One of the reasons Chicago‚ is a culinary hotspot, is‚ because it attracts big-name chefs and critics, but also includes a ton of not-yet-famous artisans, home cooks and food lovers. Over the next‚ week, the city will‚ host some big names and events, as well as provide a chance to meet the‚ people who make it their mission to tell you about all of the‚ delicious food in our region.
TV host, author and certifiable bad-ass Anthony Bourdain will share stories from his travels at the Chicago Theater on Saturday, April 24 at 8:00 pm. Host of The Travel Channel's "No Reservations" and author of Kitchen Confidential, Bourdain is known for his blunt observations about restaurants, chefs and cuisine around the world. Tickets range from $43 to $128 and are available through the Chicago Theater's website and box office. The Chicago Theater is located at 175 N. State Street, and the box office is open from 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm Monday through Friday. Phone orders can be made at (800) 745-3000.
PREVIEW "THE TASTE"
The most visible food event in the city, Taste of Chicago, may not arrive until the summer, but the city is running a preview called Taste Restaurant Days from April 20-22. Enjoy discounted menus from most of the vendors and leave the insane crowds and tiny tickets for June. The full list of specials can be found here, but highlights include a three-course prix fixe for $19.80 at Tamarind, Las Tablas, Pegasus, Adobo Grill and others, as well as discounts like 30% off at Vermillion, O'Brien's Restaurant and Bar, Timothy O'Toole's Pub, Tutto Italiano and more. Print the coupon and mention Taste Restaurant Days when ordering.
Chicago will take part in the National Food Blogger Bake Sale on Saturday, April 17 to support Share Our Strength, a campaign to eliminate‚ child hunger.‚ Maris Callahan of In Good Taste will join with other Chicago bloggers and bakeries including Kudos Kookies and Foiled Cupcakes to sell treats to benefit the charity. The Chicago chapter of the bake sale will take place at Smash Cake Bakery, 2961 N. Lincoln Avenue from 12:00 to 3:00 pm. Check out Callahan's blog for more information, or call (609) 439-9485.
GOAT CHEESE GIRL
Local cheesemaker Leslie Cooperband of Prairie Fruits Farm will discuss her cheeses and supply free samples of chƒ¨vre at the Chicago French Market on Tuesday, April 20. Cooperbrand founded Prairie Fruit Farms in 2003 after moving to Champaign, Illinois from decidedly more urban Madison, Wisconsin. Their Nubian and La Mancha goats forage on seasonal pastures and locally grown alfalfa and hay. While grazing, the goats rotate through three pastures of grass, legumes and forb that allow the pastures to regenerate. The goats are never treated with hormones and remain healthy due to their varied diet. I had a chance to visit the farm about a year ago, and I can tell you that both her young, fresh cheeses‚ as well as her aged ones, could stand up to the best from Laura Chenel or Judith Schad from Capriole. I guess it doesn't hurt to have that degree from Barnard. Leslie Cooperband will be at Pastoral's stand during the Market to answer questions about her cheeses and other sustainable farming practices on Prairie Fruit Farm. The Chicago French Market is located at 131 N. Clinton and is open from 7:00 am to 7:30 pm. See a map of the vendors locations here.