Friday Foodie Forecast: Tony Mantuano at Arlington Park, Burgerfest and more

June 4, 2010

No one (especially me) likes to dine with an overly picky eater. Anything unpronounceable or unfamiliar is off-limits, and they relegate non-recognizable items to the outermost limits of their plates. But even the most adventurous eaters have a soft spot for all-American, reminds-you-of-summers-with-Grandma comfort food. Over the next week, there are several events offering the chance to explore new cuisines, or maybe just grab a delicious burger and a beer.

 
Tony Mantuano's Flaming Ouzo Shrimp from "Wine Bar Food" at Arlington Park

Tony Mantuano Kicks Off Arlington Park "Guest Chefs Series"

Throughout the summer, Arlington Park Racetrack welcomes high-profile Chicago chefs. This Saturday and Sunday, June 5-6, Spiaggia's Tony Mantuano will create a prix fixe menu for diners in the Million Room, while small plates and wine pairings inspired by his book, "Wine Bar Food", will be available in the track's suites. The Terrace Cafĩ will also become a pop-up restaurant - Wine Bar Food - also serving food from the cookbook including flaming ouzo shrimp, tuna tartare with rice, beans and capers and salumi misti with assorted Niman Ranch salumi, prosciutto di Parma and olives. Reservations are recommended at the Million Room and can be made by calling 847-385-7410. Future chefs in the series include Gregg Biggers (Fulton's on the River), Dominique Tougne (Bistro 110), and Bob Andrea (Jake Melnick's Corner Tap). Arlington Park Racetrack is located at 2200 W. Euclid Avenue in Arlington Heights.

D.O.C. Wine Bar Goes Down Under

There's more to New Zealand and Australian wines than just sauvignon blanc and shiraz. Lincoln Park's D.O.C. Wine Bar explores the complex world of grapes from "down under" on Monday, June 14 with a tasting of eight wines. Led by sommelier Greg Sorrell, the tasting will include some under-the-radar Australian and New Zealand grapes such as grenache and pinot noir. Featured bottles include Cloudy Bay sauvignon blanc, Babich pinot noir, Betts & Scholl "The O.G." grenache, The Chook shiraz/viognier and more. The tasting will last from 7:00 to 9:00 PM and the cost is $35 per person. Reservations can be made by calling 773-883-5101. D.O.C. Wine Bar is located at 2602 N. Clark Street.

Middle Eastern Street Cooking at WAVE

Kristin Subido of WAVE at the W Hotel will lead a cooking class and lunch featuring Middle Eastern street dishes. Guests will learn to prepare the traditional dishes while enjoying cocktails and wine. Lunch will follow the demonstration. The menu for the class includes: sundried tomato with bulgur wheat taboulleh salad, cucumber salad with yogurt and tahini, falafel with spicy pepper sauce, cheese and potato bourekas, knafeh with rose syrup and more. The class will last from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. at WAVE, 644 N. Lake Shore Drive. The cost is $60, including tax and gratuity, and tickets are available online or by calling 312-255-4460.

The Chicago Style Burger from Rockit Bar & Grill
Rockit's Chicago-Style Burger

Rockit Launches Burgerfest

From June 7-11, Rockit's James Gottwald will create a creative burger for each day of the week as part of Rockit's 5th annual Burgerfest. The specialty burgers will be available along with turkey, lobster, Black Angus and the traditional Rockit Burger. Each burger costs $12 and is served with fries. All-American desserts including milkshakes and root beer floats featuring Goose Island Root Beer will be available for $5. Rockit is located at 22 West Hubbard Street and at 3700 N. Clark Street. The schedule of specialty burgers is:

  • Mon., June 7: Three Little Pigs Burger: Ground Pork Patty, Pulled BBQ Pork, Sugar-Cured Bacon and Cheddar Cheese
  • Tues., June 8: Fruit de Mer Burger: Shrimp, Scallop, Salmon, Lobster with Tobiko Caviar Aioli
  • Wed., June 9: Turkey Dinner Burger: All the fixins', including Turkey Gravy and Cranberry Relish
  • Thurs., June 10: Black Angus "Oscar" Burger: Angus Beef, Lump Crabmeat, Asparagus with Bearnaise Sauce
  • Fri., June 11: Chicago-Style Burger: Seven traditional Chicago-style hotdog toppings on a burger.

Koval Distillery Tour

Peek behind-the-scenes at Chicago's first boutique distillery during Koval Distillery's newly-launched facility tours. Tour guides will explain the distilling process and history and will conclude with a tasting of Koval's white whiskeys, liqueurs, vodkas and brandy at In Fine Spirits. The tour lasts 90 minutes at the Koval Distillery, 5121 N. Ravenswood Avenue. Tours will take place on Saturday, June 5, Thursday, June 10, Monday, June 14 and other dates. See a schedule and purchase tickets at Koval's website. Tickets are $10 and reservations are required. Reservations and group inquiries can be made by emailing tours@kovaldistillery.com.