Wednesday, January 9, 2013

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

Andrew Brochu (Photo via

Welcome back to the first full week of the New Year!

• The return of Andrew Brochu?! The former Graham Elliot, EL Ideas chef has a new project that is apparently starting this weekend in Wicker Park, according to Chicagoist. The Monarch takes over the space formerly occupied by Uberstein.

Chicago Originals Week returns at the end of the month. Get ready for two- three- or four-course tastings that showcase chefs' menus at the likes of Kiki's Bistro, Mexique and Oceanique. It happens Jan. 24-Feb. 3 with special deals priced at $29.13.

City Winery chef Andres Barrera finally revamps the menu that's been slammed by every critic in town.

Yowsa! A basket of Allium's all-you-can-eat buttermilk fried chicken deal. (Photo: Allium)

Kevin Hickey of Allium has brought back his all-you-can-eat, finger-licking-good fried chicken deal. But alas, it's only available Tuesdays during lunch and dinner in January. For $38, you get a wedge salad that's drizzled with spicy tomato vinaigrette, plus buttermilk fried chicken, biscuits, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet corn, apple pie and house-made caramel ice cream. Dayum!

• What are you doing at noon on Jan. 19? You should be at Vera, where chef Mark Mendez is hooking up traditional tapas to complement a number of sherries selected by his wife, and the restaurant's wine director, Liz Mendez. Take her class and you'll learn everything you need to know about the fortified wine, including the rich history of its region, various styles and how to pair it best with chow. The class is $40 per person and reservations are required by calling the restaurant.

Gibsons' Randy Waidner is the only Chicago chef set to cook a special dinner at the venerable James Beard House in New York on Jan. 30. They'll all be working with Skuna Bay salmon, the Vancouver Island-raised fish that's a regular on the menu at Stephanie Izard's Girl and the Goat.

Andrew Johnson has been appointed executive pastry chef at Waldorf Astoria Chicago, which includes the award-winning Balsan restaurant. He was previously head baker and assistant pastry chef at the now-shuttered Charlie Trotter's.

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