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Dining: Asians and Friends event; Raw Bar & Grill reopening; Alinea closed (for now)
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2016-02-16

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—Asians and Friends Chicago will hold its annual LGBT Chinese New Year's dinner—honoring the "Year of the Monkey"—at the Phoenix Restaurant, 2131 S. Archer Ave., on Saturday, Feb. 20. There will be cocktails and registration at 6:30 p.m., with a sit-down dinner at 7 p.m. Dinner includes a multi-course meal ranging from beef to fish to vegetable delicacies. A presale rate of $40 is detailed at www.afchicago.org . Tickets will be $50 at the door.

——After a three-month renovation, Raw Bar & Grill, 3720 N. Clark St., is slated to relaunch in mid-February. Under the supervision of Chef/Owner Toni Motamen and newly appointed Executive Chef Pete McGarritty, formerly of Harry Caray's Restaurant Group, the restaurant will offer lunch, dinner and late-night menus.

——Alinea, 1723 N. Halsted St. ( and constantly ranked as one of the world's top restaurants ), is closed for extensive renovations until April. During this time, the entire Alinea team will be traveling to Madrid and Miami for 40 unique services; see AlineaInResidence.com .

——Wilmette restaurant Firefly Kitchen is now serving lunch Wednesdays through Saturdays at 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. The new menu offers guests options from land and sea as well as Firefly favorites from the current dinner menu.

——The Chocolate Sanctuary in Gurnee, Illinois, will hold its first afternoon tea party with Benjamin Sinitean from Benjamin Tea on Saturday, Feb. 20, at 2 p.m. The inaugural event features savory, sweets and chocolate treats. The cost for adults is $21 per person and children are $12 per person. To make a reservation, visit Eventbrite at: afternoonteachocolatesanctuary.eventbrite.com .

——Chinese restaurant Imperial Lamian will open in March at 6 W. Hubbard St.—where Centro used to be. According to Eater Chicago, the space will mark the Indonesia-based Imperial Group's first U.S. restaurant, and the restaurant will reportedly be upscale. Imperial Laiman will feature three chefs heading different aspects of the menu ( the main kitchen, dumplings and noodles ).

——The 17th Annual Chicago's Best WingFest ( wingfest.net/ ) has announced 10 new Chicago area restaurants that will participate in the upcoming competition along with 10 returning restaurants on Sunday, Feb. 21, 1-5 p.m., at 1340 W. Washington St. Some of the newcomers will be The Ogden, The Jerk Shack Caribbean Grill, The Boss Bar, The Kerryman, Mash Kitchen and Reverie Chicago; returnees include Reggie's, Timothy O'Toole's, The Pony, Buffalo Wings & Rings and others.

——The Signature Room, 875 N. Michigan Ave., has launched a brand-new lunch special: the Signature Quick Fixe. The restaurant/lounge now offers a $25 three-course prix fixe option for lunch. Guests choose from entrees including a turkey sandwich, seafood salad sandwich, harvest salad, and french dip, a side such as the quinoa salad, chef's selection of soup, or waffle chips. For dessert, there's a chef's selection of freshly baked cookies.

——Lockwood Restaurant & Bar— located on the lobby level of The Palmer House, 17 E. Monroe St.—celebrates Theatre Week through Feb. 21 with its Curtain Call Prix Fixe Menu created for pre-performance diners by Executive Chef Mat Wiltzius. The Curtain Call Prix Fixe is available during regular dinner hours with final seating at 6 p.m. for $54. See LockwoodRestaurant.com .

——Perennial Virant, 1800 N. Lincoln Ave., has debuted its happy-hour menu, available weekdays at 5-7 p.m. Bites include menu favorites like the Slagel Farm beef tartare and Midwestern cheeses as well as items created exclusively for happy hour like the fried cheese curds and pierogies with fillings that will rotate seasonally. Drink specials include a featured classic cocktail for $10, craft beer on draught for $5 and wines by the glass for $7. See PerennialChicago.com .

——Protein Bar, the fast casual health-food concept, is hosting a VIP "Healthy Hour" and cooking demo Tuesday, Feb. 23, 5:30-7 p.m., at its 1953 N. Clybourn Ave. location. The event aims to showcase how the Protein Bar menu incorporates superfood spices inspired by the flavors of the Far East. See TheProteinBar.com .

——Eastman Egg Company is among the eateries participating in Restaurant Giving Week Feb. 22-28. The initiative is a part of Zero Percent's new crowdfunding platform, foodrescue.io. The fast-casual breakfast-and-lunch eatery will be offering donors a Scratch Biscuit Slider at its Ogilvie location, 500 W. Madison St. . The slider features Slagel Family Farm egg, house sausage and white cheddar on a scratch baked biscuit. Other known participating restaurants include The Doughnut Vault, Parson's Chicken & Fish, Lou Malnati's and Hannah's Bretzel.

——County Barbeque, 1352 W. Taylor St., will host Half Acre beer night on Thursday, Feb. 25, at 6 p.m. Guests can taste limited-release beers paired with delicious County Barbeque plates. Beers on draft include Nitro Chocolate Camaro, Softly, Daisy Cutter and a surprise draft. ( Brewery representatives will also be on site to give away Half Acre swag. )

—The Fourth Annual Cider Summit Chicago will take place at Navy Pier on Saturday, Feb. 27, at 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 4-8 p.m. Cider Summit Chicago is presented by Binny's Beverage Depot and will once again benefit Heartland Alliance and The Great Lakes Cider & Perry Association. Admission for the 21-and-over event is $35-$40; see CiderSummit.com .

—Corridor Brewery & Provisions, 3446 N. Southport Ave., will debut weekend brunch on Saturday, Feb. 27. Brunch will take place on Saturdays and Sundays at 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The brunch menu's focus is on brioche waffles, but other brunch dishes include the breakfast pizza, crab Benedict, ploughmans and omelettes. There'll also be brunch cocktails.

—The Northalsted Business Alliance will host the Frost Fest Craft Beer Festival on Feb. 27-28. Admission is $35 for each event. Tickets are available exclusively on www.northalsted.com .

—Troquet River North, 111 W. Huron St., will host a viewing party for the 88th Academy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 28. The bar will be offering a selection of Oscar-themed cocktails, created by Beverage Manager Breanna DiMaggio and all available for $9 each. ( Options include The Big Short and Mad Max. ) Also, there will be an Oscar-prediction contest, with the winner receiving a $50 gift certificate to Troquet River North. See TroquetRiverNorth.com .

—Commonwealth Tavern, 2000 W. Roscoe St., invites people to watch the 88th Annual Academy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 28, at 7 p.m. With eight 70-inch plasma televisions, guests will have a guaranteed view of all the red carpet and award-show coverage. Patrons will enjoy special Oscars-inspired drinks for $5 each including the Red Carpet martini ( Patron, Patron Citronage, raspberry, cranberry ), Golden Statue cocktail ( Ciroc Peach, peach puree, champagne ) as well as a $5 Right Bee Cider. See CommonwealthChicago.com .

—Put on by Iceland Naturally <.B>immediately following the launch of Icelandair's direct route to Chicago O'Hare International Airport on March 16, Taste of Iceland will take place in restaurants, theaters and music venues across Chicago from Thursday, March 17 through Sunday, March 20. In celebration of bringing the tastes of Iceland to Chicago, Thrainn Freyr Vigfusson—one of three head chefs at LAVA Restaurant in Blue Lagoon—will collaborate with a local restaurant in preparing a limited-time three course pre-fixe menu. See icelandnaturally.com/article/taste-iceland-chicago-2016 .

—Lent ( which runs through March 24 ) may be the ideal time of year to enjoy one of Chef Ryan McCaskey's signature lobster rolls ( $18 ) at Acadia, which has received two Michelin stars. Packed with lobster meat from Stonington, Maine, and served on classic lobster rolls, this seafood favorite can also be ordered Connecticut-style—warmed in butter. For more information, call 312-360-9500.

—Also through Lent, Osteria Langhe, 2824 W. Armitage Ave., has a menu filled with dishes inspired by the Piedmont region of Italy, including the Pesce ( $27 ). Chef Cameron Grant prepares this pan-roasted mahi mahi with grape tomatoes, snap peas, Calabrian peppers, fragile and browned butter vinaigrette. For more information, call 773-661-1582.

—Bill Kim, owner and executive chef of Asian restaurant urbanbelly, has announced that a second location will open in Wicker Park in March. The four-time Michelin awarded restaurant also operates in West Loop's Randolph Street corridor, after relocating from its original location in Avondale in 2013. urbanbelly is just one of Kim's various Asian ventures in the Cornerstone Restaurant Group, which also includes bellyQ and Belly Shack.

—Pizza Barra—a unique dining concept by Rich Labriola and Chef Chris Macchia—joins the micro food hall Labriola Chicago at 535 N. Michigan Ave. The Deep Dish Pan Pizza uses focaccia dough with no side crust, and the classic Chicago Thin Crust is baked in the restaurant's deck ovens while being topped with traditional ingredients as well as Chicago favorites like Italian Beef. See PizzaBarra.com .

—ZED451, 730 N. Clark St., has happy-hour specials—and the drinks mostly cost $4.51 at 4:30-7 p.m. The drinks are Manhattans ( Mondays ), margaritas ( Tuesdays ), half off select bottles of wine ( Wednesdays ), all draft and bottled beer ( Thursdays ) and Grey Goose drinks ( Fridays ).

—On Feb. 6 at McCormick Place, the Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation ( IRAEF ) welcomed 15 culinary teams and nine management teams composed of high school ProStart® students from across the state to compete in the 15th Annual Illinois ProStart® Invitational. Elgin High School swept the culinary and management competitions.

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


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