Monday, July 14, 2008

Storm the (French) scene . . .


It's a fabulous day for the French.

Over the weekend, Angelina (who's part French!) gave birth to Brad's baby twins in the French Riviera. France's first lady, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, has a hit album in Britain. And today's Bastille Day, the French national holiday celebrating the storming of the Bastille in 1790.

Many French-focused restaurants get in on the action today:

Brasserie Jo: Enjoy an evening of live gypsy-jazz by Alfonso Ponticelli and Swing Gitan, reminiscent of summer nights in France. Also, through July 27, the restaurant offers a special "Frenchie's Menu" with classic dishes like kidneys served with a mustard sauce, blood sausage with sautéed apples and sweetbreads. 6-10pm. No cover.

Brasserie Ruhlmann Steakhouse: Bastille Festival 2008 includes a cocktail reception at the outdoor bar, highlighting select dishes from French-born chef Christian Delouvrier. Delights include Tarte Savoyarde, smoked salmon with crème Fraiche, NY sirloin on the grill, and Brasserie Ruhlmann’s popular raw bar with fresh oysters, clams and shrimp. 6-9pm. $40 in advance; $50 at door.

Cafe Matou: Normally closed on Mondays, the popular Wicker Park eatery is open for a special four-course menu prix-fixe by chef Charlie Socher. Wine director James Rahn will be on hand to offer wine pairing recommendations. The menu is priced at $48, but the regular menu is also available.

Madame Tartine: Fashionable new River North bistro—which harks back to the 1960s—is also doing a prix fixe menu with appetizer, entree, chocolate croissant and a half liter of rosé.

Pops for Champagne: The annual celebration, which settled in its new home last year, takes place indoors as well as outside on the picturesque Tree Studios courtyard. Guests can enjoy more than 25 French sparkling wines and Champagnes, a French-inspired menu developed by chef Andrew Brochu and live jazz. 5-8pm. $75.

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