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Weekly Planner: More New Brunches, Hub 51 Art Exhibit and More

Weekly Planner: More New Brunches, Hub 51 Art Exhibit and More

More Brunch, Cocktail Class, Fajitas and More: Weekly Planner

Trench Starts Brunch

Brunch: Hot on the heels of a relaunch and rebrand from Trenchermen to Trench, the Jared Wentworth-driven restaurant and bar is rounding things out with weekend brunch. Now available Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m., the menu is chock full of contemporary comforts, like…………….

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Wine 101 at ENO , Brunch

Going to class is much more appealing when said class is all about wine. Great for wine beginners, ENO Wine Room’s “Wine 101” class on March 26, part of their ongoing ENOversity program, is geared for novices interested in expanding their wine horizons. The event will……………………………………………

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SteakBar

SteakBar

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“Almost Famous” Brunch at SteakBar

There’s more new brunch to be had this weekend, courtesy of Old Town’s sizzling SteakBar. The new weekend menu borrows inspiration from classic cinema for their “Almost Famous” brunch buffet, running Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. The package costs $35 per person, which includes access to carved meats, boozy donuts, gelato,

New Brunches, Cocktail Class, Fajitas and More:

New Brunches, Weekly Planner,  Cocktail Class, Fajitas and More:

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SteakBar

SteakBar

New Brunches: Trench Starts Brunch

New Brunches: Hot on the heels of a relaunch and rebrand from Trenchermen to Trench, the Jared Wentworth-driven restaurant and bar is rounding things out with weekend brunch. Now available Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m., the menu is chock full of contemporary comforts, like fried chicken and waffles with bourbon maple syrup, grilled skirt steak and eggs with braised short rib-sweet potato hash, and a crab Benedict with poached eggs and lobster hollandaise. Don’t miss the sweets from pastry chef Angela Diaz either, like doughnuts and cinnamon rolls. To drink, expect Four Letter word coffee, Irish coffee, Harvey Wallbangers and more.

 

Wine 101 at ENO

Going to class is much more appealing when said class is all about wine. Great for wine beginners, ENO Wine Room’s “Wine 101” class on March 26……….

Latin American Cocktail Class

If you’d prefer a cocktail class to a wine class, then you’re in luck! Adjoining sister spots MONEYGUN and Saint Lou’s Assembly are continuing their ongoing mixology lessons with a Latin-themed session on March 30………………..

“Almost Famous” Brunch at SteakBar

There’s more new brunch to be had this weekend, courtesy of Old Town’s sizzling SteakBar. The new weekend menu borrows inspiration from classic cinema for their “Almost Famous” brunch buffet,

Fajitas After Five at Cantina Laredo

Fajitas take their rightful spotlight at Cantina Laredo, where the dish is offered at a special price on Wednesday evenings. Each week from 5:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m.,

Vietnamese Dining Guide to Chicago’s First “Shared Street”

The Argyle St. area of Uptown, home to the city’s largest Vietnamese population, just took a huge leap in becoming the city’s first “shared street,” which means the three-block neighborhood hub that runs from Broadway to N. Sheridan Rd. is now more like a plaza than a street. By raising the street to the same level as the sidewalk, implementing paved stones in place of asphalt, lowering the speed limit and enhancing the entire area with fresh landscaping, the district looks to breathe new life into the area and encourage passersby to branch out beyond the busier intersections. In light of Argyle’s evolution, it’s an apt time to revisit and explore the restaurants and markets that helped distinguish its identity in the first place and what’s going to make Chicago’s first “shared street” a success.

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Tank Noodle

“After Hours” at The Barn, Mezcal Dinner, Chicago Athletic Association’s Latest Pop-up and More

“After Hours” at The Barn

“After Hours” at The Barn

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“After Hours” at The Barn

Considering its location tucked down an Evanston alley in a former actual barn, The Barn makes for a fitting setting for a speakeasy-style experience. And now the restaurant is embracing that mentality with its new “After Hours” on Saturday nights from 10:00 p.m. until 2:00 a.m., wherein The Barn slings late-night snacks and cocktails along with games like cards, backgammon and dice. Apothecary-style drinks created exclusively for After Hours include The Barn Raiser, a blend of bourbon, lime and mint, served in a vintage jar. The restaurant also features its lauded wine list, which makes for snazzy late-night sipping.

The Backroom Pop-up Bar at the Chicago Athletic Association

After amassing acclaim and fanfare for their Cherry Circle Yacht Club pop-up bar last year, the Chicago Athletic Association is at it again, this time bringing on The Field Museum and Johalla Projects art gallery to collaborate with Land and Sea Dept. for a boozy new venture in the hotel’s Tank event space on the ground floor. Called The Backroom, the bar is open Friday and Saturday nights from 5:00 p.m. until midnight through March 25. The theme for the pop-up is “Specimens: Unlocking the Secrets of Life,” hinged on The Field Museum’s upcoming special exhibit. In addition to drinks, the pop-up will feature items from the museum’s collection, for the first time displayed in a location outside museum grounds. Other aspects to look forward to: late-night incentives like DJs, trivia and karaoke, plus on-site museum professionals available to chat about zoology, geology, history and more.

The Barn

 

Mezcal Dinner at Dove’s Luncheonette

Mezcal takes the stage at Dove’s Luncheonette for an upcoming dinner/drinks event on March 14. The smoky agave spirit will be featured in drinks throughout a five-course meal prepared by chefs Dennis Bernard and Eric Weiss, with Eden Laurin manning the cocktails. It’s all in partnership with El Jolgorio, which will also be doling out tastes of its unique mezcals made from different species of wild and semi-wild harvested agave in Oaxaca. The dinner runs from 7:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. and costs $65 per person. For reservations, email kimmy@doveschicago.com.

Brunch at Tesori

There’s a new brunch menu in town, and it’s courtesy of the Loop’s venerable Tesori. Already a beloved spot for pre-theater dining downtown, now the Italian restaurant provides customers with more to love, and more reasons to visit. The handiwork of executive chef Carlos Ysaguirre, the menu fuses Italian classics with contemporary innovations. Dishes to savor include chicken milanese with fontina fonduta and arugula; lemon ricotta crespelle with apples, walnuts and zabaglione; and pane al telefoni with cheesy baked bread, garlic, stracchino and marinara. Brunch is now served Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.

 

Celebrate National Noodle Month at These Chicago Steakhouse

Steakhouse: Celebrate National Noodle Month at These Chicago Steakhouse

Steakhouse: March being National Noodle Month, you might think the best means of celebration is with dinner at an Asian restaurant or an Italian red sauce joint. Well, you’d be wrong. While steakhouses are mostly known for their cuts of beef, many of them actually serve up some incredible pasta creations as well. Here’s where to dine around town to satisfy your Noodle Month cravings:

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Steakhouse, Tavern On Rush

Steakhouse, Tavern On Rush

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Tavern on Rush: Steaks, seafood, burgers, and brick-oven pizzas may get top billing at this Gold Coast favorite steakhouse, but don’t overlook the pastas. Available in appetizer or entree portions, the pasta dishes offer a little bit of something for everyone. A proper veal-pork-beef bolognese is served with pappardella, while a stellar seafood medley of mussels, calamari, shrimp, and anchovy-tomato sauce gets tossed with linguini. There’s also cavatappi with buffalo mozzarella and tomato cream vodka sauce, and rigatoni flecked with spicy Italian sausage.

Erie Cafe: This River North standby keeps things simple, classic, and deeply comforting with its concise selection of pasta dishes. To start, there’s an appetizer option of fried ravioli with blue cheese, and a decadent lasagna is available as a weekend special. For entrees, options range from spaghetti with meatballs and linguini in white clam sauce to cheese ravioli with cream vodka sauce and basil-flecked spaghetti with fresh tomatoes.

Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse: The name pretty much says it all Steakhouse! This is the rare restaurant that simultaneously prioritizes and proclaims its penchant for both steaks and pastas. One of the best and most iconic Italian destinations downtown, long before most of this newbie Italian spots started popping up like Whack-a-Moles, Harry Caray’s boasts an enviable and enduring selection of pasta creations. These include rigatoni alla vodka with mascarpone and Parmigiano-Reggiano, fettuccine Alfredo with grilled chicken, bucatini pomodoro with crushed plum tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, red onions, and basil, seafood fettuccine, and cavatelli with crab and fresh artichoke hearts.

III Forks Prime Steakhouse: It’s a matter of quality over quantity at III Forks Prime Steakhouse, where the abbreviated selection of pasta speaks for itself. An exquisite plate of shrimp and pasta contains a white wine-garlic herb butter, spinach, and bacon lardons, while a simple and fresh plate of vegetable ravioli features roasted mushrooms, fontina, Parmesan, marinara, and walnut pesto. Then there’s the indulgent lobster mac & cheese, one of the most important side dishes on the menu.

Chop Shop: This multi-tiered restaurant, bar, butcher shop, and venue in Bucktown has it all, including a discernible Italian accent that plays into its pivotal pasta creations. There are only a few pasta dishes, but there need not be many when the selections are this strong. Think potato gnocchi with Brussels sprouts, grape tomatoes, garlic cream sauce and pecorino; beef cheek sugo; and pasta with lobster cognac cream sauce.

Petterino’s: This Theatre District destination steakhouse is known as much for its gnocchi as it is for its steaks. The spinach gnocchi with chicken sausage and wild mushrooms is a standout, along with other pasta plates like pappardelle bolognese, baked rigatoni with ricotta and Italian sausage, shrimp diablo, and spaghetti with housemade veal and pork meatballs.

The Southport Corridor is Chicago’s Newest Restaurant Row

Southport Corridor is Chicago’s Newest Restaurant Row. One of the most surprising developments of the past year has been the explosion of activity along the Southport Corridor in West Lakeview. The cute street has long been a Mecca for families and haute shops and cafes, with a few bars thrown in for its proximity to Wrigleyville, but it hasn’t quite been regarded as a prime dining destination until now. Nowadays, Southport Avenue is turning into one of the preeminent “restaurant rows” in Chicago, and here’s why:

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Southport Corridor Brewery

Southport Corridor Brewery

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The biggest piece of the puzzle is pizza. Within the past couple years alone, Southport’s pizza scene has grown exponentially, now featuring a collection of restaurants that offer some of the best pizzas in town. First came Corridor Brewery & Provisions. For their follow-up venture, the folks behind DryHop Brewers ventured deep into a pizza-centric menu with deliciously offbeat thin-crust pies like Spanish chorizo and dates; white clams and bacon; and chorizo and Brussels sprouts. Along with a bevy of other impressive dishes, from duck and winter squash toast to buffalo fried cauliflower, and Corridor’s seasonal craft brews, the restaurant and brewpub is a deserving destination for pretty much any Chicagoan with taste buds.

Just up the street, beloved local pizza institution Coalfire expanded its Chicago footprint by opening its second location on Southport. Larger in size and menu scope than the original Grand Ave. outpost in West Town, the colorful and familial eatery features a miscellany of classic red and white pizzas, like margherita, four-cheese and meatball. But the real bread and butter are the novelties, like a lasagna pizza heaped with Berkshire sausage, sweet red peppers, whipped ricotta, basil and garlic; or a honey and salami version that nails the perfect blend of sweet and savory. They’ve even got a couple vegan pizzas, including one with a pistachio pesto base, spinach, garlic, crimini mushrooms and cherry tomatoes.

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Southport Corridor is Chicago's Newest Restaurant Row

Southport Corridor is Chicago’s Newest Restaurant Row

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Southport has also emerged as a bit of a hotspot for empanadas of all things. More recently, hyper-popular 5411 Empanadas chose Southport for their latest Chicago location, bringing their vivid style and classic-meets-contemporary menu to Lakeview. Favorites include bacon-date-goat cheese empanadas, plus staples like ham & cheese and spinach.

Snaggletooth emerged as one of the biggest casual openings of 2016, featuring a simple and well-honed menu of cured fish, breakfast bialys, whitefish salad, tartines and other fishy fixtures like pastrami trout and tuna confit. The tiny space became a huge hit, located just a bit further south along the Southport strip. For some of the freshest fish, especially for diehards of lox-like creations, Snaggletooth is a Chicago essential.

A surefire harbinger than your neighborhood is getting impossibly hip is the arrival of an impossibly cool Mexican restaurant and bar. Wicker Park has Big Star, the West Loop has Federales and now Southport has Tuco & Blondie. Although more family-friendly than the latter two hot spots, it’s no less of a people-pleaser in regards to its comfort food and zesty libations. Start off with a round of chicharrones, guacamole and “Holy Grail” nachos loaded with beef or chicken before heating things up with fajitas and taco platters brimming with chicken tinga, grilled mahi mahi and al pastor pork. To drink, margaritas get their menu dues in a variety of flavors, including passion fruit and black cherry, plus a mezcal version and a Cadillac made with Don Julio añejo, Grand Marnier, lime and agave.

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Southport Grocery & Cafe

Southport Grocery & Cafe

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This is just the tip of the iceberg for Southport, too. Along with venerable standbys that have been popular for years, like Southport Grocery & Cafe and Tango Sur, the vibrant strip on the western fringe of Lakeview looks like it’s well on its way to cementing itself as one of Chicago’s go-to dining districts.

Two New Restaurant Redesigns You Need to Know About

New Restaurant Redesigns

In wildly different parts of the city, two of Chicago’s most enduring restaurants recently underwent extensive makeovers and emerged with fresh new looks and new menus. In the Art Institute of Chicago, Terzo Piano got a facelift that made the restaurant as gorgeous as the museum’s world-famous artwork, while in West Town, Ruxbin opted for refinement over its timeworn eclectic funk. Here’s everything you need to know about Chicago’s spiffiest redesigned restaurants.

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Restaurant Redesigns @ Terzo Piano

Restaurant Redesigns @ Terzo Piano

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Terzo Piano
Located in the Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago, Tony Mantuano’s Terzo Piano has a lot of expectations to live up to in it’s restaurant redesign. Thanks to a recent revamp from Dirk Denison Architectes, those expectations have been wildly exceeded. The firm served as the restaurant’s original architect, so it only made sense to bring them back for the remodel and help evolve the property. They really went above and beyond, too,…………………

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Restaurant Redesigns @ Ruxbin

Restaurant Redesigns @ Ruxbin

Ruxbin

Restaurant redesign in wildly different parts of the city, two of Chicago’s most enduring restaurants recently underwent extensive makeovers and emerged with fresh new looks and new menus. In the Art Institute of Chicago, Terzo Piano got a facelift that made the restaurant as gorgeous as the museum’s world-famous artwork, while in West Town, Ruxbin opted for refinement over its………………………

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Some of the best restaurant design is intended to go unnoticed. Sure, there will be eye-catching components — a cool mural, a quirky bathroom — but those aren’t as important as the layout, the lighting, the carefully cultivated mood. A well-designed restaurant won’t distract from the food, and especially not from the conversation. Instead, it will subtly contribute to one of those memorable evenings when everything clicks: the meal, the service and the warm vibes.

Architects and designers from six Washington firms that help make such evenings possible spoke with The Washington Post about what inspires them — which in turn might someday inspire home dwellers. Restaurant interiors often contribute to architectural and design trends. Designing for a restaurant, says Michael Francis of Queue Design Agency, is “this great little microcosm of an experience that allows you to experiment on a micro scale.”

The Washington Post

Best Restaurants for Boozy Brunch in Chicago

Best Restaurants for Boozy Brunch in Chicago

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Boozy Brunch? What is brunch without a little booze? And this being winter (albeit a warmer than usual one), a little booze is always a welcome distraction from the season. When it comes to imbibing at brunch, you could stick with the coffee and orange juice route, but the weekend repast is just so much more satisfying with a brunch cocktail or two. From inventive Bloody Marys to coffee-infused cocktails, here are our picks for Chicago’s most essential boozy brunch beverages.

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Boozy Brunch @ The Promontory

Boozy Brunch @ The Promontory

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The Promontory: This sprawling Hyde Park Mecca certainly has a way with warming cocktails. With a whole list of drinks to choose from, running the gamut from beer cocktails to booze coffee, there’s something for everyone (if you’re over 21, that is). Standouts include the Mighty Coffee, a toasty libation infused with rum, creme de banana and a dash of maple whipped cream. Coffee bitters can be found in the Cafe Amore, which also features bourbon, port, Averna and egg white for a light and fluffy texture. For something sweet and dessert-y, try the Orange Meringue. It’s almost like a grown-up Orange Julius, what with its creamy, citrusy blend of vodka, Combier, fresh orange juice, vanilla dn egg white.

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The Gage: It’s all about the classics at The Gage, where a concise lineup of boozy options range from Irish Coffee and mimosas to Bloody Caesars, which consist of vodka, hot sauce, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce. What really sets it apart from a Bloody Mary is the mix of tomato juice and clam juice, lending a pleasant salinity to the drink.

 

Gather: Lincoln Square’s quintessential neighborhood go-to, Gather features lots of beverage choices at brunch. These include lots of playful twists on classic flavors and drinks, like the Brown Derby made with bourbon, grapefruit and honey syrup, the Tangled Up in Blue with gin, sparkling wine, Aperol, lemon and blueberries, and the Sunny Side of the Mountain with rye, Genepy Des Alps liqueur, peach-chamomile syrup, lemon and fresh rosemary.

Dove’s Luncheonette: The entire cocktail menu at Dove’s Luncheonette is a dreamy, inventive, and refreshing twist on the brunch norm. Of the many tempting options, there’s City Snow made with mezcal, egg white, Licor 43, lemon and Mexican chocolate; a paloma-like Topo Pequeño with tequila, grapefruit juice, grenadine, orange bitters and a fizzy splash of Topo Chico; and Diabo Suave with Del Maguey Vida, ginger beer, lime and creme de cassis.

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Flo: “Brunch” and “shots” don’t usually go together, unless you’re a real party animal. But at this Mexican-accented West Town staple, you’d be wise to think twice. The restaurant does a nice “breakfast shot” by mixing house bacon-infused bourbon with butterscotch Schnapps. It’s served with an orange juice chase.

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avec: The brunch cocktail list at avec isn’t long, but the focus here in more on quality over quantity. The Harissa Bloody Mary is a wonderfully spicy riff on the norm, while the Face the Day is great for caffeine fiends, with its mix of cold-brew coffee, dark rum and chocolate bitters.

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Uncommon Ground: Aptly, you can expected a bunch of uncommon brunch libations at Uncommon Ground. Try the Sienna Sunrise, a perky blend of rum, Aperol, orange liqueur and lime. Or The Hayride is especially apropos for winter, made with house-infused spice rum, local apple cider and ginger syrup, served warm in a mug.

 

Weekly Planner: Brunch at Publican Anker, Midday Dining at Animale

Weekly Planner: Brunch at Publican Anker, Midday Dining at Animale, Sunday Lasagna at Roots Handmade Pizza and More.

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Brunch at Publican Anker

Brunch at Publican Anker

Weekly Planner: Brunch at Publican Anker

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Midday Dining at Animale

While one restaurant rolls out brunch, another adds lunch. Bucktown’s beloved Animale has added weekday daytime service to its repertoire, featuring an array of panini, pastas, burgers and other afternoon grub, all with an inventive Italian accent. It’s the same kind of fare popular at dinner, with an emphasis on off-cuts of meat and dishes like cacio e pepe and tartufo burgers. Additionally, Animale has added a bevy of daily specials and promos as well, including BYOB Mondays, all-you-can-eat pasta on Tuesdays, burger bargains on Wednesdays and a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar on weekends. The restaurant’s new hours are noon until 10:00 p.m. daily.

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Mucho Chingon at Local Option

Anytime Local Option throws a special beer event, it’s worth noting. Their first of the new year is dubbed “Mucho Chingon,” and it takes place February 3 at noon. That’s when the revered Lincoln Park beer bar will be locked and loaded with rare beers from a variety of breweries. Beer junkies should swing by to check out options like Founders Lizard of Koz, Goose Island Bourbon County Barley Wine 2016, Against The Grain Bo & Luke, Pikeworks Black Tuna, Local Option Bierwerker Dampf Loc, and lots more.

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Founders Tapping at Fountainhead

Another beer event to tack on to your calendar comes courtesy of Fountainhead. The popular Ravenswood restaurant and bar is putting the spotlight on Founders Brewing Co. on Groundhog Day, February 2, from 6:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. During this time, they’ll be featuring a massive roster of Founders beers, available via a vertical of drafts. Beers include the 2013 Old Curmudgeon Old Ale, 2014 Backwoods Bastard BA Scotch Ale, KBS: Kentucky Bourbon Stout, Lizard of Koz BA Imperial Stout and the official release of Frootwood Maple Syrup Bourbon BA Cherry Ale.

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The California Clipper

The California Clipper