Click below to hear my report on lobster rolls from Canada vs. Maine
Chicago Gourmet is an event that highlights the talent of top Chicago chefs from the best local restaurants in town. As per tradition, the event will kickstart with the famous Hamburger Hop, where Chicago chefs will showcase their unique burger creations. Guests will get to taste the burgers, along with beer, wine, and other booze. A panel of judges will determine the Best Burger Award, while attendees will choose the burger that wins the People’s Choice Award. The Hop takes place on Friday, September 26th at 6 p.m. at the Harris Theater Rooftop (205 E Randolph St). No party is complete, of course, without an after-party, which is why the festivities continue with Late Night Gourmet at 9 p.m. at The Underground (56 W Illinois St). Tickets for the Hamburger Hop are $115, while Late Night Gourmet tickets cost $50 each. Buy both together for $150. Tickets are available here. Chicago Gourmet lasts all weekend – from Sept. 26th to the 28th.
Imagine 10 outstanding chefs preparing you a feast, all made from local, fresh ingredients that benefits a good cause. On September 21st, that very feast is happening in Fairbury, IL. Ten chefs from Chicagoland’s top restaurants will be preparing dishes for this year’s annual Harvest Feast by the Spence Farm Foundation. Rick Bayless (Frontera Grill, Topolobampo, Xoco), Stephanie Izard (Girl & the Goat), Chris Pandel (Balena), Nicole Pederson (Found), Drew Starkey (Bacaro), Greg Wade (Publican Quality Meats), Ken Myszka (Station Two Twenty), Chrissy Camba (Laughing Bird), Ashlee Aubin (Wood), and Dustin Allen (Edge) are joining forces to teach and cook for guests. All proceeds will go to the Spence Farm Foundation. Tickets cost $125 a person. An additional cooking demonstration will be held for another $50. Tickets can be purchased here.
There’s been a lot about seafood in foodie news lately – National Oyster Day, National Lobster Day, Oyster Shucking Festivals, and more. Well, here’s something else to add to the buzz: Chicago’s first Great American Lobster Fest on August 16th and 17th at Navy Pier. Over 25 bands will provide live music over the course of the weekend, including Local H and Nine Days. The festival takes place on the same weekend as Chicago’s Annual Air & Water Show – even more reason why you should go. Fresh live lobsters will be flown in daily from Boston by the New England Seafood Company. Tickets to the festival can be purchased here. Advance tickets range between $10 and $25, while day-of prices are from $15 to $35. Not a seafood person? Have picky kids? No worries – they have tons of non-seafood items to choose from. Check out the menu here. The festival will have fireworks, carnival games, and plenty for you to drink.
There’s a “National ____ Day” for just about everything on the planet. While I agree it’s getting a little out of hand, I’m partial to tomorrow’s event, which happens to be National Oyster Day, and Hugo’s Frog Bar & Fish House and Tavern on Rush have some great ways to celebrate the delicacy. Hugo’s (Chicago and Naperville locations) will serve guests $1 oysters the whole day and will also offer a $15 fried oyster po’ boy sandwich with fried oysters and coleslaw on a tasty New England roll. Tavern on Rush will feature $1 oysters on the half shell, $2 stone oven baked oysters, and $10 fried oyster baskets. Not to mention the drink specials – get a $3 bottle of Guinness or a glass of $5 Costamolino Vermentino wine on Tuesday only.
The most hush-hush yet frou-frou dinner event you may have never heard of: Dîner en Blanc. With strict rules like seating arrangement and white attire, Dîner en Blanc may seem like something out of a movie, and that’s exactly the point. The whereabouts of the event are meant to be low-profile – that is, until hundreds of guests all dressed in white carrying picnic baskets, chairs, and tables converge at one undisclosed but very public outdoor location whereupon the event comes to life, leaving passersby in awe. This year, Chicago’s third installment of the annual event will take place on Thursday, August 21st. We don’t know where it will be, of course – participants won’t know until just hours before the dinner takes place. More than 1000 guests are expected to attend this year. Here’s the thing: the rules and restrictions are numerous. Read More