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DINING Grand Chefs Experience, LondonHouse, chili challenge
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2018-01-30

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—More than 600 of Chicago's corporate and community leaders are expected at The Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr., on Friday, Feb. 2, for the newly revamped Grand Chefs Experience ( hosted by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation ) starting at 6 p.m.. Events will include a champagne reception, tastings, live and silent auctions, and awards. Chefs slated to appear include Mark Hellyar, Ryan McCaskey, Bill Kim, Fabio Viviani, Ivy Stark and Chico Vilchez, among many others. See CFFGrandChefs.com/.

—LondonHouse Chicago, 85 E. Upper Wacker Dr., is launching a reimagined afternoon tea service with a curated selection of Sparrow House Blended Teas as well as savory and sweet bites from Executive Chef Jacob Verstegen. LondonHouse Tea ( $50/person ) presents high tea with a modern twist, as there are such treats as duck pastrami with piquillo pepper aioli, orange segments, and capers; and homemade scones, muffins, and croissants with clotted cream, lemon curd and seasonal jams; and others.

—The first-ever Charity Chili Challenge will take place Thursday, Feb. 1, 7-9 p.m., at Abt's Inspiration Studio, 1200 N. Milwaukee Ave., Glenview. Chicago chefs Kevin Hickey of The Duck Inn, Jake Peterson of The Fifty/50 Restaurant Group, and Todd Stein of The Bristol, Formento's and Nonna's will compete; the winning chef's charity will receive a $5,000 donation from the Abt Family Foundation. Tickets are $10 ( online )-$15 ( at the door ); visit http://www.abt.com/promo/chili-cook-off.php?utm_source=event&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=chilicookoffevent2.1.18.

—8 Hospitality—a Chicago-based hospitality group that owns and operates Chicago venues such as the recently opened Liqrbox and staples like Joy District, Hubbard Inn, Broken English Taco Pub, Pearl Brasserie and more—is closing Barn & Company, 950 W. Wrightwood Ave., on Monday, February 5, to make way for a new concept, Faregrounds, slated to open on March 15. Faregrounds will operate under General Manager Michael O'Connor, who hails from Cite Chicago, at Lake Point Towers. Renovations for the new concept will begin immediately on Feb. 5 and continue through Wed., March 14, before opening to the public on Thursday, March 15, just in time for St. Patrick's Day festivities.

—Portsmith, at the dana hotel and spa ( 660 N. State St. ), has launched a new neighborhood-friendly lunch menu. Crafted by Executive Chef/Partner Nate Henssler and separated into two categories of soup and salad starters and mains, Portsmith's lunch service is available Monday through Friday at 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Menu selections include small plates such as green papaya salad with Thai basil, spearmint, peanuts and pad thai vinaigrette served with a choice of a la carte proteins including seared ahi tuna, Alaskan king crab and seared scallops among others, as well as a charred shrimp cocktail with two U-6 tiger shrimps, traditional cocktail sauce and horseradish. Call 312-202-6000 or visit www.portsmithchicago.com/reservations/ to RSVP.

—On Groundhog Day ( Feb. 2 ), Saint Lou's Assembly, 664 W. Lake St., will show the classic comedy Groundhog Day continuously throughout the evening beginning at 5 p.m. There will also be film-inspired specials such as "Ground Hog" ragu with ricotta gnudi and the "Phil's Shadow"cocktail, a Manhattan-style drink made with Vya sweet vermouth, Jim Beam bourbon and angostura served on the rocks with expressed lemon. See saintlouschicago.com .

—"Cavi-Archie's" ( when Heritage Restaurant & Caviar Bar takes over Archie's ) will happen at Archie's, 2600 W. Iowa St., on Sunday, Feb. 4, at 5 p.m. Items will include grilled 30-hour duck wings with sriracha maple sauce, $1 oysters, and chicharron with pimento cheese or bowfin caviar, among other offerings.

—Bar Cargo, 605 N. Wells St., is offering a $40 package consisting of one domestic bucket, one large pizza and one order of wings for Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 4. View more specials and reserve a table at BarCargo.com .

—Avondale Tap, 3634 W. Belmont Ave., will be kicking off Super Bowl LII by selling 50-wing packages accompanied by blue cheese, ranch and celery for $70 to go. Orders must be placed before Tuesday, Jan. 30, and can be placed by calling Avondale Tap at 773-754-8341.

—Also, Lottie's Pub, 1925 W. Cortland St., is teaming with Jameson this Super Bowl on Feb. 4. Specials include $4 Jameson, $4 Jameson Black, $15 Miller/Coors Buckets and a $15 party platter ( 14" pizza, wings and tater tots ). Additionally, guests can "kick" a field goal for the chance to win $250 in prizes. For table reservations, large groups can email lotties@pioneertaverngroup.com .

—The second annual football edition of the weekly dance night BODY ( with Afro-Caribbean grooves )—known as the "Super BODY Tailgate Party"—will take place at The Promontory, 5311 S. Lake Park Ave. West on Sunday, Feb. 4. Starting at 4 p.m., guests can enjoy grilled buffalo chicken sandwiches, house-made polish sausages and BBQ short ribs or stop by a popcorn and nacho station for more snacking; also, there will be $20 buckets of bottled beer and $18 six-packs of canned beer.

—River Roast, 315 N. LaSalle St., as special carryout prices and menus for Super Bowl Sunday. Items include BBQ chips ( $3 ); a pound of pulled pork with slider buns, pickles and BBQ sauce ( $16 ); and wings with bourbon buffalo sauce ( $13 ); among other items. See RiverRoastChicago.com .

—L3 Hospitality Group ( L3 ) is set to open dual concepts Next of Kin marketplace on Thursday, Feb. 1, and Kinship full-service American eatery on Thursday, Feb. 8, in Evanston at 625 Davis St. L3 recruited chef Marco Bahena to head the kitchen. For Kinship and Next of Kin, his menu features cuisine from the hearth that fuses artful American comfort foods with contemporary touches, including a charred harissa lamb shank, hearth-roast carrots with house-made furikake yogurt and local honey butter fries.

—Operation Taste 2018 will take place Monday, Feb. 5, at 6:30 p.m. at Avalon Banquets, 1905 E. Higgins Rd., Elk Grove Village. A group of well-known Chicagoland chefs—including Chef Jimmy Bannos Jr. of The Purple Pig, Chef Fabio Viviani of Siena Tavern and Chef Martial Noguier of bistronomic—will come together for demonstrations and food tastings in support of Operation North Pole's mission to serve children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. Visit www.operationtaste.com .

—The third annual Chicago Black Restaurant Week will take place Feb. 11-18. So far, approximately 20 business have registered to take part in the event. See " Chicago Black Restaurant Week" on Facebook.

—Sheffield's 10th Annual Chili Cook-Off will take place Sunday, Feb. 11, at Sheffield's Beer and Wine Garden, 3258 N. Sheffield Ave., 2-8 p.m. Prizes will be $50, $75 and $100 gift cards. Admission for Sheffield's guests is $20 for two drink tickets, chili tasting and a chance to vote for the fan favorite. Interested persons can email events@sheffieldschicago.com to enter; entry is free.

—Gene & Georgetti Rosemont ( 9421 W. Higgins Rd. ) and Gene & Georgetti Downtown ( 500 N. Franklin St. ) will offer a special, four-course Valentine's menu for two on Friday, Feb. 9; Saturday, Feb. 10; and Wed., Feb. 14. Among the choices for the $57-per-person dinner will be bacon-wrapped scallops, shrimp cake ( downtown only ), strawberry salad, lobster ravioli and apple tart ( Rosemont only ), among other items. Visit GeneAndGeorgetti.com .

—Stock and Ledger, 70 W. Madison St., is offering a four-course Valentine's Day Menu and bottle of prosecco for $150/per couple ( all inclusive ). Menu items will include oysters, duck breast, beet-and-goat cheese terrine and fondue. Stock and Ledger's happy-hour specials will also be available at 3-6 p.m., along with the regular lunch and dinner menus.

—Chicago French Market, 131 N. Clinton St., has a variety of offerings for Valentine's Day. They include pink strawberry dream crepes ( Flip Crepes ), fresh chevre cheese molded into hearts ( Pastoral ), charcuterie tray and champagne ( Pastoral ), red velvet stud muffins ( Vanille Patisserie ), a custom Love Truffle box ( Lolli + Pops ) and cymbidium orchids ( Les Fleurs ), among others. See frenchmarketchicago.com .

—On Feb. 9-14, The Village, La Cantina and Vivere ( at Italian Village, 71 W. Monroe St. ) offer holiday menu specials, with the option to order from the full menus at all three restaurants. Menu highlights include lobster bisque; pollo alla florentine; crab-filled tortellini with grilled lobster tail and creamy tarragon sauce; and red velvet cake soaked in strawberry Godiva sauce, among other items. Visit https://italianvillage-chicago.com/.

—The Florentine, 151 W. Adams St., will offer its Valentine's Day menu on Feb. 10-11, 14, 17 and 18. Guests can try Capesante with Hudson Canyon scallops, celery root, Meyer lemon, capers, brown butter vinaigrette ( $19 ); and bistecca for two with 32-oz. Painted Hills NY Strip, confit red potatoes, creamed spinach, béarnaise ( $79 ), among other dishes. Couples who join The Florentine to celebrate Valentine's Day this year will also receive housemade strawberry lemon scones from Chef Zachary Walrath to take home and enjoy. Visit the-florentine.net/ or call 312-660-8866.

—Fieldhouse Jones, 312 W. Chestnut St., will host a Galentine's Day event on Tuesday, Feb. 13, 6-9 p.m. Women are invited to grab their gal pals and head to the lobby lounge in the River North boutique hotel for an evening of nail-art manicures, Champagne, sparkling rose, card-crafting and eats from DropShot. Admission is $35 each; visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/galentines-day-at-fieldhouse-jones-tickets-42139591653?aff=es2.

—For Valentine's Day, Boka, 1729 N. Halsted St., will have a six-course tasting menu for $130. For $55, couples can include an optional wine pairing to enhance their dining experience. Call 312-337-6070 or email reservations@bokagrp.com to RSVP.

—Two Zero Three—in the Virgin Hotels Chicago, 203 N. Wabash Ave.—will be offering a buy-one, get-one free special for all specialty pink lattes on Valentine's Day. Also, guests will be treated to a complimentary Virgin heart cookie.

—Spanish spot Mercat a la Planxa, 638 S. Michigan Ave., is offering a four-course chef's tasting menu on Valentine's Day ( $75/person ). There will be dishes like smoked trout and eel Catalan crispy coca, Colorado lamb chops, and a mascarpone panna cotta for dessert. Call 312-765-0524.

—Arami, 1829 W. Chicago Ave., is offering a special Valentine's Day prix fixe menu. Among the offerings are botan ebi with pomegranate gel, chocolate mint, umami soy, lychee; and grilled abalone with braised wakame in clear "ocean" broth. Priced at $130+ per couple and $65 per guest, the menu is also available with sake and wine pairings for each course, and with an a la carte option also offered. Call 312-243-1535.

—Benny's Chop House, 444 N. Wabash Ave., is also offering Valentine's Day specials ( Feb. 8-18 ). Benny's offers the chocolate souffle and Grand Marnier souffle, or guests can also imbibe with a special duo cocktail, The Bicycle Built for Two, which featuers St. Germain, Citadel Gin and Sparkling Lillet Rouge. Also, for those looking to spoil their dates, Benny's offers personalized menus and desserts upon request.

—For Valentine's Day, Michael Jordan's Steak House, 505 N. Michigan Ave., is offering a four-course "Eat Like Mike" dining experience for two inspired by the basketball star's favorite dishes. Items will include double-smoked bacon, lobster bisque, duo filets and molten chocolate cake, with sides such as mashed potatoes and bacon mac 'n cheese. The meal is $150 for two, with wine and/or beer pairings available for $25/person. Visit MJSHChicago.com .

—Chicagoans can celebrate Valentine's Day at The Signature Room, 875 N. Michigan Ave. Executive Chef Cardel Reid will offer a four-course prix fixe menu at 5-9:30 p.m. for $125/person. Dishes will include braised shortrib, lobster bisque, fennel-crusted halibut and chocolate-covered strawberries, among other choices. Call 312-280-0465.

—Commonwealth Tavern, 2000 W. Roscoe St., will have a Valentine's Day trivia contest hosted by Whaddayaknow? Free Pub Trivia at 7:30 p.m. Drink specials will include $5 seasonal beers.

—Get something sweet for your sweetie on Valentine's Day at West Town Bakery, 1916 W. Chicago Ave. A selection of sweets include dark and white chocolate-covered strawberries, heart macarons, hand-decorated heart cookies, dark & white chocolate lollipops and more.

—Roof on theWit, 201 N. State St., is providing couples with a prix-fixe three-course dinner for two priced at $80 per person in celebration of this romantic holiday. This menu features a selection of small plates ( seared scallops, espelette seasoned brussels sprouts, and duck empanadas ), 10-inch paellas ( lobster paella, osso bucco paella, and Italian black truffle black paella ) and dessert ( chocolate cherry olive oil cake ). In addition, couples can toast the night with two glasses of Dom Perignon 2006 for $100. Guests are able to purchase this special dinner for two on Feb. 9, 10 and 14. Live entertainment will be provided by Champagne All-Stars at 6-9 p.m. For reservations, visit roofonthewit.com/reservations.

—City Mouse ( at Ace Hotel, 311 N. Morgan St. ) will offer guests a completely vegan-friendly, prix fixe menu ( $40 ) for Valentine's Day. The three-course menu will include crudite with avocado and green goddess; Beet Wellington with mushroom, truffle and "creamed kale"; and molten chocolate cake with raspberry sorbet. Visit http://www.acehotel.com/chicago/dining-drink/city-mouse.

—The 4th Annual Uppers & Downers Festival—and celebration of coffee and beer—will take place Feb. 20-25. Some of the events will include an Irish coffee cocktail competition at Tack Room, 1807 S. Allport St. ( Feb. 20, 7-9 p.m. ); the Uppers & Downers Decaf: Preview Party at Publican Anker, 1576 N. Milwaukee Ave. ( Feb. 22, 7 p.m. ); and Uppers and Downers Festival of Coffee Beers at Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport St. ( Feb. 14 at 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 4-8 p.m. ). See http://goodbeerhunting.com/events/2017/10/19/feb-24th-2018-chicago-uppers-downers-festival-pskd7.

—Chef Michael Lachowicz of Restaurant Michael and George Trois in Winnetka will partner with Chef Giuseppe Tentori of ‹The ‹Boka Group for a series called "Cooking with Michael" at Winnetka's Restaurant Michael & George Trois, 64 Green Bay Road, on March 6, 5:30-9:30 p.m. Each chef will create a menu of three-courses to showcase his style. Call 847-441-3100.

—FamilyFarmed's 14th Annual Good Food EXPO will take place March 23-24 at the UIC Forum, 725 W. Roosevelt Blvd. Among other things, ‹Sarah Grueneberg of Chicago's Monteverde restaurant—fresh off her 2017 James Beard Best Chef Great Lakes Award—will receive FamilyFarmed's Good Food Chef of the Year Award and do a demo at Saturday's Good Food Festival's popular Chefs At Play stage. ( Other chefs lined up for the Festival include ‹‹Rick Bayless of the Frontera restaurants; ‹‹Jason Vincent of Chicago's Giant and City Mouse; and ‹‹Judson Todd Allen, a ‹‹Chicago native whose flavorful spice-forward cuisine is well-known to TV audiences. ) See GoodFoodEXPO.org .

Send items to Andrew@WindyCityMediaGroup.com or follow on Twitter @Azygous60610.


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