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Dining news: Asians & Friends event, Grand Chefs Gala, Acre and Ombra close
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

This article shared 455 times since Wed Feb 1, 2017
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—Members of Asians & Friends Chicago ( AFC ) will host the city's only LGBTQ Chinese New Year's Dinner on Saturday, Feb. 4, starting at 7 p.m. at the Jade Court restaurant, 626 S. Racine Ave. As experiential entertainment for the mind and the palate, "mixologists" will create their favorite adult-beverage concoctions for guests to sample. In addition to the beverage tasting and multi-course gourmet meal, AFC will conduct a Year-of-the-Cock inspired raffle. Tickets are $40-$50 each; visit .

—Garrett Popcorn Shops is partnering with its fans and Black Ensemble Theater for Black History Month in February as part of its Garrett Cares charitable initiative. Garrett will donate 10 percent of all tin sales ( Feb. 1-28, for U.S. sales only, up to $20,000 ) during the month of February to Black Ensemble Theater. See and .

—The 20th Grand Chefs Gala, which The Greater Illinois Chapter of The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is presenting, will take place Friday, Feb. 3, 6 p.m.-12 a.m., in Navy Pier's Grand Ballroom. At the black-tie event, 50 Chicago chefs and mixologists will create dishes, desserts and unique cocktails. The Food Network's Jeff Mauro will emcee the gala while founder and chairman of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Richard Melman, will be honored as this year's recipient of the Chicago Classic Award, presented by Gene & Georgetti. See .

—After more than six years in Andersonville, Acre and its companion concept, Ombra, have closed, Eater Chicago noted. Marty Fosse, who owns both, said that he's sold the restaurant spaces. He also owns Anteprima, which will remain open. Acre took over the former Charlie's Ale House space back in 2010.

—FireFin Poke Shop, which debuted at 10 S. LaSalle St. in the Loop in June 2016, will grow to five locations when it opens new shops in Wicker Park and in Lakeview/Boystown, according to Eater Chicago. The chain is taking over the Chicago Cupcake space at 1415 N. Milwaukee Ave. and part of the former Spin nightclub and Manhole space on the prominent Halsted and Belmont corner, 3200 N. Halsted St. The growing chain most recently announced new locations at 174 N. Franklin St. in the Loop and inside Ogilvie Transportation Center in the West Loop.

—On Groundhog Day, Thursday, Feb. 2, Oyster Bah, 1962 N. Halsted St., has a little gift for diners: Everyone will receive a gift certificate for the value of their meal ( food and beverage only ) as a little thank-you for their patronage. See .

—Executive Chef Brett Faldstein and the team at Howells & Hood, 435 N. Michigan Ave., have announced the Fourth Annual "Super Chili Bowl IV" chef competition on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 5. During the big game, guests can cast their vote for the top chili, with the winner announced at the end of the third quarter, claiming the coveted Guilded Chili Championship Trophy and bragging rights. The chili trio is available for $12 per person, excluding tax and gratuity, from 3:00 p.m. through the third quarter. See .

—Bub City, 435 N. Clark St., will entertain on Super Bowl Sunday with 16 flat-screen TVs with sound, and plenty of house specials available all day long. Items include smoked brisket chili, sloppy joes, brisket nachos and more. People can also call Bub City for home party needs, with options like our Bub City BBQ wings, slow-smoked St. Louis ribs, hickory-smoked pork shoulder, fried chicken and others. See

—To celebrate Super Bowl Sunday, Bottleneck Management locations—including The Boundary ( 1932 W. Division St. ), Old Town Pour House ( 1419 N. Wells St. ), and Sweetwater Tavern and Grille ( 225 N. Michigan Ave. )—will feature giant games of Connect 4 and Jenga. Specialty tappings will be available at all locations as well as a $15 giant pretzel complete with various toppings of deusseldorf mustard, pepper jack cheese and beer cheddar.

—Aloha Poke Co., 843 W. Belmont Ave., offers larger Sumo Bowls built for eight to 10 people ( $100 ) for the Super Bowl. Aloha also designs build-your-own poke bowl bars, providing everything you need for eight to 10 people to create their own Hawaiian masterpiece ( $130 for all three bases, three pounds of fresh fish, 10 toppings and two sauces ). Catering orders are needed 24 hours in advance; call 773-242-9820.

—Frankie's Scaloppine is hosting a party in the bar on Sunday, Feb. 5. It will feature an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet ( with ingredients inspired by the AFC & NFC champs ) as well as beer, wine and drink specials. The pizza buffet is $12, plus tax, not including gratuity. Call 312-266-2500 or visit to reserve a table.

—Oak Brook-based restaurant B., 3500 Midwest Rd., invites couples around Chicagoland to a romantic farm-to-table experience on Saturday, Feb. 11. There will be a five-course prix fixe dinner ( with items such as "living salad," blackberry panna cotta, beef tenderloin and ricotta gnocchi ) as well as live jazz. Visit .

—On Saturday, Feb. 11, Louis Glunz Beer Inc. and other sponsors will host the 5th annual Cider Summit in Navy Pier's Aon Grand Ballroom. Cider enthusiasts and revelers alike will be able to indulge in more than 150 ciders including regional favorites and international classics. Events will take place at 11 a.m.-3 a.m., and 4-8 p.m. Admission is $35-$45; visit

—Tickets are available to this year's Baconfest Chicago. The roster will feature over 150 restaurants, highlighting 40-50 of the city's chefs at each of the three sessions. There are dozens of new restaurants participaing, including Boleo, Bar Takito, Yolk, Mia Passione, Kinzie Chophouse and Fourteen Sixteen. The event will take place March 31-April 1 at the UIC Forum, 725 W. Roosevelt Rd. Tickets are $100-$200 each; visit .

—On Feb. 11-12, during Shaw's Crab House's weekend brunch, diners will be treated to a special present from the Shaw's team: a $55 gift certificate for future use. Also, diners are invited to spend their Valentine's Day with Shaw's Crab House; staff will again gift guests with a $55 gift certificate for future use. Call 312-527-2722.

—This Valentine's Day weekend, Devon Seafood Grill, 39 E. Chicago Ave., is offering special entrees. On Feb. 10-14, special choices include a choice of a one-pound Lobster Tail, eight-ounce filet Oscar or a six-ounce filet with an eight-ounce Lobster Tail. The special includes two seasonal sides like cauliflower mash; brussels sprouts with prosciutto; parmesan-herb roasted potatoes; and wild mushroom risotto. The Valentine's Day special is $60 per person, plus tax and gratuity; call 312-440-8660.

—Eden, 1748 W. Lake St., is offering special menu items for Valentine's Day. In addition to dinner items like braised duck lasagna and Portuguese spiced chicken, Eden's a la carte offerings include applewood grilled oysters, uni with grilled pork belly, grilled half lobster, seared foie gras and chocolate cake with pomegranate rose sorbet. In addition, every guest will receive a complimentary glass of bubbly upon arrival. See .

—For Valentine's Day, 312 Chicago, 136 N. LaSalle St., will host Menu di San Valentino," a three-course Valentine's Day-inspired prix fixe menu for $55 per person on Tuesday, Feb. 14. Chef Luca Corazzina will serve a romantic Italian dinner with each course representative of the holiday, such as red-hued pasta ( pasta made with beets ) and more.

—Acadia, 1639 S. Wabash Ave., presents couples a Valentine's Day menu showcasing Chef Ryan McCaskey's elevated cuisine on Feb. 11, 12 and 14. The unique Valentine's Day seven-course menu features canapés and luxe options including lobster gnocchi served with caviar and Champagne beurre, beluga lentils paired with tea cured quail egg, Slagel Farms chicken pot-au-feu and more, priced at $175, including service and tax. Diners are also presented the option to enjoy Acadia's traditional ten-course tasting menu or the bar menu as well. See .

—This Valentine's Day, couples can head to Fig & Olive, 104 E. Oak St., to indulge in a special three-course prix fixe menu in a setting inspired by the French Riviera and coastal regions of the Mediterranean. The menu is $85 and will be available on Tuesday, Feb. 14, only. Premium wine pairings will be available for $35. Also, on Feb. 12-19, the spot will host "Romantic Week," featuring a dining special for two including three crostini, whole branzino for two ( including two sides ) and a bottle of Veuve Clicquot; the special is $125 per couple. Call 312-445-0060.

—Pata Negra at Latinicity is offering a Valentine's Day four-course tasting menu. The Spanish-style tapas restaurant within Latinicity focuses on traditional preparations like aged Spanish cheeses, bacon-wrapped dates and specialty grilled items. The Valentine's Day menu features several menu staples in addition to off-menu items for $85 per couple with the option to add a bottle of wine for an additional $30. See .

—Center on Halsted and Jewell Events Catering will host a pop-up dinner on Thursday, Feb. 16, 5:30-8:30 p.m., at the center, 3656 N. Halsted St. The evening's pop-up dinner will feature Jewell Events Catering's top chefs, including Ben Holt and Dane Pausina, with dessert by Ralph Dixon. Tickets are $50 each; see

—Ramenfest will take place Sunday, Feb. 19, at urbanbelly, 1400 W. Randolph St. Twenty chefs from across Chicago will compete against one another to prepare their best ramen dish and be named champion. ( Among them are chefs from Antique Taco, Green Zebra, Sunda and Smoque BBQ. ) General admission tickets to Ramenfest include a sampling of each ramen and two drink tickets for $75. See

—Imperian Lamian, 6 W. Hubbard St., is offering featured dishes Jan. 27-28 to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Among them are the yee sang ( or prosperity tossed salad ) and the poon choi ( a multilayered dish with vegetables, meatballs, noodles, roast duck and more ). Also, guests will also be treated with a traditional gift: the hong bao or red envelope, a monetary gift that is given during holidays. See

—The history of pizza in Chicago comes alive in the Franklin Gallery on the third floor of the Niles Public Library District ( 6960 W. Oakton St., Niles ) on Feb. 1—March 31 during the "I Love Pizza" event series. The exhibition will explain what defines Chicago pizza styles and how they relate to regional styles throughout the United States. New and vintage items from the U.S. Pizza Museum collection will bring the stories to life. See

—Parlor Pizza Bar—recently named the most visited restaurant in Chicago by Lyft and Uber—has introduced a wide variety of new menu items in addition to its 14 brunch pizzas. New additions include avocado toast, ham-and-egg English muffins, birthday-cake waffles and chocolate French toast. Weekend brunch is 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m.

—At Bistronomic, 840 N. Wabash Ave., on Feb. 10-13, Valentine's specials for two will be offered. The Valentine's Day menu features aphrodisiac-infused dishes to really set the mood on Tuesday, Feb. 14, with the three-course Parisian prix fixe menu available beginning at 5 p.m. The Valentine's Day dinner menu is $72 ( excluding tax and gratuity ) per person; some choices will include diver sea scallops, lobster ravioli, winter vegetable medley, thyme-roasted lamb and passionfruit meringue tart.

—Aurelio's Pizza, Chicago's first and the nation's fifth pizza chain, announced a partnership with former Chicago Blackhawks player, U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame member and fan favorite Jeremy Roenick. The Chicago Blackhawks honored Roenick with their third edition of "One More Shift," an ode to past alumni that allows fans to recognize former players as they skate on the ice, on Jan. 22.

—Nic's Organic Fast Food, the nation's first QAI-certified organic drive-thru chain, has announced the opening of its first store at 2101 Plum Grove Rd. in Rolling Meadows in early 2017. According to a press release, "Everything at Nic's is without hormones, antibiotics, GMO's, preservatives, artificial flavors or colors. Meats are humanely raised and sustainably sourced." See .

Send items to or follow on Twitter @Azygous60610 .

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