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Chicago’s New Tropical Hot Spots

Chicago’s New Tropical Hot Spots

Beyond tiki bars, Chicago is diving into the tropics with new bars inspired by beaches, Hawaii, surfing and more. Chicago’s New Tropical Hot Spot

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Chicago's New Tropical Hot Spots (Dive Bar)

Chicago’s New Tropical Hot Spots (Dive Bar)

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Tiki bars aren’t your only options for tropical dining and drinking in Chicago, thanks to a recent intriguing uptick in beachy bars and restaurants. Joining the ranks of Three Dots and a Dash and Lost Lake, two newcomers include Dive Bar in Boystown, Hawaiian inspired Mahaloin Wicker Park and the aptly named Surf in Logan Square. Here’s a breakdown of these three tropical haunts:

Chicago’s New Tropical Hot Spots

Dive Bar
About: It’s seafood and tropical tipples aplenty at this Boystown spot. Unique to the neighborhood, the restaurant and bar is a transportive and wholly immersive experience decked out to make guests feel like they’re boarding a ship. Divvied into three distinct areas, there’s the front called The Dock, which has $5 cocktails and late-night eats; The Galley is a rum bar outfitted with shipping containers; and The Wharf is a gorgeous outdoor space.
What to Eat: There are three seafood boils to choose from, all of which are great for groups. There’s also po’boys served with curly sea salt fries, plus surf & turf plates of steak and lobster. More casual items include fish & chips, fried chicken and grilled Caesar salad.
What to Drink: With a focus on rum and tropical cocktails, The Galley boasts a bottle list of 200 and the menu contains 41 flavors of daiquiris and frozen drinks.

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Mahalo

Mahalo

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Mahalo
About: While many tropical newcomers skew towards the Caribbean for inspiration, Mahalo borrows a page from Hawaii for its motif and menus. The sunny, white-washed oasis in Wicker Park is a bi-level Mecca of fresh eats, bracing drinks and a design scheme sure to make you feel like you’ve jetted off on vacation to Oahu. A central bar anchors the first level, surrounded by stools and small tables, while a second-floor dining room and bar is adjoined by a rooftop patio.
What to Eat: Traditional Hawaiian poké is a star on the food menu, available in three versions: tuna with green onion, soy, macadamia nut, sesame, and nori; braised octopus with ginger, sweet chili, pineapple and seaweed; and poached Gulf shrimp with lemon, mint, soy, cucumber, and chili. Other items lean contemporary, such as Spam meatballs and the “Huihui” Cobb salad with grilled chicken, kahuku-corn, pipikaula, avocado, egg, grape tomato, onion, pineapple, bleu cheese and charred Maui onion ranch.
What to Drink: Creamy, fruity and lustrous, the cocktails at Mahalo include a Mai Tai, a passion fruit-infused mezcal margarita, a coconut-filled piña colada, and a beachy riff on a Moscow Mule called the Maui Mule, with Pau Maui Hawaiian vodka, Blue Curaçao, ginger beer and lime juice.

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Surf Bar Chicago

Surf Bar Chicago

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Surf
About: The folks from nearby Emporium Arcade Bar are behind this beach-inspired late-night hangout in Logan Square, where sand, swings and surfboards serve as decor, DJs provide the entertainment and tropical eats and drinks provide something fresh and fun to the bar-saturated neighborhood.
What to Eat: Much of the food menu features cheeky names inspired by the beach and the ocean, like an appetizer of “shark teeth,” aka crisp sweet candied bacon with maple sugar and smoked paprika cayenne rub, or “boogie boards,” which are actually baked nachos with Monterey pepper Jack and aged cheddar cheeses, BBQ turkey chili, guacamole, pico de gallo and spicy crema. The “bodacious burrito” is a good option if you’re drunk and/or starving, and pizzas are surprisingly well-represented in flavors like “Banzai Pipeline,” which has BBQ chicken, tomato BBQ sauce, Parmesan, mozzarella, pepper Jack and balsamic glaze.
What to Drink: Draft cocktails take top billing at Surf. These include “Slipping of the Sun” with El Dorado Blanco rum, Rare Tea Cellars hibiscus tea syrup and cold-press ginger syrup; “King of the Beach” with Rhum Neisson Agricole Blanco, fresco pepper-infused Demerara syrup, fresh watermelon juice, fresh lime and mint; and “Phantom Surfer,” with Cazadores Reposado tequila, angostura bitters, cinnamon-infused honey syrup, fresh passion fruit juice and fresh lemon juice. There’s also virgin cocktails, local beers on draft and “tourists,” aka beer in cans from outside Chicago.

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Weekend Planner: Ice Cream Edition

Weekend Planner: Ice Cream Edition

Keep cool this weekend with new ice cream treats from HotChocolate

Weekend Planner: Ice Cream Edition (HotChocolate)

Weekend Planner: Ice Cream Edition (HotChocolate)

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HotChocolate Fudge-sicles on The 606. Ice Cream Edition

With the Dog Days of Summer upon us, there’s never been a better time to hit The 606 and cool off with Fudge-sicles by none other than Mindy Segal. The owner of nearby HotChocolate, which is just off the elevated trail on Damen in Bucktown, just rolled out a new frozen treats cart on the 606 on weekends and evenings. Not just any fudge-sicles, these are her frozen hot chocolate fudge-sicles, doled out from a custom built tricycle in seasonally inspired flavors like strawberries and cream and peanut butter and jam. They cost $4 each, and you can find out where the “IceTrike” will be by following HotChocolate on Twitter at @MindySegal.

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Scream for Ice Cream at The Publican

In other ice cream news, pastry chef Dana Cree couldn’t have picked a better time to christen her new ice cream menu at The Publican. Featuring recipes from her upcoming book, Hello My Name Is Ice Cream, she’s whipped up a slew of new flavors for the dessert menu, including chocolate peanut butter brownie crunch, caramel popcorn chunk, and black raspberry supreme.

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Boozy Milkshakes at Bub City Rosemont

For a little booze with your ice cream, Bub City’s Rosemont location recently rolled out a bevy of boozy shakes infused with the likes of dark rum and bourbon. The perfect summery dessert/cocktail hybrid, these indulgent creations are available in flavors like cookies ’n’ cream with cream cheese frosting and an Oreos rim, cold-brew coffee with caramel and chocolate-covered espresso beans, chocolate-peanut butter-banana with chocolate ganache, and strawberry with cream cheese frosting and both fresh and dried strawberries.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other uses, see Ice cream (disambiguation).

Ice cream (derived from earlier iced cream or cream ice[1]) is a sweetened frozen food typically eaten as a snack or dessert. It is usually made from dairy products, such as milk and cream, and often combined with fruits or other ingredients and flavours. It is typically sweetened with sucrose, corn syrup, cane sugar, beet sugar, and/or other sweeteners. Typically, flavourings and colourings are added in addition to stabilizers. The mixture is stirred to incorporate air spaces and cooled below the freezing point of water to prevent detectable ice crystals from forming. The result is a smooth, semi-solid foam that is solid at very low temperatures (<35 °F / 2 °C). It becomes more malleable as its temperature increases.

The meaning of the phrase “ice cream” varies from one country to another. Phrases such as “frozen custard”, “frozen yogurt”, “sorbet”, “gelato” and others are used to distinguish different varieties and styles. In some countries, such as the United States, the phrase “ice cream” applies only to a specific variety, and most governments regulate the commercial use of the various terms according to the relative quantities of the main ingredients, notably the amount of cream.[2]Products that do not meet the criteria to be called ice cream are labelled “frozen dairy dessert” instead.[3] In other countries, such as Italy and Argentina, one word is used for all variants. Analogues made from dairy alternatives, such asgoat’s or sheep’s milk, or milk substitutes (e.g., soy milk or tofu), are available for those who are lactose intolerant, allergic to dairy protein, or vegan.

Ice cream may be served in dishes, for eating with a spoon, or in cones, which are licked. Ice cream may be served with other desserts, such as apple pie. Ice cream is used to prepare other desserts, including ice cream floats, sundaes,milkshakes and even baked items, such as the Baked Alaska.

Chicago’s Best Breakfast Burgers

Chicago’s Best Breakfast Burgers

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It’s no surprise that burgers dominate the comfort food landscape during lunch and dinner, but why wait more than an hour after waking up to indulge your cravings? Breakfast burgers have been on the rise in Chicago lately, and we’ve mapped out several spots where you can scratch that itch in the a.m.

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Chicago's Best Breakfast Burgers @ Cochon Volant

Chicago’s Best Breakfast Burgers
@ Cochon Volant

 

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The decadent “Les Cheeseburger Royale” just got a breakfast upgrade at the Loop’s Cochon Volant Brasserie. It’s a dish that has amassed considerable renown in the downtown area, thanks to chef Matt Ayala’s culinary dexterity and talent. Now he’s adjusted it for the morning set by offering it on an English muffin for a bun, piling it all up with two patties, thick-cut bacon, onion confit, American cheese, Dijonnaise, and house pickles. An over-easy egg can be added for a supplemental charge. The breakfast burger is an off-menu treat, so just ask your server about it when you dine at the restaurant in the morning.

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Chicago's Best Breakfast Burgers @ Rockit

Chicago’s Best Breakfast Burgers
@ Rockit

One of the coolest, most unique, breakfast-iest burgers in town can be found at Latinicity. The massive Latin food hall recently added brunch to its repertoire, which includes the end all-be all of breakfast burgers served on Belgium-style waffles in lieu of buns. The patty itself is a choriburger, adjoined by bacon, chipotle cheese sauce, and pico de gallo.

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If biscuits are your preference, Beef & Barley fits the bill nicely with their rendition of a breakfast burger. The beef is served on a buttery biscuit from Southern France Patisserie in Lakeview, accompanied by beer cheese, caramelized onions, pickled red onions, pickles, a chicken fried onion ring, and optional egg and bacon. Pro tip: order it with a side of maple syrup for drizzling/dunking. It adds a nice little splash of sweetness to compliment all that savory.

Sweet of the Week: Waffle at Hendrickx Belgian Bread Crafter

Hendrickx Belgian Bread CrafterWeek:

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Waffle at Hendrickx Belgian Bread Crafter

Waffle at Hendrickx Belgian Bread Crafter

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I love when desserts masquerade as breakfast. This would explain my undying love for piled-high pancakes, stuffed French toast, and treacly crepes. This would also explain why I can’t say no to a chocolate-frosted Belgian waffle, especially when it’s made at Hendrickx Belgian Bread Crafter, a gem of a bakeshop tucked away in the Gold Coast. This blink-and-you’ll-miss-it bakery serves some of the best European breads, pastries, and sandwiches in Chicago, and while the tiny spot is often packed with cramped patrons, many people still don’t know it exists. Or at least, where to find it. Pro tip: look for the bright orange door up a short set of stairs on the north side of Walton. Once inside, prepare to be enveloped into a world of Belgian delicacies, perfected by an owner/baker with an accent as smooth and rich as his white chocolate bread. But today we’re here to talk about my most recent discovery here, the waffle. The traditional fluffy, crackly waffles are available a few different ways, but I’d suggest you opt for chocolate if you want something dessert-y for breakfast.

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This waffle is of the lighter, airier texture than the chewier, pearl sugar-laden liege-style. Not too sweet, the muted waffle serves as a blank canvas for additional layered flavors. It exhibits an exercise in restraint from the kitchen that they’re able to hone in on texture and really nail a perfect waffle without leaning on sugar or filler. Rather, the giant rectangular waffle comes adorned with a few dollops of fresh whipped cream and an adjoining tin of fudgy chocolate sauce. This stuff is thick, hot, and deeply rich; perfect for enhancing the waffle and filling up all those crispy nooks and crannies. Combine a bit of fudge with a bit of whipped cream on a forkful of waffle and you’ve got yourself the perfect bite, sweet but not overbearing, with a clear emphasis on the quality of that perfect waffle.

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Belgian Bread

Weekly Planner: Air & Water Show BBQ, Late-night Burgers

Air & Water Show BBQ, Late-night Burgers

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Air & Water Show

Air & Water Show

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With the Air & Water Show taking place this weekend in Chicago, GreenRiver is poised to celebrate in style with a perfectly summery BBQ bash. Considering the restaurant’s location on the 18th floor of a Streeterville high-rise, it also happens to be the perfect setting for a front-row seat to all the action. Taking place both on August 20 and August 21, the ticketed terrace events take place from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m., both with al fresco open bars. Chef Aaron Lirette will be cooking up Southern-style barbecue with dishes like slow-smoked beef brisket with bourbon molasses BBQ sauce, applewood-smoked pulled pork, mac & cheese, cole slaw and buttermilk cornbread. Head bartender Julia Momose will be shaking up a bevy of signature cocktails, like the Yuzu Gin & Tonic and the Aperitivo #1 with Rosso Antico, J Rieger Kansas City whiskey, blackberry, absinthe and Boker’s bitters.

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Chicago Air Water Show

Chicago Air & Water Show

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With the Air & Water Show taking place this weekend in Chicago, GreenRiver is poised to celebrate in style with a perfectly summery BBQ bash. Considering the restaurant’s location on the 18th floor of a Streeterville high-rise, it also happens to be the perfect setting for a front-row seat to all the action. Taking place both on August 20 and August 21, the ticketed terrace events take place from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m., both with al fresco open bars. Chef Aaron Lirette will be cooking up Southern-style barbecue with dishes like slow-smoked beef brisket with bourbon molasses BBQ sauce, applewood-smoked pulled pork, mac & cheese, cole slaw and buttermilk cornbread. Head bartender Julia Momose will be shaking up a bevy of signature cocktails, like the Yuzu Gin & Tonic and the Aperitivo #1 with Rosso Antico……

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Air & Water Show

Late-Night at Epic Burger

Nothing satisfies those late-night drunk cravings quite like a good burger. Epic Burger is rising to the occasion with newly implemented late-night hours running Thursday through Saturday. Keeping things simple, delicious and high-quality, Epic Burger is renown for its thin patties griddled to perfection and heaped with onion, pickles…..

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SEE FULL STORY

Dine and Drink During the Chicago Air & Water Show

Dine and Drink During the Chicago Air & Water Show

Chicago Air & Water Show

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Drink During the Chicago Air & Water Show LondonHouse

Drink During the Chicago Air & Water Show LondonHouse

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In case the thunderous planes rocketing through the sky don’t give it away, the Air & Water Show is an unmistakable harbinger of late-summer fun in Chicago. Taking place August 20 and 21 this year, coupled with preceding days of “practice runs,” it’s pretty impossible to avoid the show no matter where you are. But if you really want to do it right and drink it in proper than you need a fitting al fresco setting. Because nothing says “summer in Chicago” like patios and fighter planes. Here’s where to dine and drink with a view this weekend:

Chicago Air & Water Show

LondonHouse: One of the hottest openings of the year so far, the LondonHouse hotel boasts the city’s first tri-level rooftop, with the bulk of the scene positioned on the hotel’s 23rd floor. Get there early, aka immediately upon opening, because this place fills up fast. That being said, it’s well worth the extra effort, considering the impeccable views of the Chicago River and downtown. And considering the high-soaring vista, it’s an apt spot to sip some cocktails (try the Scotch cocktail infused with edible charcoal) and marvel at the planes roaring overhead.

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The Signature Room: Get high at The Signature Room. And by that I mean ascend 95 stories in the air to marvel at the air and water display from one of the ultimate vistas in the city. The restaurant is hosting a special Chicago Air & Water Show viewing party from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. This high-flying fete includes picture-perfect seating, a gourmet buffet, and a bar stocked with cocktails. Tickets cost $150 per person and can be purchased by calling the restaurant.

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Streeterville Social at the Loews Hotel Chicago: Perched on the third floor of the Loews Hotel, Streeterville Social is not only the largest rooftop terrace in town, but it affords amazing views without any of the terrifying fears of heights. An enormous makeshift lawn on north side of the rooftop is a great spot to spread out, relax, and look up into the sky at the action. There’s also lawn games, comfortable al fresco chairs, and an action-packed bar churning out reliable beers, wines, and summery cocktails.

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Cindy’s: One of the summer’s hottest openings is undoubtedly one of the hottest rooftop tickets in town. Perched atop the 13th floor rooftop of the Chicago Athletic Association hotel, Cindy’s offers breathtaking views of the weekend display along with its usual breathtaking panorama of Millennium Park and Lake Michigan. To round out the vista, DJ Hopkins will be on-site spinning tunes on August 15 and 16 from noon until 3:00 p.m. There will also be a massive art installation on the terrace designed by artist Andrea Jablonski, who crafted a piece inspired by a plane. Reservations can be made by calling the restaurant.

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Harry Caray’s Tavern: With its location right on Navy Pier, Harry Caray’s Tavern has a front-row seat to all the sea and sky action. The menu is perfect for lingering and noshing all afternoon long too, with comfort foods of all kinds, like pizza, burgers, meatloaf, chicken wings, and more.

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Castaways: What Castaways lacks in height, it more than makes up for in front-row seating. Located smack dab on the sands of North Avenue beach, amidst the nexus of the festivities, Castaways is prime seating all weekend long. In special celebration of the events, Castaways is offering $120 tickets for a special practice day event on Friday, August 14, which includes a breakfast and lunch buffet and an open bar from 9:00 a.m. until the end of the show. On August 16, Castaways is at it again with $175 tickets for the same spread, available 9:00 a.m. until show’s end. Tickets can be purchased by emailing Colleen Quinlan at cquinlan@stefanigroup.com.

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The J. Parker: For a bit of a different view, head to Lincoln Park’s Hotel Lincoln and ride the elevator up to the J. Parker. Here, on the 13th floor of the boutique hotel, you’ll revel in awe-inspiring views of Lincoln Park proper, the downtown skyline, and of course the shores of Lake Michigan. It’s a beautifully apt spot to marvel at the Air & Water Show all weekend long. The rooftop bar will also be holding a few select tables on a first-come, first-serve basis for hotel guests. Locals can make table reservations by calling the bar ahead of time.

 

“West Winds” Dinner at Lula Cafe

“West Winds” Dinner at Lula Cafe

"West Winds" Dinner at Lula Cafe

“West Winds” Dinner at Lula Cafe

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As former Intro chef-in-residence Jessica Largey prepares to open her own restaurant, Simone, in Los Angeles, she’s back in town for a special event at Lula Cafe that you won’t want to miss. On August 8, Largey will team with Lula’s Sarah Rinkavage for a five-course guest chef dinner for $70 per person. Dubbed “West Winds” for the combo of West Coast meets Windy City, the collaborative dinner will entail both chefs working together on each and every course. Expect a variety of fresh produce from Largey’s favorite southern California farmers’ markets, coupled with the best of the season from the Midwest. This will echo on the beverage side of the meal as well, with local beers and California wines sharing menu space. Reservations can be made by calling Lula. .

 

Green Zebra

Green Zebra

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Tomato Menu at Green Zebra

Summer is high time for ALL THE PRODUCE. And what better place to celebrate than one of Chicago’s pioneering vegetarian restaurants, Green Zebra. The West Town institution has rolled out its fresh new summer menus, complete with a rotating array of weekly specials inspired by ingredients at their seasonal peak. For the week of August 9 through 12, that means tomatoes. For these nights, the restaurant will feature a four-course tomato-themed tasting menu featuring dishes like sliced heirloom tomatoes with fresh shaved cucumber, gelee, and basil; and roasted stuffed tomato with ratatouille, charred sweet pepper puree, and shaved summer squash.

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Mathieu’s Green City Market Lunch at Bistronomic

As chef/owner Martial Noguier welcomes his son Mathieu back to Bistronomic, the chef is getting right down to business with a special weekly Green City Market lunch menu celebrating the best of the season and the local farmers’ market. Available every Thursday and Friday this summer, Mathieu’s ever-changing menu consists of two courses, and the cool part is guests determine if they want to pay $17 or $19 for it, depending on how their expectations were met.

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CH Distillery Celebrates Third Anniversary

It’s hard to believe it’s only been three years since CH Distillery opened in the West Loop and forever changed the way Chicagoans drink. The distillery and bar quickly cemented itself as a go-to for locally made spirits, both at the bar itself and at other restaurants, stores, and bars all over town. To celebrate the milestone, CH is hosting a special event coinciding with Market Days festivities in Boystown on August 11 from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. They’ll be in attendance at the summer fete serving cocktails from their CH Mobile Lounge, and they’ll be showcasing vodka cocktails served at participating bars and restaurants.

Olympic-inspired Specials and Cachaça Cocktails

Olympic-inspired Specials and Cachaça Cocktails

Olympic-inspired Specials Dining and drinking deals and events in Chicago for August 5-7.

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Olympic-inspired Specials @ La Sierena

Olympic-inspired Specials @ La Sierena

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Olympic-inspired Menu at La Sirena Clandestina

With the onset of the Rio Olympics, there’s no better place to celebrate than South American inspired La Sirena Clandestina. The Fulton Market restaurant is paying homage to the 2016 Olympics with a special menu available August 5 through August 22. The inspiration for the menu, overseen by chef de cuisine Eric Michael, is Brazil’s sprawling sky, mountains, sea, and earth, embodied through dishes like roasted guinea hen with fresh fig, collard greens, chile-spiked farofa, and game jus (sky!); a BBQ goat crepinette with boiled yuca, cabbage-jalapeño slaw, lime yogurt, and mint ash (mountains!); grilled confit octopus with black popcorn puree, chile-grapefruit vinaigrette, butter-poached heart of palm, and chicharrones (sea!); and bomba rice with charred corn, shishito, chanterelle, fried corn silk, puffed rice, and corn smut vinaigrette (ground!).

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Olympic-inspired Specials

Olympic-inspired Cocktails

In other Olympic specials news, Presidio is featuring a cocktail made with cachaça, Brazil’s native spirit. Called the Rhythm and Blues, it’s made with Avua Amburana, Bernheim wheat whiskey, Averna Amaro, Edmond Briottet creme de banane, demerara syrup, angostura bitters, and a manicured banana leaf and burning clove for garnish. It’s as beautiful as it is delicious, and it looks like Rio in a glass.

Another cachaça special can be found at Cindy’s, where the Reanimator is a bracing drink made with blueberry, ginger, demerara, lime, activated charcoal, and the Brazilian spirit.

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Olympic-inspired Specials

After a successful pop-up run, Eataly has extended its weekend-only Trattoria Siciliana a couple more weeks until August 7. Situated on the second floor, the temporary restaurant shines a vibrant spotlight on the cuisine of Sicily, featuring vivid flavors of seafood, citrus and of course, cannoli. The restaurant operates from 11:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and from 11:00 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. on Sunday. Don’t miss it!

Dough Bros’ Chef Collaboration Produces Delicious Results

Dough Bros’ Chef Collaboration

Dough Bros' Chef Collaboration

Dough Bros’ Chef Collaboration

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A little team work makes the dream work. Such is the case with Dough Bros. and Cochon Volant, which have engaged in a bit of recurring collaboration thanks to chef Matt Ayala. Not only does Dough Bros, the cozy pizza joint in River North, serve one of the best eggplant Parmesan subs in the city (I raved about it here, if you’ll recall), but it’s got some mighty fine slices and a penchant for creativity. I got some insight from Ayala about the collaboration and what makes the joint effort so special.

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The chef makes a pizza of the month for Dough Bros, and he’s working on doing the same for subs. It’s a cool opportunity both for Ayala to flex his creative muscles and do something beyond his Loop brasserie, but it makes for truly exceptional pizzeria fare unlike anything currently in Chicago. It’s really a win-win for all.

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“In my opinion, there is nothing better than a really well done slice of pizza,” says Ayala. “The collaboration at Dough Bros allows me to take influences from my work at Cochon Volant Brasserie and create simple but delicious recipes that incorporate fresh ingredients and unique flavor.” One recent example of his collaboration is a white sauce pizza called the ParmaPig, made with buffalo mozzarella, roasted garlic, shaved Parmesan, prosciutto, and whipped ricotta.

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ParmaPig

ParmaPig

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As for that cult-worthy eggplant sub, I was also able to unearth some extra tantalizing tidbits. “We start with fresh baked Italian bread from D’Amato’s Bakery,” explains the chef. “The eggplant is cut and breaded fresh to order, fried in pure olive oil, and topped with freshly torn basil and a sprinkle of Maldon sea salt.” The sub is then finished with sliced fresh mozzarella and drizzled with house marinara sauce, which is slowly simmering all day long.