This week in food events (and limited edition eats and drinks)

November 28, 2011

Just when you thought it was time to start that post-Thanksgiving fast: NO! The season of feasting has just begun!

In case you're still craving tryptophan, get yourself to Kuma's Corner in the next couple of days. These are the final hours of Sleep, as in the legendary burger: a turkey patty topped with tempura fried stuffing, turkey gravy, fried sage leaves, and cranberry jelly slices. It's only available until the end of November, or while ingredients last, until its return next year—perhaps. While the burger's named in honour of the stoner doom metal band bien sûr, I like to call this kreation, Kuma's Koma.

The Christkindlmarket is back at Daley Plaza until Christmas Eve, and there are not one but two vendors doing currywurst! Currywurst is, of course, the beloved German fast food of sliced pork sausage blanketed with warm curry ketchup, eaten with a teeny tiny little fork, usually from a market stall or food truck, and especially appreciated on cold winter nights after drinking lots of beer. It's to Berlin as the baby-sized burrito is to Chicago.

On a more wholesome note, the Chicago Botanic Garden's Wonderland Express's Breakfast with Santa is already sold out but there are still tickets available for other food and drink meet-and-greets with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and to celebrate Hanukkah, and even a secular Members' Night. While you're there check out my sister Annie Chu's Christmas tree decorated with handcrafted Nutcracker ornaments, crafted by her own elfin hands.

In case you missed it at Northwestern, or would like to whip up another batch of "popcorn air," El Bulli: Cooking in Progress is now playing at the Siskel Film Center until Thursday.

Or just inhale deeply at Garrett where they're serving up limited edition Gingerbread CaramelCrisp, at the Michigan Avenue store only, or through their online store. As if they need to make their popcorn any more addictive?! My tip to you: chopsticks. Eat your Garrett's with chopsticks.

And in limited edition drinks news! North Shore Distillery just announced their newest Artisan Collection Limited Release: Eldergin—as in gin with intoxicatingly fragrant elderberries, which grow wild throughout the Midwest. You can taste Eldergin at in-store tastings this week at Binny's or at the NSD Tasting Room in Lake Bluff.

Monday, November 28

Pick up a paper grocery bag for the annual Greater Chicago Food Depository's Union Station Food Drive in the Great Hall and fill it up with the most needed items: beans, canned fruit, canned veggies, cereal, chili, jelly, mac and cheese, pasta, pasta sauce, peanut butter, rice, shelf-stable milk, soup, stew, and/or tuna. Return it Tuesday, November 29, between 6 to 10 a.m., same place. If that's not on your commute route, you can still donate.

The Bedford's End of Movember 'Stache Bash is not as weird as it sounds. OK, it is—but it's all for a good cause too! The Bedford boys have been growing out 'staches to raise men's cancer awareness and the bash will benefit the Prostate Cancer Foundation and Livestrong. There will be food and drink specials, as well as a Mustache Competition: Best Mustache Overall, Creepiest Mustache, Most Pathetic Mustache, and Best Mustache on a Lady. Remember, all for a good cause—and fun!

Tuesday, November 29

Be among the first at the Opening Night Celebration at Bar Toma—and benefit Green City Market. Chef Tony Mantuano and his lovely wife Cathy will be serving, among other Italian neighborhood pizzeria and bar delights, "pizza salads, which are salads on top of fresh baked crisps." They had me at "pizza salad."

Thursday, December 1

Join me to judge the live bûche de Noël competition at the Café des Architectes Holiday Rock & Roll, hosted by Pastry Chef Patrick Fahy and Exec Chef Greg Biggers, all benefitting Share Our Strength. Watch Michelle and Vinny Garcia from Bleeding Heart Bakery, Elissa Narow of Perennial Virant, Celeste Campise of Spiaggia, Amanda Rockman of The Bristol (and Top Chef Desserts), Greg Mosko of North Pond, and Jove Hubbard of David Burke's Primehouse battle it out with génoise and ganache—while we sip sparkling wine and nibble passed apps by Chef Biggers.

Also Thursday night, Stephanie Levi will be teaching the Science of Chocolate at the Barry Callebaut Chocolate Academy as part of her ongoing Night Lab series. Répondez s'il vous plaît, er, RSVP—and did I mention it's free?

Friday, December 2

Is this city big enough for more than one Germanic Christmas Market? Ja! The Lincoln Square Christkindl Market will be held Friday to Sunday.

And across the street, there's a Stollen making class at DANK Haus, the German American Cultural Center.

Saturday, December 3

The 6th Annual Renegade Craft Fair Holiday Market takes over the Pulaski Park Fieldhouse Saturday and Sunday. There will be food and drink from MANA Food Bar, Flying Saucer, Black Dog Gelato, Puffs of Doom, Cheap Tart Bakery, and Dark Matter Coffee.

Back at the Sofitel, check out the always amazing Sixth Annual Amateur Gingerbread House Competition, organized by Pastry Chicago.

Wish you could take better pictures of all this? Take the Taking the Mystery Out of Food Photography with Eric Futran class at Calumet Photo in Oak Brook.

Then compare notes, er, snaps, with the masters of amateur food photography at the annual Chanukwanzamas, LTH Holiday Party, this year at Avli Estiatorio.

Sunday, December 4

The HoliDose at the River East Arts Center will be the last Dose market of the year—hard to believe! And Death's Door will be ladling complimentary fizzy punch!