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DINING Pennyville Station, Molly's Cupcakes, pop-ups, Mantuano leaves
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2019-12-10

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—Park Ridge spot Pennyville Station, 112 Main St., is hosting "Brunch with Santa" on Sunday, Dec. 15, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. ( Normal brunch hours are 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. ) Ten percent of brunch proceeds will go to benefit Operation North Pole Chicago, an organization which raises funds throughout the year to bring magical holiday experiences to local children battling life threatening illnesses. See PennyvilleStation.com .

—To celebrate National Cupcake Day ( Dec. 15 ), Molly's Cupcakes will be offering certain cupcake flavors ( such as blueberry cheesecake, Oreo and butterscotch ) for 99 cents each. There's a limit of one per person; this offer is available at all locations. See MollysCupcakes.com .

—The Sixth, 2202 W. Lawrence Ave., is hosting its first-ever Die Hard Christmas Pop-Up Bar through Dec. 31. The bar will be serving specialty cocktails ( $12-15 each ) the film inspired—and there will be plenty of photo opportunities. For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/584878102317875/.

—Chicago's first and only Hanukkah-themed pop-up bar—"8 Crazy Nights," located at The Graystone Tavern, 3441 N. Sheffield Ave.—will host a series of holiday happy hours this December that will benefit Jewish charities across Chicagoland. Events will be taking place Dec. 16, 19, 23, 24 and 26. Guests will enjoy a winter wonderland of Hanukkah decorations, including more than 8,000 blue and white lights and Hanukkah ball lanterns adorning the ceiling, Star of David and dreidel ornaments, lighted menorahs and more. See 8CrazyNightsChicago.com .

—Legendary Chicago chef and culinary mentor Tony Mantuano is leaving the Michelin-starred Italian restaurant Spiaggia, Eater Chicago noted. Mantuano ( who recently moved with his wife to Italy ) left the door open for a return and said that he wasn't retiring. Spiaggia opened 35 years ago, with Mantuano as chef in collaboration with Levy Restaurants. A spokesperson also didn't have any info about how Mantuano's departure would impact his other restaurants, which include Cafe Spiaggia, River Roast, Terzo Piano and Maddon's Post.

—In the spirit of giving this holiday season, Hubbard Inn has partnered with No Kid Hungry during December and will donate $1 from select menu items sold, with the goal of raising $500. No Kid Hungry-designated menu items from Executive Chef Eric Babula's new menu of shareable fare with a worldly twist will include the octopus tostada ( Humboldt Park masa, tomato fennel chutney, braised spanish octopus ), chicken skewers ( boneless Amish thigh, braised and grilled, crispy skin, roasted zucchini, marinated cherry tomatoes, buffalo butter sauce ), salmon entree, all draft beers and more.

—On Thursday, Dec. 19, Travelle at The Langham, 330 N. Wabash Ave., will once again partner with Tenzing, a Chicago-based wine and spirits company, for an educational and festive Bubbles & Bites event, 5:30-7:30 p.m. The interactive experience will take place in the restaurant's intimate Cellar Room, with tastings of featured Champagnes paired with complementary light bites from Chef Jeff Vucko. The cost is $25/person; visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/holiday-bubbles-bites-tickets-83859819979?ref=estw.

—Boqueria, a Spanish tapas bar and restaurant, has opened at 807 W. Fulton Market. The menu, created by executive chef and Barcelona native Marc Vidal, will feature classic Spanish dishes infused with various flavors and local ingredients. Sample standout menu items will include pan con tomate, the iconic Catalan dish of grilled stirato bread rubbed with tomato, garlic and olive oil; pulpo a la plancha, grilled octopus with fennel, smoked pimento and Picual olive oil mashed potatoes; and paella de mariscos, consisting of bomba rice, monkfish, sepia, squid, shrimp, clams, mussels, saffron and salsa verde. See BoqueriaRestaurant.com .

—Replay Lincoln Park, 2833 N. Sheffield Ave., is slated to run the holiday pop-up A Very Harry Christmas ( based on Harry Potter ) through Sunday, Jan. 5. A Very Harry Christmas will feature custom artwork and several fun photo opportunities with iconic destinations, characters and objects from the popular series, including The Great Hall, Molly Weasley's Christmas jumpers, framed portraits and even an Elder Wand. There will also be dishes ( in partnership with Zizi's Cafe ) like Hogwarts Housecup Chicken, Huffle Pizza Puffs, Pretzel Wands, Paddington Burger and Harry Potter's Treacle Tart. See ReplayLincolnPark.com .

—Logan Square throwback bar Pink Squirrel, 2414 N. Milwaukee Ave., is hosting its Tinseltown Pop-Up now through the new year. Guests can take in the decor while sipping on festive milkshakes like Rudolph's Nightcap ( Brady's Irish Cream Liqueur, Peppermint Schnapps; $13 ), cocktails such as Christmas Morning ( Pendleton Rye, Mr. Black Coffee Liqueur, ice cream, cinnamon spice; $11 ) and shots like Santa's Little Helper ( grenadine, menthe, coconut rum; $10 ). See PinkSquirrelBar.com .

—Through Dec. 24, Krispy Kreme's new holiday doughnuts are a trio of North Pole-inspired treats available at Chicagoland shops located in Homewood at 17815 South Halsted St., Evergreen Park, at 9150 S. Western Avenue; Hillside, at 110 S. Mannheim Rd.; and Chicago, in Block 37 at 108 N. State St. The collection features the new Original Glazed "Reindeer Doughnut," dipped in chocolate icing and adorned with pretzel antlers and a red nose; the fan-favorite "Santa Belly Doughnut," a Chocolate Kreme-filled doughnut; and the truly special "Present Doughnut," a festively decorated Original Glazed doughnut, filled with Original Kreme.

—Swissotel Chicago's 2,000-sqaure-foot Presidential Suite has been transformed to replicate a swiss chalet with alpine views. Programming includes family-friendly Santa Day, through Dec. 22, on Saturdays and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.; Apres Ski After Dark on Dec. 13 and 20 at 6-9 p.m.; and Pancakes and PJs on Saturday, Dec. 14. See SwissotelChicagoSantaSuite.com .

—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 .

—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" Dec. 4-28, 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 .

—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/.

—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.

—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 .

—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.

—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.

—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.

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

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


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