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DINING Passion House Coffee, Etch A Sketch event, Blackbird's menu
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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—Passion House Coffee, a specialty coffee roasting company based in Chicago, has partnered with My State of Mind ( MSOM )—a mental-wellness solution by Chance the Rapper's charity, SocialWorks. Passion House will now serve its cold coffee brew in specially designed cans that join the Passion House Coffee branding with My State of Mind's philosophy. With every purchase of the MSOM Cold Brew, 50 percent of the proceeds benefits MSOM's efforts to create access to its mental-health space. See and

—River North spy-themed bar and restaurant SafeHouse Chicago is teaming with local artist Princess Etch to host Sip & Sketch at SafeHouse—a whimsical evening of drawing with Etch A Sketch toys on Thursday, Sept. 5, at 7 p.m. Princess Etch will share her expertise with guests interested in creating sketched art of their very own; she provides pocket Etch-a-Sketches, educational materials and sample design transparencies for each artist-in-training. Tickets to the event ( $28 each ) include one complimentary cocktail and pocket Etch-a-Sketch, which guests can keep after the event; visit

—At Blackbird, 619 W. Randolph St., Executive Chef Ryan Pfeiffer has unveiled a Reserve Tasting Menu. The menu showcases rare ingredients that Pfeiffer and the team use to create presentations, such as a White Pekin duck-leg corn dog, live box crab with Perigord truffle, sablefish misoyaki, Spanish octopus with smoked roe, and more. Also, Jean Banchet Pastry Chef of the Year Nicole Guini offers textured desserts like her take on the Filipino treat halo-halo, made with risotto rice pudding, orange blossom water and housemade cherry granita. Diners are required to make their reservations 48 hours in advance ( Fridays/Saturdays/Sundays only ).

—The Andersonville neighborhood will host "Andersonville on Air" as a part of 360 CHICAGO's #TheRealChicago neighborhood takeover series on the 94th floor observation deck at 875 N. Michigan Ave. building ( formerly John Hancock Center ) during September. The launch party will take place Thursday, Sept. 5, 6-8 p.m., with small bites, shopping from area retailers, interactive art experiences and more. There will be drink specials at BAR 94 all night long, including the featured Andersonville cocktail of the month from KOVAL Distillery, with proceeds benefiting Swedish American Museum. Admission is $12.50; visit

—The Albert—an art- and science-inspired restaurant at 228 E. Ontario St. that is home to more than 12,000 books—will celebrate National Read a Book Day ( Sept. 6 ) with a special BYOBook promotion. Those who bring their own book to the Albert on this day will receive 15 percent off their total bill. Additionally, patrons that tag @thealbertchicago in their pictures reading their books at the restaurant on Sept. 6 will receive a complimentary Read Tajin the Lines Cocktail ( Silver Rum, tajin spice and lime juice ) with purchase. See .

—Marriott Marquis Chicago's Showroom Food Hall, 2121 S. Prairie Ave., is offering a game day special that will run Thursdays, Sundays and Mondays. For $20, guests can enjoy a giant Bavarian pretzel served with bratwurst, beer cheese sauce, German mustard and pickles along with a growler of beer.

—Krispy Kreme is providing its Pumpkin Spice Original Glazed Doughnut and the introduction of the NEW Pumpkin Spice Original Filled Doughnut through Sunday, Sept. 8. ( The new Pumpkin Spice Original Filled Doughnut is the Pumpkin Spice Original Glazed Doughnut filled with cheesecake Kreme. ) The limited-time seasonal treats are available at Chicagoland shops in Homewood, Evergreen Park and Hillside.

—Friday, Sept. 13, is National Cachaca ( pronounced "kuh CHAA kuh" ) Day or National Caipirinha Day. To mark the occasion, Texas de Brazil locations nationwide, including the Chicago and Schaumburg locations, will be offering $5 caipirinhas all day. Caipirinhas are the national drink of Brazil and are made with only three simple ingredients ( cachaca, lime, and sugar ).

—The Dearborn, 145 N. Dearborn St., will host The Galway International Oyster and Seafood Festival on Sept. 20-22. The Dearborn's fourth annual Oyster Festival will feature East and West Coast oysters on the half-shell for $1 all day Friday, Sept. 20, while supplies last, plus an extra-special giveaway over the weekend: a pearl necklace. Guests who leave their business card during the fest will be entered to win the 6mm, 18-inch cultured pearl-drop necklace from Chicago's Diamond Consultants; the winner will be announced at the end of the day, Sunday, Sept. 22. There will also be special menu items like The Oyster Po-Boy ( $15 ), the Prawn Cocktail ( $17 ), the seafood chowder ( $14 ) and more. Visit or call 312-384-1242.

—Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya and the Japanese Culture Center ( JCC ) will host the second annual "Kizuki Chicago Japanese Matsuri" on Friday-Sunday, Sept. 20-22. Held in NEWCITY Plaza, 1457 N. Halsted St., the 100,000-square-foot indoor and outdoor festival will celebrate Japanese culture with authentic food, drink, performances and more than 30 vendors. The cost is $10 ( five tickets ), while $20 get 11 passes. See "Kizuki Chicago Japanese Matsuri 2019" on Facebook.

—Spiaggia Chef/Partner Tony Mantuano, former Executive Chef Missy Robbins and Executive Chef Joe Flamm will pass the torch to the new Executive Chef Eric Lees during a special dinner on Saturday, Sept. 21. The farewell tasting menu will tell the story of the culinary dynasty that has walked kitchen of Spiaggia over the years and give diners a sneak peek at what's in store for the future. The five-course dining experience will be offered for $200 per person, with several seating times available; visit

—Sam Adams' Lakeview Taco Fest returns for its seventh year on Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 21-22. The fest takes place on Southport Avenue between Addison ( 3600 N ) and Roscoe ( 3400 N ) streets, in the heart of the Southport Corridor. Hours are 11 a.m.-10 p.m. both days. A few of the participating restaurants include The Pony Inn, Tied House/Schubas, D.S. Tequila Company and Taqueria Arceo. See .

—The nonprofit Rogers Park Business Alliance will present its annual Taste of Clark Street celebration on Sunday, Sept. 22, 2-6 p.m. Clark Street restaurants from Devon to Touhy Avenues will offer samples of their signature dishes. Participating restaurants include Taqueria El Chorrito, Life's Sweet Inc., Cafe El Meson II, Paleteria Las Delicias De Michoacan, Nueva Italy Pizzeria and more. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 the day of the event, andhere will be an additional $10 for beer and wine tastings; advance tickets are now available at .

—At Brass Heart, 4662 N. Broadway, on Wed., Oct. 2, 6-10 p.m., Chef Gaetano Nardulli—formerly of Schwa Restaurant ( Chicago ) and NEAR Restaurant ( Barrington )—will be a guest chef at an exclusive Old World-versus-New World event. Guests will enjoy 12 courses—six from Executive Chef Matthew Kerney's team at Brass Heart and six from Nardulli. The cost is $185 each, including food, tax and gratuities; visit to RSVP.

—Four Corners is reintroducing The Motel Bar, 600 W. Chicago Ave., as Monty's Tap. The name change pays homage to the concept's local history located within the former headquarters of Montgomery Ward—the country's oldest mail-order firm and a National Historic Landmark. Monty's Tap, which accommodates up to 100 seated guests and unveils an updated 75-seat patio, focuses on a retro social experience with a creative dining and cocktail program; there are also culinary offerings such as the salmon power bowl, 4C Smash Burger and mahi tacos.

—Old Town Pour House, 1419 N. Wells St., invites guests to check out its new rock 'n roll-themed brunch menu every Saturday and Sunday until 3 p.m. The new brunch menu includes dishes such as Chak Shuka Khan, with spicy tomato sauce, sunny side up eggs, goat cheese, and a toasted garlic baguette; Johnny Hash, with braised short rib, bell pepper, onion, potato, jalapeño salsa verde and sunny side up eggs; and Lox N' Roll, with whiskey house-cured salmon on flatbread with dill cream cheese, grape tomato, mozzarella cheese, red onion, capers, baby arugula and citrus mustard vinaigrette. See

—Big Bowl, 60 E. Ohio St., is rolling out a new vegetarian menu that includes 17 all-veggie items. They include a tofu poke bowl, spicy Thai green vegetable curry, the kung pao tofu, vegetable wonton soup and more. The entire vegetarian menu is at

—Broken English, the taqueria from Stefani's Restaurant Group, has opened Luchardorable Creamery at its Lincoln Park location at 2576 N. Lincoln Ave. Guests can use the walk-up window facing Sheffield Avenue or order tableside when dining inside the spot. Luchadorable Creamery offers a selection of Mexican-style premium hard ice cream that will be served in churro cones ( $5 ), cups ( $4 ), and concha ice cream sandwiches ( $6 ). The menu also features several paleta ( $5 ) flavors, including a special Paw-leta flavor for dogs. CBD oil can be added for $5. See .

—French-inspired Cafe Cancale, 1576 N. Milwaukee Ave., has a new brunch menu. Chef-partner Paul Kahan and Chef de Cuisine AJ Walker will offer takes on classic French hors d'oeuvres and staples, alongside a rotating selection of eafood and oysters from a dedicated raw bar. European coffee service and French pastries, as well as freshly-baked baguettes, will be offered courtesy of Publican Quality Bread head baker Greg Wade.

—Machine: Engineered Dining & Drink, 1846 W. Division St., has unveiled its newest creative cocktail program. Since opening its doors in March, Machine's in-house florist has worked with Beverage Director ( and The Violet Hour alum ) Aneka Saxon's immersive cocktail program. Results are drinks such as Eye Don't Carrot All ( fresh carrot, New Amsterdam gin, lemon, cumin, turmeric, ginger, red pepper, coriander, orange and frozen watermelon shard ), The Enlightened One ( Cihuatan 8-Year rum, sake, tamarind, lime and kiwi popping boba ) and Cocoa Chanel ( coconut-washed Plantation Barbados rum, Amaro Abano, orange bitters and dark chocolate ), among others. See .

—Speaking of drinks, The Whistler, 2421 N. Milwaukee Ave., has unveiled snack-inspired cocktails. For example, Opening Credits contains a fat-washed, popcorn-infused Fino sherry, and it has dry vermouth and honey salt; and Pulling Strings has a savory sesame oil-washed Japanese rice vodka, along with The Whistler's housemade ginger liqueur, lemon, a soy sauce float along with a spicy tincture. See .

—Dessert and diner concept JoJo's Milk Bar now has an over-the-top Brunch Shake. Available now, The Brunch Shake has an Oreo espresso base and cookie crumb collar—and is topped with whipped cream, a toasted waffle, a golden French toast stick and maplewood bacon. The shake is the newest addition to JoJo's Milk Bar's brunch menu along with a savory Bloody Mary, available Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

—Stockton—advertised as "a seductive, globally-inspired restaurant and lounge"—is slated to open at 1009 N. Rush St. in September. Co-owners Josh Carl and Joseph De Vito ( known for their former trendy dining spot, Jellyfish ) have doubled their square footage, taking over an entire floor. Secretly tucked away on the second level, four distinct ambiance-driven spaces are cleverly blended to create the Atrium, Bar, Semi-Private Dining Room and The Lounge at Stockton.

—Gaijin is slated to open late September/early October in the West Loop, at 950 W. Lake St. Gaijin, by award-winning chef Paul Virant ( four-time James Beard Foundation Best Chef nominee, 2007 Food & Wine Best New Chef and Michelin Star winner ) is Chicago's first okonomiyaki restaurant, offering both Hiroshima and Osaka styles of the savory Japanese pancake. The 60-seat space is anchored by a custom 12-foot griddle and chef's counter, and will offer individual Hiroshima teppan griddles for table service.

—French bistro Cafe Marie-Jeanne, 1001 N. California Ave., has some seasonal offerings. They include baby corn ( think fromage blanc/ squash blossom/corn croissants in the morning and grilled corn and razor clams with curry butter and basil at night ), market fish with roe butter, smoked rabbit with grilled sweetbreads ( paired with lobster mushrooms, cabbage and corn ), and garganella ( a savory tasting natural, orange wine ). See .

—Believe it or not, Christkindlmarket dates and sites have been set for the holidays. German American Events, LLC, announced the return of the outdoor event to three locations in 2019: Daley Plaza, in downtown Chicago ( Nov. 15-Dec. 24 ); Winterland, at Gallagher Way in Wrigleyville on the North Side of Chicago ( Nov. 22-Dec. 31 ); and the Entertainment Plaza outside of Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee ( Nov. 15-Dec. 24 ). Christkindlmarket ( free admission ) is known for its traditional candy cane-striped wooden huts, shopping options, international delicacies, hot spiced wine ( Gluhwein ), German beers, hand-crafted ornaments and family fun. Visit .

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

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