Category Archives: Food

Heating & Cooling (HVAC) Pub – Wrigleyville’s New Pizza and Concert Joint

Heating & Cooling (HVAC) Pub – Wrigleyville’s New Pizza and Concert Joint


There’s a new pub in Wrigleyville, and it’s to die for! Heating & Cooling Pub, also known as HVAC Pub, is just a couple of steps from Wrigley Field and serves up amazing appetizers, craft beers, and pizza like you’ve never seen before. They are located at 3530 N. Clark St.


There isn’t any typical bar food at HVAC, everything is made from the freshest ingredients. If you’re grabbing a drink with friends, make sure to check the appetizer menu. The bacon-wrapped dates have goat cheese and applewood smoked bacon, making it a crowd pleaser, as well as the bruschetta, with tomatoes and basil leaves. There are also great appetizers such as wings, nachos, and spinach-artichoke dip to enjoy.


Heating & Cooling’s pizza toppings include pulled pork, baked potatoes, and buffalo chicken to create their gourmet pies. “The Boss” has a combination of calamari, giardiniera, arugula, red sauce and a house cheese blend, showcasing octopus as a great topping for pizza. “Alifornication,” a monstrosity that pushes that fresh aspect, includes chicken, roasted tomato, bacon, avocado, lettuce, ranch dressing, olive oil, and cheese. If you’re looking for a regular slice of pizza, the cheese and pepperoni delivers, or make your own creation from any of their ingredients! Not looking for a whole pizza, but just a meal? Grab the PB&J, a slice of pizza with a beer and a shot of Jameson for only $8.


HVAC Pub Pizza


On Thursdays at 9 p.m., HVAC hosts local Chicago bands in an event called “Thursday Night Live.” Featuring mostly music from the rock/alternative genre, it’s a blast to see bands in such an intimate environment. You can enjoy the show from the upstairs balcony or sit in front of the stage downstairs, either way you’ll get your fix of live entertainment for the week.




During your next trip to Wrigleyville, whether you’re seeing the Cubs or going out with friends, make sure to check out Heating & Cooling Pub for pizza, beer, and a fun environment.


Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2) Features Food Deals This Week

Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2) Features Food Deals This Week


The Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo is here again from April 24-26, celebrating pop culture by showcasing exhibitions and panels from the creative geniuses behind popular comics, TV shows, and movies. C2E2 also hosts autograph signings and special screenings for fans exclusively from the creators of some their favorite entertainment. Tickets for 1-day or 3-day admission are available now on, but if you can’t make the event, four different restaurants across Chicago have partnered with C2E2 to highlight pop culture phenomenons through gastronomical food!


Dimo’s Pizza, the extremely popular pizza joint known for crazy toppings like Chicken & Waffles and S’Mores, created a concoction called “Too Many Cooks,” consisting of cool ranch Doritos, chicken nuggets and Combo’s, all tossed in Hi-C’s Ecto-Cooler drink and topped with Spicy Pop Rocks to pay tribute to 80’s junk food. This pizza will be available at their Wrigleyville and Wicker Park locations from April 20th-26th, so make sure to stop by and grab a slice!


At the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, M/X and POI bars are offering 7 different cocktails inspired by superheroes, like the Damsel in Distress, which is a mix of Amaretto & Ketel One with Cranberry Juice and Orange Juice, as well as two different entree options. The first is a grass fed burger with an egg and pepper relish in between a pretzel bun, and the second is a sandwich with bacon, gouda & brie cheeses, onions, and a tomato-basil sauce on long white bread.


Revolution Brewery/Pub is bringing back their famous Galaxy Hero IPA this month, along with the Galaxy Burger, which is made with Tang (that yummy orange drink we all used to drink when we were kids) on a black bun.


Galaxy Hero will also be served in the Hard Rock Hotel Chicago, Chucks: A Kerry Simon Kitchen along with the Iron Chef Burger, a beef burger with sharp cheddar cheese and red onion jam. For dinner, you can order the burger doubled. These will be available until the end of April on special, and at a discount for C2E2 fans.


Make sure to snag these one-of-a-kind creations before April is over, and enjoy the C2E2 Expo this weekend!


Feed Your Fusion: Two of Chicago’s Most Innovative Fusion Restaurants

Feed Your Fusion: Two of Chicago’s Most Innovative Fusion Restaurants


Feeling a little adventurous after such a brutal winter? Venture out into the city to two different fusion restaurants that strive to keep food unique and fun. Positioned on the border of Lincoln Park and Lakeview sits Thai Burrito (2439 N. Clark), a restaurant that combines exactly what it says. Upon arriving, guests are greeted by strong Thai scents and an inviting atmosphere. Starting off a meal with Thai Burrito’s crowd favorite, Crab Rangoon, is never a bad idea.


Thai Burrito’s Thai burritos are obviously the stars of the show. There are tons to choose from, but restaurant best sellers include the Panang Curry and Pad Thai burritos. If guests aren’t feeling adventurous enough to fuse completely, they have “safer” choices like Garlic or Basil. Burritos are made of a warm, crisp tortilla, lettuce, tomato, sour cream, rice, refried beans, and the choice of veggie, chicken, beef, tofu, shrimp, or tilapia. There are endless options, all made of fresh ingredients.


Thai Burrito


Not into the burrito craze? Try a variety of Tacos or Thai Nachos. Thai Burrito offers some of the best Thai food that Chicago has to offer as well, ranging from spicy curry to mild Pad Thai, just in case guests don’t want to give the fusion a try. These burritos are great for any time of day, leaving you full without excessive amounts of fat.


Thai Burrito


If you’re in the Loop, Saucy Porka (400 S. Financial Place) is a must-try. Tucked away behind Harold Washington Library, the food truck-turned-restaurant fuses Asian and Latin flavors in tacos, rice bowls, sandwiches, soups, and salads. Upon entering, guests are welcomed by a friendly staff and cozy atmosphere. Saucy Porka is fun, fresh, and innovative – a perfect place for a quick bite to eat during lunch.


The Curry Sweet Potato Fries are incomparable to any other fries in the city. Topped with a sprinkle of cheese and green onions, and paired with a curry aioli, nothing marries sweet and spicy together quite like these. Another appetizer unlike any other are the Chorizo Egg Rolls, a Latin alternative to the classic Asian dish. Served with an avocado aioli, these are a sensational combination of Asian and Latin cuisine.


Saucy Porka’s tacos, or “Bacos,” are freshly steamed bao buns that are served open with different fillings. Soy Ginger Tofu and Miso Braised Beef Short Rib are two customer favorites, as well as the infamous Saucy Porka sandwich, which has pork carnitas and kimchi stuffed in a French baguette. No matter what you eat here, you’ll be impressed.


Thai Burrito and Saucy Porka offer innovative and unique fusion dishes with roots in Asian cuisine, unique finds in Chicago!


BlendAbout: Social Dining – The New Way to Mix and Mingle? (Part 3)

BlendAbout: Social Dining – The New Way to Mix and Mingle? (Part 3)


In the third part of our feature on social dining we explore BlendAbout, an organization that brings people together for group dining experiences. If you’re traveling to a new city and don’t want to dine alone or simply want to meet new people over a great meal in Chicago, BlendAbout is your answer.


Founder Kate Spivak was inspired to start BlendAbout after a cross-country move – one that brought her to a new city where she had to build a new network of friends from scratch.  “Outside of the online dating world, there was no service to connect people for networking or friendship,” explains Kate. After launching three years ago, BlendAbout is now available in most major cities across the U.S.


How does BlendAbout work? The website,, invites users to sign up for a meal as one of four to six guests. While some meals are pre-created, users can generate their own meals  by picking a restaurant they’d like to visit, setting a theme (such as networking, dating, sports, politics or travel), and defining a date and time. BlendAbout takes care of the reservations, and other users can sign up to join the meal. Reservations are confirmed when at least four people “take a seat at the table.”




There’s no requirement to go by yourself, however. You can invite friends or other contacts to join BlendAbout and register their own seat at the table. Because the process is so simple, it’s a great way to meet people, either within the dating world or beyond. Social networking capabilities allow you to see other “Blenders” in your area and tag someone to your wish list. The service charges a small monthly subscription fee, and then you pay individually for your meal at the restaurant. While a virtual medium is used to set up the meals, BlendAbout gets you out there interacting with people in real life, not just behind a computer or phone screen.


BlendAbout is a great service for anyone who doesn’t want to dine by themselves, who wants to meet new people, or simply to try a new restaurant. While many users are business travelers or residents in a new city, others have unique reasons. For example, a woman wanted to try a hot new restaurant she knew her husband wouldn’t be able to eat at due to his diet. BlendAbout was her solution to find others who would enjoy the same spot. Feedback from users has been that it’s simple to use, guests are friendly and nice, and it’s not an awkward introduction like a dating service might incur. The group setting takes the pressure off, as there are no pre-conceived notions on what the meal should be like.




Founder Kate has attended meals as a guest and is lucky that she’s met some of her best friends through BlendAbout. “I didn’t know what to expect when I started BlendAbout, but I’ve met such a range of amazing people.” The BlendAbout team encourages Chicagoans to try out the service and enjoy meeting new people over a great meal. Who knows, you may get lucky and meet a new best friend!


{Images Courtesy of BlendAbout. Credit (Cover Photo): Nader Khouri}


Restaurant Spotlight: Big Eating at Bottlefork

Restaurant Spotlight: Big Eating at Bottlefork


The favorite Rockit Ranch Productions presents the comfortably sharp Bottlefork Bar and Kitchen. Among all the wonderful restaurants that River North has to offer, Bottlefork stands tall as one of the best. Just as perfectly highlighted in the “Our Story” of their website, “…Bottlefork is a representation of the seamless partnership of the food and beverage coming together to create the perfect marriage of food and drink.” Bottlefork serves a similar audience as their next-door neighbor, Bub City, but with a completely different and uniquely special atmosphere. The restaurant is dimly lit with beautiful wood tones that highlight the bottled drinks effortlessly.


Beginning with the drinks, the options are nearly endless but the “Bottlefork Original Cocktails” are always a safe and yummy place to start. “Big Salty Tears”, sounds like an odd pairing of ingredients (Lustau Palo Cortado & East India Solera Sherries, Rittenhouse Rye, Lemon, Maple, Orange Flower Water & Egg) but is certainly worth being adventurous.


Bottlefork Drinks


Next, for the appetizer, every table in the restaurant at dinnertime seems to order the ““Bag” of crisps and egg” with good reason. In essence, the bag of crisps is a brown paper bag of potato chips accompanied to the table by a small dish of a poached egg. The waiters drop the egg in the bag at the table and shake it up to make a delicious pairing of the chips and egg. Other great appetizers are the Popcorn Sweetbreads or the Deviled Eggs, which have a nice modern twist.


Bottlefork Appetizers


The best part, the entrée at Bottlefork, is referred to as ”shareables” with the idea that each party chooses a few plates to enjoy together family style. A strong recommendation is the Potato Gnocchi with Spring Mushrooms, Stinging Nettles and Fresh Goat Cheese. This is the perfect size to compliment other dishes because it offers enough bites for everyone to get a good sense of the unique flavor and despite being shared, the potato is still nice and filling. Even for those who don’t care for mushrooms the combination of the stinging nettles and goat cheese helps to give them a new and different pleasing flavor.


Bottlefork Shareables


Lastly, when it comes to everyone’s favorite course, Bottlefork doesn’t fail to impress: dessert is truly the best part. Guests have the opportunity to choose from the creamery or desserts in a glass. From the creamery, the Pretzel Caramel Sundae is a favorite. That delectable sweet and salty mix that comes from caramel popcorn, salted caramel, or M&M’s on popcorn, is delivered perfectly in the Pretzel Caramel Sundae.


Visit Bottlefork Bar and Kitchen soon to create your own wonderful experience and find your favorite dishes- you won’t be disappointed.



10 Ways to Have Fun in Chicago This Winter – On the Cheap

10 Ways to Have Fun in Chicago This Winter – On the Cheap


Set a New Year’s resolution to save money this year? While Chicago abounds with expensive meals out, days of pricey sightseeing and nights on the town, there are plenty of ways to enjoy yourself through the cold months on the cheap.


Top 10 Ways to Enjoy Low Cost Fun in Chicago


1.       Trek across Northerly Island by snowshoe

Bring your camera to capture great views of the city while getting a winter workout in. At only $5 for snowshoe or cross-country ski rentals, you can explore this expansive park near the Planetarium. Check here for a calendar of days the program is running. Note that there must be three inches of snow to participate – so check their Facebook page or call 312-745-2910 for up-to-date information on access.


2.       See what the Soho House hype is about for the cost of a latte

Curious about West Loop’s new glamorous social club, the Soho House (113 – 125 N. Green St.)? While much of the club is designated for members or hotel guests only, the coffee shop and bar in the stunningly decorated lobby (The Allis) and the two restaurants (Chicken Shop and Pizza East) are open to the public. One of our favorite stops in the neighborhood, we recommend finding a lovely sun-lit table in the lobby and ordering a latte or freshly-concocted Bloody Mary to soak up the Soho House atmosphere.


3.       Enjoy a homemade meal in a cozy flower shop

The Flower Flat in Lakeview (620 W. Addison) is a former flower shop offering a unique café. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served; dinner only on Friday nights. Take advantage of Friday night’s rotating $19 prix fixe menu featuring dishes such as red wine marinara spaghetti with mozzarella meatballs and peppered shrimp on creamy polenta.


4.       Visit the tropics for free at the conservatories

Surround yourself with gorgeous flowers, plants and streams when you step inside the heated haven of Lincoln Park Conservatory. Located just south of Fullerton, the Conservatory features four rooms: the Palm House, Fern Room, Orchid House and Show House (which hosts annual flower shows). Access is free.

Head further west to visit the Garfield Park Conservatory (300 North Central Park Ave.), which is an expansive tropical setting featuring six multi-faceted greenhouses and two grand exhibition halls. Admission is also free, however donations are recommended.


5.       Turn your favorite walk into a bike ride with Divvy

Missing your outdoor workouts? Cover more ground and work up some body heat while biking around town. The Divvy rental bike system is available year-round and you can check out a bike for a $7 24-hour pass or kick start unlimited rides with a year-long membership for $75. Because the intent of the bike program is to offer transportation from one point to another, rides must be 30 minutes or less. If you decide to ride for longer, slight overtime charges will be applied.  The program offers 3000 bikes across the city found at 300 docking stations, so you are guaranteed to find one near where you want to go.


6.       Dine at last year’s hot restaurants

Missed a few restaurant openings last year? Head in now that lines have subsided to comfort hits such as Leghorn Chicken’s new location on 600 W. Ohio St. ($7 for a Nashville Hot chicken sandwich on a buttermilk biscuit), or Shake Shack (66 E. Ohio St.) where you can devour a classic ShackBurger for only $5.19. Dine on endless tacos, burger and po’ boys at Big & Little’s, located at 860 N. Orleans and 1034 W. Belmont. This favorite Chicago diner was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and continues to draw regulars back for more delicious eats.

Or, make it fancy and head to Enolo Wine Café in River North (450 N. Clark St.) for a $13 “Tall, Dark and Handsome” flight of 3 glasses of red wine or a $4.50 tasty bruschetta (top picks include Prosciutto, Fig Jam and Mascarpone, or Bacon Jam, Torched Burrata, Arugula and Tomato).


7.       Take advantage of free museum days

Chicago has so many options to get your cultural fix. From Degas at the Art Institute to dinosaurs at the Field Museum, Illinois residents can enjoy some of Chicago’s best museums for free on select days (bring your driver’s license to show proof of residency). Choose Chicago put together a list of specific dates museums open up to residents for free.


 8.       Conquer a new workout for free

Many fitness studios offer a trial workout for free for new customers. Tackle your New Year’s resolutions by finding your new favorite workout. TITLE Boxing Club offers a free first boxing experience, and Power Sculpt Fitness offers a free trial class (check out Cycle & Sculpt or Tabata Express).


9.       Eat and drink on the cheap with local happy hour specials

Warm, cozy bars draw you in from the cold for fun and camaraderie. Keep bar tabs low by heading in for the happy hour specials. Get your coworkers or friends to tag along to split a few appetizers. The Lobby Lounge in the JW Marriott (151 W. Adams St.) offers $5 wine specials and $5 appetizers such as pizza flatbreads and chicken bites from 5 – 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

McCormick & Schmick’s on Rush and Chestnut has a great priced happy hour menu in the early evening hours each day of the week tempting you with items ranging from $2.99 (Garlic Rosemary Fries) to $5.99 (American Kobe Style Carpaccio and Baja Fish Tacos).

If you’re craving a Hawaiian island menu, head to Roy’s (720 N. State St.) for Aloha Hour every night from 4:30 – 7 p.m. to enjoy $6 cocktails such as Cucumber Martinis and $6 bar bites such as Red Curry Chicken Samosas and Tempura-Crusted Ahi Rolls.


10.   Collect extra cash by selling clothes at consignment shops

Make a few extra bucks to fund your social life as you clear up space in your closet. Donate clean items in great condition that you no longer want to consignment shops such as Second Time Around (823 W. Armitage). Earn on average 30 – 40% of the original value of an item, or 50% for new items with tags still on. Second Time Around is looking for designer clothing and accessories that you no longer need and can sell to someone else who would enjoy them.

Le Thrift Consignment (1821 W. Chicago Ave.) is currently accepting winter hand bags, clothing, jewelry and accessories for similar prices, no appointment necessary.


Help Make Chicago’s Very Own Foodseum a Reality

Help Make Chicago’s Very Own Foodseum a Reality


If you love food, live to eat and seek out every gourmet experience you can find, prepare to be delighted by the upcoming launch of Chicago’s very own museum dedicated to food, the Foodseum. You’ll be immersed in the history and culture that make up the food we eat each day (and even some foods you’ve never tried). While the physical space isn’t slated to open until 2018, the organization is raising funds through Kickstarter to set up a series of pop-up exhibits to keep us satisfied until the opening.


Inspired by a childhood of living abroad and traveling across Europe, Executive Director Kyle Joseph founded the idea for Foodseum. “I had the opportunity to dive into many cultures – I met people in each culture who shared themselves through food,” says Kyle. While many countries across the world form identities, cultures and day-to-day interactions centered on food, in the United States there isn’t as thorough an understanding of where our food comes from.


To fill this gap, Foodseum aims to reconnect people to where their food comes from – in a fun environment. Everything from advertising techniques to the farm-to-table journey will be explored in Foodseum’s exhibits. Kyle explains, “The goal is to engage all five senses – you’ll be able to smell, touch and even taste in the museum,” which is planned to include demonstrations and restaurant service. Expect to learn more about chocolate, cheese, coffee and so many more of the items we savor each day. You’ll be exposed to foods you may have never heard of, as well.


Kyle smartly considers Chicago the food capital of the United States. He and his team have experienced a big welcome in a culture where many agree. Because Chicago is such a great city for tourism and museum visitors, it’s the right place to build the Foodseum. Partnerships with other museums, culinary schools, architecture firms and chefs have offered ideas on how to make this the best experience possible. Several well-known chefs in Chicago have been invited to make up the Culinary Advisory Board, which includes curating recipes to share with the museum’s visitors. Showing the connection between established local food culture and the new museum will make Foodseum a mainstay in the city’s cultural and culinary world.


To satiate the palates of intrigued Chicagoans, Foodseum is working toward a pop-up exhibit featuring our classic fare, hot dogs and encased meats. To make this possible, they’re running a Kickstarter campaign – consider contributing this week as it’s only open until December 25. Contributors toward the goal of $30,000 will receive special rewards, ranging from an annual membership to the Foodseum to your very own “Foodcation” experience – a weekend full of foodie surprises with local celebrities and chefs.


“Everyone’s help will make this a reality,” explains Kyle, who is enthusiastic about sharing his passion with Chicago’s residents and visitors. Contribute to the fundraising campaign today and stay tuned for more on upcoming exhibits and the official Foodseum opening.


{Image courtesy of Vienna Beef}


Learn about Truffles, Cheese and More at Mariano’s La Tavola Italiana

Learn about Truffles, Cheese and More at Mariano’s La Tavola Italiana


You already love Mariano’s for its extensive selection, great service and gourmet inspiration. Now you can love Mariano’s even more as they tempt you with seven days of classes, demonstrations, tastings and more, December 7 – 14, 2014. Called La Tavola Italiana, the event is designed to kick off Mariano’s partnership with the Italian Trade Agency.


Experience the essence of truffles, modern mixology secrets and the origination of olive oil at events occurring through the 14th at Mariano’s Bucktown and Ravenswood locations. Top events include:


Bucktown (2112 N. Ashland Ave.)

  • Arancini making with Chef Rich Mancini of Hell’s Kitchen (Monday, 12/8 at 6:30 p.m.)
  • All About Wine seminar with Sommelier Christopher Rowell (Tuesday, 12/9 at 5:30 p.m.)
  • Eggplant Parmigiana and Cannoli making with Chef Tony Priolo of Piccolo Sogno (Wednesday, 12/10 at 6:30 p.m.)
  • Modern Mixology Seminar: Seasonal Creative Cocktails (Wednesday, 12/10 at 6:30 p.m.)
  • Italian Vegetarian Recipes with Chef Sean Pharr (Thursday, 12/11 at 6:30 p.m.)
  • Cannoli Cake Demo (Friday, 12/12 at 4 p.m.)


Click here for full event listing, prices and RSVP links. Advance RSVP recommended.


Ravenswood (1800 W. Lawrence Ave.)

  • Learn about the World of Salumi and Salami (Monday, 12/8 at 6 p.m.)
  • All About Truffles with Giacomo Marinello (Tuesday, 12/9 at 6:30 p.m.)
  • Pastry Class with Chef Sarah Koechling of Formento’s (Wednesday, 12/10 at 6:30 p.m.)
  • Dishin’ with the Dietitian for the Holidays (Wednesday, 12/10 at 6:30 p.m.)
  • Wine and Food Pairing Session with Master of Wine Serafin Alvarado (Thursday, 12/11 at 6:30 p.m.)
  • Revolution Brewing: Tap Overthrow (Friday, 12/12 at 5:30 p.m.)


Click here for full event listing, prices and RSVP links. Advance RSVP recommended.



The event kicked off on December 7 and one of the first classes was “All About Truffles” with Italian Chef Giacomo Marinello. Chef Marinello taught us the history of truffles and treated us to an incredible dish of truffle risotto.


Grown naturally in Italy and France, truffles are found by either pigs or dogs. While there are many different varieties, most truffles are either black, with a milder flavor, or white, with a more intense flavor. The right combination of soil composition, temperature and rain is what allows truffles to grow, which are typically found under trees. Made up of nearly 90% water, truffles have an incredible scent and flavor that makes them a delicacy. They have a very short shelf life, barely over a week, making truffles a challenge to secure in their true form. Many derivatives including butter, salt, cream and sauce allow us to enjoy the truffle flavor year-round.


All About Truffles


Chef Giacomo Marinello


Truffle Risotto


Learn about truffles and much more at Mariano’s La Tavola Italiana all week long!


Get into the Halloween Spirit: Chicago Edition

Get into the Halloween Spirit: Chicago Edition


Looking outside this week – the leaves have changed to vibrant reds and oranges, the temperatures have dipped just below “sweater weather” and you’ve nearly outdone yourself with the Pumpkin Spice Lattes. As days turn into nights, that chilly, eerie feeling arises and you know for sure – it’s almost Halloween. With the holiday quickly approaching, here are 5 things to do in Chicago to get you in the Halloween spirit.


Halloween Spirit: Scary and Creepy Movies

Chicago Edition: Rocky Horror Picture Show at Music Box Theatre (3733 N. Southport)

Scary movies are one of the best ways to get yourself into the Halloween spirit. Whether you are a fan of gory films, or classic, bone-chilling cinematic features, a movie allows you to escape for a little while into a different world. To enter that world in Chicago, head to The Music Box Theatre, where premiere independent and foreign films have been shown for the last 20 years. Halloween brings showings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, including live actors, sing-alongs and props to throw around. If you’re not familiar with The Rocky Horror Picture Show, it’s a campy film from the 70s that has inspired a following of fans for years. Its kooky plot is unlike any movie you’ve seen before – head the The Music Box Theatre and you’ll be fully immersed in the experience. For more information and to purchase tickets click here.


rocky horror


Halloween Spirit: Caramel Apples and Halloween Treats

Chicago Edition: Andrew’s Caramel Apples (5001 W. Belmont)

When it comes to Halloween, everyone thinks of candy and tasty Halloween treats, such as popcorn, candy and caramel apples. A great place to get caramel apples in Chicago is Andrew’s Caramel Apples. This family owned business is known for selling their candy apples by the case – they cover the apples in classic caramel and peanuts. For more information on pricing and ordering call (773) 286-2224.


caramel apples


Halloween Spirit: Pumpkin Carving and Decorating

Chicago Edition: Pumpkin Carving Party at Sheffield’s (3258 N. Sheffield)

Another great Halloween tradition is pumpkin carving. In addition to having a great display at your doorstep, you can bake the seeds from the pumpkin. Pumpkin carving brings family and friends together while giving you an opportunity to show off your creative side, perhaps with a classic Jack-o-Lantern style, or a special carving… even adding your own signature flare. On Thursday, October 23, 2014, starting at 6 p.m., Sheffield’s Beer and Wine Garden hosts their annual pumpkin carving event, for free. During the event Pumpkin Beer will be on tap and there will be specials on hot mulled cider. To learn more click here. Get there early to reserve your pumpkin!


Halloween Spirit: Dressing up for Halloween

Chicago Edition: Shopping at Fantasy Costumes (4065 N. Milwaukee)

One of the best parts about Halloween is being able to dress up in a costume and hit the town – showing off your creativity with your friends. Instead of running last minute into one of the Halloween pop-up shops, make a visit to Fantasy Costumes, a well-known costume shop that has been located on the North side of Chicago for over 45 years. Not only do they sell and rent Halloween costumes, but they also have Christmas outfits, St. Patrick’s Day costumes and Mardi Gras accessories. Customers at Fantasy Costumes are always greeted with a smile and great service. If you’re searching for that one specific thing you can’t find anywhere else, this is the place to come – the shop is a whole block long! They have various rooms including their own kids’ costume room, a wig room and a mask room, and a wide selection of adult costumes as well. For more information click here.


fantasty costumes


Halloween Spirit: Haunted Houses

Chicago Edition: Chicago Ghost Tours

Who knew Chicago was haunted? With a history riddled with battles, fires, gangster massacres and more, there are rumored hauntings all throughout the city. Chicago Ghost Tours takes you on a ghost hunt – even to one of Al Capone’s hangout spots! You’ll be sure to bring back stories from this tour. Call (773) 953-6332 to reserve your spot on a tour today!


Happy Halloween, Chicago style!


{Image credits: Header1, 23}


Chicago Gourmet: Bringing You the Best Chicago Chefs – And Where to Find Them Any Day of the Year

Chicago Gourmet: Bringing You the Best Chicago Chefs – And Where to Find Them Any Day of the Year


Perfect sunny weather set the tone for celebration and indulgence at the 7th annual Chicago Gourmet, presented by Bon Appétit.  Set on the stunning backdrop of Millennium Park and the Pritzker Pavilion, the festival brings together lovers of food, wine, beer and more for two days of incredible tastings. The event was preceded by Friday’s Hamburger Hop kickoff as well as several themed dinners around the city in the months prior, all in anticipation of one of Chicago’s best events of the year.


When Chicago Gourmet finally arrives, it feels like Christmas morning – bubbling anticipation for what’s to come. You prepare yourself for a day out in the sunshine meeting, greeting and eating around the Chicago culinary scene. It’s important to remember that Chicago Gourmet is a marathon, not a sprint, when it comes to taste testing the best the chefs have to offer.


Dozens of white tents around the perimeter of Millennium Park serve tasting portions of unique dishes the chefs designed just for the event, while tents in the middle of the park offer samplings of wine and spirits from around the world. While the lines grow as the popularity of each tasting tent is discovered, life isn’t so bad milling around in the sunshine waiting to be served an incredible mini-meal.


Chicago Gourmet - Lauren Fondriest


Surrounding the food and drink tents are several stages that host chef demos, seminars, book tastings and more. Seeing your favorite chefs in action brings to life dining experiences you’ve had at many of their restaurants. The demos brought out personalities previously hidden behind kitchen doors or on the covers of cook books.


On Sunday, Chef Tim Graham of Travelle and Chef Jared Wentworth of Longman & Eagle, Dusek’s and Punch House teamed up for a presentation of the “Magic Beast” – specially sourced pork that was seared on a pan and served with a simply dressed kale and stone fruit salad. Amidst the jokes were a few lessons for home cooks – make friends with your butcher, brine your meat ahead of cooking and coat your salad with oil before the vinegar to prevent wilted leaves.


Chicago Gourmet - Lauren Fondriest


Chicago Gourmet - Lauren Fondriest


Chef Graham Elliot was equally entertaining as he reinforced his Chicago heritage in “Chicago Classic – Sweet Home 2.0.” Working with his Sous Chef Vinny, the two created a prosciutto-wrapped pork loin and a cauliflower giardiniera. “A good cook can go back in time,” Chef Elliot proclaimed as he explained that cooking popular dishes from other eras can transport you to a different time and place.


Chicago Gourmet - Lauren Fondriest


While Chicago Gourmet is an unforgettable experience that brings together the best of the best, the Chicago culinary scene goes year round. Along with the best tastings offered at Sunday’s event, you’ll find comparable menu items offered by the same chefs at their Chicago restaurants.



Bringing You Delicious Food All Year Long


Restaurant: Epic (112 W. Hubbard)

Chef: Dan Marquis

Chicago Gourmet Tasting: Pork cheek with pumpkin polenta and apples

To Try off Epic’s Menu:

  • Braised pork belly with Swiss chard, roasted apples, white polenta and natural jus
  • Duck confit salad with citrus supremes, red watercress, frisee and champagne vinaigrette
  • Pulled pork mac & cheese with chipotle braised pork and cotija cheese


Chicago Gourmet - Lauren Fondriest


Restaurant: Antique Taco (1360 N. Milwaukee Ave.)

Chef: Rick Ortiz

Chicago Gourmet Tasting: Pumpkin habanero soup

To Try off Antique Taco’s Menu:

  • Pork carnitas taco, with Adobo rub, tamarind glaze, bacon, spinach, onion, avocado and queso fresco
  • Sweet & spicy chicken taco, with cucumber and jalapeno pickle, honey yogurt and purple onion
  • Habanero popcorn with olive oil and cheddar cheese



Restaurant: Park Grill (11 N. Michigan Ave.)

Chef: Gil Langlois

Chicago Gourmet Tasting: Pork rillette on toast

To Try off Park Grill’s Menu:

  • Fettuccine Carbonara hand-made pasta, Raisin River bacon, woodland mushrooms, truffle oil, poached egg, Grana Padano
  • Sautéed Great Lakes Whitefish butternut squash purée, Brussels sprout leaves, sage and pinenut relish, balsamic reduction
  • Chorizo Turkey Burger guava relish, cilantro cabbage slaw, pickled onions, potato bun, hand-cut fries


Chicago Gourmet - Lauren Fondriest


Restaurant: Bread & Wine (3734 W. Irving Park)

Chef: Michael Dean Reynolds

Chicago Gourmet Tasting: Salted caramel popcorn panna cotta

To Try off Bread & Wine’s Menu:

  • Salted caramel popcorn panna cotta
  • Chocolate mousse with chocolate crunch, whipped cream and sea salt
  • Warm summer squash with poached egg, pancetta, ricotta, greens and balsamic



Restaurant: Mercat a la Planxa (638 S. Michigan Ave.)

Chef: Cory Morris

Chicago Gourmet Tasting: “Chicken Truffle Brussel” – chicken croquette with truffle-flavored Brussels sprouts

To Try off Mercat a la Planxa’s Menu:

  • Mixto croquetas – Serrano ham and chorizo croquettes with romesco
  • Ropa de Cabra – Kilgus Farms goat ropa vieja, goat cheese, baguette
  • Conill Amb Castanyes – Braised rabbit agnolotti, truffle chestnut puree, brandied cherries and rosemary brown butter


Chicago Gourmet - Lauren Fondriest


Enjoy what these incredible chefs have to offer year-round. When 2015 comes up, watch out for Chicago Gourmet ticket sales – they sell out and this is an event you do not want to miss!



Chicago Gourmet - Lauren Fondriest


Chicago Gourmet - Lauren Fondriest


Chicago Gourmet - Lauren Fondriest


Chicago Gourmet - Lauren Fondriest


Chicago Gourmet - Lauren Fondriest


Chicago Gourmet - Lauren Fondriest


Chicago Gourmet - Lauren Fondriest


Chicago Gourmet - Lauren Fondriest


The Chicago Lifestyle was invited to attend Chicago Gourmet with a media pass. All content, images and opinions are from The Chicago Lifestyle.