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Five September foodie freebies

FREE

  1. Every Tuesday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Zocalo Restaurant and Tequila Bar in River North offers a buy-one-get-one-free deal on its $10.95 lunch buffet. The lunch spread offers such dishes as taquitos, empanadas, tamales, enchiladas, braised and grilled meats with house-made tortillas, plus soup, sides and dessert.
  2. There’s still time to earn a free one-day ticket to Chicago Gourmet, the upscale version of Taste of Chicago slated for Sept. 25 and 26. You can snag the $150 general admission by dining at five of the more than 50 “Dine Around” restaurants and bringing in your receipts. Participants include Aria in the Loop, Bittersweet Pastry Shop & Cafe in Lakeview, The Bristol in Bucktown, Cafe des Architectes on the Gold Coast, Courtright’s Willow Springs, The Dining Room at Kendall College on Goose Island, The Gage in the Loop, Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse in the Loop, Lao Beijing in Chinatown, May St. Cafe in Pilsen, Mexique in West Town, The Parrot Cage Restaurant in South Shore, Quartino in River North, Rockit Bar & Grill in River North and Vie in Western Springs. See the Chicago Gourmet website for the complete list and rules.
  3. To celebrate National Guacamole Day, on Thursday, Sept. 16, Luxbar on the Gold Coast will give away free guacamole and house-made chips with purchases of their signature $8.50 margarita.
  4. Cityscape Bar in River North hosts a free Dewar’s Scotch tasting from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 20. An expert will guide participants through a blind tasting of several different Dewar’s libations, including Dewar’s 12 and White Label.
  5. Ben Pao in River North honors China’s traditional autumn Moon Festival on Wednesday, Sept. 22. On that day, the restaurant will give each table a free moon cake, a traditional round pastry stuffed with a sweet filling that symbolizes family unity. According to legend, moon cakes were once used to hide messages, thus allowing the Chinese to successfully overthrow their Mongol rulers in the 14th century. At Ben Pao, the cakes will be filled with prizes, including free appetizers, desserts and dinners.