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Weekly Planner: Limoncello Class, Lobster Fest

Lobster Fest at Shaw’s Crab House

You still have a few days left to participate in Lobster Fest at Shaw’s Crab House, the month-long shellfish shindig featuring a lineup of summery menu specials. These include highlights like lobster maki, lobster tacos, lobster rolls, lobster fettuccine and a 1.5-lb. lobster boil with potatoes, corn and sausage.

Lobster Fest at Shaw’s Crab House

Lobster Fest at Shaw’s Crab House

Sunday City Market

At the height of summer, local farms are lush with produce and markets are popping up all over Chicago to celebrate their wares. The latest example is Sunday City Market, now running every Sunday at Antique Taco Bridgeport. In partnership with the City of Chicago and South Loop Chamber of Commerce, the weekly green market takes place in the restaurant’s parking lot from 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m., with chef demos, live music, breakfast tacos and vendors like Avium Flowers, Bike a Bee and Front Room Donuts. The chef demo for July 23 is Shin Thompson of Furious Spoon.

Limoncello Class at Osteria Via Stato

Limoncello Class at Osteria Via Stato

Limoncello Class at Osteria Via Stato

Speaking of demos, there’s a boozy kind taking place at Osteria Via Stato this week, as wine and beverage manager Matt Dolin shows guests how to make limoncello on July 22. Taking place at 3:00 p.m., the leisurely Saturday affair will guide attendees through the process of making limoncello at home utilizing fresh, seasonal fruit infusions. Along the way, you’ll sample other varieties like grapefruitcello and even a chocolacello. The cost is $20 per person, which includes a sample to take home. Reservations can be made here: https://nightout.com/events/limoncello-class/tickets?a=allison-gallese

Colombian Cooking Class at Latinicity

This is quite a big week for demos and classes, because there’s another unique event taking place at Latinicity on July 22. This one is focused on Colombian food and cooking, wherein attendees get to prepare and taste cocktails and dishes like plantain fritters, corn and cheese arepas, ajiaco soup with chicken, corn and cilantro and fried mojarra with coconut rice and plantains. The class is $35 per person and tickets and info can be accessed here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/columbian-cooking-class-tickets-35934946392?aff=erelexpmlt. I’ve attached an event flyer for your reference!

Summer Donuts at Glazed & Infused

If you’ve got a sweet tooth, Glazed & Infused recently rolled out a new batch of summer donuts at all of its locations, and they’re some of the most unique and inspired flavors to date. The Strawberry Kiwi Old Fashioned is a spice cake donut glazed with strawberry jam and a kiwi drizzle, while the Blackberry Cheesecake Bismarck is a donut stuffed with vanilla cheesecake and frosted with a housemade blackberry jam glaze. Then there’s the Pilsen, a donut inspired by the near southwest side neighborhood, made with a mango and pineapple glaze and a dusting of spicy tajin and lime.

Pilsen donut at Glazed & Infused

Pilsen donut at Glazed & Infused

Top French Restaurants In Chicago

French Restaurants Get Props For Style and Sustenance

One of the steak entrees at Margeaux Brasserie

One of the steak entrees at Margeaux Brasserie

We have so many reasons to admire the French. They’ve got a lock on fashion, food and wine, plus we cannot get enough of those exotic accents. And lucky for Chicago, we don’t have to travel far to experience authenticity from our sister city.

For your eating and drinking pleasure, we’ve gathered some of the city’s most revered French establishments, from a modernized bistro by an award-winning Parisian chef to a hot new brasserie boasting a roving champagne cart and much more.

Bistronomic

Bistronomic

Bistronomic

Why It’s a Hit: Paris-born chef Martial Noguier is behind this award-winning restaurant showcasing the best from his homeland. There are a lot of great deals on Bistronomic’s menu, so diners may sample many dishes. Guests are first encouraged to sample from Bistronomic’s selection of artisanal cheeses. It’s $25 for all five or $5 for one. The house-made charcuterie selections are similar, in which diners may choose three for $13.50 or five for $24 with selections like prosciutto, dry-cured saucisson sec and house-made country pate. Then there’s the prix-fixe menu in which diners may select from two courses for $32 or three for $39. Best deals include hand-made Yukon Gold gnocchi, PEI black mussels and organic Amish chicken. Steak lovers should appreciate the beef selection at Bistronomic, which is all from the Midwest. Choose from filet mignon au poivre, New York strip or beef bourguignon-style short ribs.

The Blanchard

The Blanchard

Why It’s a Hit: In an area dominated by sports bars and pizza joints, this beautifully designed eatery is a breath of fresh air. Located in Lincoln Park, The Blanchard is classic and modern simultaneously, with a minimalist approach to design and an adjacent drinkery that’s perfect for meeting up for craft cocktails. Pull up seats to the bar and order one of four foie gras presentations (Our favorite comes with a delicate serving of roasted banana, black walnut powder, tropical fruit condiment and olive oil jam) paired with one of the house cocktails. Choose from The Blanchard’s signature Old Fashioned, which transforms the classic concoction into an experience with Cognac finished in Tennessee whiskey barrels and fresh lavender.

Brindille

Brindille

 

Brindille

Why It’s a Hit: It’s hard not to get star struck when discussing Carrie Nahabedian, but when an award-winning chef of this caliber teaches cooking classes like it’s no big deal, one must take advantage. The classically French trained culinary legend—whose accolades include Michelin stars and James Beard awards for her Naha restaurant—hosts a luncheon series with a cooking instruction component on select Saturdays. Participants learn about a different French region each time, and they may pair each of the five courses with wine. It’s $125 per person, or $180 when paired with wine.

Margeaux Brasserie

Margeaux Brasserie

Why It’s a Hit: There’s finally an exciting new restaurant at the Waldorf Astoria, and it happens to be French focused. The creation of James Beard winner Michael Mina, who boasts highly lauded restaurants throughout the country, Margeaux Brasserie is on the third floor of the luxury hotel property. It boasts all sorts of cool stuff you’d expect (classic French dishes such as roast Dover sole and steak frites with a choice of ribeye, New York strip or bavette) and not expect like a roving champagne cart serving bubbly by the glass (Keep those coming!). Try keeping this pro tip under wraps: There’s a daily happy hour from 4 to 6pm with offerings like wood-fired oysters, duck wings and $7 Hemingway daiquiris. And those coming in during brunch should consider ordering the bottomless glass of rosé for $30. Petit Margeaux, a classic French patisserie on the hotel’s lobby level, is also owned by Mina.

Maude’s Liquor Bar

Maude’s Liquor Bar

Margeaux Brasserie

Why It’s a Hit: There’s finally an exciting new restaurant at the Waldorf Astoria, and it happens to be French focused. The creation of James Beard winner Michael Mina, who boasts highly lauded restaurants throughout the country, Margeaux Brasserie is on the third floor of the luxury hotel property. It boasts all sorts of cool stuff you’d expect (classic French dishes such as roast Dover sole and steak frites with a choice of ribeye, New York strip or bavette) and not expect like a roving champagne cart serving bubbly by the glass (Keep those coming!). Try keeping this pro tip under wraps: There’s a daily happy hour from 4 to 6pm with offerings like wood-fired oysters, duck wings and $7 Hemingway daiquiris. And those coming in during brunch should consider ordering the bottomless glass of rosé for $30. Petit Margeaux, a classic French patisserie on the hotel’s lobby level, is also owned by Mina.

Le Bouchon

Le Bouchon

Why It’s a Hit: A Bucktown staple since 1993, Le Bouchon is that cool, neighborhood restaurant every neighborhood wishes it had. It’s small and intimate, but most important, it is consistent. Those wonderful smoked salmon rillettes you scarfed down two months ago when you visited should taste exactly the same as you remember. And service is always pleasant. On date night, couples can share a whole-roasted Peking duck. It’s best to plan that outing on Mondays when it’s half-price wines by the bottle night.

Weekly Planner: Bastille Day Edition

Bastille Day at Chez Moi

Bastille Day at Chez Moi

Bastille Day at Chez Moi

If a prix fixe menu is more your style, head to Chez Moi in Lincoln Park on July 14. The classic French bistro is going all out for the occasion with a three-course prix fixe dinner menu adjoined by classic Pastis Champagne cocktails. There will also be a la carte specials and Veuve Clicquot will be in attendance, hosting raffles throughout the day for gift bags and magnum-sized bottles of Champagne. The prix fixe starts with appetizer options like gazpacho, salmon tartare and asparagus salad, followed by entrees like coq au vin, bouillabaisse and grilled rib-eye with bearnaise and fries. For dessert, choose between a mille-feuille with raspberries or a parfait. The cost for the tasting is $39 per person, with a $5 up charge for the rib-eye. Veuve will be on hand, available at $20 per glass or $100 per bottle

Roots Handmade Pizza Rolls Out Happy Hour

Comfort food is the bill of fare at Roots Handmade Pizza’s new happy hour, available at both its West Town and Lincoln Square locations. Because the only way pizza can get any more delicious is if it’s bargain pizza. Great for after-work snacking and drinking, or leisurely neighborhood noshing, happy hour now runs Monday through Friday from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. While many happy hours focus on drinks, Roots keeps food in the spotlight with half-pried appetizers like mozzarella sticks, fried ravioli and loaded hummus. Of course, there’s also half-priced specialty pizzas as well. To drink, there’s half-priced Ketel One drinks in West Town or Svedka drinks in Lincoln Square, while both outposts have $5 Greenbush drafts.

Cochon Volant

Cochon Volant

Cochon Rosé Patio Pig Roast at Mon Ami Gabi

In other French news, Lincoln Park’s venerable Mon Ami Gabi is hosting a special summer shindig of its own on Saturday, July 15, with rosé and roast pig in tow. Taking place from 1:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m., the special Bastille Day-inspired festivity marks the restaurant’s first annual “Cochon Rosé,” wherein Mon Ami Gabi partners with Moet Hennessy for an afternoon of French BBQ, pink bubbly and more. The pig roast will take place on the restaurant’s patio, accompanied by sides and summer drinks. All-inclusive tickets for the party are $68, and they can be purchased by calling the restaurant.

Wine Dinner at RPM Italian

It may not be French (or Bastille Day), but there’s still plenty of reason to be excited for RPM Italian’s next wine dinner, set for Tuesday, July 18. For the event the restaurant has partnered with old and vinegar producer San Giacomo for a five-course spree of wine-paired dishes. Drawing inspiration from the seasons, dishes to be served include a porcini and bresaola salad with heirloom spinach, porchetta with fresh corn polenta and more. The menu costs $85 per person, and dinner takes place at 7:00 p.m. For more information or to make a reservation, visit RPM Italian’s website.

Weekly Planner: Chicago Brunch at Cantina Laredo

Chicago Brunch Specials at Cantina Laredo

Brunch @ Cantina Laredo

Brunch @ Cantina Laredo

Chicago Brunch Specials at Cantina Laredo

There’s a new crop of Chicago bunch specials on deck at Cantina Laredo, sure to spice up your weekday dining routine for all those downtown denizens and travelers. Along with an expanded selection of shareable small plates, the restaurant focuses on a different lunch special each weekday, with a lineup that includes crispy carnitas bowls, taco salads, quesadilla and avocado tostadas, manga ensaladas and stacked pollo tinga enchiladas. As for the tapas, new items like chicken tinga flautas with poblano sauce, shrimp and chorizo empanadas and carnitas sliders.

Brunch at Osteria Via Stato

Brunch at Osteria Via Stato

Chicago Brunch at Osteria Via Stato

River North’s venerable Italian mainstay Osteria via Stato is the latest restaurant to roll out Chicago brunch service. Considering how seasoned the restaurant is, it’s actually kind of surprising that this marks the first time it’s actually served brunch. But considering the looks of the menu, courtesy of chef David DiGregorio, it was worth the wait. Focusing on fresh, seasonal ingredients and infusing them into Italian-inspired dishes, the chef has cooked up an array of savory creations and sweets that range from sandwiches and pizzas to riffs on Chicago brunch classics. Look for smoked salmon platters with toasted ciabatta, baked chicken hash, housemade sausages, vegetable stratta with egg custard and ciabatta French toast with berries and maple syrup. Don’t miss the open-faced Italian sandwich with prosciutto, ricotta and farm egg, or the brunch pizza topped with black pepper bacon, mozzarella, caramelized onions and egg. To drink, Osteria Via Stato features a build-your-own bellini bar with Prosecco and seasonal fruit purees like white peach, blueberry, blood orange, mango and more. Or opt for the Sgroppino, a refreshing quencher made with housemade lemon sorbetto, vodka and Prosecco. Brunch is served Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.

Tapestry Series at Bohemian House

One of Milwaukee’s crowning chefs is coming to Chicago for a night to help kickoff the new “Tapestry Series: Guest Chef Experience” at Bohemian House. The chef in question is Justin Carlisle of Ardent and Red Light Ramen, and he’ll lend his talents to River North’s acclaimed Central European restaurant on July 11 with a rustic five-course tasting menu. The guest chef experience marks the first in a planned recurring series for Bohemian House, which celebrates its third anniversary this year. The cost for the menu is a very reasonable $65 per person, with wine and beer pairings available for supplemental price. Reservations can be made on Open Table.

Summer Music Series at Drumbar

Summer is all about getting out and about, listening to live music and drinking pretty much non-stop. This season, Drumbar cements itself as the quintessential place for all of the above, with its brand new summer music series taking place every Saturday. By partnering with music network Sofar Sounds, the rooftop bar is hosting “Summer Sounds” all season long, through August 26, on Saturdays from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. The perfect excuse to day drink on a weekend, the series features an array of live local talents, accompanied by a selection of featured drinks, including housemade frozen rosé and Moscow Mule freeze pops. This weekend’s performer will be Jack Red, followed by others throughout the season like Moonrise Nation, Tara Terra, Friday Pilots Club and Cole DeGenova.

Half Acre and Honey Butter Fried Chicken’s Collaboration Beer

One of the most unique beer collaboration to ever take shape in Chicago descends on the city for a limited time starting July 11, and you don’t want to miss it. The handiwork of Half Acre and Honey Butter Fried Chicken, Top Notch was brewed in anticipation of the restaurant’s fourth anniversary later this summer, to be poured exclusively on draft at Honey Butter and in the Half Acre Tap Room. The brew itself is pretty special, made with 50 Honey Butter corn muffins that were incorporated directly into the mash during the brewing process. The result has an ABV of 5%, with fruity and floral notes that make it exceedingly perfect for summer drinking.

Weekly Planner: Fourth of July Edition

Fourth of July Party at Castaways

When it comes to celebrating the Fourth of July in Chicago, there’s no setting more appropriate than a beachside bar. Especially when said bar has red, white and blue cocktails. In honor of the holiday, Castaways at North Avenue Beach is hosting a weekend-long party with live entertainment from DJ Jem on July 1, July 2 and again on Tuesday, July 4. On Monday, July 3, Castaways will feature happy hour specials from 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m., including $6 Smirnoff or Absolut Lime Vodka. Additionally, the duration of the weekend and holiday, Castaways will be serving a special “Stars & Stripes” frozen cocktail. The colorful creation is a mix of Castaways’ Miami Rice and blue curacao.

Fourth of July Edition @ Castaways

Fourth of July Edition @ Castaways

Late-night Wok Window at Imperial Lamian

Since summer is hight time for bar-hopping, clubbing and general late-night antics, Imperial Lamian picked an apt time to unveil a late-night window. Especially considering its River North location, utterly surrounded by bars, the restaurant is well-positioned to satisfy the masses with its new “Wok Up Window.” Located on the Hubbard Street side of the building, the window is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 10:00 p.m. until midnight, featuring snacks and hearty dishes like pumpkin puffs, mushroom buns, fried wontons, vegetable fried lamian, BBQ pork fried rice and baked char siu buns.

Happy Hour at A10

If you find yourself in Hyde Park late afternoon/early evening, hankering for a deal, then head to A10 for one of the neighborhood’s premiere happy hours.Running Tuesdays through Fridays from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m., happy hour here has plenty to offer, too. This includes $8 draft cocktails, including the perfectly summery daiquiri, plus $6 glasses of wine, $4 craft beers and bar snacks at $10 and under, like mushroom-ramp focaccia, grilled romaine Caesar salad and hand-cut fries.

 

For the Fourth of July, Frontier is focusing on a particular facet of Americana patriotism: the Hawaiian luau. Taking place in the restaurant’s all-weather beer garden on Sunday, July 2, at 3:00 p.m., the shindig features vibrant snacks like pineapple chicken, banana leaf smoked pork shoulder and other traditional Hawaiian side dishes. The cost for food is $19 per person, with tiki drinks a la carte. Music and Hawaiian dancers will be providing the entertainment all afternoon. Tickets must be purchased in advance here: http://www.thefrontierchicago.com/events/

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.