Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Annual 'Bloody Mary Fest' & More . . .


It's a Chicago thing.

Seriously, the Bloody Mary can be traced back to the Windy City because the New York bartender who invented it in a Paris pub had the hots for a girl named Mary.

And because of that, you'll find more versions of the famed crimson cocktail here than anywhere else. That's what inspired some folks out in Highwood to create the Bloody Mary Fest, which takes place 10am-5pm Sunday in Highwood's downtown festival area.

Here's more info about the event, which includes more than a dozen vendors serving up signature Bloodys, live music, local food stands, and a 5K Bloody Buddy Challenge. Last year, it attracted more than 5,000 hungry folks.


Another high-profile returning event is Chefs on the Grill, which benefits the Special Olympics. It takes place 5:30-9pm Wednesday on Park Grill's patio with a number of chefs competing:

III Forks (last year's winner) - Clark Grant
Atwood Cafe - Derek Simcik
Cantina Laredo - Angel Blasco
City Tavern - Kendal Duque
EPIC - Mark Pollard
The Gage/Henri - Dirk Flanigan
IPO - Trevor Hoyte
MarkethouseScott Walton
Park Grill - Michael Wallach
Rhapsody - Dean Zanella
Rosebud PrimeNahuel Rodriguez
Rosebud SteakhouseBen Walanka
ZED451 - Patrick Justice

Chefs will create a grilled dish of their choice and attendees will taste samples and vote for their favorite. The winning chef will get a "Chefs on the Grill" trophy and, of course, bragging rights until 2013.

This year, a mixology element has been added to the competition with each participating restaurant offering a creative cocktail. Guests will be asked to also vote for their favorite summer sipper. A trophy will be awarded to the restaurant that produces the drink with the most votes.

It's $75 in advance; $90 at door. Contact the Park Grill to get tix.


And culinary kings and cigar connoisseurs Rick Gresh (David Burke's Primehouse), Giuseppe Tentori (GT Fish & Oyster, Boka) and Cleetus Friedman (City Provisions) have teamed up to host the first-ever CigarBQue this summer.

Don't worry! These talented chefs aren't doing some weird cigar-infused creations. Instead, they've gathered other high-profile toques as well as mixologists to host a night of craft cocktails and fine cigars to complement some awesome BBQ bites.

In addition to the hosts cooking, Jimmy Bannos Sr. (Heaven on Seven), Todd Stein (Florentine), Mike and Patrick Sheerin (Trenchermen), Sarah Jordan (Boka) and Willie Wagner (Honky Tonk BBQ) will be whipping up signature bites. And bartenders Eric Hay (Wirtz), Daniel de Oliveira (Olmeca Altos Tequila), Ben Schiller (Boka) and Fred Sarkis (Sable Kitchen) are charged with making cocktails for the night.

The event happens 6-9pm Thursday at Beyond Design (4515 N. Ravenswood Ave.). Tickets are $185 and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation. The tickets can be purchased here.

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