Weekday Planner: Salmon Bake, Summer Grilling Class, Paella Cook-off, Bangers & Lace Pub Takeover

Backyard Salmon Bake at The Duck Inn

Backyard cookouts are all the rage this time of year, but there's a world of flavor to explore beyond the same-old burgers, hot dogs, and barbecue. Mosey down to The Duck Inn on July 23 for a wine-fueled backyard salmon bake, hosted by the Bridgeport restaurant and Sanford Winemaker Steve Fennell. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are the wines in focus for the evening, an event inspired by the annual International Pinot Noir Celebration's Salmon Bake in McMinnville, Oregon. As guests sip on their California vittles, chef Kevin Hickey will cook up wild river salmon baked over hot coals, along with summery menu options like chickpea blinis with smoked salmon roe, grilled chilled asparagus with crumbled duck egg, spring potato salad with Dungeness crab, chilled peas, and mint, and more. Tickets for the backyard soiree cost $175 per person and are available on The Duck Inn's website or by calling the restaurant. 

Summer Grilling Class

In other summery cookout-type news, Paul Virant of Vie is hosting a summer grilling cooking class on June 22. Taking place at 5:30 p.m. at the acclaimed Western Springs restaurant, the tutorial is a two-hour lesson focused on all things summertime grilling, finished with a family-style dinner with beverage pairings. The class is $175 per person and reservations can be made by calling Vie. 


The Duck Inn
The Duck Inn

Paella Cook-off at Mercat a la Planxa

Paella steps into the spotlight in a big way at Mercat a la Planxa's second annual Paella Cook-off. The masterwork of executive chef and Iron Chef Jose Garces, contrived as part of Chicago Gourmet's "Beyond Gourmet" series, the cook-off takes place June 22 with a roster of local chefs competing for paella glory. Chefs include Ashlee Aubin of Salero and Wood, Abe Conlon of Fat Rice, Tim Graham of Travelle, Mike Sheerin of Embeya, Perry Hendrix of Blackbird and avec, and John Manion of La Sirena Clandestina. Kicking off at 6:00 p.m. and running until 9:00 p.m., the cook-off affords attendees the opportunity to sample paellas from a wide miscellany of chefs, as well as enjoy a sangria bar, Spanish-accented cocktails and Spanish beers. The Most Valuable Paella will be deemed by a panel of judges that includes Garces, Chandra Ram of Plate Magazine, Catherine De Orio of Check, Please!, Iron Chef judge Mario Rizzoti, and Jon Keeley from Gemini Bistro. Guests will also have the chance to cast their vote for the people's choice paella. Cost to attend is $75 per person and tickets are available on Mercat's website. 

Bangers & Lace Takes Over Bucktown Pub

In celebration of their newly refurbished interior and their massive new patio, Bucktown Pub welcomes sister bar Bangers & Lace for a summertime bash on June 22. Bangers & Lace is poised to take over the grill, the beer taps, and the music for one night only, starting at 5:00 p.m. Expect Bangers' signature sausages and hot dogs, as well as a unique beer selection. Then make sure you come back another night to fully embrace Bucktown Pub 2.0, which features updated bar seats and a classic cocktail menu. 

- Matt Kirouac