Weekend Planner: James Beard Week

Momofuku Brunch at avec

In honor of the James Beard Foundation Awards taking place in Chicago May 2, there’s a whole bunch of events taking place the weekend prior. This includes a super special brunch at avec on May 1. The daytime event is a one-day-only Momofuku brunch takeover, featuring the acclaimed stylings of New York City’s beloved and insanely popular restaurant from David Chang. In collaboration with Momofuku’s Ssäm Bar and Má Pêche, avec will serve an a la carte menu with items like kimchi deviled eggs, sirloin tartare with yuzu kosho, smoked seven spice brisket with pea slaw, and shrimp and grits with xo, egg, and kale. Additionally, avec will offer a limited number of Bo Ssäm reservations for parties of seven to 10 guests at the following times: 10:00 a.m., 11:30 a.m., and 1:30 p.m. Priced at $250 per party, this includes a slow cooked pork shoulder, one dozen oysters, and two bowls each of white rice, bibb lettuce, Korean-style barbecue sauce, kimchi, and ginger-scallion sauce. Reservations for the Bo Ssäm package can be made by emailing info@avecrestaurant.com and general brunch seating is first come, first served. 

Cure Takes Over The Violet Hour

In other James Beard Award news, acclaimed New Orleans cocktail bar Cure is taking over The Violet Hour on May 1. The special collaborative effort is dubbed “Cure What Ails You: Cure Takes Over The Violet Hour,” and it begins at 10:00 p.m. The special union was born from deep rooted industry connections and friendships, which makes this all the more special. Cure’s partner Kirk Estopinal was an opening bartender at The Violet Hour, which makes this a bit of a homecoming for him. For his return, he worked closely with The Violet Hour’s Eden Laurin to craft a special menu of cocktails, while Analogue’s chef, New Orleans native Alfredo Nogueira, is accenting the drink list with a variety of Cajun-inspired dishes. The chef met Estopinal in New Orleans in their 20’s and they even started a band together at one point. 

The cocktail menu for the evening features items like the Gunshop Fizz Punch made with Peychaud’s, fresh citrus and berries; the Once Over with aperol, tequila cabeza, lime, orgeat, and mint; the Seadog with Sercial Madeira, chocolate and vanilla bitters, orange, and lemon zest; and the Yerba Agave with El Tesoro Anejo, raw dark agave nectar, Brizard white creme de menthe, Benedictine, and angostura. For food, expect dishes like boudin-stuffed beignets, buttermilk biscuits with Steen’s butter and pepper, pickled deviled eggs, filé gumbo, and Creole buttermilk doughnuts. 



Shake Shack and Boka Partner for Backyard Barbecue 

Another cool collaboration taking place this weekend is between Boka and Shake Shack, an unlikely surprise duo joining forces for a backyard barbecue on May 1. From 4:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m., Boka will play host to the al fresco soiree, wherein the two restaurants will collaborate on a special Shake Shack burger inspired by Boka’s menu. The outdoor terrace will be transformed into a casual barbecue setting, where guests can enjoy the special burger, plus canapes from Boka, and pie bites from Bang Bang Pie. There will also be Shackmeister Ale, wine, and whiskey smash cocktails to drink. Tickets are $40 per person and can be snagged here.

Three Dots and a Dash Alley Tiki Party

With the tiki bar’s new beverage director, Julian Cox, running the ship, Chicago’s premiere tiki bar is poised to host an alley luau to remember. Along with several other top-tier mixologists, Three Dots and a Dash is set to fire up a pig roast and shake up tropical cocktails in the alley on May 1 from 1:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. There will also be a fire performance by DJ Walshy, in true luau style. Get tix here.

- Matt Kirouac