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DINING Mercat's dates, SideDoor's menus, Field Museum beer pop-up
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2018-08-28

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—International Bacon Day happens to fall over Labor Day weekend, so Spanish restaurant Mercat a la Planxa, 638 S. Michigan Ave., is offering a special for the holiday all weekend long. The restaurant's signature bacon-wrapped dates will be complimentary for any guest who mentions the special. The dates are stuffed with chorizo and a marcona almond before being wrapped in a bacon and drizzled with a La Peral cheese fondue. See https://mercatchicago.com/.

—SideDoor, 100 E. Ontario St., has launched brand-new lunch and dinner menus. The new menus feature elevated fare with a local, seasonal twist courtesy of Executive Chef Ryan Wombacher. In addition to gastropub staples, Chef Wombacher also dedicates a portion of the menu to fresh seafood. Dishes include warm cheddar biscuits, housemade Angus beef jerky, lamb meatballs, and oyster and tartare selections, among other items. See SidedoorChicago.com .

—The Field Museum will celebrate its 125th anniversary at a pop-up installation at Logan Square cocktail bar The Whistler, 2421 N. Milwaukee Ave., that will have scientists discussing the history, science and uses of alcohol. ( Also, The front windows of The Whistler will be transformed into a diorama featuring original specimens from the 1893 World's Fair, where the Field Museum got its start. ) Events will take place Sunday, Sept. 9, 6-7 p.m.; Tuesday, Sept. 18, 7-8 p.m.; and Sunday, Sept. 30, 6-7 p.m. The above programming is free and 21+; visit FieldMuseum.org/diorama125.

—Ballyhoo Hospitality's Walton Street Kitchen + Bar ( @waltonstreetchicago ), an upscale spot at 912 N. State St., will open on Wed., Sept. 12, with two distinct restaurant and lounge experiences: the Kitchen + Bar and The Lounge. Chicago-based design group 555 International is behind the interior design of the two-level space as well as much of the custom-fabricated details and furnishings inside it. See WaltonStreetChicago.com .

—Chicago French Market has announced four new vendors opening now through October. New additions include Blue Spot Sushi ( full menu, including sushi burritos ), Joker's Cajun Kitchen ( New Orleans Cuisine ), Bang Chop ( Thai favorites ) and Jiangbing Guy ( Chinese Street Food ). In addition to these grand openings, three more vendors are expanding their offerings: Wood Fire Counter, B.I Tea and Dim Sum, and The French Lunchbox have all added new items to their menus. See FrenchMarket.com .

—Arami is now open and serving travelers coming from near and far inside Chicago Midway International Airport's newly-opened Concourse A Food Hall. The Michelin Bib Gourmand-awarded Japanese restaurant has attracted diners to its original West Town location since 2010. For more information about Arami and all new concessions at Midway Airport, visit AramiChicago.com and MidwayPartnership.com .

—Eater Chicago reported that a former busboy at The Purple Pig claims restaurant employees routinely harassed him on the job. Rodrigo Soto alleges that two male co-workers would regularly grab him, hurl anti-gay slurs at him, show him pornography, and hit on him—and claims that supervisors ignored his complaints about his co-workers' behavior. The restaurant responded with a widely distributed statement mentioning a zero-tolerance policy for harassment and discrimination.

—Italian Loop restaurant The Florentine ( in the J.W. Marriott Hotel ) is offering its annual summer picnic baskets. The featured baskets include Saluti! ( chef's selection of meat and cheese, olives, crackers, dried fruit and nuts. Choice of red or white wine; $35 ), Estate Italiana ( mixed green salad, chicken panini, rosemary dusted chips, cannoli. Choice of red or white wine; $50 ), Ciao Bella ( mixed green salad, grilled semi-boneless Cornish hen, roasted potatoes, charred broccoli and cannoli, with a choice of red or white wine; $75 ). Sides include imported burrata, Caesar salad, pasta salad, cannoli, tiramisu, grilled vegetables ( $10 per addition ).

—Shore Club, 1603 N. Lake Shore Dr., is hosting a series of events running through October. Events include Rose Fest on the Beach ( Saturday, Sept. 15, 2-5 p.m. ), Whiskeyfest on the Beach ( Saturday, Sept. 22, 2-5 p.m. ) and Oktoberfest on the Beach ( Saturday, Oct. 6, 12-4 p.m. ) For more information, visit www.ShoreClubChi.com .

—Bon Appetit presents Chicago Gourmet's event Hamburger Hop returns Friday, Sept. 28, on the Harris Theater Rooftop at 6-9 p.m. To celebrate Chicago Gourmet's overall Rock the Fork theme, the evening's DJ will spin crowd-pleasing, old-school jams while 15 chefs compete for the title of burger champ. The competitor line-up includes chefs from Miller's Pub, Virgin Hotels Chicago, Kinzie Chophouse, Cochon Volant Brasserie and other restaurants; chef/author/TV figure Carla Hall and Chef Tony Mantuano are among the judges. Visit https://www.chicagogourmet.org/page/HamburgerHop.

—The James Beard Foundation ( JBF ) announced the cities and dates for its sixth annual Taste America national culinary tour: Sept. 28-Nov. 17. Chicago will share the dates of Oct. 26-27 with San Francisco. Chicago events include the Taste Chicago Benefit Dinner on Oct. 26 at Prime & Provisions/Builders BLDG, and free demos on Oct. 27 at Michigan Avenue's Sur La Table with Karen Akunowicz and Big Jones chef Paul Fehribach. See https://www.jamesbeard.org/tasteamerica.

—Noyane, 101 E. Erie St., is offering a special branded lunchbox promo with a portion of the proceeds go toward CPS just in time for back to school. Guests can add the souvenir lunch box to their orders for $9 to donate ( $5 going to CPS fundraisers ) through Sept. 30 during Lunch & Dinner service ( opens at 11 a.m. daily ). Noyane will be donating proceeds to the Back To School Campaign.

—On Sunday, Sept. 30, at noon-10 p.m., Thalia Hall and Dusek's Board & Beer are hosting the 4th Annual Blocktoberfest. Located outside Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport St., the free event will feature a variety of craft beers and specialty cocktails for purchase. In addition, there will be items such as Dusek's soft pretzels with house-made beer mustard ( $4 ); garlic sausage served with chips, sauerkraut and beer mustard ( $5 ); and local apple streusel ( $5 ). There will also be DJs like Jesse De La Pena, Darryn Jones and Yessenia G.

Send items to Andrew@WindyCityMediaGroup.com, or follow on Twitter @Azygous60610 or on Instagram at azygous333.


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