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Dining Chicago Christmas Drinking Guide 2017

Where to eat, drink, dance and be merry this Christmas.

Dining Chicago Christmas Drinking Guide 2017 @ Everest

Dining Chicago Christmas Drinking Guide 2017 @ Everest

Petterino’s: Santa’s coming to town a little early this year, and he’s hungry for brunch. Pay a visit to Mr. Claus at Petterino’s, where he’ll be stationed December 16 and 17 from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. both days. The perfect stopover before an afternoon spent shopping or at the theatre, the restaurant will have a special brunch buffet, while Santa doles out candy canes to visitors. He’ll also be available for pictures with the kids. Brunch costs $39.95 per person, or $19.95 for kids 12 and younger.

Dining Chicago Christmas Drinking Guide 2017

 Everest: For one of the most magical and transportive holiday repasts this season, head to Everest for chef/owner Jean Joho’s Alsatian-inspired wonderland. All month long for dinner, the Alsace-born chef harkens to his childhood, particularly his beloved holiday memories, by cooking up dishes he enjoyed at home with family. For the season, Joho is offering a special multi-course tasting menu that includes foie gras, pike, roasted goose and more. The menu costs $165 per person, and wine pairings are an additional $98. Reservations can be made online or by calling Everest.

The Whistler: In case you prefer Christmas on the dance floor, The Whistler keeps things casual (and boozy) with its annual holiday party on December 23. Dubbed “X-mas A Go Go,” the shindig features dancing all night long to a variety of tunes by local DJ Joe Bryl. Expect everything from reggae and R&B to funk. It all starts at 10:00 p.m., and the bar will also be slinging holiday-inspired cocktail specials. No cover to attend.

Commonwealth Tavern: In Roscoe Village, Commonwealth Tavern is a family-friendly, cozy place to hole up for festive specials on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. While the kitchen will be closed on the actual day, guests can still imbibe drinks like hot toddies and boozy hot chocolate infuses with Fireball cinnamon whiskey and garnished with a candy cane. On Christmas Eve, the bar will be broadcasting the Cowboys vs. Seahawks game at 3:25 p.m., with brunch specials beforehand like gingerbread French toast. There will also be a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar and mimosa bar.

Lottie’s Pub: Another great casual option is Lottie’s Pub, which will be open at 6:00 p.m. on Christmas for its 14th annual Rock ’n’ Roll Christmas party. A fun and low-key way to celebrate and drink with friends, the party offers prizes and giveaways, including a Riot Fest guitar. Guests are encouraged to bring gently worn winter coats for the Salvation Army coat drive, and there will be drink specials like $3.50 Heinekens and $5 Rumplemintz hot chocolate.

Saint Lou’s Assembly: The best place to get a Christmas tree is a place where you can also get a drink at the same time. All month long, through Christmas Eve, Saint Lou’s Assembly has stocked its back patio with Christmas trees for city-dwellers looking to pick one up and bring one home. A variety of trees are available, including Frasier firs and Balsams, and employees are on-hand to help you tie it to your car. Trees vary in price.

Chicago’s Weekly Planner: TWO’s Restaurant Royale

 TWO is gearing up to host its first annual Restaurant Royale

TWO’s First Annual Restaurant Royale

TWO’s First Annual Restaurant Royale

Get ready for a culinary smackdown for the ages, because TWO is gearing up to host its first annual Restaurant Royale on December 13 at The Ivy Room (12 E. Ohio St., #100). In conjunction with Terlato Distell Artisan Spirits, the competition is a bit of restaurant vs. restaurant and bar vs. bar, featuring holiday-inspired dishes and drinks by 10 local chefs and bartenders. The lineup of chefs this year includes Kevin Cuddihee of TWO, Mike Sheerin, Zoe Schor, Charles Welch, Brian Millman, Ashlee Aubin and more. Attendees will get to sample…………………….



Sumi Robata Bar Collaboration at Momotaro

In the wake of one of Chicago’s saddest restaurant closings, chef Gene Kato is keeping the Sumi Robata Bar spirit alive with events throughout the city. The latest? A collaborative event at the Izakaya at Momotaro on December 11.  For one night only, Kato and chef Mark Hellyar will work together on a menu of traditional Japanese yakitori….. 


Happy’s Pop-up at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel

Getting deep into the holiday spirit, the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel and Land & Sea Dept. are partnering with Johalla Projects for a new festive pop-up called Happy’s. Taking place in The Tank event space on the hotel’s ground floor, now through December 30, the bar will be open from 5:00 p.m. until midnight on Friday and Saturday, and from noon until 5:00 p.m. on Sundays……


Drag Brunch at Wood

In other festive holiday news, Wood is wrapping itself in Christmas cheer for its “Wrapped in Red Drag Brunch” on December 10. Starting at 11:00 a.m. on that Sunday, the brunch is an event for guests to come dressed in their best seasonal outfits and enjoy an entertaining brunch emceed by Wanda Screw. The special menu for the occasion features mascarpone cinnamon rolls, corned beef hash…....

Weekly Planner: Sip & Paint Party, White Truffle Season, Half Acre Tap

White Truffle Season at Spiaggia

White Truffles at Spiaggia

White Truffles at Spiaggia

In addition to booze and merriment, this is also the season for white truffles, one of the most coveted and opulent ingredients of the year. No better place to celebrate the mighty truffle than at Spiaggia, where chef/partner Tony Mantuano and executive chef Joe Flamm have upped the ante on their new fall menu with a bevy of truffle-infused creations. Truffles can be tasted as accents to a la carte dishes like pappardelle with squash, foie gras, amaretti and Parmigiano-Reggiano; risotto with frico and eight-year balsamic; and suckling goat with fregola Sarda, broccolini and apricot. There’s also tasting menu options, which has dishes like Wagyu carpaccio with housemade grissini, egg yolk jam and seven-year Parmigiano; and caramelle in brodo stuffed with rabbit mortadella, smoked rabbit and chicken brodo. White Truffles at Spiaggia

Veuve Clicquot Holiday Dinner at Mon Ami Gabi

As the holiday season moves full steam ahead, cravings for sparkling wine are amping up. Which is why you should head to Mon Ami Gabi for their highly seasonally appropriate Veuve Clicquot dinner on December 5. Taking place from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m., the event features a four-course lineup of French dishes and fine Champagne, including Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label. The event is $75 per person and reservations can be made by calling Mon Ami Gabi’s Lincoln Park location.

Sip & Paint Party at Shaw’s Schaumburg

’Tis the season for festive activities and booze aplenty, and no single event captures both of those sentiments quite like the upcoming Sip & Paint Party at Shaw’s Crab House in Schaumburg. In partnership with SIP Parties, the restaurant is hosting a very special, very merry event on Monday, December 4, at 4:30 p.m., wherein guests get to sip cocktails, savor appetizers and get creative on their very own easel. The event starts with a variety of appetizers, holiday-inspired desserts and two beverages of choice from the “Naughty or Nice” list of drinks. Then it moves on to interactive art instruction, which will guide painters on how to illustrate the “Winter Snowman.” Added bonus: any guest who arrives in an ugly sweater gets a chance to win $200 in Shaw’s gift certificates for ugliest sweater of the night, and the runner-up gets $50 to Tokio Pub and $50 to Seaside’s. The event costs $65 per person, all inclusive.

Half Acre Tap Takeover at Pub Royale

In other boozy news (like we said: ’tis the season!), Pub Royale is welcoming Half Acre for a special tap takeover on December 6. Starting at 6:00 p.m., all 12 taps at the Wicker Park bar will feature different varieties from the local brewery, including the Grip Brett Fermented Ale, Aquafur Wet Hop Pilsner, and Leadfeather Black Ale Nitro. The most exciting part, however, is the tapping of three different Big Hugs varieties, which are Half Acre’s annual winter-release Imperial Stouts that people wait all year for. This will occur every 30 minutes starting at 6:00 p.m., and beers are available while supplies last.

Chicago’s Coziest Restaurants for Fireside Dining

Chicago winters can be a brutal time, and such frigid days necessitate the nourishing solace of fireside dining and drinking. Embrace the hearty vibes and fireside delights at one of Chicago’s Coziest Restaurants for Fireside Dining.

Scofflaw One Of Chicago's Coziest Restaurants

Scofflaw One Of Chicago’s Coziest Restaurants

Broken Shaker: At the risk of spoiling my cozy little secret, there’s a secluded little area tucked alongside a small set of stairs in the back of Cafe Integral, and most people don’t seem to know it’s there. Along with a fireplace, the little corner also boasts comfy chairs, a small table, and knick knacks indicative of a Latin American cafe. In general, the whole lobby space between Cafe Integral and Broken Shaker is a dark, comfortable cottage-like motif perfect for relaxing with coffee or cocktails.

Hopleaf: When it comes to toasty bar comforts, it doesn’t get any better than Hopleaf. Chicago’s preeminent Belgian beer bar is an absolute winter essential. Because beer-steamed mussels, crispy aioli-dipped frites, and a fireplace situated in a dining room that looks like a ski lodge is the ideal definition of winter respite.

Scofflaw: One Of Chicago’s Coziest Restaurants: A gin-centric bar may not be the first place that comes to mind when craving cozy bars, but Scofflaw merits a visit this season thanks largely to its second room located around the corner from the main bar. Here you’ll find a parlor reminiscent of an Alice in Wonderland tea party, complete with lavish, snug couches, chairs, and a roaring fireplace. It’s the perfect setting in which to enjoy hot buttered rum, exceptional bar food, and enough gin to make you forget about the temperature outside.

Cindy’s: Probably not a viable idea of the temperature is hovering around zero, but one chic spot for outdoor fire pits is Cindy’s. Beloved during the warmer months for its impressive vista of Millennium Park from the roof of the Chicago Athletic Association hotel, Cindy’s proves its worth as a year-round al fresco destination with outdoor fireplaces and blankets for keeping toasty. It’s especially nice when enjoyed with a cocktail or two.

Drumbar: Another stellar rooftop cocktail bar is this Streeterville stunner. The best part about this space is its ambience reminiscent of a Clue-like mansion, complete with an indoor fireplace and outdoor fire pits. Along with some of the most intricate and special craft cocktails in town, it makes for a wholly immersive drinking impressive to help you endure the winter months.

Old Town Social: Housemade charcuterie is especially tasty when eaten in close proximity to a bustling fire. Old Town Social is as close as you can get to fireside cured meats without actually immersing yourself in flames, so be sure to take advantage this season The Old Town stalwart is a go-to year-round for their impressive and unique in-house charcuterie program, complete with housemade hot dogs, but the space is especially alluring now that it’s fireplace area is full steam.

Sable Kitchen & Bar: The fireplace at Sable Kitchen & Bar is electric, sure, but it’s just as comforting as the real deal. Plus it’s nice to have zero chance of accidentally burning alive. The makeshift fireplace provides a comforting backdrop for Sable’s bites and sips. Get cozy with one of Sable’s impeccable hot cocktails, and pair it with some steak tartare, some lobster rangoon, and some falafel sliders.

Weekly Planner: Slurping Turtle, Ronero’s Happy Hour

Happy Hour at Ronero

Oysters take the spotlight at Chicago’s newest happy hour. Nowadays, head to Ronero Tuesday through Thursday from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. to enjoy discounted food and drinks, including dollar oysters. The freshly shucked bivalves come with a variety of accompaniments, including leche de tigre mignonette, house-fermented hot sauce and Brazilian farofa. Champagne and rosé specials are also on hand for happy hour, with selections changing weekly.

Happy Hour at Ronero

Happy Hour at Ronero

Ronero Tuesday through Thursday

Ronero Tuesday through Thursday

Slurping Turtle

Carryout and Delivery at Big Jones

As the temperature continues to dip, one thing becomes increasingly clear: it’s delivery season. But just because you want to hibernate at home doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice quality in food. Thankfully, restaurants like Big Jones are raising the bar on delivery (and carryout) with menu options that provide restaurant-caliber cuisine right at your front door. Andersonville’s premiere Southern-inspired restaurant features an impressive menu lineup this season, including fried chicken, barbecued pork shoulder po’ boys, gumbo, pimento cheese and shrimp & grits, along with sweets like housemade dark chocolate-rum chocolate macaroon chunk ice cream. The carryout and delivery menu is available during lunch and dinner on weekdays, and during dinner on weekends.

Slurping Turtle Begins Brunch

If dishes like duck fat fried chicken and “hangover ramen” sound appealing, then you should set your alarm and wake up in time for brunch at Slurping Turtle. The River North restaurant, an early adopter of the ramen craze and one of Chicago’s preeminent Japanese haunts, has introduced Sunday brunch to its repertoire, and true to form, it looks like one of the most unique offerings downtown these days. The menu is small but mighty, featuring clever riffs on familiar brunch staples. This includes duck fat fried chicken and matcha waffles with buckwheat honey and whipped butter; breakfast bao featuring steamed lotus buns with pork belly, sunny side-up egg and hollandaise; and ramen with spicy pork miso paste, molten egg, bok choy, bean sprouts, fried pork belly and more of that duck fat fried chicken. Brunch is served every Sunday from 11:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

Wow Bao Contest, Ronero’s Happy Hour

Wow Bao Eating Championship

Wow Bao

Wow Bao

Oysters take the spotlight at Chicago’s newest happy hour. Nowadays, head to RoneroTuesday through Thursday from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. to enjoy discounted food and drinks, including dollar oysters. The freshly shucked bivalves come with a variety of accompaniments, including leche de tigre mignonette, house-fermented hot sauce and Brazilian farofa. Champagne and rosé specials are also on hand for happy hour, with selections changing weekly.

Carryout and Delivery at Big Jones

As the temperature continues to dip, one thing becomes increasingly clear: it’s delivery season. But just because you want to hibernate at home doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice quality in food. Thankfully, restaurants like Big Jones are raising the bar on delivery (and carryout) with menu options that provide restaurant-caliber cuisine right at your front door. Andersonville’s premiere Southern-inspired restaurant features an impressive menu lineup this season, including fried chicken, barbecued pork shoulder po’ boys, gumbo, pimento cheese and shrimp & grits, along with sweets like housemade dark chocolate-rum chocolate macaroon chunk ice cream. The carryout and delivery menu is available during lunch and dinner on weekdays, and during dinner on weekends. Check out the full menu here:

baozi (ChineseAbout this sound 包子) or simply known as baobauhumbownunubakpao (Hokkien), bausakpowpau, or pao (Hakka) is a type of steamed, filled bun[1] or bread-like (i.e. made with yeast) item in various Chinese cuisines, as there is much variation as to the fillings and the preparations. In its bun-like aspect it is very similar to the traditional Chinese mantou. It can be filled with meat and/or vegetarian fillings.

Two types are found in most parts of China and Indonesia: Dàbāo (大包, “big bun”), measuring about 10 cm across, served individually, and usually purchased for take-away. The other type, Xiǎobāo (小包, “small bun”), measure approximately 5 cm wide, and are most commonly eaten in restaurants, but may also be purchased for take-away. Each order consists of a steamer containing between three and ten pieces. A small ceramic dish is provided for vinegar or soy sauce, both of which are available in bottles at the table, along with various types of chili and garlic pastes, oils or infusions, fresh coriander and leeks, sesame oil, and other flavorings.

Chicago Makes Its Mark on Nashville

Chefs and restaurateurs are expanding their Chicago brands southward to Nashville.

Headquarters Nashville

Headquarters Nashville

Although Nashville is roughly 450 miles South of Chicago, the two cities have never felt closer thanks to a recent uptick in restaurant expansions and chef movement. The draw for Chicago restaurants and bars to branch out to Nashville, essentially the closest Southern city to the Midwest, is multifaceted. Not only are the rents cheaper and the land much more spacious, but burgeoning neighborhoods and a hungry, excited clientele make for a veritable blank canvas for creativity. Here are some of the latest examples of Chicago’s unique—and ever-widening—connection to the Music City.

Headquarters Beercade: Nashville’s most recent Chicago import, Headquarters Beercade brought its famed mix of vintage arcade gaming, crafty cocktails and elevated bar fare to Broadway. The expansion marks the first Nashville locale for Machine Hospitality Group, which owns Headquarters, who’ve tapped Zach Rivera and Scott Donaldson to helm the beverage program and food menu, respectively. This includes 35 seasonally changing beer cans, 12 draft beer handles and nostalgia-inspired cocktails like the Mott’s, made with Stoli Apple, cinnamon applesauce and lemon juice. For food, Donaldson pays homage to Headquarters origins with an Italian beef sandwich, plus corndogs with sriracha cream, spicy buffalo cauliflower and lots more. Then there’s the 30-plus free arcade and pinball games, spread over 5,000-sq.-ft. of space, outfitted with comic books, vintage mirrors and more Chicago touches like antique newspaper stands.

Sunda: One of Chicago’s most prolific and perpetually popular restaurant and bar groups, Rockit Ranch Productions, chose Nashville as their first foray outside the Second City. The group is keeping busy with a targeted fall debut for a Nashville outpost of Sunda, its wildly popular modern pan-Asian restaurant known equally for sushi and celebrity sightings. Sunda’s current chef de cuisine and partner Mike Morales will serve as the new location’s executive chef, and Rockit Ranch CEO Billy Dec aligned with Nashville’s Fresh Hospitality for the project. Sunda-lovers can expect a, 8,000-sq.-ft. space in The Gulch neighborhood, with many of the same dishes and drinks—like lemongrass beef lollipops, miso-glazed cod and tuna truffle nigiri—that helped cement the restaurant as a Chicago fan favorite.

Parson’s Chicken & Fish: Another one of Chicago’s most popular restaurant and bar groups, Land & Sea Dept., has also targeted Nashville for its first expansion outside Chicago. The bar in question is Parsons’ Chicken & Fish, Logan Square’s perpetually packed patio haunt famed for its fried chicken and Negroni slushies. It’s headed to Wedgewood-Houston in the fall, bringing its people-pleasing blend of booze, comfort food and al fresco lounging in a space with enough room for 200 diners. When it debuts later this year, it’ll be in good company too, part of Nashville’s forthcoming May Hosiery development where an outpost of New Orleans’ St. Roch Market food hall is also taking shape.

Nicky’s Coal Fired: Among Nashville’s newest and most exciting entries is hot in more ways than one. Recently opened in The Nations neighborhood, another up-and-comer on Nashville’s cultural and dining scene, Nicky’s Coal Fired is a restaurant with a palpable Chicago connection. The husband-wife duo behind the restaurant, Tony and Caroline Galzin, made names for themselves in Chicago restaurants for years, working at places like recently shuttered mk The Restaurant, Le Colonial and Leopold before decamping Tony’s hometown for Southern pastures. Partly inspired by their mutual love for Chicago’s Coalfire pizzeria, the couple employed a massive four-ton coal-fired oven for their aptly dubbed restaurant, the first of its kind in the city. Here, they crank the heat up on pizzas, seasonal small plates, vegetables, pastas and more. It’s complimented by European beers, wine on tap and Italian-inspired cocktails, all served in a comfortable 100-seat restaurant housed in the industrial Stocking 51 Building.

Fort Louise: Another chef is making moves to Nashville, while maintaining his prominent role in Chicago. Greg Biggers will stay on as executive chef at Cafe des Architectes in the Gold Coast while also serving as chef/partner of a casual restaurant hinged on American comfort food in Nashville’s Inglewood neighborhood. For the chef, an Alabama native, newly opened Fort Louise affords him a unique opportunity to tap into his roots and balance out his fine dining experience with something more low-key. Located in a cottage-like house, the cozy restaurant and bar is quite the juxtaposition to his tasting menu restaurant inside the shiny Sofitel Chicago Magnificent Mile. Here, the focus is on snacks and entree plates for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch.

Weekly Planner: Happy Hour at Broken Shaker

Happy Hour at Broken Shaker

Broken Shaker

Broken Shaker

New happy hours are a dime a dozen these days in Chicago, but the version taking place at the Broken Shaker may be the coolest (and most irreverent) yet. It’s called the “Happy Hipster,” and it’s a playful, nostalgia-inspired combo that features a secret recipe burger with fries and a domestic beer for $14. It’s sort of like an adult happy meal, and it’s even served in a box. The combo is available Monday through Saturday from 4:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. and on Sunday from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.

Industry Mondays at Arbella Happy Hour 

One surefire way to kickstart the week into gear is with discounted drinks at Arbella. One of the most exciting and unique cocktail bars in River North, Arbella provides more incentive to swing through on Mondays with its new industry nights. Between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and midnight, members of the hospitality industry will get 25% off select cocktails and street food-inspired snacks from the late-night kitchen.

Beer Flights at The Florentine

In other boozy news, The Florentine has rolled out new craft beer flights. Both city and suburban breweries are on deck for the menu offerings, each flight consisting of three 6-oz. pours. The City Flight consists of Baderbrau Brewing Company’s South Side Pride Lager, Maplewood Brewery’s Son of Juice American IPA and Off Color Brewing’s Apex Predator Farmhouse Ale. The Suburban Flight, meanwhile, contains Solemn Oath Brewery’s LÜ Kolsch-style Ale, Two Brothers Brewing Company Dog Days Dortmunder Lager and Temperance Beer Company’s Greenwood Beach Blonde Ale. As an added bonus, guests can also create their own flight, with options from Ohio, Michigan, California and Colorado in addition to Illinois.

#GoingOverBoard Dinners at Oyster Bah

Since summer weekends are never meant to end, Oyster Bah has implemented a fun new dinner series that keeps the merriment going with its #GoingOverBoard dinners on Mondays and Tuesdays. Each week for dinner, Oyster Bah offers special Alaskan king crab and Maine lobster dinners starting at 5:00 p.m. for $43.95. Guests get to choose from 1-lb. steamed king crab or 1.5 lbs. steamed lobster. Dinner is served with fries, cole slaw, garlic bread and drawn butter for dipping. Altogether, the experience feels like vacationing on a beach, celebrating the best of summer eating. Space and supplies are limited, so reservations are suggested.

The Polenta Bar Brings a Taste of Northern Italy to the West Loop

In recent years, fast-casual dining has manifested in many different ways, in part triggered like a Domino effect by companies following the Chipotle model of customized food, quick service and quality ingredients. From noodles and salads, to Middle Eastern food and poké, Chicago’s fast-casual scene has a lot to choose from, but none are quite as wholly original as The Polenta Bar, the first dedicated polenteria in Chicago and one of the first in the country at large.

Polenta Bar

Polenta Bar

The cozy West Loop newcomer hails from owner Emile Chalouhi and chef Camillo Villa, both of whom are brand new Chicago transplants looking to bring a taste of their homeland to their new city. The space is warm, sunny and inviting, which is quite a feat considering its located under the El tracks. A mural running the length of the dining room depicts structures and buildings from the city of Milan, where the owners are from and where polenterias are local staples. But hidden in the mural are little touches of Chicago, like buildings bedecked with the city’s famous Art Deco architecture. It’s not just for looks either; it’s a nod to the secret synergy between the two cities. Not only are Chicago and Milan sister cities, but as Chalouhi describes it, both places share similarities in their fast-paced lifestyles and their colder climates. Hence, the niche of wholesome Northern Italian comfort food served fast.

The Polenta Bar

The Polenta Bar

Polenta is slowly churned and warmed in special contraptions imported from just outside Milan. They dispense warm olive oil-infused polenta similar to soft-serve ice cream machines. Here, the creamy cornmeal is filled into bowls for customers to load up with toppings of their choice. A far cry from your standard cafeteria-style fare, all items here are meticulously cooked by Villa, slow simmered made with top-tier ingredients. This includes taleggio cheese fonduta, pork and beef bolognese, chicken cooked with white wine and spicy, plump Milanese sausage splashed with tomato sauce. The Polenta Bar also offers a dish of the month option, currently a wild boar stew, with venison slated for April. Diners than choose their vegetables, all free of charge.

The Polenta Bar also added a small wine program featuring Valcalepio Wine, a producer that along with everything else at the restaurant, from the owners to the equipment, hails from Northern Italy.

Eight Wild New Foie Gras Creations in Chicago

With its equal-parts proclivity for both savory and sweet applications, foie gras is one of the most versatile ingredients in the kitchen, a sentiment that Chicago chefs and pastry chefs have taken to heart in recent years.

Foie Gras Creations @ Band of Bohemia

Foie Gras Creations @ Band of Bohemia

Band of Bohemia: Affectionately nicknamed the “foie-sicle,” the foie gras fudgesicle at Band of Bohemia may very well be the dessert of the summer. A surefire way to up the ante on this childhood ice cream pastime, the foie creation is the handiwork of ever-inventive pastry chef George Kovach, who dips a chilly blend of foie gras, banana, almond, pink peppercorn and kaffir lime in chocolate. True to form, it’s all served on a stick for optimal licking, with foie gras’ innate creamy richness blending in nicely with the chocolate and banana.

The Purple Pig: One of the most exciting morning developments in recent memory has been the addition of breakfast to The Purple Pig’s portfolio. While fresh pastries, breakfast piadinas and fried smashed potatoes are all exciting in their own rights, the star of the menu is Jimmy Bannos Jr.’s unabashedly decadent breakfast sandwich. The chef layers foie gras on a fluffy house-baked English muffin with truffle sausage, egg and membrillo, a tart quince paste that serves to balance the foie and sausage.

The Duck Inn: One of the most playful (literally) interpretations of foie gras in Chicago can be found at The Duck Inn, where chef Kris Delee is forming foie gras mousse into Lego shapes for a dish inspired by a quintessential afternoon snack. The snack in question is “ants on a log,” the dish consisting of peanut butter smeared on celery and dotted with raisins. In updating the childhood favorite, Delee is naturally giving the dish a look modeled after childhood toys, with foie gras-peanut butter mousse, celery granite, celery-raisin mostarda, crushed peanuts and nasturtium petals. The mousse is molded into Lego log shapes, then frozen to help solidify. Says Delee, “As a kid, those were two of the best things in the world: Legos and celery-covered in peanut butter!”

The Gage: With its tendency towards creamy richness, foie gras is one of those ingredients that easily plays with both savory and sweet. At The Gage, it serves to enhance a classic French dessert, as the St-Germain-poached foie gets layered between flaky puff pastry. Along with fresh farm strawberries and a dusting of matcha green tea, the dessert features a range of crunchy and creamy textures, along with sweet, herbal, buttery flavors.

Topolobampo: Tongue tacos with foie gras pastry cream may very well be the most offbeat interpretation of foie gras ever. It’s all going down at Topolobampo, where chef Zach Steen and line cook Meagan O’Connor double-teamed the idea as a means of enriching and sweetening the meaty dish. “There’s a lot happening on our tongue taco — we have tongue two ways, both seared and cured, a little heat from salsa huevona and some salty acidity from pickled cactus and fried capers,” explains Steen. “But the real crown jewel is the dollop of foie gras pastry cream we add.” The chefs blend orbs of seared foie with caramelized onion and a splash of brandy, then they mix in some heavy cream and put it back on the heat to thicken. “After a few minutes of intense whisking, we’re left with this boozy, rich, luxurious cream to balance out those other flavors,” Steen adds. “It’s sort of an intense process for just a small garnish, but it’s unforgettably awesome.”

Fulton Market Kitchen: Foie gras mind games are always a fun surprise. Such as foie gras mousse that perfectly resembles a Mandarin orange, like that at Fulton Market Kitchen. Taking the notion of foie gras mousse with fruit and toast to the next level, chef Chris Curren molds foie with Mandarin orange jelly into a perfectly rounded, citrus-shape dome. It’s served with toasted sourdough for convenient smearing and snacking.

Dusek’s Board & Beer: Foie gras, truffles and cheese come together for the ultimate bar snack at Dusek’s Board & Beer. The dish is a silky-smooth and impossibly rich fondue made with a mixture of Emmentaler cheese, foie, shaved black truffles and Madeira wine, at once sweet, creamy and funky. It’s all crowned with toasted bread crumbs for a bit of added crunch.

Trench: At Trench, foie gras plays a role in riffing on PB&J, giving the nostalgic staple a savory update and a gourmet upgrade. For his foie torchon, acclaimed chef Jared Wentworth serves up a savory peanut butter savarin cake, along with a brûlée of fig, cocoa and pickled strawberry.