Restaurant recommendation: I've eaten at the Uptown mainstay Pho 888 several timesand I've never been disappointed.
And apparently I'm not the only one who likes this "hole-in-the-wall" restaurant, as it's received several "best of" awards. One of my favorite dishes there is the steamed vermicelli with egg roll and grilled pork, but there are loads of delicious choices.
The fastest way to this Vietnamese spot (1137 W. Argyle St.; menupages.com/pho-888/1137-w-argyle-st-chicago&; is probably via the Red Line. However, because of construction, the Argyle stop is actually on Winona Street, which is about a five-minute walk away.
Uplifting: On Saturday, Oct. 28, 6-8 p.m., put your Bavarian strength to the test and participate in Harry Caray Tavern's traditional stein-hoisting competition.
The strength-and-stamina contest involves participants holding a full, one-liter Sam Adams stein with a straight arm parallel to the ground for as long as possible, without spilling. The winner will receive a special prize from Sam Adams.
By the way, this spot is hosting Oktoberfest specials involving items like pumpkin cheesecake, Bavarian-style pretzels, bratwurst and Sam Adams drinks.
RIP: Colleen Flood, the longtime co-owner of The Four Treys Tavern, has passed away at age 79 of cancer, the Chicago Sun-Times noted. A small block party that Flood and a few others started in the 1980s grew into Retro on Roscoe, one of the city's most popular street festivals.
UMIAMIa French food-tech company specializing in plant-based meat alternatives that has brought its total funding to $107 million in just three yearsis opening a headquarters in Chicago and will hire locally.
This substantial injection of capital will be instrumental in advancing UMIAMI's so-called "umisation" process, which, according to a press release, creates "plant-based fillets that perfectly mimic animal meat (whole cuts)both in taste and texturewith equivalent nutritional value." For more info, visit www.UMIAMI.com .
Spook-tacular: Yes, Halloween is right around the cornerand spots all over Chicago are getting into the spirit (pun intended).
At Good Ambler, 216 N. Peoria St., Pastry Chef Meg Galus is crafting treats like pumpkin spice macarons, black cocoa crinkle cookies, maple pecan cheesecake brownies, apple-butter cream-cheese brioche and pumpkin pain suisse. However, for Halloween weekend (Oct. 28-29), there will be items such as black sesame old-fashioned doughnuts, Haunted Black Forest Cake, Graveyard Dirt Cups and Ghostly Caneles. See www.goodambler.com .
Family-friendly tricks and treats await you at Little Goat Diner, 3325 N. Southport Ave., which is hosting Pumpkin Painting on Sunday, Oct. 22, 2-5 p.m. No tickets or reservations are required in advance. In addition, neighbors GG's Chicken Shop and Itoko will have fun offerings as well.
JoJo's ShakeBAR (formerly JoJo's Milk Bar)which has locations in Chicago's River North area as well as Napervillehas several fall/Halloween-related events happening. For example, specialty menu items include the Pumpkin Patch Shakewhich is topped with a massive taffy apple, a slice of pumpkin pie, a chocolate-toffee pretzel stick and a freshly toasted marshmallow. There are also a Pumpkin Patch Extravaganza (running through Nov. 3; bucketlisters.com/experience/pumpkin-painting-at-jojo-s-pumpkin-patch&, Basic Witch Mixology Classes (through Oct. 31; bucketlisters.com/experience/basic-witch-mixology&; and even a Dry Flower Disco Ball Workshop (only in Naperville, on Oct. 26). For more info, visit www.jojosshakebar.com .
NOTE: An expanded version of this column is at future3733.substack.com .