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DINING Blind Dragon, Dandy Crown, holiday items
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-12-24

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—FOUND Hotel's Asian-inspired bar/lounge Blind Dragon, 613 N. Wells St., features karaoke suites, vibrant music and exotic cocktails and bites. The new happy hour ( Tuesdays through Thursdays 5-8 p.m. ) has $5 house wines and $10 ramen bowls, among other items. Cocktails include The Benevolent ( Avion tequila, Mexican coffee, Averna, egg white, mole bitters ) and Christmas in the Tropics ( Cruzan rum, Falernum, fresh lime juice, spiced pineapple ). See BlindDragon.com/Chicago.

—The Dandy Crown, a new cocktail-focused neighborhood bar, has opened at 694 N. Milwaukee Ave. Sarah Syman has engineered the cocktail program, which includes "Old Friends" ( classics ) and "New Friends" ( seasonally evolving craft cocktails ). There are also six beers on tap, plus an initial 18 in cans and bottles, a few good wines and a house full of spirits. See TheDandyCrown.com .

—Chef Art Smith's Blue Door Kitchen + Garden, 52 W. Elm St., has been completely transformed into Blue Door Kitchen + Lodge for the winter. The seasonal pop-up will run through February 2020. Also, there's a menu that will only be available during this time; items include chicken pot pie, Croque Madame/Monsieur, the Swiss pasta dish Alplermagronen, pan-seared catfish and more. Reservations can be made by calling 312-573-4000.

—For a deal this holiday season, head over to Jake Melnick's Corner Tap, 41 E. Superior St., for happy hour Mondays through Fridays at 4-6 p.m. The River North restaurant has a $5 food menu that includes BBQ chips, fried pickles, mini corn dogs, kettle corn, fried olives, and a meat-and-cheese board. Also, there are select draft beers for $6, select cocktails for $7 and wine for $8.

—The Albert, 228 E. Ontario St., is inviting diners in on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Items will include roasted beet, fig and endive salad, cheese and charcuterie, and house rolls; roasted heritage turkey; and buche de noel. See TheAlbertChicago.com .

—Cochon Volant Brasserie, 100 W. Monroe St., will celebrate Christmas Eve and Christmas Day by taking reservations for brunch and dinner. Brunch favorites include salmon Benedict ( smoked salmon, cornichons, capers, cream cheese; $15.95 ), blueberry quinoa pancakes ( warm berries, agave syrup; $13.95 ) and avocado toast and eggs ( smashed avocado, house toast, pickled shallots, eggs your way; $13.95 ), while guests dining during dinner can try French American classics like Wild Faroe Island sSalmon ( pan-seared, braised lentils, basil aioli, fine herbs; $26.95 ), truffle pasta ( spaghetti, black truffle, parmesan, mixed mushrooms; $15.95 ) and prime petit filet ( eight-ounce center cut; $44.95 ). See CochonVolantChicago.com .

—About Last Knife ( ALK ), 168 N. Michigan Ave., is offering its Beef Wellington catering package for the holiday season. Full Wellington ( $275 ) and Half Wellington ( $150 ) options are offered alongside chef-curated sides and house-made red wine bordelaise sauce. The Wellington is fully cooked to temperature to make holiday prep even easier so guests can reheat, slice, serve and relax with family and friends. To order the package, contact ALK at info@alkchicago.com or 312-392-2440.

—Grant Park Bistro, 800 S. Michigan Ave., will be offering a special three-course prix fixe menu Christmas Day for $45 per person, not inclusive of tax and gratuity; kids under 12 eat for 50-percent less. The special menu, which will be available 12-6 p.m., includes a choice of first course, main course and dessert. Items include roasted squash soup, prime sirloin, beet root-poached salmon, pecan pie and more. See GrantParkBistro.com .

—The upscale spot Everest, 425 S. Financial Pl., will offer "Christmas in Alsace" through Dec. 28, 5:30-10 p.m. The multi-course menu features foie gras, pike, roasted goose and more. Dinner is $185 each, with wine pairings $98 per guest; see EverestRestaurant.com .

—Wrigleyville's newest Christmas pop-up bar and restaurant is Jingle Junkie, at 3478 N. Clark St. ( aka Roadhouse 66 Gas N' Grill ). Now open through Jan. 6, Jingle Junkie includes a cozy ski lodge heated patio with chair lift photo background. All-access "ski passes" for the ski lodge are on sale, with a portion of proceeds going to the Greater Chicago Food Depository. In addition, Sunday Brunch with Santa is served Dec. 15 and 22 at 11 a.m-3 p.m. See JingleJunkie.com .

—On Christmas Eve, Texas de Brazil restaurants will be opening at 11 a.m., serving the full rodizio-style dinner menu all day with the addition of some holiday favorites. Pricing varies per location. All Texas de Brazil restaurants will, however, be closed Christmas Day.

—For New Year's Eve, Filipino spot Cebu, 2211 W. North Ave., is urging people to celebrate with a Boodle Fight Feast. It features fried branzino fish with sweet and sour sauce, lumpia, pork BBQ, lechon belly, lechon manok, garlic rice and atchara ( a pickle made from grated unripe papaya ). See CebuChicago.com .

—Frontier will ring in the New Year by hosting its annual New Year's Eve Party 8 p.m.-1 a.m. featuring its whole smoked animal feast and a five hour food-and-drink package for $85 ( early bird pricing, and prices are subject to change ). Guests can enjoy Frontier's signature whole smoked animal feast featuring pig, boar, lamb and goat, plus oysters, five-cheese mac, seasonal vegetables, Caesar salad, buttered rolls, a dessert buffet and more. On New Year's Day, there will be a pajama-themed brunch party at 12-3 p.m., with a $29 chef-inspired brunch buffet and bottomless mimosas and Bloody Marys. See TheFrontierChicago.com .

—For New Year's Eve, Tied House, 3157 N. Southport Ave., will offer an a la carte menu, featuring several luxe specials. They include lobster pappardelle, with uni and brown butter bread crumbs ( $30 ); and a 40-day, dry-aged ribeye for two, served with sauce bearnaise and bread & butter pickles ( $42 ). See TiedHouseChicago.com .

—To ring in the New Year, Bernie's, 660 N. Orleans St., will offer a $70 three-course menu crafted by Chef Derek Dupree on Dec. 31. Offerings include Nicoise salad, quail, roasted bone marrow, sweetbreads, beef Wellington, whole roasted bronzini, ricotta tortellini, roasted duck breast, salted caramel panna cotta and red velvet cake. On New Year's Day, guests can enjoy $18 bottomless bellinis and brunch served 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Tickets for New Year's Eve dinner can be purchased on Eventbrite, and brunch reservations can be made at http://bernies-chicago.com/.

—At Roka Akor Chicago, 456 N. Clark St., 5:30 p.m.-12 a.m., guests can party like Jay Gatsby on New Year's Eve. There will be a '20s-themed Great Gatsby New Year's Ball with a special midnight champagne toast, Great Gatsby favors, DJ entertainment starting at 9 p.m., a photo booth and more. A special tasting menu will be available for $129/person that includes robata grilled scallop, toro nigiri, lemon butter-poached South American lobster tail, Snake River Farms Wagyu fillet and more; an a la carte menu will additionally be available. In addition, there will be a $500 Instagram contest. Visit RokaAkor.com/Chicago.

—Acadia chef/owner Ryan McCaskey will welcome fellow two Michelin-starred Chef Paul Liebrandt ( Corton, The Elm, Gilt ) of New York City at the Chicago spot, 1639 S. Wabash Ave., for a special New Year's Eve collaboration dinner. The evening will start at 7 p.m. with a passed canape and champagne reception featuring Dom Pérignon and Laurent Perrier Grand Siecle; the 8 p.m. reception will be followed by a 12-course menu with optional wine pairings. The cost is $350 per person, wine pairings available for $215. To RSVP, visit OpenTable or call 312-360-9500.

—Chef Carlos Gaytan has announced plans for New Year's Eve at Tzuco, 720 N. State St. With reservations available throughout the evening beginning at 5 p.m., there will be a uniquely curated, four-course prix fixe tasting with dishes that have never before appeared on Gaytan's menus worldwide. Dishes will include halibut with mother pibil, black bean puree and pickled purple pear onions; American Kobe with chile toreado, aioli and caviar; tangerine cheesecake with tangerine puree and chocolate crumbles; and more. Tickets start at $150 each, exclusive of tax and gratuity; visit https://resy.com/cities/chi/tzuco?date=2019-12-31&seats=2.

—Taureaux Tavern, 155 W. Van Buren St., will toast to the New Year on Tuesday, Dec. 31, with Champagne toasts every hour ( starting at 5 p.m. ) and its French-inspired dinner menu. Chef Eric Tiglao will be preparing signature dishes like prime steak frites, black truffle pappardelle, and grilled salmon with lentils. Reservations can be made at TaureauxTavern.com .

—About Last Knife, 168 N. Michigan Ave., is offering a four-course prix fixe menu ( $75/person ) for New Year's Eve. Courses will include porcini agnolotti with brown butter, hazelnuts and sage; and celery root and lobster bisque. Wine pairings are available for an additional $35 per person. Call 312-392-2440 or email info@alkchicago.com .

—For New Year's Eve, TAO Chicago, 632 N. Dearborn St., will have its first seating at 5-6 p.m. and second seating at 6:15-7:30 p.m., with an a la carte menu. The third seating, TAO Chicago's New Year's Eve Dinner Party, 8:45-10 p.m., offers guests a special menu of TAO's greatest hits, including spicy tuna tartare on crispy rice, satay of Chilean Seabass, the giant fortune cookie and more. The attire is black tie-optional, but cocktail attire is required. All guests must be 21 for the final seating ( $200/person, not including beverages, tax and gratuity in the main dining room and $175/person at the sushi bar ). See TAOChicago.com .

—At Gaijin, 950 W. Lake St., the New Year's Eve menu will start at 4 p.m., and a la carte will still be available as well. The holiday menu will include items such as kombu-marinated vegetables and smoked char Osaka okonomiyaki with ikura. The price will be $100/couple, plus $30/person for drink pairings ( not including tax and gratuity ). See GaijinChicago.com .

—On New Year's Eve, The Globe Pub, 1934 W. Irving Park Rd., will have its traditional complimentary champagne toast at 6 p.m. for the United Kingdom and Ireland, and at midnight for Chicago. Also, there will be different specials for each hour starting at 3 p.m. ( for Moscow ). See https://www.facebook.com/events/572253480233422.

—Saba Italian Bar & Kitchen, 2715 N. Milwaukee Ave., will offer a four-course menu and complimentary champagne toast on New Year's Eve for $75 per person. Courses will include clam chowder, Maine lobster winter salad tossed in a champagne vinaigrette and a New York Strip Steak with giant prawns as well as a red wine poached pear. The menu will be available 11 a.m.-10 p.m., with the a la carte lunch and dinner menus also available. Saba will also be open for New Year's Day brunch 10 a.m.-3 p.m., and dinner 3-10 p.m. Visit SabaItalian.com to RSVP.

—For New Year's Eve, Hilton Chicago Northbrook, 2855 N. Milwaukee Ave., is offering various packages starting at $317 per couple ( 21 and older only ). The NYE Dinner Package includes Passed hors d'oeuvres, a four-course dinner with wine service, five hours of open bar, non-stop dancing ( with music provided by a DJ ), party hats and favors. Call 847-509-7010 or visit ChicagoNorthbrook.hilton.com .

—Chicago's Vermilion restaurant, 10 W. Hubbard St., will offer a sneak peek of some of its new menu items on New Year's Eve. Just a few of the items will include tomato cauliflower empanada, Mexican lobster bisque, curry leaf tamarind paneer and Celerino's mole morelos whitefish. Seatings are 5-7 p.m. ( five courses for $60 ) and 8:30 p.m. onward ( six courses for $80 ). See TheVermilionRestaurant.com .

—Mastro's Steakhouse, 520 N. Dearborn St., will be open New Year's Day, Jan. 1, 4-9 p.m. for regular dinner service. Entree items include New Zealand King salmon filet, Big Eye Tuna sashimi style, Alaskan king crab legs, Japanese A5 Wagyu, Broadleaf Wagyu tomahawk chop and more. Patrons can also indulge in Mastro's signature dry aged bone-in ribeye ( 23- or 24-ounce ) for $75 or the chateaubriand for $115. See MastrosRestaurants.com/Locations/IL/Chicago.

—On New Year's Day, Nico Osteria, 1015 N. Rush St., will have its standard brunch, with something extra. In addition to its regular brunch, there will be black-eyed peas and rice; corned beef-and-cabbage hash; and fried chicken and French toast. See NicoOsteria.com .

—There will be a New Year's Day "Hangover Brunch" at Fremont Chicago, 15 W. Illinois St., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Guests can indulge in a brunch buffet with a carving station, smoked brisket, doughnut wall, omelet station, boozy desserts and waffle bar. Beverage offerings include a $25 mimosa package. Reservations are encouraged and can be made online at FremontChicago.com .

—Play Kitchen & Cocktails, 7 W. Division St., will open New Year's Day at 4-7 p.m. Prices will be half off select menu items such as cocktails, wine, champagne, draft beer and bites like Seven Heaven Wings, Southwest Roll-ups, Bucket O' Tenders, Brisket Sliders, the Play Burger and more. Also, for sports fans, Play will broadcast the Rose Bowl at 4 p.m. and the Sugar Bowl at 7:45 p.m. on TVs throughout the bar.

—With the upcoming Jan. 1 legalization of recreational marijuana across Illinois, Revolution Brewing is releasing Legal-Hero to mark the occasion. The Revolution Brewing Taproom, 3340 N. Kedzie Ave., will be open New Year's Day 2-8 p.m. for a special release of the double dry-hopped Hazy IPA. Legal-Hero is free of THC and CBD, but was created to showcase the qualities of certain hop varieties. Legal-Hero will also be available at the Revolution Brewpub, 2323 N. Milwaukee Ave., when it reopens Thursday, Jan. 2, at 11 a.m.

—The Children's Museum in Oak Lawn will host "MasterChef Junior Bakes!" on Friday, Jan. 3, at 1:30 p.m. There will be a special baking demonstration by Masterchef Junior season six winner Beni. There is no extra charge for this event; it is included with museum membership or general admission.

—The Jean Banchet Awards for Culinary Excellence—which recognize culinary originality and talent in the Chicago area—announced the nominees for its 2020 honors. The winners across 15 categories—including Chef of the Year, Restaurant of the Year, Best New Restaurant and others—will be announced at the Jan. 19 Jean Banchet Awards, an event that benefits the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Just a few of the nominees include Chefs Erick Williams ( Virtue Restaurant & Bar ), Leigh Omilinsky ( Bellemore, Cold Storage, Swift & Sons ) and Jess Galli ( Middle Brow Bungalow ) as well as spots such as Brindille, Oriole, Galit, Kumiko, Gibsons Italia and Machine: Engineered Dining & Drink.

—At Onward, 6580 N. Sheridan Rd., on Monday, Jan. 20, Executive Chef Patrick Russ will lead a pasta class series that guests will experience as they are treated to tastes of seasonal samplings. Priced at $85 per person, Chef Russ will lead the class, and guests will enjoy a chef-made pasta dinner paired with wine. RSVP at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/onward-pasta-series-tickets-79916272723?aff=ebdssbdestsearch.

—Choose Chicago announced that tickets are now on sale for First Bites Bash, the celebratory kick-off event for the 13th annual Chicago Restaurant Week. Chef/owner Thai Dang and director/owner Danielle Dang of HaiSous Vietnamese Kitchen and Ca Phe Da are the host chef and mixologist for the party at the Field Museum on Thursday, Jan. 23. A limited number of Flash Sale tickets are now available for $99 per person at FirstBitesBash.com until tickets run out. Limited early-bird tickets will be on sale for $115; then, general admission tickets will become available for $125 per person until event capacity is reached or until 12 p.m. on the event date. Participants are listed at ChooseChicago.com/chicago-restaurant-week/first-bites-bash.

—Sunday Dinner Club continues its annual tradition of serving the French comfort classic cassoulet with a four-course menu. The recipe for the dish features garlic sausage, duck confit, leg of lamb, slab bacon, braised tomatoes and onions, white beans, duck fat and bread crumbs. Guests can enjoy the cassoulet dinner on various dates Jan. 9-Feb. 27. Tickets are available for $85 per person, and reservations are required. See SundayDinnerClub.com/events.

—The Eighth Annual Cider Summit returns to Navy Pier Saturday, Feb. 22. Tastings will take place 12-3 p.m. and 5-8 p.m. ( VIP visits start at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., respectively. ) See CiderSummitNEW.com/chicago.

—Lawry's The Prime Rib, 100 E. Ontario St., is offering its popular historic mansion tours monthly in 2020. Tours will take place at 5:30 p.m., 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. on Jan. 25, Saturday, Feb. 22 and Saturday, March 28, with seasonal bites and cocktails along the way. ( Dates for the remainder of 2020 will be released at a later date. ) Housed in the 1890s McCormick Mansion-turned-Kungsholm Puppet Theatre, the steakhouse is part of three eras of history. The tour is $50/person; contact Shannon Tauschman at stauschman@lawrysonline.com or 312-787-5000.

—Dinner With a View—a one-of-a-kind pop-up restaurant and outdoor oasis that recently took place in Toronto and Montreal—will deliver an exclusive culinary adventure under the stars at Pioneer Court on Chicago's Magnificent Mile on April 1-May 10. Attendees will dine in temperature controlled, clear and frameless geodesic domes that will be designed to represent the flora, fauna and beauty of different natural regions of Earth. See DinnerWithAView.ca/en/chicago.

Follow me on Twitter @Azygous60610 or on Instagram at azygous333.

[Note: Dining News will be discontinued after Dec. 31.]


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