Local culinary duo The Hearty Boys, Chicago chef Charlie McKenna, indie band Blind Pilot and children's entertainers will join The Nature Conservancy for its annual All Hands on Earth Picnic Saturday, April 20, at Millennium Park, Chase Promenade South Tent, 11 a.m. 3 p.m. Tickets to the picnic are $30/individual and $100/family, and include a picnic lunch provided by Park Grill, a reusable tote bag and water bottle. See www.nature.og/PicnicChicago.
Cru Kitchen & Bar, 25 E. Delaware Pl., unveiled its spring menu April 11 with a tasting. Guests noshed on items such as potato gnocchi, edamame hummus, ham-and-cheese croquettes and escarole poke. See crukitchen.com .
Open Door Clinic will hold "All Things Chocolate" Saturday, April 20, at St. Andrew's Country Club, 2241 Route 59, West Chicago, at 6:30 p.m. There will be food, an open bar, raffles and auctions. Tickets are $75; visit www.opendoorclinic.org/chocolate_fund_raiser or call 847-695-1093, ext 19.
In Sonoma, Calif., Out in the Vineyard will host its Gay Wine Weekend 2013 in California Wine Country June 14-16, according to SDGLN.com . It will be a weekend of wine and celebration benefiting the Sonoma County AIDS Network. Events will include "Wine & Dine OUT in Sonoma" and the "Twilight T-Dance." See www.outinthevineyard.com/events/gaywineweekend2013.
Dining Out for Life will take place April 25 in several North American cities, including Chicago; visit www.diningoutforlife.com . Last year, Chicago raised more than $110,000 to continue its mission of providing housing and services to men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS. Among the dozens of participating restaurants are Club Lucky, Andies, Crew Bar & Grill, Salpicon, and Longman & Eagle.
South Branch, 100 S. Wacker Dr., is hosting a Kentucky Derby-themed event Saturday, May 4, 2-6 p.m. The Southern buffet-style menu will feature bites including a Kentucky Hot Brown, Benedictine apread and pumpkin xheesecake vites with bourbon drizzle. Tickets are $20 ($25 at the door) and a percentage of the ticket proceeds will benefit the Rainbows Foundation; visit www.SouthBranchChicago.com .
This Mother's Day, Sunday, May 12, Shaw's Crab House in Schaumburg is offering a Sunday brunch and dinner buffet priced at $48 for adults while kids 12 and younger eat for free (limit 2 children per adult). The buffet will run 9 a.m.-3 p.m. and will feature a "Grand Hot Buffet" line with classic breakfast fare, plus Shaw's specialties. Call 847-517-2722 or visit www.shawscrabhouse.com .
Chicago Academy for the Arts' "A Taste for the Arts Gala" will feature the culinary creations of chefs who have all been previously featured on WTTW's popular dining show Check, Please! (Restaurants will include 90 Miles Cuban Cafe, Frontera Grill and Green Zebra, among others) The evening begins with a student performance at the Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph St., followed by dinner on the Millennium Park Terrace Tuesday, May 14, at 6 p.m. Individual tickets start at $350; visit www.atasteforthearts.org or call the Harris Theater box office at 312-334-7777.
Frontier, 1072 N. Milwaukee Ave., will host the fifth installment of the "So You Think You're a Foodie" chef's table on Wed., April 24, at 8 p.m. For $65 per person, guests are invited to indulge in a mystery five-course tasting menu (with a rabbit focus) that Pioneer Tavern Group Corporate Executive Chef Brian Jupiter will prepare. See www.thefrontierlive.com .
Sola, 3868 N. Lincoln Ave., is offering new items for brunch. Among the offerings are a wasabi Bloody Mary with wasabi pea rim, shrimp, pickled asparagus ($12); sausage and lentils with housemade pork sausage, fried egg and pesto ($9); and bibimbap with pork belly, egg, red rice, pineapple, spinach and kim chee ($12). See www.sola-restaurant.com .
Riva Crab House, 700 E. Grand Ave. (Navy Pier), will host an "Earth Dinner" Friday, April 19. (Hors d'oeuvres will be served at 6:30 p.m., with the dinner at 7 p.m.) The sustainable four-course menu will include items such as ahi tuna poke, Amazonian paiche, Painted Hill New York steak and a chocolate tasting. The cost is $75 (plus tax and tip); call 312-644-7482.
Brasserie by LM, 800 S. Michigan Ave., has introduced a kids' menu. The breakfast menu, available for $5, features an All American Kid's Breakfast, a European Kid's Breakfast and Pancake Skyscrapers, among other items. Lunch and dinner items include Cheezburger with pomme frites and grilled chicken breast. See www.BrasseriebyLM.com .
Vapiano, a European-inspired Italian "fresh casual" restaurant chain based in Virginia, will open a second Chicago location in July, according to ChicagoBusiness.com . Vapiano opened its first outlet in Lincoln Park in September 2011 and is targeting a mid-July opening for its second spot, at 44 S. Wabash Ave. (at the corner of Monroe Street), in the historic Louis Sullivan-designed Carson Pirie, Scott & Co. building that now houses City Target.
"A Goldmine of Planet Bordeaux Wines" will take place Friday, April 19, 5-8 p.m., at the 99th Floor at Skydeck in Willis Tower, 233 S. Wacker Dr. More than 20 winemakers and 50 wines will be featured; there will be workshops, quizzes and a raffle for a case of Bordeaux. Tickets are $35; see planetbordeauxchicago-eac2.eventbrite.com .
Chicago q, 1160 N. Dearborn St., is hosting a whiskey tasting Wed., April 24, 6:30-9 p.m. Sample four High West Whiskeys, including the Double Rye, Rendezvous Rye, American Prairie Reserve Bourbon and Campfire; in addition, there will be eats such as pulled pork sliders. Tickets are $72 in advance and $85 at the door (including tax and gratuity); call 312-642-1160.
Benny's Chop House, 444 N. Wabash Ave., is marking National Grilled Cheese Month with a lobster grilled cheese made with provolone cheese and housemade citrus mayonnaise on brioche ($10.99). Visit www.bennyschophouse.com .
Baconfest Chicago will take place at the UIC Forum, 725 W. Roosevelt Rd., on Saturday, April 20. The lunch session will be 12:30-3 p.m., and the dinner session will be 6:30-9 p.m., with a one-hour VIP event happening before each. A panel of judges bestows the Golden Rasher Awards on chefs and guests for achievement in the bacon arts. Tickets are $100 each; see baconfestchicago.com for more details.
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