Ciao Amore, 1134 W. 18th St., now features live jazz on Fridays 7-10 p.m. The restaurant, which features house-made pastas, is BYOB and there's no corkage fee. There is free parking at St. Procopius Church, on 18th and Allport. See www.ciaoamoreristorante.com . (A Windy City Times profile is at www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/Gay-chef-talks-about-Pilsen-eatery/32080.html .)
The Union League of Chicago, 65 W. Jackson Blvd., will host the 8th Annual For the Love of Chocolate Gala on Saturday, Feb. 23. There are two packages to the black-tie event: the Dessert Dance Party (8 p.m.-12 a.m.; $150/person) and the VIP packageDinner and Dancing (6 p.m.-12 a.m.; $300/person). See www.ForTheLoveOfChocolateFoundation.org .
ItaliAsia Restaurant, located in the Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza (350 W. Mart Center Dr.), is marking International Day of Italian Cuisines Jan. 17. Menu highlights include pasta Bolognese, bucatini with meatballs, lobster risotto fra diavlo and chicken Vesuvio. See www.italiasiarestaurant.com .
Mexican restaurant Chilam Balam, 3023 N. Broadway, is closed through Monday, Jan. 7. Also, the people behind Chilam Balam have opened Shaman, 1438 W. Chicago Ave., which features small plates. See www.chilambalamchicago.com and www.shamanchicago.com .
The Southern, 1840 W. North Ave., will host a "Prohibition Party" Thursday, Jan. 24, 8-11 p.m. The event will feature the new Jack Daniel's Unaged Tennessee Rye, and will include live music by Four Star Brass Band. Tickets are $10; see http://thesouthern.ticketleap.com/prohibition.
Primebar, 155 N. Wacker Dr., has a "$3 Beer of the Month" special. Described as a "modern-day ale house," Primebar has food that ranges from small plates (for example, beer mussels and chicken tortilla soup) to sliders to "two-handed sandwiches" to specialties (that include horseradish-crusted salmon, twin filets and pork tacos). See PrimebarChicago.com .
Grace has opened at 652 W. Randolph St. Menus are divided into "flora" and "fauna," with dishes such as the Buddha's Hand (with osetra caviar, kumquat jam and chive blossom) and Scottish salmon (with crispy red cabbage, citrus pudding and marigold). The restaurant offers two eight-12-course chef's tasting menus, one of which highlights vegetables, though it's not entirely vegetarian. See www.grace-restaurant.com .
The restaurant 2 Sparrows, 553 W. Diversey Pkwy., is hosting beverage dinners on Jan. 18 and 25. The first ($70) will feature Greek wines while the second ($50) will showcase seasonal brews by Chicago's Revolution Brewing. Each dinner begins at 7 p.m.; the Jan. 18 dinner will feature food such as whitefish, sweetbreads and olive oil cake while the Jan. 25 event will have bay scallops, braised goat and caramel-apple upside-down cake, among other things. Call 773-234-2320.
Sisters Carol Himmel and Diana Himmel—Krewer, are opening Himmel's, a European-style eatery in the heart of Lincoln Square at 2251 W. Lawrence Ave., on Jan. 1. Revamping Pizza D.O.C., the menu will continue to have pizzas and pasta dishes; however, it will also include bone-in-ribeye, pork shank, half-roasted chicken, pork schnitzel and other items. See www.HimmelsChicago.com .
VIP tickets are available for Baconfest 2013, which will take place April 20 at the UIC Forum. The passes are $200, and are non-refundable and non-transferrable. At least 50 exhibiting chefs are slated to attend each of the fest's two sessions; there will also be bacon entrepreneurs, bacon-loving brands and liquor sponsors. See http://baconfestchicago.com/presalevip2013.
Chef Luca Corazzina of 312, 136 N. LaSalle St., is offering classes on Saturdays, 12-2 p.m., for $45 each. The Jan. 12 class is "Art of Pasta," while "Carnevale de Venezia" is Feb. 9 and "Art of the Fish" takes place March 9. Email Luca.Corizza@312chicago.com or call 312-696-2420.
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