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Dining news: James Beard finalists; Lent/Easter offerings
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

This article shared 2241 times since Tue Mar 22, 2016
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—Twelve Chicago restaurants were named finalists for the 2016 James Beard Awards, The Chicago Sun-Times noted. Chicago took all five Great Lakes best chef nods ( Fat Rice's Abraham Conlon, Grace's Curtis Duffy, Boka's Lee Wolen, Nico Osteria's Erling Wu-Bower and Sepia's Andrew Zimmerman ). Some of the other nominees include the restaurants Alinea, North Pond, Sepia and Topolobampo. The winners will be announced at a gala awards ceremony May 2 at the Civic Opera House; visit

—On Thursday, March 24, Sepia, 123 N. Jefferson St., is hosting an event with Avion tequila, at 6:30 p.m. The four-course dinner ( following hors d'oeuvres ) will offer items such as cobia ceviche, achiote-rubbed redfish, pork tenderloin and chocolate marquise, all paired with various tequilas. Tickets are $105 per person; call 312-441-1920.

—Lent ( which runs through March 24 ) may be the ideal time of year to enjoy one of Chef Ryan McCaskey's signature lobster rolls ( $18 ) at Acadia, which has received two Michelin stars. Packed with lobster meat from Stonington, Maine, and served on classic lobster rolls, this seafood favorite can also be ordered Connecticut-style—warmed in butter. For more information, call 312-360-9500.

—Also through Lent, Osteria Langhe, 2824 W. Armitage Ave., has a menu filled with dishes inspired by the Piedmont region of Italy, including the Pesce ( $27 ). Chef Cameron Grant prepares this pan-roasted mahi mahi with grape tomatoes, snap peas, Calabrian peppers, fragile and browned butter vinaigrette. For more information, call 773-661-1582.

—For Easter ( March 27 ), Enolo Wine Cafe, 450 N. Clark St., will present a seasonally driven three-course prix fixe menu inspired by French classics on Sunday, March 27, from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Items will include salad Nicoise, cassoulet ( with pork belly, merguez sausage, chicken confit, northern beans and crostinis ) and a fromage board. The menu is $35, and an optional wine pairing selected by Sommelier Anthony Rossi is available for an additional $15. Each guest can enter to win a special Easter basket filled with wine, chocolates, cheese and charcuterie that's valued at $200. See .

—Chicago q, 1160 N. Dearborn St., will have a Southern-style Easter brunch on March 27, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Popular items will include several kinds of eggs Benedict ( such as smoked chicken over honey-butter cornbread ), brown-sugar-cured city ham smoked over apple wood and other items. There will also be a visit from the Easter bunny, face-painting and an Easter egg hunt, all for kids; adults can visit the Bloody Mary bar or indulge in build-your-own mimosas. Call 312-642-1160.

—At Weber Grill restaurants, guests can feast on Corporate Chef Larry Donahue's holiday specials from the smoker and grills while kids can enjoy the "bento box style" brunch plate and Easter eggs filled with treats. See .

—Acadia, 1639 S. Wabash Ave., will offer an a la carte menu of delicate starters and entrees await guests including a selection of fresh oysters, cured salmon, peekytoe crab hash, "green eggs and ham," Maine lobster Benedict, Southern fried chicken, Maine blueberry pain perdu and more. Reservations can be made by calling 312-360-9500 or visiting .

—Earls Kitchen + Bar, 1538 N. Clybourn Ave., is offering an Easter brunch with items such as croque madame ( with grilled sourdough, poached egg, white cheddar, Virginia ham and roasted serrano cream ), goat-cheese frittata and sweet Virginia benny. See

—This Easter, Filini Bar & Restaurant ( 221 N. Columbus Dr. ) will offer a special brunch at 9 a.m.-3 p.m. The contemporary Italian restaurant offers an array of brunch and Italian menu items from espresso bourbon French toast and eggs Benedict to decadent seafood options including oysters on the half shell and seafood pasta. Other dishes include a create-your-own omelet station, carving station with rosemary-crusted leg of lamb, and a dessert station with an assortment of pastries and other sweet treats. Brunch is $65/person; call 312-477-0234.

—Easter brunch ( $65 for adults; $25 for children ) at The Tortoise Club, 350 N. State St., will be open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Classic brunch items and signature holiday favorites will feature everything from eggs Benedict florentine and Belgian waffles to bone-in ham and prime rib carving stations in addition to an iced seafood bar. In addition, complimentary family portraits will be taken. See .

—This Easter Sunday, March 27, Shaw's Crab House in Chicago is offering a Sunday-brunch buffet priced at $75 for adults and $20 for kids 12 and younger. Items will include a grand hot buffet line, omelet and waffle station, cold seafood bar, a surf-and-turf station and Shaw's Sweet Table. The buffet will be 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; an a la carte dinner menu will be available 4-9 p.m. Call 312-527-2722.

—Spiaggia, 980 N. Michigan Ave., is offering a Sardinian Easter on March 27 at 11 a.m.-4 p.m. for $65 per person. Items include frittata con asparagi e ricotta with salsiccia di maiale, Sardinian culingones with pecorino filled pasta and fava beans, roast lamb or branzino, artichokes and seadas with honey and berries. See

—For Easter Sunday, March 27, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Lucille at Drury Lane ( 100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace ) is hosting a special brunch. Menu highlights include omelet, savory and carving stations as well as a seafood bar and a dessert table. Mimosas and bellinis are complimentary throughout the meal, and there's a Bloody Mary bar. The cost is $10-$45; call 630-530-8300.

—Guests are invited to Easter brunch buffet at the Empire Room, located within The Palmer House, a Hilton Hotel, at 17 E. Monroe St., hosted by Lockwood Restaurant & Bar on March 27, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. The brunch will include seafood, spring market, a carving station, entrees and desserts. Easter brunch buffet prices range from $64 for adults, $59 for seniors ( 62 and over ), $30 for kids ( ages 4-12 ) and complimentary for children aged three years and younger. For reservations, call 312-917-3404 or visit .

—For Easter, March 27, R.J. Grunts will offer brunch at 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Enjoy its famous "All U Can Eat Weekend Brunch," with items ranging from Pecan bread pudding french toast and mini belgian waffles to grunts' thick-cut bacon, scrambled eggs, and yogurt and granola for $15.95. Visit or call 773-929-5363 to make reservations.

—The Bristol, 2152 N. Damen Ave., will celebrate Easter Sunday with a pastry board along with a range of pates, terrines and spreads for the table. Diners then choose an entree, from braised pork chilaquiles to French toast with apple compote to the classic Hangover Breakfast. Brunch is $35 per person and includes coffee or tea. To make a reservation, call 773-862-5555 or visit .

—Mon Ami Gabi, 2300 N. Lincoln Park West, is offering a sweet brunch with dishes like the creme brulee French toast and chocolate waffles with homemade fudge and whipped cream. There will also be savory items such as beef bourguignonne Benedict or the smoked salmon and homemade blinis with chive cream cheese and capers. See .

—Catalan restaurant Mercat a la Planxa, 638 S. Michigan Ave., commemorates National Paella Day on March 27 with specials throughout the week. On March 27-31, guests can order Mercat's paellas at half the price. Visit .

—In Logan Square, De Noche Mexicana will welcome neighbor Pinot's Pallette by teaming up with the new spot for a preview event at De Noche, 2710 N. Milwaukee Ave., on Tuesday, March 29, at 6:30 p.m. with "Sip Your Way to a Mexican Sunset." For $45 per person, patrons will be led by an instructor from Pinot's Palette on how to paint a sunset on a keepsake canvas as they enjoy Mexico's oldest beer, Victoria, along with fresh salsa and tortilla chips from De Noche Mexicana. Space is limited; visit .

—Robert's Pizza Company will open its doors Wed., March 30, in Streeterville at 355 E. Ohio St. Robert's Pizza Company will offer a rotating lineup of up to 15 gourmet brick-oven pizzas, "create-your-own" pizzas with toppings from select ingredients and the signature Robert's Pizza Flight. Similar to a four-course meal, pizza flights include a salad pizza, white pizza, entrée pizza, and finally, Robert's original dessert pizza. See .

—On March 31, White Oak Tavern & Inn, 1200 W. Webster Ave., will launch its Chef in Residence series with Chef Andrew Little of Josephine, a contemporary restaurant featuring American farmhouse cuisine located in Nashville. Chef Tom Van Lente and the White Oak Tavern & Inn team will host a collaborative meal with Little on Saturday, April 2. On April 3, Little will offer a five-course meal with dishes such as Nashville hot scrapple with frisee and pickle vinaigrette; and rabbit dumplings with asparagus, morels and radish. Tickets for Chef in Residence: Andrew Little at White Oak Tavern & Inn are $65 per person; call 773-248-0200.

—Hard Rock Cafe Chicago, 63 W. Ontario St., is offing a Guinness and Jameson bacon cheeseburger, paired with a Guinness stout, through Sunday, April 10. The burger will be served alongside Hard Rock's seasoned fries with the option to add a topping of Guinness cheese sauce and bacon, allowing guests to experience Irish stout flavors with every bite.

—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

—Mezcaleria Las Flores—Chicago's first mezcaleria, created by Rick Bayless' former mixology chief Jay Schroeder and chef/owner of Johnny's Grill, Sarah Jordan—is 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.

—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 .

—Frontier, 1072 N. Milwaukee Ave., has a new brunch available on weekends at 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The menu, created by Pioneer Tavern Group Corporate Chef Brian Jupiter, features items like a bacon flight, wagyu beef and kimchi reuben, pumpkin seed granola, beef tongue and eggs, and more. There are also cocktails such as mimosas, Doc Holiday ( Milagro tequila, carrot, cilantro, lime and Aquavit ) and the Corpse Reviver #2. See .

Send items to or follow on Twitter @Azygous60610 .

This article shared 2241 times since Tue Mar 22, 2016
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