Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Update on Mercadito River North opening

Known for killer tacos and margaritas, New York's Mercadito is opening a Chicago outpost in River North this summer. (Photo: Mercadito NYC)

Here's an update on the River North outpost for Mercadito that was exclusively reported here back in the winter.

An Ultimate Insider tells us New York's famed Mexican spot is still planning to open, but it's now pushed back to the summer. We'll keep you posted . . .

Oodles of noodles . . . and beer

Urban Belly's lamb and brandy dumplings (Photo: Chicagoist)

Chicagoist food writer Chuck Sudo reminds us of why noodle joint Urban Belly is one of the best things that ever happened to Logan Square. His experience at last night's beer-focused dinner got a glowing review, with his praising the chef and Goose Island brewmaster:

"Goose Island brewmaster Greg Hall told a sold-out house that he's had every dish on the Urban Belly menu twice over, while chef Bill Kim expressed his desire to host a beer dinner with Goose Island for years, dating back to his days at Le Lan. For this dinner, Hall and Kim didn't try to expand past what they already did well. . . . This was also one of a handful of dinners where most of the attendees left without feeling like they committed a cardinal sin. Too often at these events either the pours or the food are too much for one to bear. Kim struck the right notes in making the first two courses communal, whetting the guests' collective appetite for an amazing udon with ground pork and Chinese black bean. Meanwhile the pours meted out by Goose Island's PJ McNulty and company were manageable and not intended to get diners drunk."

Wine, wine all the time


There never seems to be a shortage of wine events around the city, so we rounded up some noteworthy gigs you don't want to miss:

Head to the River West beer-focused Paramount Room for a deal on dinner and drinks. We're used to the Friday night fish fry, but here they do it Tuesdays. Get all-you-can-eat fish and chips, paired with half-priced bottles of vino.

You'll also get half off on bottles of wine at both Feast locations (Gold Coast and Bucktown). All you have to do is buy an entree. It's also BYOB night at the Bucktown location.

Head to La Madia between 4-6pm for comped pizza in the lounge and $5 glasses of WOW (wine of the week). Or, make your way here after 9pm for the late-night fixe of a salad, pizza, glass of WOW or beer for $27 a couple.

And tomorrow's the Wine Spectator Grand Tour, happening at Navy Pier from 7-10pm. But if the $200 is a bit too steep, head to the pre-party at InterContinental's ENO wine lounge. They're hosting winemaker Nick James-Martin of d’Arenberg, who will pour a number of signature wines paired with ENO's amazing artisan cheese and chocolates. 4-6pm. Free with RSVP.