Monday, November 16, 2009

Stage Bites: The Weekly Dining & Drinking Guide

R&B king R. Kelly performs at Auditorium Theatre Tuesday and Wednesday.

Every Monday look for the week's top performances paired with the best deals before and after the show:

R. Kelly at Auditorium Theatre. The Pied Piper of PYTs hits the stage two nights in a row. 8pm Tuesday, Wednesday. Get tickets here.

Custom House Tavern: Hit two big events in one night! Winemaker Guy Davis (Davis Family Vineyards) will be on hand for a tasting paired with items from executive chef Aaron Deal's new menu. You'll also get to sample Apple-Ation, Davis's hand-crafted apple brandy made from fruit growing in a century-old orchard in Sebastopol. It starts at 6:30pm Tuesday, so you can valet here and walk over in a matter of minutes. $45.

Utopia International Caribbean Cuisine: If you're coming from the South Side, hit up this new-ish Jamaican joint in the South Loop for the specials: $5 for three jerk wings, $5 signature cocktails (Tuesdays); buy one entrée, get second for half off on Wednesdays. Prices for dishes (think jerk chicken, red snapper) range $10-$25.

The Shrine: Also going down in the SoLo is the Tuesday night affair featuring deejay Timbuck, who'll spin hip-hop, soul and R&B. There's no cover and $4 Patron shots. 9pm-2am.

Hang out at Roof for appetizers and cocktails before heading over to Chicago Theatre for "Banana Shpeel." (Photo: Concentrics Restaurants)

Calls to Blood at Royal George Theatre. Five performances left of New Colony's well-regarded dark comedy about a picture perfect couple trying to conceive. 8pm Thursdays-Saturdays through Nov. 28. Get tickets here.

Boka: Highlights on the fall menu include a black truffle and apple risotto with chamomile chicken thigh as well as an herb-crusted whitefish. Or, you can also take advantage of a special pre-theater menu that's seasonal, three courses and $35.

Landmark: Lighter fare faves include share-able pizzas (BBQ pork or Italian sausage and grilled sweet corn), cracked black pepper polenta fries, and oven-roasted mussels, drizzled with basil and white wine-garlic infused broth.

Vinci: You'll get traditional Italian dishes, plus the Cacciuco, or seafood stew of shrimp, mussels, calamari and fish in tomato herb broth for $23.95.

Cirque Du Soleil's Banana Shpeel at Chicago Theatre. The vaudevillian-like show, sprinkled with Cirque Du Soleil's signature death-defying acrobatics, is Thursday through Jan. 3. Get tickets here.

The Berghoff: They're doing a number of daily specials that you'll get to enjoy before the show. From 2:30 to 7pm, the nachos, veggie quesadilla and BBQ pork sliders are $3. You can pair that with the $6.95 signature Berghoff beer flight. And on Fridays, you can do a flight of three bourbons for $7.

Roof: Even more small plates can be shared at theWit's glamorous rooftop lounge. You cannot go wrong with the trio of mini lamb burgers, shrimp crostini, or apple and bacon pizza.

The Wine Bar at the Walnut Room: Small plates of cheese, olives and candied walnuts are perfectly paired with various vino. No reservations accepted ever, and since we're in the throes of holiday hell, get there as early as possible to nab seats.

Travel+Leisure, Celeb Chefs Diss Chicago


Six New York celeb chefs were gathered by Travel+Leisure to dish on their fave late-night dining spots around the world.

Not only was Chicago excluded in the roundup, but it was passed over for the likes of Vegas, New Orleans and Miami in the states, plus more "exotic" global spots like Shanghai, Paris and Delhi.

Anthony Bourdain, David Chang, Eric Ripert have all definitely dined in Chicago recently, so how in the world could they have dissed The Silver Palm (I guess Bourdain forgot how much he loved Dan Palm's Three Little Piggy Sandwich), Nick Lacasse's inventive small plates at The Drawing Room, the hand-cut fries and chargrilled Whoopskidawg at Superdawg and Pie-Eyed Pizzeria—which packs a perfect slice of New York-style cheese or sausage any time of the night.

Oh, and had Paul Kahan's new taco joint Big Star been around longer, we'd vote for that one, too!