Where did June go? It seems like just weeks ago, we were still zipping up our jackets, wishing for warmer weather and time at the beach. Now temperatures reach the 80s everyday, the kids are home from school and it's tempting to slip into the summer rut. Summer is an inherently lazy season, full of hot weather and slow evenings, but the relaxed summer pace need not be boring. Resist the urge to make cheeseburgers for the third night in a row and use the extra time you might have this June to try something new in the kitchen.
Half Acre Beef Co. Dinner at Quince
Help welcome a Chicago-based brewery, Half Acre Beer Company, to the northern suburbs with a three-course menu at Evanston's Quince on Thursday, July 9. Half Acre's PJ Fischer will host the dinner, which celebrates the first month of Half Acre distribution in the northern suburbs. The dinner includes pairings of Half Acre's "Daisy Cutter" Pale Ale, "Over Ale" American-style bitter and "Gossamer" golden ale. Menu items include shellfish tomato with garden vegetables (from Quince's own garden), squab with Michigan cherries and chocolate, and pineapple with tapioca and lemongrass. The cost of the dinner is $45, and reservations can be made by calling (847) 570-8400. The dinner begins at 6:30 PM and Quince is located in the Homestead at 1625 Hinman Avenue in Evanston.
Chef Sara La Fountain
Finnish Your Meal with Sara La Fountain
Finnish-American chef Sara La Fountain will lead a cooking demonstration on Tuesday, July 13 to benefit Slow Food USA. La Fountain cooks locally but thinks globally, which is reflected in the menu she will prepare at the event, co-sponsored by Finlandia vodka. La Fountain will demonstrate dishes such as tuna salad with miso, grapefruit and vodka dressing; grilled beef tenderloin with tangerine sauce and coleslaw;‚ and a pavlova with Finlandia lime vodka and passion fruit sauce. Tickets are $50, and all the proceeds will benefit Slow Food USA, an organization committed to creating lasting change in our food system. The demonstration begins at 7:00 PM in Millenium Park, and tickets can be purchased through the Slow Food website at www.slowfoodusa.org/finlandia.
Chef Marcus Samuelsson at last year's BBQ Boot Camp
BBQ Boot Camp with C-House
Top Chef Masters winner Marcus Samuelsson and the crew from C-House will whip you into grilling shape at their second annual BBQ boot camp. On Saturday June 26 or Sunday June 27, attendees will learn to create sweet and savory BBQ cuisine as well as cocktails, all while taking in the summer sun on C-View terrace atop the Affinia Chicago Hotel. The class will last from noon until 2:00 pm either day. Tickets are $75, including all food and beverages, and can be purchased by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The Affinia Chicago is located at 166 E. Superior Street.
Bike and Dine with ActiveTrans
Cyclists can enjoy the sunshine and burn off the calories they'll eat while participating in ActiveTrans' Bike and Dine series this summer. The suburban Bike and Dine tours highlight sights of the South and West suburbs while sampling local eateries. Rides are a leisurely 10-12 miles per hour and take place throughout June and July. On June 26, the tour focuses on Homewood and Flossmoor, with stops at Flossmoor Brewery, Cilantro, Grady's Grill and Flavor. On July 24, the 20-mile route begins at the Brookfield Zoo and makes stops at Vie, Zak's Place and Prasino. Cyclists must bring their own bikes and helmets. Registration is $50 and can be completed at ActiveTrans' website. ActiveTrans is an organization that seeks to improve Chicago's environment for walking, biking and public transportation, and they will hold more Bike and Dine tours throughout August and September.
Totally Hands-On Sushi
Try your hand at preparing a light, fresh summer sushi dish at the Chopping Block's sushi classes, held on Monday June 28 and Friday July 2. Learn to find the freshest fish, cook the best sushi rice and roll beautiful maki and California rolls, nigiri and spicy tuna hand rolls. Instructor Mario Scordato will walk participants through all the sushi-making steps, and will also offer a discount on a set of essential sushi tools such as a bamboo rolling mat, rice vinegar, nori, wasabi and pickled ginger. The cost of the class is $85, and the optional kit is $25. Both classes will be held at the Chopping Block in Merchandise Mart. See the class schedule and register online at the Chopping Block's website.