Animale, 1904 N. Western Ave., has launched a Chef Burger series. Benefitting Meals on Wheels Chicago, Animale welcomes a chef every month to collaborate and offer his/her own variation of a classic patty. Kicking things off with Chef Ashlee Aubin of Salero, he will offer his signature lamb burger made with bread-and-butter pickles, fontina, red onion, kalamata olive aioli and bitter greens. See AnimaleChicago.com .
ROOF on theWit, 201 N. State St., will unveil a new menu on April 13. The new line-up will embrace classic Mediterranean dishes, including slow-cooked lamb with roasted garlic tahini; grilled beef kebabs with pomegranate marinade; and a flavor profile incorporating cinnamon, cardamom, sumac and black pepper.
Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile, 520 N. Michigan Ave., has appointed Frank Sanchez as executive chef. Formerly the hotel's executive sous chef, Sanchez will oversee all culinary operations at the hotel and its F&B outlets, Harvest Restaurant and Rush Street Pantry, including management of the hotel's rooftop garden and beehives.
On March 4, the Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation ( IRAEF ) welcomed nine culinary teams and seven management teams composed of high school ProStart® students from across the state to compete in the 16th Annual Illinois ProStart® Invitational. Simeon Career Academy took first place in culinary while Elgin High School earned first in management. The event was hosted by the Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, presented by Title Sponsor SYSCO-Chicago and held at McCormick Place.
La Grange restaurant Steak & Vine, 37 S. La Grange Rd., is offering a prix fixe menu on Sundays. Some of the options on the three-course menu ( $25, excluding tax and tip ) include baked cheese, shrimp penne alla vodka, Slagel Farm fried chicken and key lime pie. Reservations are recommended; call 708-579-0520.
For St. Patrick's Day, Frontier, 1072 N. Milwaukee Ave., will open early on Friday, March 17. Guests can enjoy Chef Brian Jupiter's full menu beginning at 11 a.m., in addition to a $5 Irish Whiskey menu that will feature a variety of mainstream and small batch Irish whiskeys. See TheFrontierChicago.com .
The Fifty/50, 2047 W. Division St., is offering $5 pints of green beer, $7 Jameson shots, $8 Irish car bombs and $3 corned beef sliders. These specials will also be available all throughout the week in celebration of St. Patrick's Day on Friday, March 17.
Northbrook's Prairie Grass Cafe, 601 N. Skokie Blvd., is marking St. Patrick's Day. Prairie Grass Cafe will serve its traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner accompanied by a slice of homemade Irish soda bread ( $22.50 ). During Saturday-Sunday, March 18-19, Prairie Grass' brunch will feature corned beef hash topped with a poached egg and served with sauteed potatoes and green hollandaise sauce ( $14.50 ). See PrairieGrassCafe.com .
On Tuesday, March 21, at 6:30 p.m., Oyster Bah, 1962 N. Halsted St., will host Napa Valley winemaker Richie Allen of Rombauer Vineyards for an exclusive dinner and speaking engagement. Menu items will include oysters on the half-shell, smoked salmon belly, family-style entrees ( snapper; fried chicken ) and brown-butter hazelnut cake. The dinner costs $60 per person ( exclusive of tax and gratuity ); RSVP at 773-248-3000.
SideDoor, 100 E. Ontario St., will host a paired beer dinner in partnership with the Lagunitas Brewing Company on Thursday, March 23, at 7 p.m. Executive Chef Leonard Delgado creates a five-course menu of American dishes with a dash of Southern flair, each paired with a Lagunitas beer or beer-based cocktail. The dinner is $75 per person, with offerings such as lemon-caper deviled eggs, duroc pork ribs and butter-pecan donuts; see SideDoorChicago.com .
Baconfest organizers have announced new ticket options. They include Bacon-Only ( $60 + plus fees ), Express Bacon ( $75 + fees ) and Group Tickets ( $65 + fees ). The 9th annual Baconfest will be held March 31-April 1 at the UIC Forum, 725 W. Roosevelt Rd. ( The event will feature items such as bacon taco shells, lollipops, biscuits, pate, dumplings, macarons, bourbon bacon popcorn and more from Chicago's top chefs. See BaconfestChicago.com .
ZED451, 739 N. Clark St., is offering unlimited seafood every Friday for $35 per person. Items include Faroe Island salmon with Szechwan glaze; blackened tuna with hoisin and wasabi mayo; Lake Superior whitefish with lemon-tarragon beurre bland; and seared sea scallops with tomato-bacon jam and fresh parsley. See OpenTable.com or call 312-266-6691.
Caffe ArrivaDolce has opened at 6451 N. Sheridan Rd. Owner Jill Gross has brought an offshoot of ArrivaDolce Gelato & Coffee Bar to Rogers Park, complete with espresso drinks, freshly roasted coffee, homemade baked goods, locally sourced soups, gelato and other specialty products.
Food columnist and author Phil Potempa will take center stage at the Center for Visual and Performing Arts in Munster, Indiana on Sunday, April 2 at 2:30 p.m. in a special live two-hour "From the Farm Cooking Show" to celebrate the 15th anniversary of his weekly From the Farm recipe newspaper column. Phil will prepare a seven-course feast, highlighting favorite recipes from his third cookbook Further From the Farm: Family Recipes and Memories of a Lifetime.
The Chicago Cocktail Summit will take place April 2-3 at the Logan Theatre, 2646 N. Milwaukee Ave. Among those slated to appear are David Wondrich, Charles Joly, Dan Pashman ( host of the food-and-drink podcast on iTunes, The Sporkful ), Peter Sagal ( Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me ), Erick Castro ( bartender-at-large ), Julia Momose, Ed Hamilton, Caitlin Laman, Julieta Campos and others. See CocktailSummit.com .
Fondue restaurant Geja's Cafe, 340 W. Armitage Ave., will celebrate National Cheese Fondue Week this April. Geja's will kick off the festivities on Sunday, April 9, when it will host a cheese-and-chocolate fondue cooking class at 1-3 p.m. The celebration will continue through Saturday, April 15. The event will cost $60 per person. During April 9-15, guests who mention National Cheese Fondue Week will receive $5 off each dinner. See GejasCafe.com .
Hilton Oak Brook Hills Resort has announced the return of its longstanding community tradition, Easter Brunch in the Grand Ballroom. On Sunday, April 16, two seatings ( 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. ) will give way to a family experience featuring modern farm cuisine, a petting zoo, a children's cookie craft area, a complimentary family portrait and a visit from the Easter Bunny. See Eventbrite.com .
The Chicago Artisan Chocolate Festival will take place April 22-23 at Plumbers Hall, 1340 W. Washington Blvd. The event will feature chocolate tastings from local vendors, celebrity chef demonstrations, an event with 40+ vendors, charity wine tasting, artisanal food exhibits and much more. See https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-chicago-artisan-chocolate-show-artisanal-foods-charity-wine-tasting-tickets-19281683033.
Brindille, 534 N. Clark St., will be offering a Mother's Day tea on Sunday, May 12, 2-5 p.m. The tea service will feature Chef Carrie and Pastry Chef Craig's creations. Among the slated items will be crumpets, sandwiches, sweets, confections and, of course, tea. It will be $65/person, and there's limited seating. RSVP at info@Brindille-Chicago.com .
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