Thursday, March 6, 2008

March right into the weekend


That's right. There's just too much going on this weekend, so there's no excuse not to hit the streets:


Avenue M (695 N. Milwaukee Ave., 312-243-1133) hosts a cocktail party to introduce its new executive chef, Mariano Aguirre. The party includes complimentary cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, but reservations are required by calling the restaurant. Also, the Dan Cray Trio performs. 6pm-until.

Enjoy special selections of French vino at the South Loop Wine Cellar (1442 S. Michigan Ave., 312-356-0630). That event also occurs tonight from 6-8pm. Free.

Also happening in the South Loop is the weekly deep house music party hosted by Groove Parlor. Mario Romay and Mark Grant spin Latin, soul and other sexy sounds at Cuatro (2030 S. Wabash Ave., 312-842-8856). 10pm-2am. No cover.

You'll find more high-energy grooves at JBar (610 N. Rush St., 312-660-7200) for the Sounds Good Thursdays session. Jesse de la Pena brings on the sounds with a live percussionist; get there early for a comp VIP champagne tasting from 9-10pm; Stoli Elit cocktail specials all night for $5; bottles $150; 20 percent off King Baby jewelry at event. 9pm-2am. No cover.

Jazzheads can head to 3030 (2830 N. Milwaukee) for the Elastic Arts Foundation's highly regarded weekly Improvised Music Series. Enjoy eclectic sounds by Kimmel/Hatwich/Hess/Riordan, beginning at 10pm.


San Francisco's DJ Morsecode hits the tables for Outfit Event's weekly bash at Enclave (213 W. Institute Pl., 312-654-0234). I'm not sure if it's the deejays they're bringing in or the crowd, but their events are red-HOT right now. Make sure you check out the after-party at Stone Lotus (873 N. Orleans St., 312-440-9680) till 4am. No cover before 11pm if you RSVP to

The original First Fridays happens this week at Victor Hotel (311 N. Sangamon St., 312-733-6900). DJ Mark Fuller hosts and spins the networking party. 9pm-2am. No cover before 11pm.


Peruvian-born spin master Mario Romay takes a break from his usual house music to rock out at new party Sunny Side Up. It takes place at Darkroom (2210 W. Chicago Ave., 773-276-1411), and he'll spin a special and eclectic mix of Latin and African variety, Brazilian vibes, Afrobeat and more. Resident deejays 4BZ and Mwelwa will also spin. No cover before 11pm; $5 after.

If you feel like heading away for the weekend, the Abbey Resort (269 Fontana Blvd., Fontana, WI) is hosting the first-ever Great Chefs at the Lake Series, which kicks off on Saturday. A number of Chicago-based chefs are heading up there, where guests will have the opportunity to mix and mingle with them, Abbey Executive Chef Scott Powers and each other. Bill Kim (Le Lan), Mark Mendez (Carnivale), Dudley Nieto (Zocolo) and Andy Webber (Carlucci Restaurant) are the esteemed chefs who will serve up some of their specialties. Each weekend features a cocktail reception, cooking demonstration with the participating chef, wine-tasting event and a four-course feast. This weekend features Carlucci chef Andy Webber (March 7-9). The following weekends: Dudley Nieto (March 14-16); Mark Mendez (March 28-30); and Bill Kim (April 4-6). Call 800-772-1000 for more information.


Help some well-deserving youth by dining out at Cafe Selmarie (4729 N. Lincoln Ave., 773-989-5595) tonight. Ten percent of dinner sales will benefit the Walter Payton College Prep High School Concert Choir, which has been invited to sing during Beijing's 2008 Summer Olympics. This choir is one of only five in the nation to be invited to participate, so the proceeds will help all 42 members with their travel expenses.