Happy Hanukkah! The sun sets at nice and early at 4:22 p.m. today in Chicago. Who's serving candle salad tonight?
How about a heebarito? While its origins are lost to antiquity, it's most certainly an etymological take on the jibarito, but with latkes instead of plantains, and corned beef or brisket instead of steak.
In the mood for tavern food? Bring a non-perishable can of food—and please, make it a good one—until Christmas Day to the food drive hosted by my friends at Custom House Tavern for the Greater Chicago Food Depository. In turn, you shall receive a complimentary appetizer or dessert of your choice with your lunch or dinner—or donate anytime right here.
Tuesday, December 20
The High Latke Tea returns to Eleven City Diner during the eight days of Hanukkah at 2:30 p.m.. Order latkes or their "Ju Pu Platter" (two mini latkes, two fried kreplach, apple sauce AND sour cream) and get a complimentary mug of tea. The diner serves a wide assortment of teas, but not the elusive Swee-Touch-Nee (thanks to my friend and fabled food writer Leah A. Zeldes for telling me the legend of her comfort tea).
Wednesday, December 21
Take a full afternoon tea with Santa at the historic Drake Hotel—scones, Devonshire cream, tea sandwiches, petits fours—you know, the works—and remember to make lots of wishes and toss all your coins in the centerpiece grand fountain in the Palm Court. The hotel donates the coins to area charities year-round.
Take an educational tour—with spirit tastings and a pop-up food truck dinner—at the Koval Distillery, the city's first craft distillery. Before or after the 1.5 hour (!) tour, dine from the Wagyu Wagon.
Thursday, December 22
Santa's back for a big holiday breakfast at the Shedd Aquarium—and reserved seats are included to the Holiday Fantasea show with real live leaping dolphins, singing beluga whales, and dancing sea lions!
Garrett Popcorn opens their first free-standing shop 11 a.m. at 87th and Cottage Grove. They'll give away treat-sized bags of Chicago Mix until 1 p.m., a tin Garrett ornament with every purchase, and starting at 4 p.m. samples of CaramelCrisp® Apple Cider, which will also be sold to benefit The Boys and Girls Club. Plus, for their Facebook fans there's a surprise opening day gift. For the very first customer in line, there's a special, also surprise gift. The official grand opening is planned for February, when Garrett will announce a special community partnership with Chicago Public Schools. Excuse me while I pack my sleeping bag...
Saturday, December 24
The very limited edition eggnog bûche de Noël will be served at Café des Architectes on Christmas Eve and Day only. Be sure to check out the winners of the Pastry Chicago Sixth Annual Gingerbread House Competition, on display only until the end of the year.
Feast on the Feast of the Seven Fishes at Osteria Via Stato. The menu:
1. Shrimp Bisque
2. Bacalhau Spread
3. Smoked Salmon with Mascarpone Bruschetta
4. Grilled Baby Octopus Salad
5. Crispy Calamari with Spicy Marinara
6. Lobster and Shrimp Risotto
7. Linguini with Manila Clams and Fresno Chiles
Sunday, December 25