Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises' Founder Rich Melman and Executive Vice President/Partner Marc Jacobs are teaming with Chef/Partner CJ Jacobson to open the Mediterranean-style restaurant Ema ( pronounced "ee-ma" ) this summer at 74 W. Illinois St. for lunch and dinner. ( Jacobson starred on Bravo's Top Chef, most recently winning Top Chef Duels in 2014. ) Expect a lighter, more healthful California-style of cooking that uses unique spices and ingredients. In addition to the full-service restaurant, Ema will have a grab-and-go counter featuring rotisserie chicken, chef-prepared salads, fresh salsas and house-made frozen Greek yogurt.
Chicago Chef Week will take place April 17-22. More than 100 Chicagoland restaurants are offering a three-course prix-fixe menu for lunch or a four-course prix-fixe for dinner. ( Also, two guests will be chosen at random to win 52 $50 gift cards from participating restaurants. ) Just a few of the participating restaurants are GT Fish & Oyster, Tortoise Club, Aviva, The Promontory, Coconutz, Knife & Tine, Le Colonial and Yusho. See ChicagoChefWeek.com .
Chef Jean-Claude Poilevey, 71, of Oak Parkwho owned Le Bouchon, 1958 N. Damen Ave., and La Sardine, 111 N. Carpenter St.was killed in a 15-vehicle pile-up on the Eisenhower Expressway on April 9, WGN reported. His son, Oliver, also runs Le Bouchon, which has been in Chicago for more than 20 years. The pile-up, which was actually five separate crashes, was one of many on Chicago area roadways as drivers were surprised with black ice.
Sepia, 123 N. Jefferson St., and five-time James Beard Foundation Award nominee Chef Andrew Zimmerman will welcome four-time James Beard Foundation Award nominee and Top Chef Masters season-three winner Chef Floyd Cardoz to highlight his new book Floyd Cardoz: Flavorwalla on Thursday, April 14, at 6:30 p.m. Items will include Dad's Pea Soup, Molee ( stone bass, coconut milk, curry leaves, savoy cabbage and black mustard seed ), uberoi leg of lamb and bibinica ( caramelized coconut layer cake ). The cost is $125 per person ( excluding tax and gratuity ), including dinner and a signed copy of Floyd Cardoz: Flavorwalla. Call 312-441-1920.
The new Starbucks Rewards ( formally known as My Starbucks Rewards ) will be based on how much customers spend in the coffee shops, not how often they make purchases, CNNMoney reported. Members will now have to earn 125 stars ( or about $63 ) to get a free reward; under the old plan, it took 12 stars. The Seattle-based company announced the change on Feb. 22 in a blog post, saying the change was the top request from customers.
In honor of Tax Day ( April 15 ), GreenRiver, 259 E. Erie St., offers signature cocktails from their menu inspired by famousand infamousIrish-American Chicago politicians for a special price of $10.40. Items include the Hinky Dink, Cullerton Street, Grey Wolf, The Alderman, Doctor Who, Governor of Illinois and Apache. See GreenRiverChi.com .
On Friday, April 15, Evanston's Smylie Brothers Brewing Company, 1615 Oak Ave., will release its award-winning Purple Line beer. ( Purple Line won a bronze medal at the 2015 Great American Beer Festival. ) The release party, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. includes Purple Line branded merchandise and $4 Purple Line beers all day.
Berwyn's Audre Monde, 6727 W. Roosevelt Rd., is hosting what it calls a spring market spectular on Saturday, April 16, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Guests will peruse artisans, food purveyors, paper goods, and more while enjoying cocktail specials and springtime snacks. Local vendors include Marsh Wren, Jo Snow Syrups and Beautycounter, among many others. Also, house mixologist Becci Visconti West will make made-for-spring spritz cocktails and Chefs Beth Partridge, Dan Pancake and Andrew Kerns will create snacks such as country pate tartine and hand-cut frites with aioli for guests. See AutreMondeCafe.net .
Frontier, 1072 N. Milwaukee Ave., invites Chicagoans to celebrate the spring season with a Louisiana crawfish boil on Sunday, April 17, at 3 p.m. in the beer garden. For $25 per person ( excluding tax and gratuity ), guests will enjoy an all-you-can-eat crawfish boil complete with potatoes and corn on the cob prepared by Pioneer Tavern Group Corporate Chef Brian Jupiter. Purchase tickets at http://thefrontierchicago.com/events-tickets/.
Winnetka's Avli Estiatorio, 566 Chestnut St., will offer a "Tax Day Saganaki," pan-fried and flamed Greek kefalograviera cheese. Normally priced at $8, Avli will offer the cheese from Friday, April 15 through Monday, April 18, for $4.18. See Avli.us.
Bar Toma, 110 E. Pearson St., is kicking off its patio season with an Earth Day party on Friday, April 22. Beginning at 4 p,m,, guests can dine al fresco and enjoy $1 off local craft beers.
For Passover ( April 22-23 ), Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab will offer a menu with gefilte fish with red beet horseradish, bibb lettuce and chive salad with chopped liver as well as Suzy Friedman's vegetarian chopped liver and matzo-ball soup. For a full list of Lettuce Entertain You Passover listings, visit http://www.leye.com/passover-2016.
Schaumburg's Tokio Pub, 1900 E. Higgins Rd., is hosting a four-course dinner with beer pairings from Michigan's Bell's Brewery on Monday, April 25. Culinary offerings will include crawfish Scotch egg, Buffalo mozzarella, Thai-style porchetta and twinkie "beeramisu." Costing $45 per guest ( tax and gratuity not included ), the dinner will begin with check-in at 6:30 p.m. and the first course at 7 p.m. Reservations are required; call 847-278-5181.
The Chicago Cocktail Social will take place Thursday, April 28, at Galleria Marchetti, 825 W. Erie St., 6-10 p.m. Attendees will sample drinks from almost 20 bars, including The Violet Hour, Broken Shaker, Analogue, The Duck Inn, Sable and Punch House, among others. Tickets are $40 each; visit http://www.greencurtainevents.com/chicago-cocktail-social/.
Mezcaleria Las FloresChicago's first mezcaleria, created by Rick Bayless' former mixology chief Jay Schroeder and chef/owner of Johnny's Grill, Sarah Jordanis now open at 3149 W. Logan Blvd. Highlighting a few different Oaxacan mezcales as well as bacanora from Sonora, sotol from Chihuahua and raicilla from the south of Jalisco, guests can navigate Schroeder's seven-cocktail opening menu by each drink's Fresh, Smoky and Adventurous qualities. Mezcaleria Las Flores guests will also be able to dine with menu items from Johnny's Grill.
Bistronomic, 840 N. Wabash Ave., will offer a seasonal Passover menu in anticipation of the Jewish holiday. The menu is available beginning the evening of Friday, April 22, through Saturday, April 30, starting at 5 p.m. nightly; the price is $39 for adults and $19 for children 10 years of age and under. Items include warm asparagus salad or housemade chicken-liver mousse; Faroe Island salmon or glazed beef shortribs; and crunchy bittersweet chocolate bars or poached spiced pear. See Bistronomic.net .
The 6th Annual Pastoral Artisan Producer Festival ( APF ), presented by The Specialty Food Association, will take place Saturday, April 30, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., at the Chicago French Market, 131 N. Clinton St. This free event, created by Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine, showcases the talents of local, national and international producers of high quality artisan foods and beverages. APF attendees can sample small-batch food, beer, wine and spirits from nearly 100 culinary artisans. Proceeds from this event will benefit Purple Asparagus and the Daphne Zepos Teaching Award, a scholarship fund for aspiring cheese professionals.
This Mother's Day, French-inspired patisserie Vanille is celebrating mom with a first-of-its-kind photo contest. From Monday, April 18, to Sunday, May 8, mothers and children of all ages who stop by one of Vanille's three Chicago locations can snap a photo of themselves enjoying any of Vanille's artisanal specialties for the chance to win an Afternoon Tea party for 10 people inside the luxurious Vanille Salon located at the Lincoln Park location, 2108 N. Clark St. ( To enter the Mom, Me & Vanille Photo Contest, guests need to post their photo on Facebook or Instagram using #MomMeVanille. They must also tag Vanille at @VanilleChicago on Instagram or "Vanille Patisserie" on Facebook. ) Visit VanillePatisserie.com .
On Sunday, May 8, Devon Seafood Grill, 39 E. Chicago Ave.,¯is offering a special Mother's Day Brunch available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and a three-course prix fixe dinner menu available at 4-9 p.m. Devon Seafood Grill's Mother's Day Brunch Buffet costs $38 for adults and $17 for children ages 4-12; children under 4 eat free. The Mother's Day prix fixe menu costs $45. Call 312-440-8660 or visit¯www.devonseafood.com .¯
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