Remember when I said last week that August is National Sandwich Month? Well, here are a couple other items to keep in mind.
Sunda New Asian, 110 W. Illinois St., is offering steamed bun sliders (scallion bao buns) filled with your choice of pork belly, Korean fried chicken or crispy eggplant. Loop spot 312 Chicago is offering a Vegetali Grigliatizucchini, onion, portobella, eggplant, mozzarella and herb mayo on a ciabattawith fries. And even The Goddess and Grocer (a favorite spot of mine) is getting into the spirit with a new Hot Honey Butter Chicken Sandwich.
One of the biggest culinary events of the yearChicago Gourmetis taking place Sept. 21-24.
Founding sponsor Illinois Restaurant Association, with presenting sponsor Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits, will celebrate all things food and travel this year, with the theme for the 2023 weekend culinary festival to be "All Roads Lead to Gourmet."
Events will include Tacos & Tequila, Somm Sessions, the Hamburger Hop competition, Late Night Gourmet (at TAO Chicago, 632 N. Dearborn St.), Grand Cru, Rise & Shine Gourmet, and Prost! In the Park. Most of the events will take place at and around the Harris Theater rooftop at 205 E. Randolph St.
Dozens of renowned chefs, sommeliers and other culinary professionals will also be present, including Rick Bayless, Tigist Reda (Demera Ethiopian Restaurant), Art Smith, Stephanie Izard, Pat Sang (Oki Sushi), Tony Priolo (Piccolo Sogno), Shota Nakajima (Taku Seattle), Paul Fehribach (Big Jones) and Dominique Leach (Lexington Betty Smoke House).
Visit www.eventbrite.com/e/chicago-gourmet-2023-tickets-558296739577 and www.chicagogourmet.org/ for tickets and more info.
Northbrook's Prairie Grass Cafe (601 Skokie Blvd., 847-205-4433) and Ricky Sakoda, former chef of Merriman's in Kapalua, Maui will host a fundraiser Sunday, Aug. 27, to benefit The Hawai'i Community FoundationChef Hui Fund to help victims of the devastation caused by the wildfires in Maui, particularly for the community of chefs in Hawai'i.
The fundraiser is in partnership with Chef Sarah Stegner, of Prairie Grass Cafe; Ricky Sakoda, former chef of Merriman's in Kapalua, Maui; Randall Sabado, Sr. Executive R&D Chef of Cooper's Hawk; Arshiya Farheen, chef of Verzenay; and Sebastian White, chef of The Evolved Network.
There are two ways to participate. First, Prairie Grass Cafe is sponsoring a happy hour, 3-5 p.m., on Sunday, Aug. 27, at the bar area of Prairie Grass Cafe. The $50 admission per person includes tasting stations, passed canapes (such as ahi poke and pork-belly tostada) and wine. A cash bar for cocktails and beer will be available. Gratuity is not included.
Second, beginning at 5 p.m. and priced at $100 per person (not including gratuity for the staff), guests can participate in a family-style dinner, with wine, prepared by the five participating chefs and served in the Prairie Grass Cafe private dining room. Items will include suckling pig, root-vegetable coconut curry, corn elite and peach pie, among other offerings.
Reservations may be made by calling Prairie Grass Cafe at 847-205-4433. Payment for the events will be taken upon arrival on Aug. 27. The full ticket price for both events, $150, will be donated to the Hawai'i Community FoundationChef Hui Fund but we ask that you leave a cash tip for the Prairie Grass Cafe staff.
The spice-focused feast "Flames of the Mediterranean," will take place at Bar Avec on Sunday, Sept. 10. (Seatings begin at 4 p.m., with the last seating happening at 10 p.m.)
Lior Lev Sercarz of the NYC-based spice brand La Boite will join One Off Hospitality's chefs Dylan Patel of avec, Greg Wade of Publican Quality Bread, and Chef/Partner Paul Kahan for a ticketed spice-centric, live fire dinner under the stars.
Each guest will be treated to a three-course meal and a signed copy of Lior's new book. There will be breads courtesy of Wade and salatim (snacks) such as olive stew, cevizli biber (Turkish spread with walnut and red pepper), and feta and dukkah. Other courses will include items including hamachi crudo, shrimp with shatta (an African spice) and rose, freekeh tabouleh and mini kunafa.
Tickets are $125 each, excluding tax and gratuity; visit Tock.
More than 50 top Chicago chefs and mixologistsincluding many Michelin, James Beard and Bib Gourmand award winnerswill gather at The Celebrity Chef Ball on Friday, Oct. 20, 6-11:30 p.m., at The Geraghty, 2520 S. Hoyne Ave.
The event aims to support homebound seniors struggling with food insecurity. Proceeds will support Meals on Wheels Chicago in their ongoing mission to end hunger and isolation for seniors and people with disabilities.
Just a few of the chefs slated to participate include Jared Wentworth (Moody Tongue), Brian Jupiter (Frontier/Ina Mae Tavern), Justin Gomes (Travelle), Paul Virant (Vie) and Jacob Saben (Coda di Volpe).
Tickets are $400 each; visit www.mealsonwheelschicago.org/ccb.
Also, Saturday, Aug. 26, is National Dog Dayand there are at least a couple events you should have on your radar.
Cody's Public House, 1658 W. Barry Ave., will host a National Dog Day Party on Aug. 26 at 12-4 p.m. Dogs will be treated to FREE Pup Cups, dog treats from The Raw Butcher and dog swag while people can participate in raffles benefiting Second City Canine Rescue (SCCR). Cody's will serve themed drinks from their Puptail Menu in which 50% of proceeds will also be donated to SCCR.
Also, Chicagoans can celebrate National Dog Day with their favorite pooches at Easy Bar, 1944 W. Division St. Guests can enjoy the casual dog-friendly sidewalk patio at Easy Bar while taking advantage of a half-price happy hour at 4-6 p.m. Available all evening are $9 beer-and-shot combos.
Lastly, Royal Sonesta Chicago Downtown, 71 E. Wacker Dr., will offer a 30-minute dog walk starting at 11 a.m., led by its expert CHI-SOCIETY instructor. (All dog enthusiasts are welcome to join with or without pups.) Following a scenic walk, the festivities will continue on the Hoyt's American Tavern patio; guests will sample healthy bites crafted for humans and canines, courtesy of Chef John Rudolph. Tickets are $35 each; visit https://www.chi-society.com/event-details/the-dog-days-of-summer.
News: The owners of the upscale Gold Coast restaurant Maple & Ash could be in trouble.
Investors in one of Chicago's most successful restaurants claimed they have proof the founders of the Maple & Ash steakhouse engaged in "rampant misappropriation" of federal pandemic relief funds and diverted millions of dollars into other accounts, WBEZ and the Chicago Sun-Times reported after both petitioned for court records to be unsealed.
The diverted funds allegedly included more than $2 million funneled t
oward the purchase of a Learjet in 2021. Records show the Chicago and Arizona locations of Maple & Ash received about $7.6 million in PPP funds from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
However, the owners deny any wrongdoing. "Once again, all funds were properly applied for, utilized for operations and forgiven," attorney Doug Wexler said in a statement. "Ultimately, Maple & Ash will prevail on each issue put forth by the plaintiffs."
People who are in Chicago surely love to drink, but the suburb of South Holland has actually been dryuntil now.
Blueberry Field Pancake House and Restaurant has received the burb's first liquor license and will start offering mimosas on its breakfast menu beginning in September, The Chicago Sun-Times noted.
Note: More information is at future3733.substack.com .