Monday, June 14, 2010

STAGE BITES: The Weekly Dining & Drinking Guide

Dennis Leary headlines Chicago Theater as part of the weeklong "Just For Laughs" festival.

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

Just For Laughs at various Chicagoland locations. Tuesday through Saturday, some of the country's funniest comedians hit the stage, including high-profile stars Ellen DeGeneres (7:30pm Wednesday), Cedric The Entertainer (8pm Friday) and Dennis Leary (8pm Saturday) at the Chicago Theater. Events will be held at large-scale venues as well as more intimate comedy clubs. Get entire schedule and tickets here.

Atwood Cafe: Small plates like the Graham Cracker Fried Calamari or bourbon-infused chicken and pork sausage pair well with hand-crafted cocktails. Or head here after the show for Atwood After Dark for $5 glasses of vino and apps like the Shrimp "Corndog" and B.L.T. with crispy pork belly. Proximity to show: Two blocks south; five-minute walk.

Crimson Lounge: Sax Hotel's lobby lounge features cocktails from award-winning mixologist Todd Appel, plus a number of finger foods you can snack on before hitting the dance floor. A good spot to hit after the shows. Proximity to show: Two blocks north; five-minute walk.

Roof: If you go before the shows, order 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 most of the week. A number of signature cocktails should also hit the spot. Proximity to show: One-half block north.

Cedric The Entertainer performs at Chicago Theater Thursday during the "Just For Laughs" festival.

Sketchbook X at Chopin Theatre. Collaboraction's annual celebration of performance and visual arts includes local and national talent. More than 200 pioneering directors, designers, actors, musicians and artists are involved in this energetic project. Through June 27 (8pm Monday, Thursday, Friday; 7pm Saturday, Sunday). Get tickets here.

The Exchange (1270 N. Milwaukee Ave.): Go somewhere else if you want wine, beer or simple mixed drinks. But if you're in the mood for inventive cocktails created by master mixologist Peter Vestinos, head here after the show for The Firefly (made with New Holland Knickerbocker Gin, Alpine liqueur, chartreuse, lime, egg white, bitters) and The Challenge (Tanqueray gin, Antica vermouth, cynar). Proximity to show: Three blocks west; 10-minute walk.

Folklore: Affordable and authentic Argentinean bites, lively exotic beats and a beautiful neighborhood crowd are enough reasons to eat here every day. Same family behind Tango Sur in Lakeview. Proximity to show: Six blocks west; 10-minute walk.

Milk and Honey Cafe: Everyone's fave breakfast nook now has evening hours through the summer until 8pm. This week's specials include a lamb burger, chicken and waffles (corn waffle and maple chicken gravy) and a 10-inch roasted plum tomato pizza. All items under $10. Proximity to show: Four blocks west; five-minute walk.

The Dixie Chicks open for The Eagles Saturday at Soldier Field.

Eagles at Soldier Field. Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit perform hits from their more than 35-year career, such as "Hotel California," "Desperado," "Life In The Fast Lane," "Lyin’ Eyes," "Take It To The Limit" and "One of These Nights." The Dixie Chicks, Keith Urban open. 5pm Saturday. Get tickets here.

Bobtail Ice Cream Company (522 S. Lakeshore Dr., southeast corner of Buckingham Fountain): One of the featured flavors right now is Blago's Blues, but they're also scooping up a number of more appetizing-sounding frozen treats. Proximity to show: Two blocks north; 10-minute walk.

Oysy Sushi: Feeling adventurous?! Allow the chef to make the picks for the sushi party tray for $32. Here's to hoping you'll get the signature Green Turtle maki that's topped with eel, cucumber, wasabi mayo and tempura shrimp. Proximity to show: Three blocks north; 10-minute walk.

Zapatista: Expect updated classic Mexican dishes, including enchiladas served with spicy fries or chorizo beans, and fajitas stuffed with sizzling hot portions of tilapia, vegetables, pork, chicken or steak. Proximity to show: Four blocks away; 10-minute walk.

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