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February: All chocolate, all the time

Can’t get enough of that Valentine’s Day chocolate? Chef Carol Wallack’s got your number. Through the end of February, at her restaurant, Sola in North Center, she’s serving a three-course prix fixe with chocolate in every course. Things start off with a salad of arugula, shallots and candied ginger dressed with cocoa nib-balsamic vinaigrette. The […]

10 great last-minute options for New Year’s Eve in Chicago

New Year’s Eve is one of those difficult dining nights. Everybody’s jamming in, and restaurants try to turn the tables as fast as possible to pack ’em all in. Many places don’t offer their regular menus, but only an abbreviated list of pricey set menus; places that don’t ordinarily require reservations may want them, and […]

Give just $10 and have a great time, too!

’The season of giving can be trying when you’re broke. But if you can afford even just $10, you can have the satisfaction of helping others — and have a fun night out to boot! Ed Swiderski III of TV’s “Bachelorette” fame appears tomorrow at a benefit for StreetWise Magazine sponsored by the Stimulus Social […]

Ten places to go on Black Wednesday, Chicago 2012

The eve of Thanksgiving has come to be called “Black Wednesday, ” suppose by extension from Black Friday, the post-holiday shopping day that — it’s to be hoped — puts retailers in the black. The pre-Thanksgiving night out gets people in a celebratory mood as they congregate with family and friends. Of course, maybe it’s […]

10 ways to fete Bastille Day in Chicago

Liberte, egalite, fraternite! The storming of the Bastille prison on July 14, 1789, marked the start of the French Revolution and, ultimately, the freedom of the French people to form a democratic government. Chicago’s Bastille Day events include: Bistronomic on the Gold Coast celebrates Friday through Sunday, July 13–15, with Chef Martial Noguier’s $39 Bastille […]

Ribfest brings sweet scent of smoke to North Center

Summer festival season begins in earnest this weekend with one of Chicago’s premier barbecue events, Ribfest in North Center. Some three dozen food vendors will be grilling Friday through Sunday at the intersection of Lincoln Avenue, Damen Avenue and Irving Park Road, to the tunes of a long music lineup, including such bands as Heartless […]

Farmers market with food and cocktails at Browntrout

Have you been to the farmers’ market yet this season? Check out the Browntrout Farmer’s Market. From 5 to 8 p.m. every Tuesday, the North Center restaurant welcomes small farmers such as Catalpa Grove, Lucky Duck Farm, Frillman Farms, and more and serves seasonal cocktails and food from the bar in a small shared format, […]

15 top Chicago Easter brunches

Hop on out for brunch this Easter (Sunday, April 8). Here are a dozen of Chicago’s best. C-House, Streeterville. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Chef Nicole Pederson offers a seasonal menu including such dishes as farro and poached eggs with speck, fiddlehead ferns, lemon and watercress, with toast ($12); house-made pork sausage eggs benedict […]

What chefs don’t learn in culinary school

“I didn’t realize I was going to get screamed at for 10 years of my life,” says Sean Sanders of Browntrout in North Center. Sanders is one of nine Chicago-area chefs who recounted the surprises that await culinary workers once they leave cooking school in a recent Chicago Sun-Times article.

Where to find authentic Irish fare this St. Patrick’s Day

Corned beef and cabbage is not authentically Irish, says Nuala Kavanagh, who runs Bridie McKenna’s in Highwood. “In Ireland we eat Irish bacon and cabbage. Corned beef came into play when the Irish started to immigrate to America and they could not find the real true traditional Irish bacon and they used the inexpensive corned […]