Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Stack 'em up high!


Noooooo one can make pancakes like my momma, but you'll get a close second during National Pancake Week running through Friday as restaurants in the city celebrate:

It's hard as hell to get into Wicker Park mainstay Bongo Room on weekends, but you always get a lucky break during the week. Sneak in for lunch and order the White Chocolate & Caramel Covered Pretzel Pancakes (crushed pretzel coated pancakes topped with warm white chocolate cream and topped with buttery caramel) or Lemon Ricotta Pancakes topped with crushed ginger snap and brown sugar butter.

David Burke's Primehouse offers a number of sweet and savory options especially for the occasion. For breakfast, indulge in the decadent PB & J Half Dollar Stacks with strawberry syrup or the Chocolate Pancakes with bananas and dried cherry syrup. And during lunch, the unique savory takes include Steak & Egg Pancakes (with mushroom, caramelized onion and spinach), Lobster Pancakes (with truffle butter and chili threads) or Pepper Salmon & Corn Pancakes with preserved onion and caviar crema.

Iconic breakfast joint Ina's, in the West Loop, knows a little something about pancakes, too. Owner Ina Pinkney's been cooking her version of traditional breakfast favorites for more than 30 years, and her Whole Wheat Oatmeal Pancakes are not to be missed—especially when you toss in fresh bananas or blueberries.

Southern-style stacks can be found at Sweet Maple Cafe, in Little Italy. Their Apple Spice Pancakes are certainly filling, and go down good with a side order of bone-in ham or turkey sausage.

And we cannot make this list without Wishbone, with locations in the West Loop and Lakeview. The Fruit Pancakes should start off any day with a smile. Choose from seasonal fresh mango, peach, blueberry, banana or strawberry.

More cheers for beer


My fellow craft beer buds, you don't want to miss these events:

Doesn't the thought of a Stouts & Porters Tasting make your mouth water?! They may still have a few seats left for tonight's event at Bluebird, which includes a dozen global beers from St. Amroise Oatmeal Stout (Montreal) to Two Brothers Northwind Imperial Stout (Warrenville, Ill.). Twenty-five bucks also gets you brats and snacks. Reservations required. 7:30pm.

Sheffield’s beer school is in session, this time pairing suds with slices from Ian's Pizza. Their wacky mac 'n' cheese pizza, plus those topped with S'Mores, BBQ chicken and a salad (?!) will be artfully complemented with selections from beer expert Phil Kuhl. $25. Reservations required. Wednesday.

Or for a less-structured event Wednesday, head to West Loop hang The Beer Bistro for $2 cans of Hamm’s, PBR, Schlitz, Old Style or Point. OK, so those aren't nowhere near craft beers, but they'll perfectly pair with the beer-battered chicken fingers, BLT Club or one of their specialty pizzas. Happens every week.

Annual schmoozefest Wine, Beer & Art Party, hosted by 20/30 Club of Chicago, happens at Mars Gallery (1139 W. Fulton Market). Get ready for a well-picked selection of beer and wine. All proceeds benefit Mercy Home for Boys and Girls, Horizons For Youth, HFS Chicago Scholars and MGR Foundation. 7-11pm Feb. 27. $35 in advance; $40 at door.

The Publican premieres the Monthly Beer Dinner Series on March 1 with the debut of Executive Chef Paul Kahan's Banana 7-Inch, a banana beer he created with Three Floyds. The four-course dinner is served family style, and reservations are highly recommended. $45 for dinner (additional $20 for beer pairings). 5-10pm.

And a special Unibroue Beer Dinner occurs at C-House with commentary by the brewer's own culinary attaché Jim Javenkoski. He'll guide guests through the five-course menu paired with the Belgian-inspired ales. Just tell us when the suckling pig arrives piping hot with the White Ale with Fruit and Spices. That's 6-8pm March 5. $40 (reservations required).

Let the Good Times Roll!

The Krewe of Isis on the Mardi Gras Parade route in New Orleans. (Photo: nola.com)

Today's the today for your Fat Tuesday parties, and 312DD's got your list right here.

Also, peep Dining Chicago's video feature on new-ish Cajun-themed spot YATS in the West Loop.