Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Inaugural 'Spiaggia Sommelier Smackdown' Promises To Be One Hot Ticket For Charity


I typically don't write about what's going on in the local wine world because frankly the players appear to be a bit stuffy. Their cocktail counterparts are the ones with the colorful stories and events, but this upcoming November event should change that.

The inaugural Spiaggia Sommelier Smackdown, which will be hosted by Spiaggia sommelier Jason Carlen and The Boarding House partner/Master Sommelier Alpana Singh, happens on Nov. 14 and benefits The Cancer Research Foundation. It will also have top wine experts from some of the hottest restaurants in town going head to head in some "juicy" competitions.

Participants include:

Lite Bites: What Your Favorite Chefs & Mixologists Are Up To Around Town . . . And Beyond

Ming Tsai will be in Chicago next week.

Kampai Mondays debuts on Oct. 29 at Arami with Ervin Guinto pairing eight courses with sake. The restaurant's certified sake professionals will team up with different sake producers each month for this event that's $50 per person (includes tax and tip). Two seatings available: 7-8:30pm and 8:30-10pm. Call the restaurant for a reso.

• Celebrated chef Ming Tsai will also be in town on Oct. 29 to promote his latest cookbook, Simply Ming in Your Kitchen. He'll first do a cocktail reception and book signing at Slurping Turtle (3-5pm), and then team up with Takashi Yagihashi at his eponymous restaurant for a six-course tasting menu featuring recipes from the cookbook (6-9pm).

Iron Chef winner and Mercat a la Planxa partner/chef Jose Garces stopped through Chicago over the weekend to promote his new cookbook, The Latin Road Home. He also took time to introduce new items to the fall menu, which included such stunners as sopa de fortmage de cerveza (soup with crispy pork belly, truffle and potato) and ropa de cabra (braised goat with goat cheese with grilled baguette).