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.

Your First-Ever Look At Gilt Bar's Sophisticated New Lower-Level 'Library'

giltlibrary(Photos: Gilt Bar)

For now, the snazzy little ramen bar planned for the Sodikoff Restaurant Group has been put on hold, Brendan Sodikoff tells 312DD.

In its place is something that he's dubbed the Library, which will serve as a "social conversation room" when it opens to the public underneath Gilt Bar Wednesday, March 6.

The low-lit space is filled with hundreds of leather-bound vintage books that Sodikoff's team snapped up from stores in Chicago, London, New York and Paris. Sodikoff boasts that the collection is comprised of the greatest books of all time, so he's hoping that visitors respect them.

Downstairs diners will be able to order Gilt Bar's entire food and drink menu, which includes the yummy Gunthrop roasted chicken, coal-fired ribeye steak and diner-style pies. Sodikoff promises that though it's the same menu, guests will have an entirely different experience in the Library.

Here are more photos of the new space: