Winter is coming so it's not only tradition but practically a matter of survival to dig into the signature Mrs. Hering's Chicken Pot Pie under the Great Tree in the Walnut Room at Marshall Field's (aka Macy's) on State Street.
Monday, December 5
The Illinois Mycological Association (aka Mushroom Club) gathers for their Season Party at the North Park Village Nature Center. It's members only but open to membership, which means you don't have to be a mycologist to join, though you're probably a mycophagist and maybe even a mycophile. The party promises a mushroom-centric potluck as well as the sharing of field photos and stories of the ones that got away.
Wednesday, December 7
The American Institute of Wine & Food hosts Cookies for a Cause at the Drake, a pop-up shop featuring celeb chef holiday cookies by Rick Bayless, Gale Gand, Stephanie Izard, Katrina Markoff, Malika Ameen, and Jacquy Pfeiffer. 100% of the proceeds funds The French Pastry School's For the Love of Chocolate Scholarship Foundation.
Thursday, December 8
WCRX, Columbia College's radio station, rolls out the Holly Jolly Trolley Food Drive for the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Go to the Congress-Wabash Building to donate, or donate from anywhere, anytime, here.
Bacon-Nation, Baconfest takes over Custom House Tavern in the third in a series of four satellite dinners. The bacony festivities start with mini bacon, peanut butter, and banana sandwiches and end with brown butter/bacon fat blondies with maple ice cream, Bourbon butterscotch, and maple-pecan candied bacon. Baconfest, the main event, will be held April 14, 2012—if you live to see the day.
The French Market premieres Night Market, with after-hours eating, drinking, and shopping—with the concurrent Marché de Noël—plus live music!
Friday, December 9
The Plant screens The Greenhorns, a documentary film about young farmers, preceded with snacks, beer, and a tour of the building, then followed by a discussion with five real life young local farmers. Read, hear, and see the Changing Gears story on The Plant here.
IKEAs (yes, IKEA) across the land throw down Swedish Christmas julbords—and there will be herring, salmon in many forms, Swedish meatballs, and more!
Saturday, December 10
Chicago Foodways Roundtable hosts the lutefisk experience to end all lutefisk experiences at Kendall College. There will be a screening, talk, and tasting the "lye fish" made by my dear friend Catherine Lambrecht. Jeffrey Steingarten, the Vogue food critic and author of The Man Who Ate Everything, said, "Lutefisk is not food, it is a weapon of mass destruction. It is currently the only exception for the man who ate everything." This event will be recorded for WBEZ's Chicago Amplified.
The Hotel Allegro welcomes all pets and their people to the annual Santa Paws, with treats and professional photos with Santa. It's a free weekend-long event with a suggested donation for the Anti-Cruelty Society. I'll be there with my dog Kiba!
Sunday, December 11
My chef friend Troy Graves hosts a Puerco Pibil Pop-Up Pig Roast at Cantina 46. Troy will slow roast a whole suckling pig in his Caja China roasting box, then serve it family style with huevos revueltos and all the sides plus all-you-can-drink mango Mimosas and Micheladas.