Two years ago this month, my esteemed predecessor, Steve Dolinksy, listed his then top 5 Italian restaurants in Chicago:
1. Piccolo Sogno (WARNING AUTOPLAY MUSIC)
Friday, March 1
DCASE (Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events) presents the 10th annual Creative Chicago Expo at the Chicago Cultural Center. The two day event kicks off Friday, and Saturday Honey Butter Fried Chicken chefs/owners Christine Cikowski and Josh Kulp give a keynote talk. All keynotes will be videotaped for future broadcast by Chicago Works and CAN-TV. The expo connects Chicago’s creative community with resources they need to thrive. Admission FREE.
Saturday, March 2
While horse was just found in IKEA's Swedish meatballs, and fish fraud runs (swims?) rampant, there's nothing but truth in advertising at the Wild Game Dinner at the Harvard Sportsman's Club. This year, the 11th annual meat-up in Harvard, Illinois (34 miles northwest of Navy Pier, in bucolic McHenry County) saw hunters add muskrat cacciatore, squirrel in cream sauce, and catfish balls to the menu.
Friday, February 22
Artist Tony Fitzpatrick's Firecat Projects presents the Cig Harvey Opening and Book Signing. It's the gallery's first exhibit of photographs, and features Harvey's stunning portrait work. She will sign copies of her monograph You Look At Me Like An Emergency. Three Floyds beer and wine courtesy of Red & White Wines will be served. Grab a bite next door from our friends at Red Door. Be sure to meet Firecat co-founder/director Stan Klein and his enigmatic muse Ella. Admission FREE.
Saturday, February 23
For the Love of Chocolate Foundation presents their 8th Scholarship Foundation Annual Gala at the Union League Club of Chicago.
Is the secret to the Chicago Blackhawks record season success a secret green juice?
Plus, PETA actually recognized the United Center in its first top 10 list of most vegetarian-friendly NBA arenas last week.
Saturday, February 16
Culinary Historians of Chicago presents Chocolate With a Taste of Pakistan: East meets West in Crossover Confections at Kendall College. Owner/chocolatier Uzma Sharif, of Chocolat Uzma Sharif in Pilsen will discuss her influences, from her grandfather, a renown pastry chef in South Asia to her own role as Wolfgang Puck's head pastry chef at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art. Sharif will serve samples of her stunning spice and flower infused handmade exotic chocolates.
The most romantic restaurant in Chicago must be Marie's Pizza & Liquors on the Northwest Side in Albany Park. This must be true because they have heart shaped pizza. And you should know the importance of heart shaped pizza.
Yes, other restaurants have heart shaped food for Valentine's Day, but none have lasted 73 years. Originally opened in 1940 by Theodore Karavidas as a tavern and packaged goods store, it wasn't until 1950 that Karavidas' son George added pizza.
When Pope Benedict XVI shocked the world with his resignation announcement yesterday, Catholics across Chicago could at least stress eat with paczki.
The Polish pastries are part of the great last hurrah before Lent. They're traditionally eaten in Poland on Fat Thursday (last Thursday), and across this country today on Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras. In Chicago, we celebrate both days thanks to our Polish-American population, and because we like to eat.
Paczki look like everyday doughnuts but should feel heavier, bite denser, and taste unfamiliar, filled with stewed plum or rose hip jam.