Friday Foodie Forecast: Chicago spice, farm dinners and the terrace returns

May 14, 2010


photo by cafemama

Great food is about more than just what's on the plate. It engages all of our senses: wonderful aromas, beautiful colors, fantastic textures. Upcoming events around Chicago turn up the heat with a focus on dynamic spices and the colorful scenery that surrounds and inspires our meals.

Rioja Restaurant Week

Bold and vibrant wines are in the spotlight during Rioja Restaurant Week, May 13-27. Each of the more than 30 participating restaurants will offer a $25 lunch menu and $35 dinner menu, accompanied by a glass of Rioja wine. Restaurants offering a lunch menu include Aria, Custom House Tavern, David Burke's Primehouse, The Purple Pig, the Melting Pot Chicago and others. Restaurants offering the dinner menu include Aria, Cuna, Meson Sabika, Nacional 27, Oceanique, mk and others. See the website for more details, and be sure to mention Rioja Restaurant Week when making reservations.

 

Dessert at the Chicago Gourmet event at Gaylord's Indian restaurant
Orange kulfi dessert at Gaylord's, courtesy of Chicago Gourmet

Chicago Gourmets Indian Dinner at Gaylord's

On Sunday, May 16, Chicago Gourmets hosts a flavorful Indian dinner at Gaylord's. The dinner will fuse the rich, Mughal flavors of Northern India with traditional "street fare" items from Mumbai, complimented by the subtle wines of Western India. Passed appetizers include sev batata poori (chickpea and potato-stuffed wheat shells with sweet & sour sauce), malai kabab (chicken breast marinated in a spiced cream cheese mixture) and paneer tikka (homemade cheese pan-fried in a spiced gravy). Among family-style entrees: chicken makhani (boneless tandoori chicken with fresh tomato gravy), lamb rogan josh (lamb cooked in tomato-onion seasoned gravy) and‚ saag paneer (fresh spinach cooked with chunks of homemade cheese),‚ as well as rice, bread and raita (yogurt sauce). Dessert includes gulab jamun (milk rounds soaked in syrup with rose essence and cardamom) and chai tea. The event begins at 5:00 PM with cocktails and appetizers and the dinner begins at 5:45 PM. The cost is $69 for Chicago Gourmets members, $79 for non-members. Make reservations online or call (312) 510-8767. Gaylord's is located at 100 E. Walton Street.

Hum Cocktail Class

On Sunday, May 16, Hum creator and master mixologist Adam Seger hosts a free cocktail class at Catalyst Ranch, as part of the launch party for Foodie Registry, a restaurant-focused wedding registry service. Seger will lead a mixing demo (with samples) and will advise guests on selecting cocktails for weddings and events. Hum, featured in our post last Friday, is a botanic rum infused with hibiscus, ginger, cardamom and kaffir lime. The demonstration will begin at 2:00 PM and reservations are required by emailing rsvp@paramountpr.com. Catalyst Ranch is located at 656 W. Randolph Street. City

Provisions Trip to Nichol's Farm and Orchard

City Provisions, a catering company with a "green attitude", hosts the year's first farm dinner on Saturday, May 15. Celebrate the beauty and cuisine of local farms with a trip to Nichol's Farm in Marengo, Illinois. The trip includes a tour of the farm led by Lloyd Nichols, as well as a five-course dinner accompanied by Three Floyds beers. The bio-diesel bus departs from City Provisions at 1:00 PM with beer and snacks. The dinner will take place in the farm's orchard, followed by a bonfire. The buses are expected to return to City Provisions, 1826 W. Wilson Avenue, around 11:30 PM. The cost is $175 per person and includes all food, drink, tax and gratuity. Call (773) 293-CITY for reservations.

 

Chicago Botanic Garden Fruit and Vegetable Garden Farm Dinners
The Fruit and Vegetable Garden at the Chicago Botanic Garden, photo by Robin Carlson

 

Farm Dinners at the Chicago Botanic Garden

Can't make it to the Nichol's Farm trip? City Provisions' chef Cleetus Friedman will also serve farm dinners at the Chicago Botanic Garden's Regenstein Fruit & Vegetable Garden in Glencoe. Dinners will bring together local farmers, winemakers, brewers and the Botanic Garden's own Green Youth Farm for unique multi-course meals in a picturesque outdoor setting. Dinners will take place on Wednesdays June 23, July 28 and August 25. The cost is $200 per person and includes cocktails, appetizer, dinner and dessert. There is a limit of 80 guests per dinner, so purchase tickets online or by calling (847) 835-5440.

The Terrace at Trump Opens

Thursday, May 20 marks the grand re-opening of the Terrace at Trump, the chic 16th-floor outdoor oasis that debuted last year. The menu, served at The Terrace and indoors at the Bridge Room, complements the panoramic views of the Chicago River, its bridges and skyline. The menu features prime rib sliders with arugula mayo and crispy shallots, diver scallop ceviche with beet reduction and wasabi mayo, chopped salads of lamb loin with fresh harissa, socca chips and raspberry vinaigrette and bison skewers with salsa verde and crispy red onion. Seasonal desserts prepared by chef Sarah Kosikowski will also be available. This summer's cocktail theme is "Bubbles on the Terrace", featuring champagne and sparkling wine cocktails for $14. The Terrace will open at 3:00 PM on May 20, and is located at the Trump International Hotel and Tower, 401 N. Wabash Avenue. Call (312) 588-8600 for more information.