Friday Foodie Forecast: Chicago Luxury Ice Cream Festival, Speakeasy Throwback and more

July 30, 2010

One of the perks to living in a city as culinarily diverse as Chicago is that when a certain craving strikes you-- for sushi, for pho, for gelato, for ribs, for nearly anything-- you can find it close to home. This week, events cater to vegetarians, cocktail aficionados, beer drinkers and those with a sweet tooth, so take your pick and belly up. 


Grant Achatz's rosemary-caramel "lollipop" from last year's Luxury Ice Cream Festival.

Chicago Luxury Ice Cream Festival With temperatures reaching unbearable highs, the time is right for frozen treats. Today and tomorrow, July 30 and 31, the second annual Chicago Luxury Ice Cream Festival hits the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. Forget sprinkles, these ice creams are created by chefs like Michael Lachowitz of Restaurant Michael, Clandestino Supper Club's Efrain Cuevas and Dimitri and Keli Fayard of Vanille Patisserie. And yes, Black Dog Gelato will be there, too. From 7 to 10 PM, taste exclusive ice creams, attend demonstrations and vote for your favorite ice cream to win The Great Chicago Brain Freeze award. Tickets are $25 for each night and can be purchased online. The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum is located at 2430 N. Cannon Drive.


The Speakeasy Throwback benefit will be held in the Palmer House Hilton's Empire Room.

The Speakeasy Throwback to Benefit Shawn Koch

On Thursday, August 5, the Palmer House and Lockwood's executive chef Phillip Foss will throw a Speakeasy Throwback to support Shawn Koch, a former bar manager, as he battles brain cancer. The Empire Room will be transformed by flappers, live music, and a grand bathtub filled with drinks. Local distilleries and chefs including North Shore Distillery, Koval Distillery, Templeton Rye, Blackbird's Mike Sheerin, Perennial's Ryan Poli, Avenues' Curtis Dufy, Girl and the Goat's Stephanie Izard and Sixteen's Frank Brunacci will supply the food and beverage stations. The event will take place from 6 to 9 PM. Tickets are $95, including tax and tip, and are available online or by calling (312) 917-4962. The Palmer House Hilton is located at 17 E. Monroe Street.

Farm to Bar Bash

Farm to table cooking has been one of this year's biggest restaurant trends, and the focus on local, sustainable ingredients was bound to hit the bar next. On Wednesday, August 4, Big Bowl Ohio Street hosts a "Farm to Bar Bash" with Nacional 27 mixologist Adam Seger. From 7 to 9 PM, Seger will offer $5 specialty cocktails created with fruit from local farmer's markets. Cocktails will include Hibiscus Tea with organic vodka and fruit salsa; sour cherry Hum Mai Thai; local white peach sangria; Hum berry smash and more. Free passed appetizers will be available. Space is limited and reservations can be made by calling (312) 951-1888. Big Bowl Ohio Street is located at 60 E. Ohio Street.

Veggie Fest 2010

All the barbecue and rib events this summer might have vegetarians feeling left out, but they'll have their moment to celebrate at Veggie Fest 2010, the largest free vegetarian food festival in the country. Last year, more than 17,000 people attended the event, which includes cooking demonstrations, live music and international food from Chicago Hot Breads, Chataka Masti, Connie's Pizza, Naf Naf and Sensei's Sushi Parlor. The fair will begin at 11 AM on August 7 and 8 at the Science of Spirituality Meditation Center in Naperville, IL. Admission and some parking are free.

Chicago Beer Society Celebrates German Beers

Tomorrow, July 31, the Chicago Beer Society says "Prost!" with an afternoon of German and German-style beers and food. The Deutschland Uber Ales event will be catered by Laschet's and the menu will include Thuringer sausage and brats, frikadellen, sauerkraut, spaetzle, chicken schnitzel and potato salad from Olga's deli. Confirmed beers for the tasting include Zipfer pils, Gaffel kolsch, Edelweiss, Konig pils, Ettaler dunkel and German-style beers from Metropolitan Great Lakes, New Belgium, Rock Bottom, Three Floyds and more. The event will take place at the Dank-Haus German American Cultural Center, 4740 N. Western Avenue. Tickets are $35 for Chicago Beer Society members, $45 for non-members and can be purchased online. Ticket price includes a tasting glass, beer and food samples.