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SAVOR The Ruin Daily; Charlie Brown; Piccolo Sogno
DISH Dining Guide
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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The Ruin Daily ( 328 S. Jefferson St.; ) has a few unusual aspects to it—starting with its name.

The name actually pays tribute to U.S. President Martin Van Buren, the inspiration behind the cross street of the restaurant. However, Van Buren was widely blamed for "ruining" the financial system through the economic depression in 1837, and was often referred to throughout history as "Marty Van Ruin."

History lesson aside, The Ruin Daily is also different in what it offers. It's an airy deli that allows people to do everything from socialize to work on their laptops to hold business meetings—and it offers alcohol. My dining companion really enjoyed his Aviator ( sloe gin, lemon, maraschino and cherry liqueurs ) while I happily sipped my Green Thang ( probably the most healthful cocktail one can have, as it contains vodka, cucumber, matcha, kale, honey and lemon ). In addition, my friend also had a shot of Malort ( which is not on the menu, but which The Ruin certainly has ).

Even though it was a little early ( as dinner items aren't usually served until 3 p.m. ), the manager allowed us to try The Ruin Daily's nachos—an incredible concoction that ranked among the best that I've had. It was a little spicy in spots, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

In fact, the nachos were so good that they overshadowed the sandwiches ( and this place's tagline—"There's no room in your life for sh*tty sandwiches"—is also a bit off the beaten path ). The tuna melt and chicken Alfredo items definitely weren't sh*tty—but they didn't shine, either, unfortunately. However, things did end on a high note, courtesy of silky chocolate-chip cookies courtesy of Revival Food Hall.

Overall, though, I recommend this spot—and there are a host of other sandwiches I'd like to try. This place certainly won't "ruin" your day.

Headquarters Beercade's 'Charlie Brown Christmas'

On Dec. 9, the River North spot Headquarters Beercade ( think a restaurant/bar/arcade ) held a "Charlie Brown Christmas" brunch.

Besides culinary items such as cheesy potatoes, French toast and much more, there were beverages offerings such as The Naughty List, Pumpkin-Spiced Toddy and the Jack'd Skellington—the last one a mix of cranberry-infused gin, lime and simple syrup, served with a gingerbread cookie.

Other delights included live performances by the Tim Stine Quartet playing Vince Guaraldi's timeless Christmas album, carolers and screenings of Charlie Brown holiday movies.

Props to prosciutto

Prosciutto di Parma is taken very seriously—especially at Italian restaurants, naturally.

The Italian meat took center stage at a recent class at the spot Piccolo Sogno that Chef Tony Priolo led.

Attendees learned several interesting things about the meat, such as the fact that prosciutto di Parma can only be produced from the hind legs of selected pigs raised in certain regions of Italy and fed a blend of grains, cereals and whey from Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese production—and they must meet the highest standards. The tags on the meat tell much about it, such as how it's cured. In addition, there are two types of prosciutto restaurants use: pressed and rotondo.

And attendees' stomachs were sated as well as their brains, with guests being treated to prosciutto-themed dishes ranging from pizza to ricotta dumplings to white-bean soup..

Note: Restaurant profiles/events are based on invitations arranged from restaurants and/or firms.

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