Monday, May 31, 2010

STAGE BITES: The Weekly Dining & Drinking Guide

R&B siren Erykah Badu headlines two shows at the Chicago Theatre Wednesday and Thursday.

Every Monday look for the week's top performances paired with the best deals before and after the show:

Erykah Badu at Chicago Theatre. Pleeeeease, Ms. Badu, try to keep your clothes on during the entire show! The tour's approps named Out My Mind, Just In Time, so expect her to perform songs from new album, New Amerykah Part Two, as well as Baduizm and Mama's Gun. N.E.R.D. and Janelle Monae open. 7:30pm Wednesday, Thursday. Get tickets here.

BIN 36: The new artisanal cheese flights are a delight, particularly the super-creamy Fat Cats, blue cheese-focused No Need To Sing The Blues or worldly We Love Italy collections. Prices range $12-$22 per flight. Proximity to show: Two blocks north; five-minute walk.

Roof: If you go before the show, go for small, shareable dishes like apple and bacon pizza, oven-roasted baby beets or grilled lamb burgers. For those who'd like to get down after the concert, this top-floor bar should be mayhem as the weather's supposed to be groovy. A number of signature cocktails should also hit the spot. Proximity to show: One-half block north.

Terrace: The sexy outdoor lounge situated on the 16th floor of the Trump hotel is the perfect place to take a date and spend some romantic moments alone. Also, if you hit it on Wednesdays, you'll be able to catch the Navy Pier fireworks around 9pm. Drinks are not cheap. Proximity to show: Two-and-one-half blocks north; five-minute walk.

Roof (Photo: Meredith Gregory)

Cirque Dreams Illumination at Bank of America Theatre (formerly LaSalle Bank Theatre). A number of world-class artists illuminate objects, balance on wires, leap structures and redefine flight with entertaining variety, comedy and extraordinary occurrences that reinvent everyday life. Urban acrobatics, dazzling choreography and brilliant illusions are ignited by special effects performed to an original score of jazz, salsa, ballroom, pop and trendy beats from the streets. June 2-6 (8pm Wednesday; 2, 7:30pm Thursday; 8pm Friday; 2, 8pm Saturday; 2, 7:30pm Sunday). Get tickets here.

Atwood Cafe: New Executive Chef Derek Simcik recently unveiled Atwood After Dark, wallet-friendly fare and drinks offered in the bar. From 8pm-close, guests can order $5 Manhattans and martinis as well as select glasses of wine and beer. Simcik has created a number of small bites: Shrimp "Corndog;" short rib slider with horseradish crème; and B.L.T. with crispy pork belly, charred romaine, confit cherry tomatoes and creamy polenta. Guests can also chow down on the scenic patio, located right outside Hotel Burnham. Proximity to show: Approximately one block south.

Italian Village: Chicago's oldest Italian restaurant is still going strong with Old World pastas and traditional entrees at reasonable prices. The cheese pizza is phenomenal, but get ready for a 30-minute wait. Proximity to show: One-half block west.

South Water Kitchen: You'll get the best value on Thursday for $3 on all draft beer; $15 bottles of house selections of cabernet and chardonnay; and $5 burgers. Proximity to show: About three-and-a-half blocks north; five-minute cab ride.

Atwood Cafe Executive Chef Derek Simcik (Photo: Atwood Cafe)

The Good Negro at Goodman Theatre. This dramatic play looks behind the historic headlines of the Civil Rights Era of the 1960s. Show ends June 6 (2, 7:30pm Thursday; 8pm Friday; 2, 8pm Saturday; 2, 7:30pm Sunday). Get tickets here.

Bar Novo: The Renaissance Chicago Hotel lobby lounge offers a good selection of small plates, including the mini Cuban sandwiches (which come with a bucket of Coronitas!), corned beef sliders and Guinness-dipped onion rings. Proximity to show: One block north; five-minute walk.

Cyrano's Cafe & Wine Bar on the Riverwalk: The seasonal cafe—which is an extension of the iconic Cyrano's Bistrot & Wine Bar—offers an abbreviated menu of steak frites, sandwiches and pastries. Brunch is especially ideal, which the area is less hectic, for a prime view of the Chicago River. 11am-3pm Saturday, Sunday brunch. Proximity to show: Six blocks east (south bank of the Chicago River, between Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive); five-minute cab ride.

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