Saturday, December 15
8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.: The Midwest Buddhist Temple Adult Sangha presents the annual mochi-tsuki at the temple. Get there early for your chance to pick up the wooden mallet to help pound hundreds of pounds of sweet rice into the sweet rice cakes, along with karate and judo groups. Temple office manager Jesse Zavala says Mochi "as big as hamburgers" will be available plain or adzuki bean filled, $5 for nine pieces. Admission FREE.
10 a.m. to 12 p.m.: Chicago Foodways Roundtable presents "Pastrami on Rye: An Overstuffed History of the Jewish Deli" at Kendall College. On the next to the last day of Hanukkah 2012, Ted Merwin, Associate Professor of Religion & Judaic Studies at Dickinson College, and author of the forthcoming book Pastrami on Rye, will discuss, "Can the deli be resurrected?" — and more. Pastrami on rye will indeed be served with "sinus-clearing strong mustard" — both made by my friend and culinary historian Catherine Lambrecht — with Kaufman's Jewish and corn rye bread. Plus, chopped chicken livers. Admission $3, FREE for Kendall staff and students with ID.
2 p.m. to 7 p.m.: Merry Fisch-mas at Fischman's Liquors. Taste the 12 craft beers of Christmas, including rare seasonal ales, with The Wagyu Wagon grilling burgers (yes Virginia, there's cooking in a food truck). Plus bring in your favorite beer bottle and glass blower Nick Paul of Windy City Glass can transform it into a drinking glass or vase. Admission $30 advance, $35 on Saturday.
6 p.m. to 10 p.m.: The Sun Bros presents The Chinatown Launch Party at The Experimental Station. Celebrate the release of Sun Bros first graphic novel, Chinatown and the one-year anniversary of the Studios. There will be Chinese bakery pastries, White Rabbit Creamy Candy, cheese, and hors d’oeuvres from Chicago’s Chinatown, plus wine and non-alcoholic drinks. Admission FREE but RSVP.
8 a.m. to 11 p.m.: Graze magazine presents Holiday Bizarre: Festive Food Fiascoes at Gaslight Coffee Roasters. Tell your five-minute holiday food fiasco story live on stage. Complimentary Gaslight coffee, Marion Street cheese, Smoking Goose meat, Paper Moon pastries, and a Letherbee Distillers gin cocktail will be served. Admission FREE but BYOB.
Monday, December 17
The Hungry Hound himself, our friend Steve Dolinksy, hosts the second annual Holiday Rock & Roll at Café des Architectes, benefiting Share Our Strength. Taste modern takes on the classic French bûche de Noël — aka yule log — from seven of the best pastry chefs in the city then cast your vote. Competing chefs include Acadia's Thomas Raquel, Balena's Amanda Rockman, Blackbird's Dana Cree, NoMI's Meg Galus, Perennial Virant's Elissa Narow, RM Champagne Salon's Nate Meads, and Sepia's Cindy Schuman. Savory rolled bites by Café des Architectes' Greg Biggers, plus Stout Barrel House, Maison, and Carnivale will also be served, with punch bowl cocktails. Admission $35.
The Holiday Food Drive at the Publican is back until December 23, benefitting the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Please bring a non-perishable food donation to receive one drink ticket. As usual, the Publican will provide snacks, and everyone who donates will have a chance to win special raffle prizes. The most needed items are beans, canned fruit, canned vegetables, cereal, chili, jelly, macaroni and cheese, pasta, pasta sauce, peanut butter, rice, shelf-stable milk, soup, stew, and tuna. Or simply donate funds now. Admission FREE but please donate.
Thursday, December 20
WBEZ presents The Afternoon Shift Remote Broadcast: Christkindlmarket Edition, hosted by Rick Kogan with very special guests Fred Armisen of SNL and Portlandia, Richard Marx, and yours truly. Grab some currywurst, Glühwein, and perhaps a contraband chocolate egg and join us. Admission FREE.