The patisserie Vanille has introduced macarons ... for dogs. Puparons are made of peanut butter, egg whites, honey and other dog-safe ingredients. Small Puparons are $2.50 for a two-piece package and $4.50 for a four-piece; the large ones are $2 each or $7 for four. See VanillePatisserie.com .
Magnolia Bakery, at Block 37 at 108 N. State St., has created a chocolate version of its banana pudding. The new chocolate banana pudding is made up of layers of OREO wafers, fresh bananas, chocolate shavings and creamy chocolate pudding. See MagnoliaBakery.com .
Protein Bar has unveiled a new breakfast menu just in time for National Nutrition Month. Additions include the Chilaquiles Bowl or Bar-rito made with crushed blue corn tortilla chips, black beans, house-made salsa, kale, and spicy tomatillo cilantro lime sauce ( 240 calories and 14 grams of protein ); El Verde Mañana Bowl or Bar-rito with roasted poblanos and onions, tomatillo sauce, chipotle Greek yogurt, spinach, and fresh avocado ( 210 calories, 16g protein ); the Peanut Butter & Acai Oatmeal Plus with organic peanut butter, acai puree, organic agave nectar, almond milk and banana ( 400 calories, 15g protein ); and the Matcha Oatmeal Plus with matcha, organic agave nectar, almond milk, Greek yogurt, hemp seeds, and acai puree ( 270 calories, 10g protein ).
The National Maple Syrup Festival will return to Nashville, Indiana, for a second year on March 5-6. New to the 2016 Festival is "Tap the Town" on Feb. 27; this hands-on experience provides guests with the unique opportunity to tap their own maple trees. ( The event also will include a visit to Hinkle-Garton Farmstead, a commemorative bottle of pure Indiana maple syrup and tickets to the National Maple Syrup Festival on March 5-6. ) Visit www.browncounty.com/national-maple-syrup-festival .
At its annual board meeting, held at the Union League Club of Chicago, the Illinois Restaurant Association ( IRA ) elected Dan Costello as board chair. Costello, who served previously as first vice chairman, is the president of Home Run Inn Restaurant Group, and replaces outgoing chairman Patrick Donelly of the Hyatt Regency Chicago. The IRA also named Sam Sanchezowner of John Barleycorn, Moe's Cantina and Old Crow Smokehouseas restaurateur of the year, United Healthcare as vendor of the year and Eurest: A Division of Compass Group as Sara Rowe ProStart® Company of the Year.
Pastry Chef Alain Roby celebrates his All Chocolate Kitchen, 33 S. Third St., Geneva, with the announcement of his third expansion in three years: PRIMO. Guests at PRIMO ( which is now open ) can dine on a selection of exclusive domestic, french and italian artisanal cheeses, charcuterie, short ribs in a red wine sauce, seared lamb shank with portobello mushrooms and green spiced lentils, crostini au fromage, and Grandmother Louise's eggplant confit. Visit www.AllChocolateKitchenPrimo.com or call 630-232-2395.
Mount Prospect's Randhurst Village has announced the launch of Randhurst Restaurant Week, March 13-19. Eleven restaurants and eateriesincluding Blackfinn Ameripub, e+o Food and Drink, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Truco Taqueria and Naf Naf Grill, among otherswill offer specials and prix-fixe menus. See RandhurstVillage.com/restaurants .
Formento's, 925 W. Randolph St., will host its inaugural "Battle of the 'Balls" on Sunday, March 6, where prominent Chicago chefs will engage in a friendly competition to see who can make the best meatball. Some of the participating chefs include Chris Pandel of B. Hospitality Co., Sean Pharr of The Bristol, Paul Virant of Perennial Virant and Vie, and Joshua Kulp & Christine Cikowski of Honey Butter Fried Chicken. Admission is $60 each; visit battleoftheballs.bpt.me/ .
Geja's Cafe, 340 W. Armitage Ave., invites guests to the M. Chapoutier Winemaker Dinner on Monday, March 7, at 6:30 p.m. Part of Geja's Winemaker Dinner series, the event features a four-course dinner paired appropriately with select wines. Cost for each dinner is $60 per person, which includes the wines, dinner, tax and gratuity. See GejasCafe.com .
On Monday, March 7, seafood fans are invited to sample their favorite dishes at Chowdah Fest Chicago at the Columbia Yacht Club, 111 N. Lakeshore Dr. Now in its sixth year, the annual chowder battle offers traditional and reinvented chowder recipes from 14 of Chicago's top chefs, with a portion of proceeds benefiting the Sea Scouts youth sailing program. A portion of products and ingredients for the culinary challenge will be donated by event sponsor Fortune Fish & Gourmet. Tickets are $50 each; www.eventbrite.com/e/chowdah-fest-2016-tickets-21120436795 .
Villains, 730 S. Clark St., will hold a Malort Madness event Tuesday, March 8. Beginning at 5 p.m., guests can try four specialty cocktail offerings made with the classic Chicago spirit Jeppson's Malort; the cocktail with the greatest guest response will be added to Villains bar menu. Drinks are $8 each, or can be ordered in a flight of four-ounce pours for $14.
The Boundary, 1932 W. Division St., is closed to the public and will reopen Friday, March 11, at 11 a.m. as the bar/grill undergoes a renovation. The remodeling includes replacing all booths with rolling high-top tables for customizable seating, and removing the woodwork along the west wall and exposing the original brick. Also, the restaurant is installing massive quad screens on either side of the fireplace, with additional screens flanking the quads.
DMK cocktail bar Henry's, 18 W. Hubbard St., invites guests Saturday, March 12, with specialty food and drink offerings. The laid-back River North lounge features a corned-beef slider with fries for $5 from opening until 5 p.m. Drinks specials include green Jell-O shots and a specialty cocktail. For more information, visit www.henrys-chicago.com .
With a view of the annual St. Patrick's Day river-dyeing ceremony, River Roast, 315 N. LaSalle St., is offering Irish-themed specials all day on Saturday, March 12. Guests can enjoy Chef John Hogan's braised corned beef cabbage with root vegetables and bacon over a bed of boiled red potatoes ( $17 ); or shepherd's pie with braised lamb, seasonal vegetables and duchess potatoes ( $19 ). Reservations are recommended; call 312-822-0100.
Travelle Kitchen + Bar, 330 N. Wabash Ave., invites guests to watch from above as the Chicago River gets dyed green for St. Patrick's Day on Saturday, March 12. At 8 a.m., the lounge opens early for guests to reserve bar tables with a $50 minimum per person to take in the festivities. Visit www.TravelleChicago.com .
Irish-inspired bar and restaurant GreenRiver, 259 E. Erie St., 18th floor presents a way to celebrate on Parade Day with local brews and bites from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday, March 12. St. Paddy's Day Beer Fest tickets, priced at $65 per person, include five five-ounce tastings from local breweries such as Chicago-based Half Acre Beer and Moody Tongue Brewing Company. Call 312-337-0101.
Claudiaa fine-dining underground pop-up restaurant from Chef Trevor Teich ( L20; Acadia )is hosting two eight-course dinner seatings featuring a brand-new spring menu on Saturday, March 12. Tickets for the Claudia spring dinners must be purchased via www.claudiarestaurant.com . There is a 5 p.m. seating and there's an 8:30 p.m. seating; each can accommodate up to 16 guests. Some of the planned dishes include king-crab roll, salmon, squab and strawberry and chocolate.
Bar Toma, 110 E. Pearson St., gets into the Irish spirit with "The Lean Green," a wood-fired pizza with spinach and basil pesto, mozzarella and grape tomatoes ( $18 ). The Lean Green is available throughout March as the "Pizza of the Month." For more information, call 312-266-3110 or visit www.bartomachicago.com .
Jake Melnick's Corner Tap, 41 E. Superior St., is offering an all-you-can-eat St. Patrick's Day Brunch ( $6 ) 8-11 a.m. on Saturday, March 12. There will be items such as Belgian waffles with Bailey's syrup, emerald fruit salad, corned beef hash and more. Green beer specials are available at a separate cost. For more information, visit www.jakemelnicks.com or call 312-266-0400 .
Put on by Iceland Naturally immediately following the launch of Icelandair's direct route to Chicago O'Hare International Airport on March 16, Taste of Iceland will take place in restaurants, theaters and music venues across Chicago from Thursday, March 17 through Sunday, March 20. In celebration of bringing the tastes of Iceland to Chicago, Thrainn Freyr Vigfussonone of three head chefs at LAVA Restaurant in Blue Lagoonwill collaborate with a local restaurant in preparing a limited-time three course pre-fixe menu. See icelandnaturally.com/article/taste-iceland-chicago-2016 .
Frasca Pizzeria & Wine Bar, 3358 N. Paulina Ave., will bring back its famous Guinness Pizza on St. Patrick's Day ( March 17 ). The wood-fire oven pie ( $13 ) is made with a real Guinness stout crust and topped with bechamel sauce, roasted onions, fingerling potatoes, bacon, three cheeses and a signature egg.
For a spin on St. Patrick's Day cuisine, Hyde Park's The Promontory, 5311 S. Lake Park Ave. West, offers a house-cured pastrami sandwich ( $15 ) from Chef de Cuisine Matt Swilinski. The sandwich is layered on pumpernickel schmeared with thousand-island pickle mayo, topped with apple-bacon sauerkraut, melted Emmenthaller ( a medium-hard Swiss cheese ) and served with fries. See PromontoryChicago.com .
For the second year in a row, Mrs. Murphy & Sons Irish Bistro, 3905 N. Lincoln Ave., is taking St. Patrick's Day to another level with 17 days of activities and events, up until St. Patrick's Day. New this year to the lineup is an exclusive whiskey dinner consisting of a four-course meal of small plates paired with whiskey cocktails from Tullamore Dew. Diners will have the chance to taste a variety of wild game including Denver venison, Chilean sea bass and Texas wild boar during this pairing, which takes place March 4 at 7:30 p.m. See IrishBistro.com .
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-stylewarmed 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 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.
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 MercatChicago.com .
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.
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