Delicious DIRT. Chi’s Own Final Beard Noms; Perennial Virant Mixologist Leaves; Mini Monday Round Up

DIRT Inside: James Beard Foundation, Next, The Aviary, The Violet Hour, Paul Kahan, Blackbird, Mindy Segal, Mindy’s Hot Chocolate, Spiaggia, Topolobampo, Dave Beran, Michael Carlson, Schwa, Stephanie Izard, Girl and the Goat, Bruce Sherman, North Pond, Andrew Zimmerman, Sepia Perennial Virant, Matty Eggleston, Tenzing Wine & Spirits, Jessica Oroloso, Black Dog Gelato, Ukranian Village, Bleeding Heart Bakery, Intelligentsia, Merchandise Mart, Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center

Mini Monday Moves: What’s Going On In the CHI

Black Dog Gelato Courtesy of Grub Street

Jessica Oloroso’s Black Dog Gelato will be getting a second spot this spring, and it looks like it will be MUCH needed with all this beautiful spring and summer weather we are having here in the Chi. DIRT: BDG’s original location is in Ukranian Village, but the second gelato shop will be opening in Bleeding Heart Bakery’s old location @ 1955 W. Belmont. (BONUS DIRT: flavors like goat cheese cashew caramel and malted vanilla = TO DIE FOR.)

Brews Coming to the Merchandise Mart. Photo via Q Blog

Intelligentsia will be opening it’s fourth cafe, and this time in the Merchandise Mart. 1871, a tech-friendly center by Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center, will house Intelligentsia in the Merch Mart. 22-seater, 12th floor, Wi-Fi included, all your coffee/tea/goodie cravings. Watch for it May 2.

Perennial Virant Saying Goodbye to Matty Eggleston. Below

Beard Noms Update: CONGRATS Chicago Noms. Below.

Oh my food porn feast...Goat Leg @ Girl and the Goat Courtesy of

Straight off the James Beard Foundation’s Twitter feed, we followed the live announcement of the final list of noms, and it’s as fresh as you can get: we’re delivering the Chicago noms to you. We’d like to congratulate all of the noms and send out a special congrats to everyone nominated in Chicago. Winners will be announced May 4 and May 7, so we’ll keep you posted! Full List below.

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Delicious DIRT. Chef Week is Here; Can’t-Miss Event: Dinner Tales @ Kahan’s Blackbird; Fed Up Fighting Food Deserts with Desserts for Deserts

DIRT Inside: Chicago Chef Week, Martial Noguier, Bistronomic, Jason Paskewitz, Gemini Bistro, Rustic House, Bruce Sherman, North Pond, Boka, GT Fish & Oyster, Mercadito, Publican, Tavernita, Dinner Tales, Tasting Table, Citi, Blackbird, Paul Kahan, David Posey, Bryce Caron, Lynn House, Fed Up, Desserts for Deserts, Fresh Moves, Greenhouse Loft, Green Exchange, fig media, Mari Gallagher

History, Dishes, Drinks: Dinner Tales @ Blackbird

Veal Sweetbreads from Blackbird - Simple, beautiful, perfection.

What an awesome event! Dinner Tales is a one-of-a-kind culinary event that happens on one night only by Tasting Table and Citi®. And the entire purpose of the evening is to provide a background of the selected restaurant’s history through dishes and stories for the people who are involved and know it best. Sounds amazing, interesting, and above all – DELICIOUS. We’re so excited to say that on Tuesday, March 20, Dinner Tales is on at Paul Kahan‘s West Loop hotspot, Blackbird. The current team at Blackbird, chef de cuisine David Posey, pastry chef Bryce Caron and mixologist Lynn House, along with Paul Kahan, will be in house for this amazing celebration – a night full of history and food. Don’t miss it – buy tickets! Your ticket gets you signature cocktails and canapés, courses paired with a well-chosen wine, and a special gift. See the night’s menu here. And more info on the Dinner Tales @ Blackbird event, here.

Make a Better World, In a SWEET Way: Desserts for Deserts

CHEF WEEK Rolls in Starting Sunday 3/18

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Delicious DIRT. Estate on the Riverfront, Chicago Brings Home the Nods, & Never Too Many Donuts

DIRT Inside: Estate Ultra Bar, Chris Turano, Dan De Los Monteros, 2012 JBF Restaurant and Chef Awards, Bistronomic, Next, The Aviary, The Violet Hour, Paul Kahan, Blackbird, Tony Mantuano, Spiaggia, Carrie Nahabedian, Naha, Patrick Fahy, Café des Architectes, Mindy Segal, Mindy’s Hot Chocolate, Tru, Donnie Madia, One Off Hospitality, Topolobampo, Sepia, Dave Beran, Matthew Kirkley, L2O, David Posey, Matthew Carlson, Schwa, Stephanie Izard, Girl and the Goat, Martial Noguier, Chris Nugent, Goosefoot, Bruce Sherman, North Pond, Giuseppe Tentori, GT Fish & Oyster, Andrew Zimmerman, Do-Rite Donuts, Petterino’s.

Never Too Much of a GOOD THING: Do-Rite Donuts Opens in Loop

Bacon + Donuts = LOVE @DoRiteDonuts

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again! DONUTS ARE THE NEW CUPCAKES. We learned via Grub Street Chicago, that THIS morning @ 6:30 AM, Do-Rite Donuts opened in the Loop, attached to Petterino’s on Randolph. Francis Brennan and Jeff Mahin are the masterminds behind the latest addition to the doughnut line-up, bringing Lettuce Entertain You into the mix. And they’ve got some SERIOUS goodies in store: ranging from “gourmet” doughnuts (peanut butter + jelly + peanut better mousse topping) and “old-fashioned” cake doughnuts (topped with Tahitian vanilla or Valhrona chocolate) –> SO MUCH YUM. Definitely the next stop on our doughnut train. 50 W. Randolph.

NOW OPEN: Estate Ultra Bar is Rollin’ on the River

Peppadew Peppers by Estate Ultra Bar

Moving into some prime real-estate on the riverfront, Estate Ultra Bar is now open in River West.

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Inside: Frontier, Rock Bottom, Chili Cook-Off, Chicago Fire Department, Charlie Sheen, The Piggery, Blackbird, Schubas, Goose Island, MCA, First Fridays, Scotch & Steak, BaconFest, Style Series, Ever After, Palmer House, Chic Boutique, Ivy House, Underground, Sophia Vintage, Lush, Enclave, Chicago Theatre and more.

Evolving Round Up:

3/29 Charlie Sheen Night @ The Piggery is TONIGHT. Get ready for the Adonis to hit Chi this weekend by flocking to the Piggery with other tiger blooded clones.  Featured on Urban Daddy and selling tickets like hot cakes, this event is #winning.  Let us know if you make it and send in a video of your best Sheen imitation and you might even get lucky…  Event FB page here. 7pm, show starts at 8pm 1625 West Irving Park

3/29 GREAT CAUSE EVENT.  Rock Bottom’s Chili Cook-Off to benefit Chicago Fire Dept and Muscular Dystrophy Association. 6-8pm, $5 and you’re devouring Chili!!  $10 and you’re eating and drinking Rock Bottom Brewery’s Fire Chief Ale, an Irish red.  The annual chili cook-off, benefiting the Chicago Fire Department and the Muscular Dystrophy Association is sure to be a rockin time.  1 W. Grand, 312-755-9339.

3/29 The Bluebird, one of our faves, hosting a tasting of delightful brews and snacks for $30. Reservations recommended. 7:30-9:30 PM, The Bluebird, 1749 N. Damen, 773-486-2473, $30. More info on Chicago Reader here.

3/29 Frontier’s 2$ Tuesdays! We love anything for 2$ especially when it comes from greatness.  Frontier invites Chicagoans to enjoy their $2 Tuesdays, available every Tuesday from 4:00 PM to 1:30 AM.  Tuesday specials will feature items such as select half-pints, oysters, deviled eggs and tacos, all for $2 each.  1072 N. Milwaukee

3/30 Schubas + Goose Island are partnering for a beer dinner! Four Goose Island Beers and cuisine from Harmony Grill, Schubas’ restaurant, will have you smiling for some time.  RSVP on Facebook for a spot.  We love Schubas so check it.  More info via Refinery 29.

3/30 Getting married?  Check out Ever After @ Palmer House via CS Modern Luxury.  Watch a Macy’s Bridal Salon Fashion Show with wedding planner, Erin McDonald. Taste gowns, make overs, shopping, table top designs and more. You’ll get a gift bag and some edibles while on the scene. More info here. 6-9pm 17 E. Monroe St.

3/31 CS Modern Luxury Chic Boutique at the Ivy Room at Tree Studios 6-9pm, Enjoy hors d’oeuvres by C Catering Boutique and sip Voga wine while shopping featured Spring looks from Chicago’s Chic Boutiques-  12 E. Ohio Street FB event page here.

3/31 Sophia Rocks Fashion show at Underground with Sofia Vintage and a live performance by My Gold Mask.  Style Series presented by Rockit Ranch Productions and PopSugar is a six night series celebrated on Thursday nights March 31 through May 5. Doors open nightly at 9 p.m., fashion shows begin promptly at 11 p.m. Private reception from 9-10pm.   Must RSVP:

3/31 Private Michigan Ave Party At River East Arts Center… We hear Redford’s in the house! Keep you posted…

3/31 Check out this play –> The 13th of Paris, LiveWire Chicago Theatre, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. Chicago,60614 

The 13th of Paris, Courtsey of

4/1 First Fridays at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Every first Friday of every month, the MCA has a sweet fiesta.  We highly recommend it and now that the terrace will be open, get in while you can enjoy the fresh spring air.  220 E Chicago Avenue, Chicago 60611

4/3 Want to meet Charlie for $750? We didnt think so…  Regular ol’ tix for his tour sold out in 18 minutes folks…  This is your only hope.   By now you know the tormented but hilarious Charlie Sheen will be in the Chi for his “Charlie Sheen LIVE: My Violent Torpedo of Truth Tour” in Chicago this Sunday.  Freaky fans can meet Sheen with a VIP package priced at $750.

4/3 Charlie’s Enclave After Party.  After his Chicago Theatre show, fans can dance the night away with high hopes of seeing the tiger blooded star at Enclave.  Our guess- no chance he shows, but you’re def #winning if we’re wrong!  Event FB page here.

WE HEART LUSH and you will too. Let us know your faves while you taste the grapes.


4/1 ROSCOE VILLAGE LUSH Play your best prank, then head to LUSH for some very serious sipping. Melissa from Jo Snow Syrups will be adding her concoctions (think: Ginger Passion Fruit, Fig Vanilla Black Pepper, and Cardamom Rose Water) to some Santome Prosecco, courtesy of Jordan from Candid Wines. Enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail with us! 2232 West Roscoe

4/2 ROSCOE VILLAGE LUSH 4-6pm: A rare Saturday tasting at LUSH! Jason from Vintage is popping by this afternoon this open some elegant gems from around the world.2232 West Roscoe

4/3 LUSH TASTING EVENTs @ UNIVERSITY VILLAGE, Roscoe Village, and  WEST TOWN LUSH Joints — 2-5pm: Sundays with LUSH, Cabernet Franc. 1257 South Halsted and 1412 West Chicago Ave and Roscoe locations

4/3 School of LUSH – Island Wine. As many islands as possible. Salty. Crunchy. Snacks, wine, and education.  $35 per person. 6:30-8pm RSVP required to 1412 West Chicago Ave

Heads up:
Scotch and Steak at Standard Club April 7
Baconfest April 9

In case you’re living in a cave and missed Food Mafia’s launch, read about it on Eater and Thrillist.




Elevate Your Presence HEARTS Takashi and this time he’s done it again!  This is a food porn event you won’t want to miss.

Takashi Yagihashi, Photo Courtesy of Facebook

4/18 Join some of Chicago’s most talented & giving chefs on Monday, April 18 at Takashi as they come together, raising funds to provide assistance to those affected by the devastating earthquake and tsunami that took place in Japan on March 11.

Monday, April 18 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Six courses, $200 – $250+ per person, inclusive of wine, tax and gratuity. All proceeds benefit the Japanese Red Cross Society.

Takashi Cuisine, Courtesy of Facebook

Participating Chefs

Jimmy Bannos, Sr.- Heaven on Seven
Jimmy Bannos, Jr.- Purple Pig
George Bumbaris- Praire Fire, Praire Grass
Sebastian Canonne- French Pastry School
John Hogan- Keefer’s
Paul Kahan- Blackbird
Bill Kim- Urban Belly, Belly Shack
Tony Mantuano- Spiaggia
Mindy Segal- Hot Chocolate
Sarah Stegner- Praire Fire, Praire Grass
Paul Virant- Vie, Perennial Virant
Dean Zanella- Rhapsody
Takashi Yagihashi- Takashi

All Proceeds Go To Red Cross

Event Juice

  • On Monday, April 18, chefs from across Chicago will join forces to prepare a spectacular six-course meal at Takashi restaurant. This is a case where too many cooks in the kitchen is a good thing – so many chefs are donating their skills that many will be acting as servers on what will surely be a one-of-a- kind evening. The restaurant will be open at 5:00 p.m., with the last seating at 10:00 p.m. Reservations can be made by calling the restaurant at 773- 772-6170 and 100% of the funds raised go directly to disaster relief.
  • Seating between 5:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. & at 10:00 p.m.: $200 minimum Seating between 6:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.: $250 minimum Price is inclusive of dinner, wine, tax & gratuity

Delicious DIRT. To Eat. Chicago Restaurant Week February 18-27

Inside: Bistronomic, Blackbird, Boka, Chicago Cut Steakhouse, Duchamp, Eatt, La Madia, Le Colonial, N9NE, OneSixtyBlue, Osteria Via Stato, Prosecco, Purple Pig, Sable, Smith & Wolensky and why we DIG each…

If you haven’t heard because you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ll know that Restaurant Week commences this Friday, Feb. 18 and runs through Feb. 27. Make resos if you haven’t already, because RW is incredibly popular. Most Chicago food nerds think agree it’s the best invention since sliced bread- especially in a down economy. Some of our faves are participating including OneSixtyBlue, Chicago Cut Steakhouse, Prosecco, Michelin starred Blackbird and Boka. Lunches are $22 for three courses, while dinners range from $33-44 depending on the restaurant and its food. Eat up and enjoy! Not only is RW a great opportunity to eat til you drop, it’s a huge revenue maker ($11.6 million) for our city! Support local!

Our list of Chicago Restaurant Week (#CRW) places to hit up and why:

bistronomic 840 N. Wabash Ave. | Chicago IL 60611 312 944-8400 Chef Martial Noguier’s new home offering the neighborhood an intimate French bistro experience.*Added to our list of Restaurant Week to-do’s – Because its new and we know its delish!

Duchamp: Food Nerds can choose from mouth tantalizing dishes including duck pâté with roasted chestnuts & black truffle mustard, sautéed rainbow trout in lemon-thyme brown butter & banana-rum crème brûlée to name a few. There’s also an optional fourth course of steak tartare or tempura oysters with spicy mayo. * Added to our Restaurant Week to-do’s because we know the place ROCKS. Check the full menu here ($44 per person for four courses; 773 235-6434). via Zagat *

Eatt 6 W. Hubbard St. | Chicago IL 60654 312 494-3288 Diner-style, comfort food for breakfast, lunch or dinner at this eatery.*Added to our list of Restaurant Week to-do’s — They have fabulous moules and frits and we want that for breakfast, lunch, & dinner!

La Madia 59 W. Grand Ave. | Chicago IL 60654 312 329-0400 
A modern American take on an ancient Italian concept offering the perfect experience. *Added to our list of Restaurant Week to-do’s — Perfect for groups, and Delicious food!

Le Colonial Restaurant 937 N. Rush St. | Chicago IL 60611 312 255-0088 Critics rave “Le Colonial is at the top of its class.”*Added to our list of Restaurant Week to-do’s — Because we have only ever had cocktails there and the idea of French + Vietnamese bites sound out of this world

N9NE Steakhouse & ghostbar 440 W. Randolph | Chicago IL 60606 312 575-9900. “One of the hottest and best places to eat in the entire world.” -Conde Nast Traveler; *Added to our list of Restaurant Week to-do’s — Their Rock Shrimp appetizer is literally the perfect bite to eat….We crave this. Always.

Osteria Via Stato 620 N. State St. | Chicago IL 60654 312 642-8450 
A Lettuce Entertain You restaurant. They say “the best of Italy…Its food, its wine, its sense of humor”….We say the “best of Chicago *Added to our list of Restaurant Week to-do’s — DA PERFECT thin crust pizza in Chicago

Purple Pig 500 N. Michigan Ave. | Chicago IL 60611 312 464-1744 
*Added to our list of Restaurant Week to-do’s — Because the food is phenomenal and the scene is just an added bonus and we adore Jimmy Banos Jr. Looking forward to Chicago summers and weekend 4PM bottle of champagne and small bites <3 Good luck getting in there for #RW

Sable Kitchen & Bar 505 N. State St. | Chicago IL 60654 312 755-9704 Gastro lounge serving and eclectic shared plates and a complex cocktail program.*Added to our list of Restaurant Week to-do’s — Because it’s a great spot, has great ambiance, great food & cocktails, and great location with great friends. Put it on your to-do list.

Smith & Wollensky 318 N. State St. | Chicago IL 60654 312 670-9900 “The Steakhouse that ends all arguments.” Piano entertainment Tues.-Sat. Private rooms. *Added to our list of Restaurant Week to-do’s — Strictly for their truffle macaroni & cheese side. You.will.die.

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Elevate Your Presence is calling all Food Nerds, Chefs, and Cuisine Obsessives. Food Mafia is launching soon. To receive an exclusive invitation, email us @ Plus, send us your juiciest FOOD PORN and you might even get lucky…

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