Russ, the burger and cocktail both borrowed inspiration from Gauguin’s exploration of Tahiti, resulting in tropical creations called the Gauguin Burger and the Noa Noa Cocktail. The burger blends the artist’s French roots with his penchant for Tahitian culture, featuring a beef patty topped with housemade country pate, pork belly, crispy plantains, grilled pineapple and…….

Brunch Returns to Chop Shop

Brunch Returns to Chop Shop

Gauguin-inspired Burger and Cocktail at Seven Lions

In honor of the new Paul Gauguin Artist as Alchemist exhibit opening at the Art Institute of Chicago, the conveniently located Seven Lions is rolling out an inspired burger and cocktail special to run the duration of the programming, starting June 25. Courtesy of chef Patrick Russ, the burger and cocktail both borrowed inspiration from Gauguin’s exploration of Tahiti, resulting in tropical creations called the Gauguin Burger and the Noa Noa Cocktail. The burger blends the artist’s French roots with his penchant for Tahitian culture, featuring a beef patty topped with housemade country pate, pork belly, crispy plantains, grilled pineapple and coconut-cabbage slaw. The cocktail is equally beachy, blending dark rum, Tahitian vanilla-infused vodka, fruit juice and a flower garnish in a Hurricane glass. Menu items will be available June 25 through September 10.

New Lunch Menu at Bittersweet

After almost 25 years spent serving the same lunch menu, Lakeview’s Bittersweet Pastry & Cafe is changing things up. The iconic cafe has rolled out a new lunch menu with five staple sandwiches, plus two specials each day. The lineup includes grilled ham, fig and Gruyere; grilled turkey and bacon; smoked salmon; roast beef; and grilled cheese with tomato. To boot, all are served on Bittersweet’s fresh, house-baked bread.

Brunch Returns to Chop Shop

In other midday news, Chop Shop has brought back brunch. Served at the bar, on the second floor and on the rooftop patio every Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m., the new weekend menu features an array of breakfast-y standbys, plus plenty of meaty wares from Chop Shop’s butcher counter. Get hungry for prosciutto and melon plates, bacon cheddar biscuits, sausage frittatas, lobster Benedict with polenta cakes and crab hollandaise and steak and eggs with 4-oz. hanger steak, chimichurri, country potatoes and sunny-side eggs.

Fire and Ice Fridays at Geja’s Cafe

Although mostly renowned as a wintry haven for cozy fondue and clandestine vibes, Geja’s Cafe is here to remind you that the Lincoln Park institution is a summer hot spot as well. For further proof, check out Geja’s for their new Fire and Ice Fridays. Taking place on the restaurant’s patio on Friday evenings, the “ice” comes courtesy of Moet & Chandon’s Ice Imperial, newly added to the wine list for the summer. From 5:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m., guests can indulge in a glass for just $10 all summer long. In addition to fondue, the “fire” is also a reference to the fireplace on Geja’s patio.

Weeknight Specials at Headquarters Beercade

Ensuring that guests have fun every night of the week this summer, Headquarters Beercade has introduced a lineup of specials sure to delight patrons with food, booze and entertainment. Here’s the rundown:

Industry Mondays: any members of the hospitality industry receive 50% off tabs and $10 shots of 1942 Don Julio when they show their business cards.

Can You Dig It Tuesdays: It’s all about the canned beers on Tuesdays. This means $4 cans of craft beers including Bells Oberon, Founders Centennial, Oskar Blues Old Chub, New Belgium Voodoo Ranger, Baderbrau Gun Smoke, Around the Bend Puffing Billy, Sierra Nevada Otra Vez, Surly #Merica, Tocayo Hominy White Ale and  Anthem Pear Cider.

Savage Bingo Wednesdays: For those who like a little interactive entertainment, come by on Wednesdays for some comedy and competition. Savage Bingo is a free event starting at 8:30 p.m., hosted Second City’s Mark Huniu, Brandon Scott and Keegan Hones. Bingo winners have the chance to win prizes every week, including $200 cash, sports and concert tickets, electronics and more.

Thirsty Thursday cocktail flights: Headquarters is now offering flights of their best cocktails, including Assault & Pepper, HQ Zima, and Sex-A-Peel; three 3 oz. pours are available for $9.

Weekly Planner: Mercadito’s Mixology Academy, Father’s Day BBQ, Writers Club and More

One of the best ongoing beverage events in Chicago, Mercadito’s Mixology Academy is back for more on June 17, followed by an experiential dinner two days later. River North’s perpetually hot Mexican restaurant and bar is christening summer in style with their next themed shindig, featuring a lesson on Bulleit Bourbon cocktails led by beverage director Paul Tanguay in the lower La Mez Agave Lounge at 3:00 p.m. The afternoon affair will exhibit tips and techniques for at-home bourbon mixology, along with a bit of history behind the Bulleit brand. Appetizers will also be provided and the cost to attend is $45 per person. Then two days later, Mercadito is hosting another event, this time a four-course dinner on June 19. Hosted by executive chef Patricio Sandoval and special guest Paul Sauter of Diageo, the degustation will include pairings of Don Julio tequila pours. Dishes to savor include a guacamole trio, ceviche, tacos and tres leches. The dinner costs $75 per person. Reservations are required for both events and can be made by calling Mercadito or visiting its website.

Father's Day BBQ

Father’s Day BBQ

Father’s Day at Band of Bohemia 

Father’s Day BBQ

Consider wowing your dad with a little tasting menu dinner at Band of Bohemia for Father’s Day this year. To celebrate the occasion, the Ravenswood restaurant is serving five-course degustations with beer pairings for $85 per person on June 18. With beers brewed in-house and intricate, stunning dishes coming out of the open kitchen, it’s bound to be a real dad-pleaser. Reservations can be made by calling the restaurant.

Father’s Day BBQ at Saint Lou’s Assembly

If your dad prefers something a bit more casual and low-key, swing by Saint Lou’s Assembly on June 18. For Father’s Day, the West Loop restaurant is offering a special edition of its “We’re Out Back” patio series, with barbecue options like brisket, pasta salad and white bread. To drink, dad’s sure to enjoy an ice-cold Old Fashioned, especially while playing bocce or just lounging around in the sun.

Writers Club at Revival Food Hall

Do you like to write? Do you like affordable cocktails? Than the Curbside Writers Club at Revival Food Hall may be just the ticket for you. On June 19, the Loop food hall has set aside some reserved tables for writers to jot down whatever they’d like as part of the Curbside Writers Club from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. Cocktails are $9 and attendees will also get a 20% discount on Curbside Books + Records merchandise.

The Pony Inn

The Pony Inn

Summer Kickoff Specials at The Pony Inn

Summer is almost officially/finally here, and The Pony Inn is prepared to celebrate accordingly. Toasting to the first Tuesday of summer, the Lakeview bar will be slinging specials from 5:00 p.m. until close on June 20, including $3 “Frosty Mug” drafts, $4 Dobel tequila shots and $5 burgers and sandwiches.

Weekly Planner: Crêpes Dinner, More New Brunch

New Brunch and drinking deals in Chicago

New Brunch @ Ema

Brunch @ Ema

One of the most unique Sunday supper series in the city keeps going strong on June 11, as Floriole Cafe & Bakery rolls out its next crêpes-focused dinner. Giving guests a taste of France, the second installment in the dinner series focuses on late-spring ingredients and dishes inspired by the owners’ travels, all paired with European-style cidre. This week’s three-course menu starts with a raw asparagus and fava bean salad, followed by an entree course of buckwheat crêpes stuffed with smoked gouda and spinach, topped with a farm egg and crispy lardons. For dessert, it’s a sweet crêpe with housemade roasted strawberry-rhubarb jam and buttermilk sherbet. Tickets for the dinner, which starts at 6:30 p.m., are $30 per person. Call Floriole to reserve your spot today.

New Brunch at Ēma

Another week, another new brunch menu, as Ēma becomes the latest restaurant in Chicago to add brunch to its repertoire. And this one may be one of the coolest new brunches yet. Now served on Saturdays and Sundays from 11:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., chef CJ Jacobson’s new brunch offerings draw inspiration from across the Mediterranean. The result is a wholesome, fresh and flavorful menu that’s as delicious as it is vibrant. Try the lamb ragu and baked egg with harissa and grilled bread; or the kefta and eggs with housemade yogurt. For something on the sweeter side, there’s yogurt with granola, dates, berries and pomegranate molasses.

Brunch at The Blanchard

While one new brunch menu pays homage to the Mediterranean, another one focuses on France. Lincoln Park’s The Blanchard is another restaurant adding brunch to the weekend equation, now available Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. The handiwork of executive chef Ryan Burns, the brasserie-inspired menu features an assortment of sweet and savory new brunch dishes, all rooted in French classics. This includes steak frites, croque madame, citrus zest crêpes, Japanese pork belly Benedicts and more. The cocktails are pretty unique in and of themselves. Created by acclaimed barman Michael Simon, the drink list is inspired by the movie Cocktail, featuring the likes of Singapore Slings, Hurricanes and Alabama Slammers.

National Rosé Day at RM Champagne Salon

With June 10 being National Rosé Day, it’s an apt time to pay a visit to one of Chicago’s quintessential wine bars, RM Champagne Salon. To celebrate the occasion in style, the Parisian-inspired parlor is offering up a special one-day-only rosé wine flight with offerings from Provence, Sonoma and Italy, all focused on organic and biodynamic practices. Each flight consists of three 2-oz. pours for $11 total, and to sweeten the deal, $1 from every flight will go right to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. RM will also be pouring AIX Rosé by the glass for $11, with a portion of the proceeds going to the foundation as well.

Arbella

Arbella

Summer Fridays at Arbella

With summer nearly upon us, bars and restaurants are tapping into those leisurely warm-weather vibes with early Friday hours and extended happy hours. This is precisely the case at Arbella, which just introduced its “Summer Fridays” programming for the season. This means the bar opens early on Fridays at 3:00 p.m., with happy hour extended through 7:00 p.m. During this time, select cocktails go for $9, including the Punch in the Dickens (pictured), made with rum, oolong arakku, demerara and lime; and the Chilcano featuring cucumber-infused pisco, lime and ginger beer poured over a green cube of cucumber and kiwi ice.

Weekly Planner: Parson’s Block Party, National Steakhouse Month

National Steakhouse Month Specials at Michael Jordan’s Steak House

June marks National Steakhouse Month, and Michael Jordan’s Steak House is celebrating in style with a slew of meaty specials all month long. Courtesy of chef Craig Couper, the lineup consists of a variety of rare and desirable cuts, like a 20-oz. Linz Heritage Angus 30-day dry-aged bone-in strip steak for $59; a 36-oz. Slagel Farms long bone 45-day dry-aged steak for $89, and 7X Ranch American Wagyu New York Strip for $75. For those feeling particularly opulent, there’s also a “chef’s beef tasting,” which includes a series of five 4-oz. cuts for $110. All specials are available during dinner through the end of June.

South African Wine Tasting at III Forks Prime Steakhouse

National Steakhouse Month

In other steakhouse news this week, III Forks Prime Steakhouse is back once again with its crowd-pleasing wine tasting series. This time, the focus is on South African wines, which take the spotlight for a savorous event from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. on June 7. For $20 per person, attendees get to learn about and savor a lineup of six different South African wines, paired with a medley of hors d’oeuvres. After guests sample each wine, they can vote on their favorite to be featured on the menu for the month. Reservations can be made by calling III Forks.

Rosé Happy Hour at Bad Hunter

You know summer is officially in the offing when rosé happy hours start to show up. Indeed, the new happy hour offerings at the West Loop’s red-hot Bad Hunter focus on the rosy stuff. In addition to a new lunch wine program, which is a special menu of $9 wines by the glass available during weekday lunch, the restaurant has rolled out a Monday exclusive focused on rosé. Available from noon until 2:00 p.m., the incredible bargain offers $2 glasses of Viña Zorzal Rosé.

Breakfast at The Purple Pig

One of the hottest and most popular restaurants on the Magnificent Mile just added breakfast to its repertoire, which means there’s now even more reason to queue up outside The Purple Pig. Available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 10:30 a.m., the restaurant’s offering a breakfast counter featuring piadinas with sausages, bacon and rotating accompaniments. There’s also bagels with smoked salmon, fried smashed potatoes, pastries and more. The cream of the crop is the breakfast sandwich made with an English muffin, foie gras, truffle sausage, egg and membrillo.

Weekly Planner: Firkin Friday, New Brunches, Poké at SteakBar and More

Firkin Friday, New Brunches, Poké at SteakBar and More

New Brunches, Poké at SteakBar and More

New Brunches, Poké at SteakBar and More; Galdones Photography

 

Firkin Friday at Hub 51

Freshly tapped beer is a great way to kickstart any weekend, and Hub 51 has a particularly great one on tap for May 26. The River North restaurant and bar is tapping a special firkin from Surly Brewing Co. for the occasion, starting at 6:00 p.m. in the main bar area. It’s free to attend and open to the public, with customers only paying for what they order to drink. Rest assured, anything that the Minneapolis brewery provides will be downright delicious.

Brunch at Tallboy Taco

The only way steak and eggs could possibly get any better is if the classic combo was wrapped in a tortilla. Fortunately, there’s Tallboy Taco to answer the craving. The River North restaurant just added Saturday brunch to its menu, complete with dishes like steak and egg tacos, brisket and egg tacos, huevos rancheros, chilaquiles and other Mexican-accented specialties courtesy of chef Tim Hockett. For sweets, try the old fashioned churro donuts or banana French toast with housemade dulce de leche. For drinks, there’s morning margaritas made with avocado puree, orange, yuzu, lime, egg white and mole bitters, plus a sweet cafe de dominicano with Jameson, tres leches, horchata, vanilla, cinnamon, cream and Dark Matter-taco blend coffee. Brunch is served every Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

New Brunches, Poké at SteakBar and More

New Brunches, Poké at SteakBar and More

Happy Hour at Found

The onset of warmer weather makes for a good time to launch a happy hour with rosé on tap. Up in Evanston, Found’s new “5 @ 5” happy hour runs weeknights from 4:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m., with (you guessed it) food and beverage items for $5 each. Options include spicy Asian-style cashews, bread with housemade butter and violet mustard, salmon spread board with flatbreads, chips and spicy ranch dip and cheese. Then there’s the drinks, which include assorted beers on tap, rotating cocktails and Pinot Gris and rosé on tap.

New Brunches

Brunch at Gemini

Another new brunch option in town can be found at Gemini, the recent reincarnation of the former Gemini Bistro. With chef Miguel Ortiz manning the stoves, weekend brunch service features an array of American staples from cinnamon rolls and lox platters to pulled pork eggs Benedict and chilaquiles. Lunchier options include spring vegetable risotto and the G Burger with Monterey Jack cheese, pancetta, shaved onion, shredded lettuce and aioli. Brunch cocktails include the Cherry Bellini and the Morning Screw, featuring Ketel One, Ketel O, Bauchant, fresh orange juice and soda. Brunch is now available on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.

Rosé, Poké and Half-Priced Wine at SteakBar

Things are getting summery at SteakBar, as Old Town’s liveliest restaurant and bar heats things up with a handful of dining and drinking specials throughout the week. It all starts with half-priced wine on Tuesdays, wherein select bottles will be substantially discounted during dinner service. Then the next day it’s all about the rosé and poké. Every Wednesday, SteakBar offers a special combo of tuna poké and a bottle of rosé for just $20.

Memorial Day 2017 Dining Guide

Memorial Day 2017 Dining Guide

Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba!leads of our Memorial Day 2017 Dining Guide Chicago’s original tapas restaurant always knows how to throw a good party. In honor of Memorial Day, Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba! is serving brunch on May 29 from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m., followed by dinner service until 10:00 p.m. So there’s plenty of opportunity to indulge on your day off. Dishes are perfectly snackable and comforting, like deviled eggs with bacon, pancakes, waffle-battered chicken sticks, omelets, various brunchy tapas and more. There’s also a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar and six flavors of sangria, which sounds like a surefire way to celebrate any holiday.

017 Dining Guide @ chicago_q

017 Dining Guide @ chicago_q

The Kerryman: Rathan than confine the Memorial Day merriment to one day, The Kerryman is hosting a variety of events and specials all weekend long. Because the onset of summer in Chicago is a big deal. Brunchers can enjoy $5 mimosas and Bloody Marys from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. on May 27 and May 28. There will also be bonus brunch on the actual holiday, and on Sunday night, the bar is hosting its annual Memorial Day party with DJ Ruki from 10:00 p.m. until closing time.

Memorial Day 2017 Dining Guide

R.J. Grunts: There’s just something so apropos and comforting about visiting Chicago’s quintessential all-American family restaurant on a holiday. In Lincoln Park, longstanding R.J. Grunts will be serving Memorial Day brunch from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m., featuring an all-you-can-eat spread of hearty dishes like pecan bread pudding French toast, mini Belgian waffles, thick-cut bacon, eggs, yogurt and granola, and more. All for a mere $15.95 per person, and the famous salad bar is included in the cost.

Chicago q: Seeing as Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer, a season synonymous with barbecue, it makes perfect sense to indulge at one of Chicago’s most iconic barbecue restaurants. Fittingly, Chicago q will be open and serving brunch on May 29, with the patio open to boot (weather permitting).  The menu features fixtures like smoked dry-rubbed wings, brisket, fried green tomatoes, hush puppies, smoked chicken eggs Benedict, chicken & waffles, sweet potato hash and loads more.

Shaw’s Crab House: It’s happy hour all day long at Shaw’s Crab House, where the seafood staple will be slinging half-priced fresh oysters, select cocktails, wine and draft beer in the boisterous oyster bar space on Memorial Day.

Cinco de Mayo Dining and Drinking Guide 2017

Cinco de Mayo Dining and Drinking Guide 2017

Cinco de Mayo at Sable

Cinco de Mayo at Sable

 

 

Tanta and Arbella: These two River North sister spots are teaming up for the ultimate Cinco de Mayo event this year. The best part? It’s all for a good cause, with proceeds from the festivities going towards the Farmer and Landscaper Advocacy Project (FLAP), with the mission of improving working conditions for migrant and seasonal workers in Illinois. All day long on May 5, both spots will be featuring drink specials. Tanta’s is called the Corazón Valiente, which has Tanta’s special blend Barrel Patron Reposado, Zucca, lime and blood orange syrup. 50% of proceeds from the cocktail go towards FLAP. Meanwhile, Arbella will open its doors early at 3:00 p.m. to serve $12 watermelon margaritas on draft, plus $5 Modelos. 100% of proceeds from these two go to FLAP.

Bistronomic: A French restaurant may not seem the most obvious destination for Cinco de Mayo celebrations, but Bistronomic has proven quite adept at holidays of all kinds. This includes their upcoming Cinco specials, wherein chef Martial Noguier fuses Mexican cuisine with French inspirations for a special three-course menu utilizing ingredients and produce from Green City Market. Dishes include scallop ceviche, English pea vichyssoise, duck mole, poisson du jour vera cruz-style and tres leches profiteroles. The three-course dinner menu costs $39 per person, available from 5:00 p.m. until 10:30 p.m.

Beatrix: Two words for you: taco bar. Two more words for you: chilaquiles bar. Both Beatrix locations are honoring Cinco de Mayo properly with an array of brunchy comfort food. The taco and chilaquiles bars will run through 3:00 p.m., along with special pineapple-habanero margaritas.

Sable Kitchen & Bar: If ever there was a place with a knack for pairing cocktails and food, it’s Sable Kitchen & Bar. This is especially evident with their Cinco de Mayo special, which combines a Mexican dish and drinks featuring the combined talents of chef Shane Graybeal and bartender Pito Rodriguez. Available on Sable’s 2+2 menu, which features two small plates paired with two cocktails for $35, the special features mole-braised chicken thigh taco with pickled pineapple and cilantro crema paired with the Mojo Manor, a vibrabt spiced pineapple cocktail with Don Q Cristal, lime and housemade mojo tincture. The other pairing is frijole charros, otherwise known as rancher’s style beans and rice. This comes with the mezcal- and tequila-based Oaxaca Old Fashioned. This special will be available May 3 through May 8, and the Mojo Manor is also available on the regular menu.

Tuco and Blondie: There’s a “taco tent” at Tuco and Blondie, so this is pretty much mandatory on Cinco de Mayo. Lakeview’s colorful new Mexican hot spot, is celebrating the holiday with an al fresco party that includes a tent filled with tacos, chips and guacamole. The brunch-style event also features a buffet beginning at 10:00 a.m. with burritos, chilaquiles and enchiladas.

Weekly Planner: Tropical Disco, Rooftop Derby Parties, Sunday Asado

Weekly Planner: Tropical Disco

Tropical Disco at Boleo

Tropical Disco at Boleo

Rooftop Derby Party at III Forks Prime Steakhouse: Tropical Disco

As the Kentucky Derby prepares to race into action May 6, III Forks Prime Steakhouse is celebrating in appropriately lavish style with a rooftop soiree complete with over-the-top hats, Mint Juleps, seersucker suits and lots of other specials. Starting at 4:00 p.m. and running until midnight, the soiree doubles as the seasonal launch for the steakhouse’s incomparable rooftop lounge. Attendees are encouraged to come dressed in their Derby best (read: lots of white, seersucker and crazy hats). The event is free to attend, with a la carte drink specials like Maker’s Mark frozen mint juleps, frozen bourbon cocktails, $5 draft cocktails, $3 Pacifico beers and $3 Stellas. Guests who RSVP is advance will also receive one themed drink, plus a Maker’s Mark ice cream cone and passed appetizers from 4:00 p.m. until post time at 5:34 p.m. Of course, the race will be on full display on III Forks’ numerous outdoor TV screens. To RSVP, call the restaurant.

Kentucky Derby Party at Bernie’s Lunch & Supper

Another restaurant throwing a rooftop Derby party of its own is Bernie’s Lunch & Supper. The River North restaurant will be airing the race and all the seasonal festivities from 4:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. on May 6, with $8 Rabbit Hole mint juleps, $8 Rabbit Hole Old Fashioneds, $8 Rabbit Hole Kentucky mules, $8 cheeseburgers, $8 meatballs and plenty more.

Aperitivo Hour at Bar Lupo

Another week, another new happy hour. But this one comes with an Italian accent and fizzy spritzes. River North’s new Italian haunt, Bar Lupo, has kicked off its aperitivo hour program, which runs Monday through Friday from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Inspired by the timeworn Italian tradition of a drink and a snack before dinner, the menu offerings include shareable bites, beer, wine and cocktails, all at bargain prices. Items include $5 spritzes, $5.99 avocado toast, $16,99 Piedmont Pub burgers with fontina and truffle, $4 glasses of wine and $6.99 garlic buns with tomato sauce and basil.

elchebar_pressimage_092016 (1)

Green City Market Dinner Series at Travelle Kitchen + Bar

With spring in full swing and farmers’ market season around the bend, Travelle Kitchen + Bar is once again paying homage to Green City Market with a weekly four-course dinner menu highlighting the best of the season. Spearheaded by executive chef Ricardo Jarquin and pastry chef Scott Green, each Wednesday night from May 10 through October 25 is anchored by ingredients found at the market each Wednesday morning. The tasting menu costs $45 per person, with optional wine pairings for $20 additional. It doesn’t get much fresher than this.

Sunday Asado at El Che Bar

Tropical Disco: You’ve heard of Sunday supper, but how ‘bout Sunday asado? The West Loop’s red-hot El Che Bar is cooking up an Argentine feast every Sunday evening, from 5:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m., a glorious spread of traditional and hearty meats cooked over open flames. Designed to feed two diners (cost is $90 per couple), the menu includes beef, pork, ribs, chitterlings, sweetbreads, blood sausage and more. Seasonal sides, salad and empanadas round it out.

Frontera Grill’s 30th Anniversary

Frontera Grill’s 30th Anniversary, Sepia Sunday Dinners, Derby Specials:

Weekly Planner

Frontera Grill's 30th Anniversary

Frontera Grill’s 30th Anniversary

 

Frontera Grill Celebrates Its 30th Anniversary

One of Chicago’s most influential and iconic restaurants, Frontera Grill is celebrating its 30th anniversary by partnering with FamilyFarmed for a wholesome party on April 30 at the Art Institute of Chicago’s Modern Wing. Taking place from 5:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m., the event will feature guest chefs from across the planet, all coming together to celebrate Frontera, FamilyFarmed and Rick Bayless’ Frontera Farmer Foundation. It all starts with The Good Food Forum: A Bold Vision for the Future in the Art Institute’s Rubloff Auditorium, with a keynote speech by Bayless. In attendance will be Paul Kahan, Marcus Samuelsson and Nora Pouillon. Other chefs in attendance for the party include Matthias Merges, Stephanie Izard, Ming Tsai, Jason Hammel, Michael Mina and more. Each chef will be preparing food to serve to guests, gourmet food court-style. Bayless’ restaurants will also be providing tastings. Proceeds from the evening benefit the Frontera Farmer Foundation and FamilyFarmed. Tickets for the lavish affair are $500. To purchase or to learn more information, visit here: www.frontera30.org.

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Sunday Dinners With Arthur

Fresh off a nod as one of the 2017 Sommeliers of the Year by Food & Wine, Sepia’s Arthur Hon is stepping into the spotlight a bit more with a new Sunday dinner series designed to enlighten guests more about wine and pairings. Each Sunday evening at 6:00 p.m., the restaurant rolls out a different four-course tasting menu cooked by chef Andrew Zimmerman and pastry chef Sarah Mispagel, with pairings curated by Hon. Each menu is crafted around a featured wine maker. Tickets for each menu are $120 per person and can be purchased by calling Sepia.

Derby Specials at Brando’s Speakeasy

Getting in the spirit of the Kentucky Derby, the Loop’s venerable Brando’s Speakeasy is cooking up some festive specials to run May 1 through May 6. These include $6 Woodford Mint Juleps leading up to Derby Day on May 6. The day of the actual race will also feature free fried chicken. The bar opens daily at 3:00 p.m. for all your day-drinking needs.

Happy Hour at Forbidden Root

Speaking of day-drinking, the latest hot happy hour in town takes place at Forbidden Root in West Town. The brewery and restaurant is now offering bargain beverages and snacks Tuesdays through Thursdays from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. During this time, guests can enjoy $1 off all drafts, $10 beer flights and free gochugarou chili popcorn. Currently on draft are seasonal brews like Snooze Juice pale ale, lemony Bayside High saison and the Tropical Toy Boat gose.

Jazzfest Crawfish Boil at Frontier

Jazzfest Crawfish Boil at Frontier

Jazzfest Crawfish Boil at Frontier

The Derby isn’t the only festive occasion taking place this season. In honor of New Orleans’ famed Jazzfest, which takes place April 30, Frontier is hosting a crawfish boil with all-you-can-eat crawfish, corn and potatoes. Other specials include crawfish pie, frozen daiquiris and Abita beers. The crawfish boil is $35 per person, plus additional a la carte prices for specials. The event takes place with two seatings, the first at noon and the second at 4:00 p.m. Live music takes place throughout the day. Tickets can be purchased on Frontier’s website.

Surefire Signs of Spring in Chicago

From farmers’ markets to iced coffee queues, this is how you know spring has really sprung. Signs of Spring

Signs of Spring in Chicago @ Tavern on Rush

Signs of Spring in Chicago @ Tavern on Rush

Everyone in Chicago knows that spring doesn’t really start in March. With typically unpredictable weather, the season is often delayed a few weeks until that precise perfect moment everybody realizes we’ve endured another winter and spring is here to stay (at least until summer heat settles in). Restaurants in Chicago are solid indicators of spring, based on their hours, patios and menus. These are the surest signs of spring in Chicago restaurants.

Ice Cream and Gelato: One of the best signs that spring is here is the simple fact that it’s no longer too cold to enjoy ice cream and gelato without freezing to death. Along with other prized gems like Miko’s Italian Ice and Scooter’s Frozen Custard, Black Dog Gelato is emerging from hibernation and coming back for the warm-weather season. Swing by the Ukrainian Village shop for a taste of peanut butter lavender marshmallow gelato, blueberry French toast, sesame fig chocolate chip or any other oddball combo of chilly deliciousness.

Iconic Patios: It’s probably because Chicagoans have so much pent-up energy accumulated during winter, but we really love patios. To the point that we’ll happily sit underneath a screeching El track if it means we can dine al fresco. There are patios all over the city come spring, but few are as iconic as the ones at Tavern on Rush, Big Star and Parson’s Chicken & Fish. They’re all so different, all in different neighborhoods, but in their own ways they capture the essence of spring. In the Gold Coast, diners starving for sunshine flock to the massive patio anchoring the Viagra Triangle. Customers do likewise in Wicker Park at Big Star, and in Logan Square for Parson’s.

Iced Coffee: Sure, some people are bold enough to order iced coffee in the dead of winter, when the wind chill is twice as cold as the beverage itself. But cravings for the quenching stuff really starts to skyrocket once the weather warms and the mittens go away. For some of the best in town, head to Star Lounge in Ukrainian Village. The full-fledged cafe arm of Dark Matter Coffee, they’re famously known for their rich and creamy Chocolate City iced coffee, which they dole out on tap or in bottles.

Rooftop at J. Parker: The nifty thing about the J. Parker, the bar perched atop the Hotel Lincoln, is that the terrace space is open year round thanks to a glass covering that maintains the stunning Lincoln Park views while shielding customers from sub-zero temperatures. But really, there’s nothing that can compare to an open-air rooftop bar, and that day when the J. Parker reels in its facade is a day to celebrate. Now patrons can lounge around the massive sunny space while sipping cocktails and enjoying upscale bar food.

Green City Market: After months of infrequent indoor events, it’s time once again for farmers’ markets to return to their rightful posts outdoors. The season starts again for Chicago’s biggest and most popular farmers’ market, Green City, in May on Wednesdays and Saturdays in its Lincoln Park home. Opening day is always a jam-packed event filled with produce-shoppers, strollers, leashed dogs, chefs and vendors. As crowded as things can get, especially on Saturday markets, there’s something so excitingly vigorous about shopping outside for strawberries directly from farmers again. New this year, the market is adding a West Loop location at 115 S. Sangamon St., operating Saturdays June through October, and one in Wrigleyville on Thursday evenings at 3637 N. Clark St.