Monday, July 26, 2010

STAGE BITES: The Weekly Dining & Drinking Guide

Rashada Dawan (left), Brandon Chandler and Adrianna Parson in Bailiwick Chicago's "Aida."

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

Aida at American Theatre Company. Bailiwick Chicago's highly regarded rendition of Elton John and Tim Rice's mesmerizing musical of star-crossed lovers. Through Aug. 1 (8pm Thursday, Friday; 3-8pm Saturday; 3pm Sunday). Get tickets here.

Mrs. Murphy & Son's Irish Bistro: A delicious, authentic Irish brunch can be had here at minimum cost. You're certain to go for the mustard-glazed corned beef and cabbage sandwich topped with brown sugar and blue cheese veggie slaw or the chicken sliders made with a whiskey marmalade BBQ sauce. Proximity to venue: Five-minute walk.

Sola: Before the show, head here on Thursday for Burger, Bacon & Beer night. It's the only night chef/owner Carol Wallack puts her award-winning Wagyu "Kobe" burger on the menu paired with a local craft beer. Proximity to venue: Five-minute walk.

Tiny Lounge: After the show head here and ask for Tito's Hammock—a signature drink that's not on the menu. The vodka-based cocktail comes with crushed ice, thinly sliced lemons and limes, cucumber, and topped off with seltzer. Also great are seriously hand-crafted versions of The Hemingway and Pisco Sour. Proximity to venue: Five minutes by cab or car.

Sola's award-winning Wagyu "Kobe" burger. (Photo: Sola)

Smashing Pumpkins at Metro. Legendary rockers perform rare set, with Kill Hannah opening show that benefits Madina Lake bassist Matthew Leone, who was hospitalized last month with severe brain trauma after intervening when he witnessed a woman being assaulted by a man. 7pm Tuesday. SOLD OUT show.

Rockit Bar & Grill - Wrigleyville: You cannot go wrong with potent pitchers of margaritas or Rockit lemonade for $28. Also, what sets the Wrigleyville location apart from the River North original is its buttery flatbread pizzas in Margherita, wild mushroom or sausage. Proximity to venue: Five-minute walk.

Uncommon Ground: You cannot go wrong on this certifiably "green" menu as most items actually sound appetizing. Start with crispy Gunthorp Farm chicken wontons paired with a spring vegetable somen noodle salad in sweet mushroom dipping sauce or the chipotle-marinated shrimp guacamole. Heartier appetites will appreciate the Gunthorp Farm-wrapped chicken breast that's dressed up with fermin Serrano ham, Buffalo mozzarella, basil and smashed new potatoes with sweet corn. Proximity to venue: Less than five-minute walk.

Trinity Murdock (left), Rhonda Preston and Rick Stone lounging at the bar in "Nothin But The Blues." (Photo: Danny Nicholas)

Nothin But The Blues at Black Ensemble Theater. Written by Joe Plummer, this gritty musical masterfully tells the story of one of Chicago's most notorious blues clubs that once hosted the likes of Junior Wells and Buddy Guy. Through August 29 (8pm Saturdays; 3pm Sundays). Get tickets here.

Anna Maria Pasteria: Old World pastas and Italian entrees at reasonable prices are the draw at this long-time neighborhood eatery. The spaghetti paired with Anna's homemade meatballs and classic lasagna with bolognese sauce are to die for. Proximity to venue: Five-minute cab or car ride.

Fontana Grill & Wine Bar: Hit up the cozy neighborhood delight on Sundays for buy-one-get-one-free, stone-fired pizzas. Choose from selections such as Margherita, Portobello & Italian sausage, and vegetarian with roasted red peppers, eggplant, zucchini and baby spinach. Proximity to venue: Five-minute cab or car ride.

Mixteco Grill: This Mexican BYOB is yet another favorite for affordable, flavorful dishes, but its brunch menu is truly something special. Head here with a bottle of bubbly and match it up with hearty portions of egg-licious dishes like Huevos Con Chorizo, Huevos Rancheros and Huevos A La Mexicana (Mexican-style scrambled eggs with tomatoes, Serrano peppers, onions, cilantro and avocado served with black beans). Brunch is 10:30am-2:30pm Saturday, Sunday. Proximity to venue: Five-minute cab or car ride.

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