Wednesday, February 27, 2013

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

Chowdah Fest participants in 2012. (Photo: Ari Bendersky)

Everyone's hustlin', hustlin', hustlin' . . .

Chowdah Fest returns, but I so wish it was today with this wack weather we're experiencing. But anyway, the fierce competition is back at the Columbia Yacht Club (111 N. Lake Shore Dr.) 6:30-9pm Monday, March 11. If you're able to snag a ticket (the venue only holds 250), you'll be treated to chowder prepared by some of the best in the biz, including chefs Matt Troost (Three Aces), Kevin Hickey (Allium), Ryan McCaskey (Acadia), Homaro Cantu (iNG/Moto) and last year's winner Giuseppe Tentori (BOKA/GT Fish & Oyster). There will be celebrity guest judges, but you'll get a vote to pick the people's choice. $40 in advance; $50 at the door. Get tickets right here.

• Fans of the West Loop resto scene should be thrilled about the second-annual Divine, Dine & Wine taking place 6-9pm Thursday, Feb. 28 at Venue One (1044 W. Randolph St.). Participants include the likes of City Winery, Sepia, Vera and Vivo. Get the $95 tickets ($125 VIP) right here.

BellyQ's Terrasueno cocktail, which is an Asian twist to the classic Hot Toddy, is on the new brunch menu. (Photo: bellyQ)

• Brunch begins at Bill Kim's bellyQ Sunday, March 3. Here's a sampling of what you'll get: Huckleberry Jam and Vanilla Maple Syrup French Toast, Fried Chicken with Donuts and Pork Sausage Gravy and Tea Smoked Duck Benedict. To launch the new menu, the Asian-inspired BBQ joint will host a kickoff party at 10:30am March 3 with complimentary tastings and a deejay for all Facebook fans. Just "like" the page and RSVP for admission.

• According to Chicago magazine's Dish, former City Tavern/Sepia chef Kendal Duque has been named executive chef at American Junkie. It's set to open in March.

Tony Mantuano's bringing in his chef friends from around the country to participate in the Dough Masters series at Bar Toma. The event showcases various pizza styles and the first one occurs at 6:30pm Wednesday, March 13 with New York's Jim Lahey, founder/owner of Sullivan Street Bakery and chef/partner of Co. restaurant. Lahey popularized the no-knead baking method and guests will get to sample his pizzas during a family-style dinner that includes beer, dessert and espresso. Get the $47.57 tix right here.

• There's a new executive chef at Henri.

• Oh, Tru. Nooooo, boo boo!

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