Weekly Planner: Mid-Autumn Festival at Shanghai Terrace, TWO Hosts CRUX, Late-summer Dining at Ampersand and More

Mid-Autumn Festival at Shanghai Terrace

Summer hasn’t even ended yet, but there’s a Mid-Autumn Festival taking place this week. Actually, it makes more sense when you consider the fact that it’s a Chinese festivity otherwise known as Moon Festival, and Shanghai Terrace is celebrating appropriately with a special showcase on September 15. The modern Chinese restaurant at The Peninsula Chicago will be selling mooncakes (round, adorable pastries filled with egg custard, made in-house by chef de cuisine Elmo Han) available for pickup. These mooncakes are as good as it gets in Chicago too. Han learned the precise recipe and formula from The Peninsula Hong Kong’s dim sum chef Yip Wing Wah, who developed them 30 years ago. Today, Shanghai Terrace has some of the most authentic versions, right down to the mold that Han picked up in Shanghai earlier this summer. Orders for mooncakes can be placed between now and September 15, either by phone or in-person. They cost $40 for a four-piece box or $78 for an eight-piece box. They’re also available on the menu at the restaurant for $8 a pop. The cakes can’t be shipped due to their delicate nature, so they need to be picked up in person. 


Shanghai Terrace
Mooncakes at Shanghai Terrace

CRUX Dinner in Chicago

Ever-roving, always-innovative CRUX is back in Chicago September 11 for a special dinner at TWO, as part of a four-leg Midwestern spree that’s taking chef Brandon Baltzley and his wife Laura-Higgins Baltzley to places like Detroit, Indianapolis and Columbus. Along with TWO’s host chef Kevin Cuddihee, other culinary names in tow are Jonathan Brooks and Kyle Paton of The Black Lodge and Grow Kitchen & Cafe in Ontario, Canada. There will be two seatings for the dinners, the first at 5:00 p.m. and the second at 8:00 p.m. Both begin with a cocktail hour featuring Virtue Cider, Rockmill Beer, or Middle West Spirits, followed by a five-course dinner. Tickets are $85 per person and can be purchased here

Two For Tuesday Tacos at Rojo Gusano’s Second Location

Another Tuesday, another taco. The second location of Rojo Gusano, which recently opened in Portage Park, is celebrating Taco Tuesday with a new weekly promo. Buy any of the restaurant’s killer tacos and receive the second of equal or lesser value for free. The tacos here are not to be missed, so it’s a great way to experience chef Dudley Nieto’s eclectic menu. Examples include a green curry shrimp taco and a charred butternut squash taco with farmers cheese. 

Music & Mimosas at Bohemian House

Brunch just got a lot more entertaining at Bohemian House. The River North restaurant just introduced “Music & Mimosas” during Saturday brunch, which features an acoustic performance from Carolyn Marcotte on September 10 from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. While listening to the music, guests are able to get their fill of the Build Your Own Mimosa bar and dishes like Bavarian pancakes, open-faced schnitzel sandwiches and lox & toast. The series is set to keep going through the fall, with performers to be announced closer to the dates. 

Late-summer Menu at Ampersand Wine Bar

Late-summer is one of the best times to dine, as seasonal ingredients are at their most vivid and abundant. This includes tomatoes, corn, eggplant, grapes, melons and much more. Celebrating the season in style, Ampersand Wine Bar just rolled out its latest menu, courtesy of executive chef Darren McGraw and chef de cuisine Tim Havidic. The menu starts with appetizers and salads like heirloom tomatoes with couscous salad and Burrata, and seared scallops with oxtail, chickpeas and red pepper jus. Heartier dishes and sides include braised beef cheeks with charred tomatillos and fresh corn pudding, roasted and marinated eggplant with baba ghanoush, cucumber and toasted pita, and sauteed sweet corn with kochujan butter and shaved Parmesan. For dessert, try the mille-feuille of caramelized puff pastry with summer berries and vanilla whipped cream, or the stone fruit tart with toasted granola and honey caramel yogurt. 


Tomatoes aplenty at Ampersand

Winemaker Event at Appellation

For the latest in Appellation’s ongoing wine events, Andrew Jones of Field Recordings is set to appear for a special winemaker event on September 16 from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. Jones will be showcasing a special $20 flight from his winery, a personal library of the people and places he values the most. He’ll be on hand to meet-and-greet and discuss his wine selections for the evening. For more information, visit here

Pilot Light Partners With Between Bites

Two charitable organizations are joining forces on September 13, as Pilot Light partners with Between Bites for a special storytelling event. The former is an organization founded by several top Chicago chefs to empower children to develop a healthy relationship with food at school, while the latter is an ongoing culinary storytelling series that raises funds for different charitable organizations through its events. On September 13 at 7:00 p.m., the two team up for an evening of stories at The Hideout, featuring personal tales from the likes of Jason Hammel (Lula Cafe) and Joshua Kulp (Honey Butter Fried Chicken). The theme for the event is “Back to School,” which will weave its way through all the stories. Tickets are $40 and include heavy appetizers from Honey Butter, plus beer and wine. All proceeds go to Pilot Light and tickets can be purchased here. They’re cash only at the door. 

- Matt Kirouac