Monday, June 25, 2012

What's Hotter Than July?!

Sepia celebrates five years in July with complimentary cocktails when diners purchase an entree such as the signature flat-iron steak with Bearnaise. (Photo: Sepia)

June is pretty much over, so let's take a look to see what July has to offer:

• You can finally check out your fave celeb chefs on the cheap at City Porch. Each month, a different high-profile toque headlines the menu at the brand-new Navy Pier pop-up concept. In July, look for Italian eats from Tony Mantuano (Bar Toma, Spiaggia).

• All day-dining spot Hash House A Go Go is set to open by the end of July. The concept is "twisted farm food" with dishes like Andy's Sage Fried Chicken Benedict and HH Famous Roasted Chicken Pot Pie. The address, at 1212 N. State Pkwy., has been sort of a deadweight in the area, so here's hoping they have more success.

• July is National Picnic Month. Here's where to get some really sweet gourmet baskets.

• Save the date on Wednesday, July 11 so you can celebrate National Mojito Day properly. One spot that's doing it up right is Nacional 27, where guests can toast each other with the tropical treat July 9-12. For the occasion, they're featuring three for $9 each: Strawberry (rum, strawberry puree, fresh mint, lemon, rose water), Blueberry (rum, blueberry-lime puree, fresh mint, rosemary syrup, Lillet Blanc) and Peach (rum, fresh peaches soaked in vanilla syrup, Mathilde Peach Liqueur, fresh mint, lime). On those nights you'll also be able to pair the mojitos with half-priced tapas and ceviche (5-7pm).

• Celebrated New York chef April Bloomfield (The Spotted Pig) hits Perennial Virant on July 15 for what's certain to be a magnificent feast. She'll be whipping up some signature items from her new cookbook, A Girl and her Pig: Recipes and Stories, and joining her will be chefs Paul Virant, Bruce Sherman (North Pond), Paul Kahan (Blackbird) and Nathan Sears (Vie). Each course will be paired with cocktails. $200 per person.

The Savoy has plans to open in early July, and in addition to the seafood-focused menu, they're highlighting an ambitious absinthe program. That will consist of absinthes made in the classic French/Swiss style, featuring Kubler, Pernod, Vieux Pontarlier; an English absinthe, Tennyson; several American absinthes: St. George (California), North Shore (Lake Bluff), Germain Robin (California); and several rare Eastern European varieties.

Piccolo Sogno Due (from Piccolo Sogno owner/chef Tony Priolo) debuts July 5, with former The Florentine chef Todd Stein at the helm. Look for wood-fired pizzas, plus pasta, steak and seafood dishes.

• Throughout July, Sepia's giving back to commemorate its five-year anniversary. They'll donate $5 from every check in the restaurant and $500 from every event booked in July and August at Private Dining by Sepia, and will distribute the collective sum evenly to Chicago Children's Choir, One Million Degrees and Meals on Wheels Chicago. Also, diners will get a complimentary cocktail—crafted by head bartender Josh Pearson—with each food purchase. A New Chapter features Templeton Rye, house-made strawberry syrup and fresh lemon juice.

Baconfest 2012 winner Red Butter Revue is doing a one-night pop-up event at Sono Wood Fired. They won for "most creative use of bacon," so it'll be interesting to see them work their magic at 7pm July 16 with their brand of North Indian street food. Get the tickets right here for $60 or $75 (with beer pairings).

SushiSamba rio just unveiled its latest brunch menu that lasts until 4pm on Saturday and Sunday. The highlight?! Housemade Quinoa Waffles with kuromitsu and vanilla-cinnamon butter for $13. Sounds awesome!

• If you haven't been able to get over to West Town Tavern for the infamous Monday Night Fried Chicken, you're in luck. Friday, July 6 happens to be National Fried Chicken Day. For $16.95, you'll get a half portion of Miller's Farm natural chicken with garlicky mashed potatoes, sautéed Swiss chard, and Chef Susan Goss' great-grandmother’s buttermilk biscuit with rich wild mushroom gravy. Add a glass of bubbly for $12.

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