Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tasting Tuesdays, live music

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M Lounge's intimate bar is ideal for mingling with a sexy sig other.

How about a sexy, casual date tonight?

Not with me, silly, but with someone you can take to one of these laid-back neighborhood gems for live music, cocktails and conversation.

I've rounded up a couple of places that you might want to check out:

M Lounge (1520 S. Wabash Ave., 312-447-0201). Enjoy specialty cocktails in this intimate space serving up live jazz every Tuesday and Wednesday. South Loopers love this spot, so it fills up quickly around 7pm. Try to get there right after work. Tonight, the Eric Allen Quartet performs. No cover.

Swirl Wine Bar (111 W. Hubbard St., 312-828-9000). Or sample all your favorites during Swirl's weekly event, "Tasting Tuesdays," when you get the chance to order $3 tastings from their entire wine list. Also, you can still get reservations to attend Swirl's monthly wine tasting tonight for $25. Price includes tastings of the "big red" wines and appetizers prepared by their executive chef. Vocalist Petra van Nuis and guitarist Andy Brown are the scheduled artists tonight at 8pm.

For the bubbleheads

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The bubbly's always on at Pops for Champagne.

Two holiday champagne tastings are coming up soon, and you'd better get on it now because these things usually sell out fast:

Webster's Wine Bar (1480 W. Webster Ave., 773-868-0608) hosts its 12th annual party that includes more than 30 champagnes and sparkling wines from around the world. It's held in their private upstairs room and is a great, casual event that usually attracts people from the neighborhood. Dec. 5 at 7:30pm. $50.

And Bin 36's fabulous Bubble Bath is in its eighth year, and the walkaround tasting celebrates all things sparkling. They're bringing aboard more than 75 sparkling wines and champagne to sample with Executive Chef John Caputo's delightful bites. 339 N. Dearborn St., 312-755-9463. Dec. 12 6-10pm. $50.

If you miss those, you can always head to Pops for Champagne (601 N. State St., 312-266-7677) for Open House Mondays, when the jazz-focused lounge opens three styles of champagne to taste by the glass. They're also offering flights of all three featured sparkling wines.

Deal of the day . . .

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Don't think of burritos as the late-night treat you need following a night of drinking and carrying on.

Former anchorman Bill Kurtis has teamed up with Burrito Beach to offer a healthier version that's also good for the environment. The Barbacoa Burrito, made with Kurtis' eco-friendly Tallgrass beef, can be found at all seven Burrito Beach locations until the end of the year. Tallgrass beef is naturally-nourished by a food source--grass--and produced without sub-therapeutic antibiotics, growth hormones or grain. The meat is usually found at higher-end restaurants, but with the Barbacoa, you can sample it for only $6.79.

To create the Barbacoa, Burrito Beach slow-cooks and marinates Tallgrass beef brisket in its signature “Baja” salsa, then rolls the brisket in a flour tortilla, accompanied by house-made salsa verde, smoky pinto beans, Spanish rice, shredded jack cheese, diced tomatoes, romaine lettuce, fresh onion-cilantro mix, and sour cream.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each burrito will be donated to the Green City Market.