Wednesday, December 5, 2012

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

Tad Carducci and Paul Tanguay of the Tippling Bros. (Photo: Mercadito Hospitality)

Countdown to Christmas cocktails . . . and more:

Little Market Brasserie's set to open later this month, and we're especially excited about its innovative new beverage program. Of course that program's from the dynamic duo The Tippling Bros.—who are also behind the cocktails at Mercadito and Tavernita. At LMB, they're doing what they've dubbed as "charged cocktails" with five different charger (or soda) flavors made from fresh juices, exotic teas, fruit peels, flowers and herbs. The flavors will be Meyer lemon sour, hibiscus vanilla, smoked salted cream soda, cornflower yuzu and blood orange cinnamon, and they may be combined with the guest's spirit of choice (e.g. gin, vodka, tequila, whiskey). The cocktails will be priced $10-$14. On the menu also will be a number of stirred or shaken specialties such as a Champagne Cobbler, Ginger Smash, and Bengal Sidecar of chai-infused cognac, curacao, lemon, blood orange, and a Bengali Tiger IPA Float.

Curtis Duffy, Michael Muser and the team at Grace have to be ecstatic and anxious at the same time. The long-awaited, fine-dining restaurant finally has an opening date: Dec. 11.

• Save Chrissy Camba! The Bar Pastoral exec chef was sent packing her knives on "Top Chef" last week, but here's a way to bring her back on the show. Don't forget that she was the only Chicago chef on this season!

• Speaking of "Top Chef" contestants, former fiery contender Heather Terhune of Sable Kitchen & Bar has teamed up with Falafill to create an exclusive Mediterranean treat, the December Chefs for Charity Wrap. For every wrap purchased, $1 will be donated to Purple Asparagus, a charity dedicated to nutritional education for families.

Sepia's stylish "Pinto" box is available during lunch. (Photo: Sepia)

• Fashionistas in need of a lunch fix should appreciate Sepia's stylish "Pinto Box." Chef Andrew Zimmerman has created a seasonal, three-course meal for $20 that includes such options as a roasted beet, radish and blue cheese salad, market-inspired soup and pasta with tuna and black olives. The box pays homage to local fashion designer Maria Pinto, whose luxury boutique (which was favored by Michelle Obama) used to be next door to the restaurant.

• Spots are still available at Socca for the Dec. 8 champagne afternoon event. Executive chef/owner Roger Herring teams up with David Burke's Primehouse's Rick Gresh from 11am to 1pm to show guests how to entertain at home. Appetizers, plus champagne and sparkling wine, will be included in the $30 ticket. Reservations are required by calling the restaurant.

• Show off your knowledge about cuisine in Frontier's first-ever So You Think You’re a Foodie chef's table dinner with Brian Jupiter. The "mystery" five-course tasting menu is $60 and showcases unique spices and fare. It's an additional $15 for wine or beer pairings. 8pm Dec. 19 and reservations are required by calling the restaurant.

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