Monday, October 29, 2012

Lite Bites: What Your Favorite Chefs & Mixologists Are Up To Around Town

Paul McGee pic (left) via Haberdash Men; Jason Hammel photo via Chicago Reader

Lula Café owner/chef Jason Hammel and Three Dots and a Dash partner/mixologist Paul McGee have teamed up for the ultimate Halloween bash at the trendy Logan Square resto. They've assembled some of the city's top bartenders as Lula transforms into The Violent Hour. Talent includes Brad Bolt (Bar DeVille), Josh Pearson (Sepia) and Benjamin Schiller (BOKA), who will serve scary signature cocktails at numerous stations. Starts at 7pm Oct. 31. No reservations; cash only.

Grant Achatz (Alinea, Next, The Aviary) is participating in the annual Chicago Humanities Festival on Nov. 4. Too bad it's sold out!

• Former Erwin chef Michael Lathrop is now at Acre. Look for him to interpret the restaurant's farm-to-table concept in his own style.

New Lockwood Executive Chef Joseph Rose. (Photo: Lockwood)

• Checked out IPO during a fall preview dinner, and here were some of the highlights from Executive Chef Trevor Hoyte: the Autumn Burrata of spaghetti squash, candied pepitas and red oak greens drizzled with a persimmon vinaigrette is rich, but can stand on its own as a light meal. And the venison gets amped up with a spicy mole, glazed chestnuts, black rice and veal jus. What's awesome is that Hoyte's entrees are perfectly seasoned; you won't find a heavy hand with salt here.

• New Lockwood chef Joseph Rose plans to breathe new life into the Palmer House Hilton's lobby level restaurant. The former Sixteen/The Pump Room toque is bringing a brasserie feel to the restaurant's bar with French-inspired bites. And the main dining room will focus on seasonal and local ingredients. The menus will launch right after Thanksgiving.

• Betcha didn't know Table Fifty-Two had a mixologist. Well, it does with Troy Hahn at the helm. For fall, he's created three infusion-based cocktails: Kentucky Java (coffee-infused Paul Jones Whiskey, Fair Coffee liqueur, Amaretto), Chaitini (Chai tea-infused Whippersnapper Whiskey, vanilla bean-infused vodka, Nux Alpina walnut liqueur) and This Little Piggy (Benton's bacon-infused Sea Wynde rum, Seedling Farm apple cider, Burton’s maple syrup, candied bacon).

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