Thursday, June 11, 2009

Feast on foie gras, festivals . . .


One year ago this week the Chicago City Council repealed the foie gras ban, so a number of local chefs are celebrating with specials on their menus today through June 16.

Chicago Chefs For Choice debuts the first-ever Foie Gras Fest, offering $10 signature foie gras dishes. Participating restaurants include Cafe Bernard, Cafe Matou, Carlos, Cyrano's Bistrot, David Burke's Primehouse and May Street Market.

At David Burke's Primehouse, Executive Chef Rick Gresh overachieves with way more foie gras dishes than everyone else, with 11 offerings! We especially dig the Chicago-Style "Foie Gras Dog," Mini Deep Dish Foie Gras Pizza, Beer Fried Foie, Lobster & Foie Gras Roll and Foie Gras Pierogies.

Duck delicacy not your deal?! No worries, there's so much more going down this weekend . . .


Those thumbing their noses at the bar of the moment head to long-standing places like NAHA, which offers one of the coolest lounge scenes in town. We recommend settling in for appetizers and one of their hand-crafted cocktails from the spring menu. Our faves?! Spring Ahead (Don Julio Blanco, housemade apple-celery juice, fresh lemon juice, organic agave nectar, Kubler absinthe) and a local take on the Manhattan, the Chicago (Templeton Rye-infused with fresh vanilla, Barolo Chinato, house-made brandied cherries, blood orange bitters).

Starfruit opens its second location in Lincoln Park location today, however, we're surprised that for their "grand opening" celebration they're only giving away "free toppings" with every purchase of the frozen treats. That happens all day, plus live entertainment and a deejay.


The Steppenwolf Auxiliary Council's annual Red or White Ball is the group's biggest benefit of the year and you don't want to miss it (full disclosure: 312DD is a member). This year they're moving the event to eco-chic Salvage One (1840 W. Hubbard St.), so expect it to be decked out in artistic glory. Open bar, apps, silent auction, live entertainment all for a young, hip crowd. 8pm (VIP reception starts at 7pm). $135 (VIP $250).

Limited tickets are still available for the annual Gold Coast Film Fest, taking place at the Royal George Theatre (1641 N. Halsted St.). You'll see offbeat shorts by local artists, plus films by chef/owners Graham Elliot Bowles (graham elliot; currently starring on Bravo TV's Top Chef Masters) and Kevin Boehm (BOKA, Landmark, Perennial). Ticket includes two drink tickets to pre-event at Landmark and admission to film fest. Landmark's also offering attendees a three-course meal for $35. Starts at 6:30pm. $35 for tickets.


Nab a seat early for the chef demo at Green City Market as Café des Architectes' Martial Noguier hits the stage at 10:30am. He'll be whipping up a spring arborio risotto prepared with produce from the market. Market opens at 7:30am. Free.

Wells Street Art Festival happens today and tomorrow (10am-10pm), so wear comfortable shoes and get ready to fight the crowds. Expect every restaurant and bar in the area to be jam packed, particularly the usual suspects. Maybe just maybe newcomer tapas spot Eivissa will have room at the inn for sangria and bites.

Same goes for Andersonville Midsommarfest, happening in the very food frenzied 'hood. Our absolute favorite places along the way?! M Henry for brunch, In Fine Spirits for classic cocktails and La Cocina de Frida for tall pitchers of sangria on the back patio. 11am-10pm Saturday, Sunday.

Another Saturday, another tasting. Pops for Champagne explores Grand Cru terroir of Verzenay, featuring three curvees from multiple formats. 3-5pm. $20.

Vision Cellars will be onsite at Park 52, offering diners and bar patrons tastings of its 2006 pinot noir and 2007 sauvignon blanc/pinot gris blend. These wines have even been served at the White House. 6-10pm


We're excited about the new brunch cocktails at Feast Bucktown. The Moscato Mimosa and Bucktown Bloody Hell add flair to traditional mimosas and Bloody Marys, plus adult smoothies like Love Juice (made with Svedka Citron vodka, crushed strawberries and sparkling Champagne) will get your Sunday off to a great start.


And get the guys together and hang out on the patio at Motel Bar. They're showing screenings of True Romance and Fight Club, plus you'll get to choose from a number of hypermasculine cocktail specials. 8pm-2am. No cover.