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Dining news: El Che Bar, Martha Stewart, Easter options
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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—Argentinian restaurant El Che Bar, 845 W. Washington Blvd., has launched its new Sunday Asado at 5-10 p.m. Guests can dine on a meat-centric menu served with seasonal side dishes, salad and empanadas for $90 for two people. ( People have the option of adding cocktails a la carte. )

—Martha Stewart has launched Martha Stewart Wine Co., an online wine shop featuring a curated collection of wines, plus monthly wine club options and special occasion gift memberships, available only at . Additionally, offers wine storytelling and articles, video tasting notes and food pairings with "Martha's Favorites" wines, education and etiquette, recipes and pairings, ideas and tips, bottle reviews and more.

—For the first time in the awards' 15-year history, a U.S. restaurant took the top spot at the 2017 World's 50 Best Restaurant Awards, according to . New York's Eleven Madison Park knocked Italy's Osteria Francescana into second place and pushed Spain's El Celler de Can Roca into third. Chicago's Alinea fell six spots from last year, landing at No. 21 in this year's ranking.

—French restaurant Bistronomic, 840 N. Wabash Ave., will offer a prix fixe menu for both Passover and Easter Sunday. The three-course Passover menu will be offered from Monday, April 10, to Tuesday, April 18, in honor of the Jewish spring festival for dinner; the cost is $39 per person, exclusive of tax and gratuity. The three-course Easter Sunday brunch menu will be offered on Sunday, April 16, 10:30 a.m-2:30 p.m. for $42 per person, exclusive of tax and gratuity, or $56 with bottomless mimosas. Reservations are recommended and may be made via Open Table on the website.

—La Mez Agave Lounge—a mezcal lounge located downstairs at Mercadito Chicago, 108 W. Kinzie St.—is bringing back its Mixology Academy on Saturday, April 15, 3-5 p.m. The course, led by Beverage Director Paul Tanguey, will feature Dustin Miller with Maestro Dobel Tequila and cost $45 per guest. To RSVP, call 312-329-9555 or visit .

—Fig & Olive, 104 E. Oak St., will be offering an Easter prix fixe menu. For $40 per person, enjoy a three-course brunch menu complete with a live jazz band at 12-3 p.m. ( Some of the menu options include avocado toast, French omelet, Riviera salmon and chocolate pot de creme. ) Guests can also elevate their brunch with the Carrot Ginger Mimosa for an additional $12. See .

—There are Greek options for Easter. Pan Hellenic Pastry Shop, 322 S. Halsted St ) will be selling tsoureki bread, made with orange juice and spices, for $7.49 per pound; Artopolis Bakery, 306 S. Halsted St., will be selling tsoureki with red dyed eggs ( $10.50 for one pound loaf/ $17.50 for two pound loaf ) and Easter cookies ( $10.95 ); and Athena is offering a set menu for $38/person that will include dishes such as magiritsa lamb soup, traditional Greek salad, lamb with potatoes, tsoureki bread and cookies.

—On Saturday, April 15, at NewCity, 1457 N. Halsted St., dozens of Easter treasures will be hidden throughout the plaza at the 2nd Annual Easter Egg Hunt, featuring arts-and-crafts stations. Adults can join in on the fun with a special Brunch with the Bunny at upscale eatery Earls Kitchen + Bar, featuring brunch fare from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Visit .

—The Florentine, 151 W. Adams St., is offering Easter brunch for $75 per person ( $25 for children aged 12 and younger ). Items include a carving station, housemade pastas, Italian Cobb salad, almond brioche French toast, bagel and lox, buttermilk pancakes and more. Call 312-660-8866 to RSVP.

—On Easter Sunday, Remington's, 20 N. Michigan Ave., will offer a special brunch menu featuring a rotisserie leg of lamb sandwich with feta-yogurt sauce, marinated peppers and herbed focaccia ( $16 ); bone-in ham with braised greens, jalapeno-cheddar corn bread and mustard sauce ( $19 ); and strawberry rhubarb crepes with ricotta, mint and Grand Marnier ( $14 ). Brunch is 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Call 312-782-6000.

—Northbrook's Prairie Grass Cafe, 601 Skokie Blvd., will offer Easter brunch 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on April 16. Each guest starts with the restaurant's signature "PGC Benedict," featuring a poached egg on top of spinach and served with a roasted tomato Hollandaise sauce. The price is $49.50 for adults and $18 for children 10 and younger. Reservations are strongly recommended; call 847-205-4433.

—The Estate by Gene & Georgetti—the upscale events venue adjacent to the Gene & Georgetti restaurant in Rosemont, 9421 W. Higgins Rd.—will celebrate Easter Sunday with special brunch seatings at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., as well as dinner seatings at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Guests are encouraged to bring the whole family and pose for a photo with the Easter Bunny between 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Estate's Easter brunch and dinner costs $39 for adults, and $19 for children ages 11 and younger, plus tax and gratuity. Complimentary valet service is also available. Call 847-653-3302 or .

—At Michael Jordan's Steak House, 505 N. Michigan Ave., Chef Craig Couper will present a special dish for Easter featuring a petite filet with roasted lobster, asparagus, morels and spring onion butter ( $49 ), which will be available all day. Reservations are highly recommended; call 312-321-8823.

—For Maple & Ash's ( 8 W. Maple St. ) first Easter brunch, Executive Chef Danny Grant will offer items starting at 10 a.m. Some of the offerings will include housemade pastries, the fire-roasted seafood tower, an omelet station, traditional breakfast favorites, beef tenderloin and housemade ricotta agnolotti ( with truffle conserve ). Maple & Ash's Easter Brunch is priced at $65 for adults and $20 for children 12 and under ( does not include tax or gratuity; desserts and beverages priced a la carte ); call 312-944-8888.

—For Easter, BBQ joint Smoke Daddy, 1804 W. Division St., will be smoking its apple and cherrywood smoked ham with a sweet mojo glaze. Add side dishes such as beans, mac 'n' cheese and cornbread. Ham options include a 17-pound, whole ham that serves 20-25 guests for $129, or a nine-pound ham that serves 10-15 guests for $69. Orders must be placed on or before Friday, April 14, at 5 p.m. and are available for pick-up only. To place an order, visit or call 773-772-1697 .

—Benny's Chop House, 444 N. Wabash Ave., will offer Easter dinner at 12-9 p.m. on Sunday, April 16. There will be various steak cuts offered as well as items such as whole Dover sole, poached pear salad, oysters and Benny's eclair. To reserve, visit .

—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 .

—Oak Brook's El Tapeo, 2100 Spring Rd., will offer a special blend of buffet items and a la carte presentations for Easter Brunch on Sunday, April 16, at 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Items will include Iberico y Huevos Benedict, Salmon Tortilla Espanola and Pineapple Brunuelos. Call 630-828-2044 or .

—For Easter, Acadia, 1639 S. Wabash Ave., will have a special brunch buffet. Brunch, offered at 10 a.m-2 p.m., includes a raw beer, live seared foie gras presentation, lobster eggs Benedict, and more. The event is $85 per adult and $35 per child ( with a $25 deposit ); ticket prices exclude beverage, tax and service. Reservations can be made by visiting .

—SafeHouse Chicago, 60 E. Ontario St., will be offering its special Undercover Happy Hour at 4-6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 18, for spies who have grown weary from all the number-crunching ( i.e.., tax time ). Agents can indulge in $4 domestic beers, $5 well drinks and $6 house wines. The Fried C4 Cheese Cruds, RQ-1 Rings, Camp Stanley Nachos and Bird Watcher Wings appetizers are all available for $6. See .

—After filing and wrapping up the work day, patrons can head to Brando's Speakeasy, 343 S. Dearborn St., for a Tax Day Happy Hour at 5-7 p.m. on April 18. Specials include $5 Makers Mark Boiler Makers, $4 Bulleit Rye Old Fashioneds, $3 Absolut Moscow Mules, half-off all Revolution beers, $3 flatbreads and small pizzas, and $5 cheese and meat trays.

—Sable Kitchen & Bar, 505 N. Michigan Ave., will team with beverage talent from Bad Hunter, Broken Shaker and Lot No. 40 to kick off WhiskyFest Chicago on Monday, April 17, 5-8 p.m. Each guest will also enjoy a complimentary Lot No. 40 sample pour as well as a complimentary menu of pimento cheese fritters, chicken liver mousse crostini and winter radishes provided by Executive Chef Shane Graybeal. ( WhiskyFest actually occurs Friday, April 21. ) See .

—Chicagoans looking for a little Tax Day relief on Tuesday, April 18, will enjoy several specials at Hakka Bakka, 1251 W. Fullerton Ave. With a purchase of $15 or more, guests will receive a free side of six mini-veggie samosas ( normally $3.50 ) as well as a complimentary cup of Masala Chai ( Indian tea ). See .

—ROOF on theWit, 201 N. State St., is offering a new menu, courtesy of Chef Nathan Sears, starting April 13. The menu ( broken into the sections From the Hearth Oven, Warm, Cold and Dessert ) 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. Visit .

—The steakhouse Primehouse, 616 N. Rush St., is offering "Art of Aging," an all-new interactive dining experience. "Art of Aging" gives guests an exclusive behind-the-scenes, chef-guided tour of Primehouse's dry-aging room, followed by a seated dinner featuring the very cuts of prized beef observed during the tour. An experience for four is $180; call 312-660-6000 to reserve ( at least 24 hours ahead of the dinner ).

—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 .

—Texas de Brazil is partnering with Argentinian wine producer Bodegas Salentein to present a wine-tasting event benefiting the American Red Cross Service to Armed Forces. The event will be held in the Chicago location ( 210 E. Illinois St. ) on Wed., April 26, at 6:30 p.m.; and will be in Schaumburg ( located in Woodfield Mall ) on Thursday, April 27, at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $35 each; visit .

—On Thursday, April 27, Lawry's The Prime Rib will celebrate National Prime Rib Day by offering the "Ultimate Prime Rib Experience" at 5-9:30 p.m. for $69 per person. Diners will experience a specially curated menu, complete with the restaurant's signature cocktail, the Meat & Potato Martini; courses include a prime rib-centric amuse bouche, Lawry's traditional prime rib dinner featuring the Lawry Cut, the Famous Original Spinning Bowl Salad, mashed potatoes, whipped cream horseradish and Yorkshire pudding. Guests also leave with a prime rib hash recipe from the founder's son, Richard Frank. Call 312-787-5000.

—Kings Bowl Lincoln Park, 1500 N. Clybourn Ave., will be the site of Chef Bowl 2017 on Sunday, April 30, at 2 p.m., when former Chicago Bear Rashied Davis will host the event. Emceed by Ji Suk Yi of ABC 7's Windy City LIVE and chaired by Chef Tony Priolo of Piccolo Sogno and Nonnina, the event will bring Chicago chefs together for a day of bowling, food and festivities to support Saturday Place. Other participating chefs include Kevin Cuddihee ( TWO ), Dick Flanigan ( Il Congilio ), Kevin Hickey ( Duck Inn ), Brian Jupiter ( Frontier ), Cory Morris ( Ronero ), Todd Stein ( Formento's ), Giuseppe Tentori ( GT Prime ) and Tom Valente ( Lucille ), among others. Tickets are $65 each; visit .

—Common Threads announced the launch of Common Threads Chef Takeover Fueled by Circuit of The Americas. The pop-up dinner series consists of five one-night-only ticketed events throughout the country, beginning with Chicago on Sunday, April 30, at Prime & Provisions, 222 North LaSalle St., 5-8:30 p.m. The event will feature chefs Fabio Viviani, Brad Kilgore, Anita Lo, JJ Johnson and Dana Cree. Tickets are $175-$250 each; see .

—The inaugural Greektown Mediterranean Wine Fest will take place Saturday-Sunday, May 6-7. The fest's eponymous location is in the heart of Greektown on South Halsted Street in the West Loop between Jackson Boulevard and Van Buren Street. Fest hours are 12-9 p.m. both days, and ticketed tastings take place each afternoon at 2-6 p.m. The cost of a one-day individual wine tasting pass is $40, which allows the purchaser to sample ( with a souvenir wine glass ) up to 15 one-and-a-half-ounce wine samples. See .

—Brindille, 534 N. Clark St., will be offering a Mother's Day tea on Sunday, May 14, 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 .

—On Sunday, May 14, Lake View's PR Italian Bistro will host a Bowen Arrow Diamonds & Designs trunk show at 11 a.m.-3 p.m. There will also be bottomless mimosas ( $12 ) being offered. The event is free, but reservations are being taken. Visit or call 773-404-8955 .

—The National Restaurant Association ( NRA ) announced the lineup of the nation's top celebrity chefs to share their culinary know-how on the World Culinary Showcase stage at the National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show®, taking place at Chicago's McCormick Place on May 20-23. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn the latest cooking practices and trends from Top Chef Masters winner Rick Bayless, Worst Cooks in America host Anne Burrell and Top Chef All Stars competitor Fabio Viviani; others slated to appear include Stephanie Izard, Ming Tsai and Robert Irvine. The World Culinary Showcase demonstrations run all four days of the NRA Show.

—The West Loop Community Organization, StarEvents and Silver Wrapper have announced the music and restaurant lineups for the 21st Annual Taste of Randolph Festival, taking place June 16-18 at 900 W. Randolph St. Some of the musical headliners include Dawes, Moon Taxi and Emancipator Ensemble; and some of the participating restaurants include bellyQ, Nando's Peri-Peri Chicken, La Sardine, Grange Hall Burger Bar and Bar Siena. See .

—Wicker Park Farmers Market returns every Sunday from June 4 through Oct. 29, 8 a.m.-2 p.m., at 1425 N. Damen Ave. Complete with live acoustic music and local, environmentally responsible food for sale, the market also features monthly children's cooking classes hosted by The Kids' Table, chef demonstrations and a community table showcasing area businesses. For more information, visit .

—The fifth annual Chicago Hot Dog Fest, presented by the Chicago History Museum, will take place Aug. 11-13 in Lincoln Park, 1701 N. Stockton Dr. Admission is free, although a $5 donation is suggested that will benefit educational programming at the Chicago History Museum. See .

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