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Dining news: Kendall event, Caffe Umbria, Boiler Room
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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—Kendall College Trust is holding the Fried Chicken & Champagne Fest on Saturday, Oct. 22, at 11:30-3 p.m. Host of WTTW Chicago's Check, Please! and Kendall College Trust Executive Director Catherine De Orio will host. Tickets are $85-$175 each, and the event will feature recipes by Chefs Ryan McCaskey ( Acadia ), Lee Wolen ( Boka ), Brian Jupiter ( The Frontier ), Cam Waron and Becca Waron ( Honey Butter Fried Chicken ), Ashlee Aubin ( Salero/Wood ), Matt Troost ( Three Aces/Charlatan ) and more. See

—To mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Caffe Umbria, 346 N. Clark St., will donate $1 from every 12-ounce bag of Gusto Crema Blend ( $11.50 ) purchased at the cafe in October to the Lynn Sage Foundation's In Good Taste Campaign.

—Boiler Room, 2210 N. California Ave., has launched its fall menu. Pizzas include the Pinocchio ( a vegan item with marinara sauce, vegan mozzarella, seitan sausage and giardiniera ), the Mr. Nice Guy ( coconut jerk curry sauce, house blend of mozzarella and provolone, blackened chicken, sweet bell peppers, red onion, pineapple, topped with scallions ) and the Elle, Stop ( alfredo sauce, house blend of mozzarella and provolone, gorgonzola cheese, pear slices, prosciutto, mixed herbs topped with a honey drizzle ). New appetizers include poutine and there are desserts such as 'Dem Apples. See .

—Berwyn restaurant Autre Monde Cafe & Spirits, 6727 W. Roosevelt Rd., invites guests to enjoy a fall-inspired dinner cooked by the young chefs of Sugar Beet Schoolhouse on Monday, Oct. 17, at 5:30-8 p.m. ( During the first installment of the "Schoolhouse Cooks! Family Dinners" series, diners will experience a unique evening of youth empowerment and good food as chefs ages 10+ plan, cook and serve a special menu for the community. ) Admission is $10 for kids and $20 for adults; see .

—belly Q, 1400 W. Randolph St., has partnered with Purple Asparagus, a non-profit organization with a mission to educate children, families and the community about nutrition and healthy eating habits. On Wed., Oct. 19, 5:30-7:30 p.m., guests can load up on noodles at bellyQ's build-your-own-ramen bar and sip on cocktails while Purple Asparagus' Head Spear Melissa Graham shares the impact of the school and community programs. Tickets are $16 each; see .

—Mercadito Chicago, 108 W. Kinzie St., is celebrating DÃa de los Muertos with a special DÃa de los Muertos Experiential Dinner on Monday, Oct. 24, 6-9 p.m. Guests are invited to enjoy five courses accompanied by five Casamigos Tequila cocktails. The dinner is hosted by Monica Dim of Casamigos Tequila and Chef Patricio Sandoval of Mercadito. The DÃa de los Muertos Experiential Dinner is $75 per guest, plus tax and gratuity. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 312-329-9555.

—Devon Seafood Grill, 39 E. Chicago Ave., is celebrating Halloween with an exclusive four-course Chateau Montelena wine dinner on Thursday, Oct. 27, at 6 p.m. ( Guests are invited to dress in costume for their chance to win the "best dressed" prize. ) Culinary items slated to be served include lobster ravioli, herb-roasted game hen, char-crusted pork tenderloin and pumpkin-pie cheesecake. Admission is $80 each; call 312-440-8660 to RSVP.

—Roti Modern Mediterranean has opened its first location in Deerfield, at 720 Waukegan Rd. This new location in Deerfield Square features a variety of new menu items including the lamb meatballs and cauliflower tabbouleh, as well as a selection of wines and beers from local retailers including Revolution Brewing and Half Acre Beer Co. See .

—Stella Barra Pizzeria, 1954 N. Halsted St., is adding brunch by offering a new brunch buffet in addition to the full menu a la carte. The weekend brunch ( 10 a.m.-2 p.m. ) will feature roasted corn & poblano egg enchiladas, warm brioche cinnamon rolls with vanilla bean glaze and cream cheese frosting, caramelized French toast, charred tomatoes & cheddar cheese stratta, yogurt parfaits with granola and fresh berries and more—unlimited for $19.95. Reservations accepted; call 773-634-4101.

—The inaugural Strange Foods Chicago Festival will take place Sunday, Nov. 6, 1-4 p.m., at Moonlight Studios, 1446 W. Kinzie St. More than 15 local restaurants will offer tastes of their authentically made cuisines; among the places slated to take part are HoneyDoe ( Syria ), Tropicuba ( Cuba ), Aha Crepes ( China ), Serai ( Malaysia ) and El Carrito Mexican Street Food. Early bird tickets are $40 per person through Oct. 12 and $45 through Oct.16; thereafter, tickets are $55. Visit

—South African-Portuguese restaurant Nando's PERi-PERi will open three new Chicagoland locations this fall and winter. New restaurants will open Sunday, Nov. 13, in Westfield Old Orchard mall in Skokie; Sunday, Nov. 20, in Oakbrook Center; and January 2017 at 1447 E. 53rd St., Chicago.

—Gemini Bistro, 2075 N. Lincoln Ave., will undergo a rejuvenation after seven years in the neighborhood. Reopening as Gemini in 2017, the American bistro will feature a business partnership between Gemini Bistro Owner Ryan O'Donnell and current Head Bartender and longtime friend Pauly Graves. This rejuvenation will also give Executive Chef Jon Keeley the opportunity to explore a new menu for the restaurant.

—Latin-Local restaurant La Sirena Clandestina, 954 W. Fulton Market, has restarted Sunday brunch service, at 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Former brunch favorites make the menu including the grilled hanger steak with creamed yucca, fried egg and chimichurri as well as the dende poached lobster tail Benedict served with avocado mash, malagueta hollandaise and a poached egg. Chef de Cuisine Eric Michael adds a sweet spin with bolinhos de chuva, buttermilk doughnuts served with cinnamon-sugar. See .

—Jake Melnick's Corner Tap, 41 E. Superior St., will celebrate Halloween with specials. Included are the Halloween Horror Burger ( nine-ounce habanero-and-cheddar beef patty topped with pepper jack cheese, guacamole, fried poblano and candied jalapenos ); smoked apple bourbon BBQ wings; and meatloaf mac. See .

—Trenchermen, 2039 W. North Ave., offers a $10 burger-and-beer special in the bar area. The burger changes weekly ( with a recent one being the Octoberfest burger ), and a different craft brewery is featured each month. See or @TrenchermenChicago.

—Gene & Georgetti ( 500 N. Franklin St., downtown; and 9241 W. Higgins Rd., in Rosemont ) supports National Adoption Month in November by donating a portion of proceeds from dessert sales to Oak Park based Hephzibah Children's Association. Guests to both Chicago and Rosemont locations can enjoy signature favorites like Tiramisu, Spumoni, Chocolate Tuxedo Mousse Cake and Gene & Georgetti's famous Italian Lemon Creme Layer Cake.

—Garrett Popcorn Shops kicks off its new limited time Buffalo Ranch Mix just in time for ultimate football season snacking, available online only through Tuesday, Nov. 22. The mix features a match-up of two limited-time recipes: Buffalo CheeseCorn, featuring freshly-melted, sharp cheddar cheese, buffalo sauce, a hint of cayenne pepper and a pinch of salt; and Buttery Ranch, featuring the classic Garrett® Buttery recipe enhanced with buttermilk ranch. See .

—French bistro Bistronomic, 840 N. Wabash Ave., will offer a Thanksgiving prix fixe menu. This year, Executive Chef/Owner Martial Noguier will offer a three-course Thanksgiving prix fixe menu on Thursday, Nov. 24, 11 a.m.-9 p.m., for $57 per adult and $20 for children 12 and younger ( excluding tax and gratuity ). Some of the planned menu items include house-cured duck confit, Belgium endive salad, roasted farm turkey breast and stuffed leg, jumbo walleye pike and chocolate "Kit Kat" bars.

—A Church 4 Me MCC, 7366 N. Clark St., will hold its second annual Thanksgiving Community Meal on Thursday, Nov. 24, at noon. To reserve a place at the meal, contact Mike Schuppe at 847-529-8440 or .

—Thanksgiving pies will return to the French-inspired patisserie Vanille. This is the only time of the year pies come out of the Vanille kitchen and, this year, three seasonal favorites will be offered: Pumpkin with Cinnamon Whipped Cream, Apple Streusel and Traditional Pecan. Along with the pies, Vanille will be hosting its first-ever Cereal Drive. Throughout November, Vanille will collect cereal at all three of its Chicago locations to be donated to Lakeview Pantry. Guests who bring a box in will enjoy 10 percent off an order ( up to $100 ), including pie orders. See .

—Fairmont Chicago, 200 N. Columbus Dr., is bringing back its Thanksgiving at Home Dinner, which provides people with a Thanksgiving feast to take home to their own tables. The gourmet dinner, featuring a roast turkey with brioche stuffing, feeds eight to 10 people and can be ordered any time before 12 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 21, for $260. Dinners can be picked up on Thanksgiving Day between 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Fairmont. Call 312-565-7973 to order between 9 a.m.-5 p.m., or email .

—Also, Fairmont Chicago, 200 N. Columbus Dr., is kicking off the 2016 holiday season with its third annual Cookies and Cheer Luxury Cookie Exchange on Thursday, Dec. 1, 5:30-7:30 p.m. During the event, guests will have the opportunity to sample unlimited cookies from the wide variety of unique seasonal offerings including chai snickerdoodles, double-fudge oatmeal stout cookies and orange walnut spice logs. Tickets for the Cookies and Cheer event are $60 per person and on sale now; space is limited and reservations are required by visiting, event name "Cookies & Cheer."

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