WBEZ | Chicago dining http://www.wbez.org/tags/chicago-dining Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Good Food Festival kicks off its 10th year http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/good-food-festival-kicks-its-10th-year-109859 <p><p>Local foods are hot.</p><p>And not just among the usual suspects.</p><p>Nationwide, the number of farmers markets has doubled over the last decade to more than 8,000. And Illinois trails only California and New York state when it comes to the number of farmers markets it hosts.</p><p>In Chicago this time of year, nowhere is this growing hunger for local food more evident than in the 10 year old Good Food Festival.</p><p>Jim Slama, president of FamilyFarmed.org, explains that it&rsquo;s both a financing conference and food festival that has grown considerably since its first modest year.</p><p>&ldquo;The first year was at Kendall College, which was not even open yet at the Goose Island campus,&rdquo; he remembered. &ldquo;Howard Tullman gave us half a floor. There were still studs on the walls. We had 50 tables for farmers, 300 people showed up. Paul Kahan gave the keynote. It was such a hit that we said &lsquo;you know what, let&rsquo;s add a consumer show and take it to Navy Pier&rsquo; (which we did the next year) and make this into the gathering place for the sustainable local food movement in Chicago.&rdquo;<br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br />This year&rsquo;s event featured speeches by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, CEO of Whole Foods Walter Robb and 1871 CEO Howard Tullman. That was part of the food financing fair and symposium.&nbsp; It was all about making deals, growing entrepreneurs and connecting organizations like Chicago Public Schools, McCormick Place and Lettuce Entertain You with local farmers to supply their foods.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/GOOD%20FOOD%20FEST%202.JPG" style="height: 263px; width: 350px; float: right;" title="Community supported agriculture (or CSAs) has exploded in the Chicago area over the past decade. This Saturday Chicagoans can shop for CSA’s, which include summer produce deliveries, at the Good Food Festival. (Courtesy of Vie)" />Slama says he has been incrementally building these relationships for years with his organization Family Farmed.org</p><p>&ldquo;[Last] year when Eataly came to town, they called us and said &lsquo;we want local food&rsquo;,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Now when you go to Eataly you will see they have a lot of local food and these are the kinds of relationships we help to build.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p><br />But Saturday&rsquo;s events are aimed at the consumer, the foodie and local food-loving families, says Slama.<br /><br />&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve got seven James Beard-recognized chefs doing demos,&rdquo; he said.&rdquo;Rick Bayless leads it off. He&rsquo;s getting this Good Food Chef of the Year award. Jason Vincent, Erling Wu Bower and Paul Virant are also doing demos. It&rsquo;s also a whole lot of fun with workshops and 160 vendors. Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn are doing a three-hour workshop on butchering and people will learn to cure their own meats. And they are using a Greg Gunthorp hog. It&rsquo;s just really a very fun day for people and families.&rdquo;</p><p>Full disclosure: I am mediating a panel at one of the Saturday workshops about brewing your own fermented sodas and kombucha. Don&rsquo;t know what those are?</p><p>&ldquo;Kombucha is an awesome fermented beverage using a funky symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast on top that ferments the sweetened tea into a lightly sweet beverage,&rdquo; says brewing panelist and creator of fermup.com Brendan Byers. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ll be focusing more on the fermented soda side of things, using a wild yeast and bacteria culture that someone can catch similar to sourdough.&rdquo;</p><p>Over the years, the Saturday portion of the festival has also become the premier marketplace for CSA shopping. These are shares you can buy in a farm in exchange for a weekly box of fresh produce during the growing season. Dozens of farms will be presenting their plans and signing up customers in the CSA pavillion Saturday.&nbsp; Many of them will also be part of a &ldquo;Band of Farmers&rdquo; talent show that evening aimed at raising CSA awareness. Organizer Jody Osmund of Cedar Valley Sustainable Farms, does a performance art piece to Tim Minchin&rsquo;s song Canvas Bags. But what about the others?</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ll have everything from poetry to last year we had political puppetry,&rdquo; Osmund said. &ldquo;Of course, we&rsquo;ll have music. One of the bands is hairy vetch, kind of playing on the cover crop names. Last year there was roller dancing and performance dance, synchronized with pitchforks and farm implements.&rdquo;</p><p>But Osmund promises that&rsquo;s not all. &ldquo;Returning this year is the farmer fashion show, where the farmers will present their favorite farm duds on stage.&rdquo;</p><p>With this explosion of farmers markets, home butchering, farm shares and even farmer talent shows, it&rsquo;s clear that urban and rural food world are coming together in ways they haven&rsquo;t in a very long time.</p><p><strong>Note:<em> </em></strong><em>If you are reading this on Friday afternoon, you still have time to attend the Good Food Festival&rsquo;s Localicious event from 7 to 9 p.m. at the UIC Forum. It features several of Chicago&rsquo;s top chefs serving dishes made from local ingredients as well as offerings from craft brewers of the Midwest. Tickets and information at goodfoodfestivals.com</em></p><p><em>Monica Eng is a WBEZ producer and co-host of the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/content/chewing-fat-podcast-louisa-chu-and-monica-eng">Chewing the Fat</a>&nbsp;podcast. Follow her at&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/monicaeng">@monicaeng</a>&nbsp;or write to her at&nbsp;<a href="mailto:meng@wbez.org">meng@wbez.org</a></em></p></p> Fri, 14 Mar 2014 11:40:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/good-food-festival-kicks-its-10th-year-109859 PETA urges Publican to serve fake meat http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/peta-urges-publican-serve-fake-meat-109537 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Screen Shot 2014-01-18 at 9.39.39 AM.png" alt="" /><p><p>The recent skirmish between PETA and the Publican (and Publican Quality Meats) took a new turn Friday when the animal rights group called on the restaurant and butcher to serve fake meat.</p><p>Earlier in the week the Publican team wrote a thoughtful online response to PETAs anti-meat billboard that went up across the street. And Friday the group sent an official response back.</p><blockquote><p><strong>Related: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/do-vegans-and-peta-hurt-their-cause-when-they-attack-sustainable-butchers-and">Do vegans hurt their cause when they target sustainable butchers? &nbsp;</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>PETA president Ingrid E. Newkirk said the Publican team &ldquo;opened the door for a respectful conversation about what we eat, and now PETA is hoping it&#39;ll open the door of its restaurant to Chicago&#39;s many vegetarians and vegans.&quot;&nbsp; Specifically, the letter asks the restaurant to add a &ldquo;vegan, faux-meat dish to the menu.&rdquo;</p><p>The Publican responded Friday afternoon by saying: &quot;As an organization it is our priority to be inclusive to all. Publican Quality Meats&#39; menu always features a variety of vegetarian and vegan options featuring high quality ingredients and thoughtful execution...One favorite on Publican Quality Meats&#39; current menu is the Squash Tartine with roasted squash, squash and goat cheese puree, kale, sunflower seeds and pomegranate dressing. We look forward to a continued positive relationship.&quot;<br /><br /><em>Monica Eng is a WBEZ producer and co-host of the Chewing the Fat podcast. Follow her on Twitter at <a href="http://twitter.com/monicaeng" target="_blank">@monicaeng</a> or email her at meng@wbez.org</em><br />&nbsp;</p></p> Sat, 18 Jan 2014 09:34:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/peta-urges-publican-serve-fake-meat-109537 Chicago chef Charlie Trotter dead at 54 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/chicago-chef-charlie-trotter-dead-54-109085 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP120224136958.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Award-winning chef Charlie Trotter has died, a year after closing his eponymous Chicago restaurant that is credited with elevating the city&#39;s cuisine and providing a training ground for some of the nation&#39;s other best chefs.</p><p>Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford says rescue crews were called around 10 a.m. Tuesday to the Lincoln Park home of the award-winning chef, where they found Trotter unresponsive.</p><p>Langford says an ambulance crew transported Trotter to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he died after unsuccessful attempts to revive him.</p><p>&ldquo;We are incredibly shocked and deeply saddened by the unexpected loss of Charlie,&quot; his wife, Rochelle Trotter, said&nbsp;in a statement. &quot;His impact upon American cuisine and the culinary world at large will always be remembered.&quot;&nbsp;</p><p>Fellow chef Emeril Lagasse also offered a statement to WBEZ Tuesday that described his friendship with Trotter.</p><p>&ldquo;My brother, Charlie and I go way back. Charlie, myself and Norman (Van Aken) had a triangle,&quot; he wrote. &quot;We travelled the world together, raised our families together&hellip;Charlie was a visionary, an unbelievable Chef that brought American cuisine to new heights. We have lost a tremendous human being and an incredible chef and restaurateur. It&rsquo;s a very sad day and my heart goes out to Charlie&rsquo;s family.&rdquo;</p><p>Master Sommelier Larry Stone served as Trotter&#39;s sommelier in the &#39;80s and &#39;90s, and returned to help wind down the restaurant last year. Stone says that Trotter&#39;s family and friends had been concerned for years over weak arteries in the chef&#39;s brain.</p><p>&quot;We all were concerned about his health and it&#39;s sad that it wound up this way,&quot; Stone said Tuesday. &quot;He had some problems that were incurable with weak arteries and an aneurysm in the brain. He was aware of it for several years, and by the time he quit he had a fatalistic approach to that. Nothing could be done for it. It was a ticking time bomb, so to speak, and it went off.&quot;</p><p>The Cook County medical examiners office is planning an autopsy for Wednesday. A candlelight vigil is expected Tuesday afternoon at the site of Trotter&#39;s shuttered restaurant.</p><p>Trotter is synonymous with gourmet cuisine, earning 10 James Beard Awards and providing a training ground for some of the city&#39;s top chefs, such as Graham Elliot Bowles, Matthias Merges, Bill Kim, Grant Achatz, Homaro Cantu, Curtis Duffy and Giuseppe Tentori.</p><p>Charlie Trotter&#39;s earned two stars when the highly respected Michelin Guide debuted in Chicago.</p><p>A self-taught chef, Trotter wrote more than a dozen cookbooks and starred in a PBS series, &quot;The Kitchen Sessions with Charlie Trotter.&quot; He credited the development of his signature style to his travels in the U.S. and Europe after college and dining at the best restaurants.&nbsp;</p><p>In 1987 Trotter opened Charlie Trotter&rsquo;s putting Chicago on the culinary map with his innovative nouvelle American cuisine that emphasized farm-to-table sourcing.</p><p>Last year, Trotter announced he planned to close his famed eponymous restaurant after 25 years. He planned to go back to grad school.</p><p>In March 2012 he told WBEZ&rsquo;s Steve Edwards, &ldquo;I had re-read Robert Graves&rsquo; &lsquo;Goodbye To All That,&rsquo; his memoir to his time in the war,&rdquo; Trotter said, &ldquo;and I thought that sometimes you just have to stop what you&rsquo;re doing now and do something very different or I&rsquo;ll never do it.&rdquo;</p><p>Protégé and chef Graham Elliot Bowles released a statement Tuesday saying:</p><p>&ldquo;Charlie Trotter was a mentor in both my professional and personal life since I first met him over fifteen years ago. His dedication to excellence, the city of Chicago and the culinary world at large inspired countless cooks to find their own voice and follow their dreams. He now belongs to the ages.&rdquo;</p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel&#39;s office also released a statement Tuesday saying:</p><p>&ldquo;Charlie Trotter changed Chicago&rsquo;s restaurant scene forever and played a leading role in elevating the city to the culinary capital it is today.&nbsp; Charlie&rsquo;s personality mirrored his cooking &ndash; bold, inventive and always memorable.&nbsp; Charlie Trotter will&nbsp;be remembered for serving the finest food and his generous philanthropy, and he will always have a seat at the table among Chicago&rsquo;s legendary figures.&rdquo;</p><p>Long-time Trotter sommelier Joseph Spellman said Tuesday that he was shocked and saddened by his friend&#39;s death.</p><p>&quot;The greatest part of what he did was challenge anyone who worked with him to dig deep and find the level of excellence he knew they had within them,&quot; Spellman said, &quot; and then to dig deeper to find even greater excellence, creativity, class and hospitality.&quot;</p><p>Since Trotter closed his iconic 60-seat restaurant in 2012, he ran into legal troubles.</p><p>This summer, he was sued by two New York wine collectors who say he sold them a bottle of wine for more than $46,000 that wasn&#39;t what it said on the label.</p><p>The Trotter family says memorial service details will be forthcoming.</p></p> Tue, 05 Nov 2013 13:07:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/chicago-chef-charlie-trotter-dead-54-109085 New service brings chefs into diners’ homes http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/new-service-brings-chefs-diners%E2%80%99-homes-108030 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/hotinthekitchen(1).jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-1d6a44c3-cee8-02f0-972d-8c829a342bf2">A new online service will allow Chicagoans to hire local chefs to prepare a meal in their kitchen.</p><p dir="ltr">The Chicago branch of <a href="http://www.kitchensurfing.com/chicago">Kitchensurfing</a> recently launched its website, which offers a list of 47 chefs who will pick up the groceries, cook a meal of the diner&rsquo;s choice and even clean up.</p><p dir="ltr">The company joins a growing number of businesses in Chicago that bring chefs to unusual places, from <a href="http://www.wbez.org/dolinsky/2010/01/are-you-on-the-guest-list-underground-dinners-gain-foothold-in-chicago/11822">underground supper clubs</a> to companies that offer similar services such as weekly meals made in the diner&rsquo;s home. Some offer in-home cooking lessons.</p><p dir="ltr">Kitchensurfing&rsquo;s co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Chris Muscarella said his business &nbsp;started in New York and expects to do well in Chicago&rsquo;s foodie culture.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;People entertain more at home here than they do in a place like they do in New York, where people have smaller spaces,&rdquo; Muscarella said. &ldquo;But they also really enjoy dining and food (as) witnessed by the burgeoning restaurant scene in Chicago.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Muscarella said the company plans to add more chefs to its roster.</p><p><em>Lee Jian Chung is a WBEZ arts and culture intern. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/jclee89" target="_blank">@jclee89</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 11 Jul 2013 13:04:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/new-service-brings-chefs-diners%E2%80%99-homes-108030 WhiskyWeek, smelt month top list of best Chicago food and drink events this week http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2013-04/whiskyweek-smelt-month-top-list-best-chicago-food-and-drink-events-week <p><p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" and="" at="" calumet="" chicago="" class="image-original_image" fisheries="" in="" louisa="" seafood="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/smeltscalumetfisheries.jpg" style="height: 412px; width: 620px;" title="Fried smelts and seafood at Calumet Fisheries in Chicago" wbez="" /></div><p><strong>Friday, April 19</strong></p><p><em><a href="http://www.hscillinois.org/Calendar_of_Events.html"><u>67th annual Smelt Fry</u></a> at the Harvard Sportsman&rsquo;s Club.&nbsp;</em>&quot;All the smelt you can eat!&quot; Plus cole slaw, potato chips, bread, relishes, and beverages. By beverages I mean pop and most definitely beer. Not craft brews, but I&#39;m guessing from what we&#39;ve had at the club&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2013-02/muskrat-other-fish-meat-105757">Wild Game Dinner</a>&nbsp;there will be&nbsp;classic kegs like PBR, Old Style, and Stroh&#39;s. If you can&#39;t make it out to pastoral McHenry County, both&nbsp;Shaw&#39;s Crab House&nbsp;locations in Chicago and Schaumburg have&nbsp;<a href="http://www.shawscrabhouse.com/menus/">Lake Erie smelt</a>&nbsp;the whole month of April, and <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/louisa-chu/2012-02-23/where-theres-smoke-theres-fish-96675"><u>Calumet Fisheries</u></a> always has fried &quot;smelts&quot;. Admission to Smelt Fry 2013: $16, $13 for carry out.</p><p><strong>Saturday, April 20</strong></p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/old-girl-network-charity-cookbooks-and-empowerment-women-106081"><u>The Old Girl Network: Charity Cookbooks and the Empowerment of Women</u></a> at Kendall College.&nbsp;</em>The Culinary Historians of Chicago celebrates their 20th anniversary with this special lecture by Janice Bluestein Longone, curator of American Culinary History at the University of Michigan. Before mass media, communication, and transit, the first wave of the women&rsquo;s movement was already active via the most ordinary of objects: the lowly cookbook. If you think cookbooks are nothing but recipes, this lecture will prove you wrong.&nbsp;This event will be recorded for WBEZ&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified"><u><em>Chicago Amplified</em></u></a> &mdash; but you&#39;ll need to attend to taste samples of recipes from American cookbooks. Admission $5, $3 for students, FREE for Culinary Historians of Chicago members and Kendall student and faculty.</p><p><em><a href="http://grazemagazine.org/see-food"><u>SEE FOOD: Graze magazine&#39;s issue three release party</u></a> at Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art.</em> The food lit mag always throws a good party. You&#39;ll get issue three hot off the presses, plus food courtesy of Burhop&#39;s Seafood, Peerless Bread &amp; Jam, and Très Jolie Pâtisserie &mdash; plus drink kombucha courtesy of Arize. Cash bar with cocktails featuring local Letherbee gin, plus bubbly, beer, and wine.&nbsp;Admission $10.</p><p><strong>Sunday, April 21</strong></p><p><em><a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/328333360625453/"><u>Ruck4theKids Chef Battle After Party</u></a> at Black Rock Pub &amp; Kitchen. </em>The main event, a benefit chef battle between Ripasso&#39;s Theo Gilbert and Schwa&#39;s Michael Carlson, is sold out, but an after party has just been added. Gilbert says there may be a tasting of the highly anticipated Off Color Brewing Tonnerre Neige, the collaboration beer Three Floyds. Admission $5, suggested donation benefitting <a href="http://chicagowapitirfc.wordpress.com/tag/chicago-youth-rugby/"><u>Youth Rugby in&nbsp;Chicago</u></a>.</p><p><strong>Monday, April 22</strong></p><p><em><a href="http://smoqueapril22.eventbrite.com/#"><u>Illinois BBQ Alliance Dinner</u></a> at Smoque</em>. Rub shoulders and eat and talk BBQ with local pitmasters. Smoque pitmaster Barry Sorkin will serve his signature ribs and brisket plus a special smoked beef tenderloin and smoked pork confit tacos.&nbsp;On the agenda: the state of the alliance and the 2013 Memphis Barbecue Network and Kansas City Barbeque Society competition circuit. The event is BYOB. The IBBQA supports those in need through fun, food, and friendship &mdash; and BBQ. Admission $50.</p><p><strong>Tuesday, April 23</strong></p><p><a href="http://drinkthinkreadings.com/"><u><em>Drink.Think</em></u></a> at Tavernita. Read &quot;drink dot think&quot; is a spoken word event dedicated to celebrating what we drink. Hear writers read from their work about drinks &mdash; over drinks. Speakers include <em>Serious Eats</em>&#39; Roger Kamholz, <em>Time Out Chicago</em>&#39;s Lauren Viera, and North Shore Distillery&#39;s Sonja Kassebaum. Moderated by Kara Newman who&#39;s also speaking about her new book&nbsp;<u><em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0231156707?ie=UTF8&amp;creativeASIN=0231156707&amp;tag=lklchu-20">The Secret Financial Life of Food</a></em></u><em>: From Commodities Markets to Supermarkets&nbsp;</em>&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/secret-financial-life-food-event-106474"><u>Monday at Kendall</u></a>. Admission FREE, cash bar.</p><p><strong>Wednesday, April 24</strong></p><p><a href="http://barnandcompany.com/this-week.php"><u><em>Templeton Rye WhiskyFest Dinner</em></u></a> at Barn &amp; Company.&nbsp;<u><a href="http://www.whiskyfestblog.com/whiskyfest-chicago-whiskyweek/">WhiskyWeek kicked off Monday</a>&nbsp;</u>with events across Chicagoland culminating in the sold out WhiskyFest Friday. This dinner features the low and slow stylings of Barn &amp; Company Pitmaster Gary Wiviott serving a Prohibition era whisky paired menu: lamb, beef, and pork belly; soft smoked rack of lamb, gravlax on smoked pig butter toast; smoked pig bone risotto, maple pecan pie with Templeton Rye chocolate chips and chocolate ganache, and more &mdash; and at these Pitmaster Series dinners, I do mean <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2012-05/make-no-little-plates-98827"><u>much, much more</u></a>. Plus meet Templeton Rye founder and recipe holder Keith Kerkhoff and hear his family stories from Prohibition. Admission $60.</p><p><strong>Thursday, April 25</strong></p><p><em><a href="http://www.diningoutforlife.com/chicago"><u>20th annual Dining Out For Life</u></a> at more than <a href="http://www.diningoutforlife.com/chicago/restaurants"><u>80 restaurants throughout Chicagoland</u></a>.</em> This annual dining event is North America&#39;s largest fundraiser for 60 HIV/AIDS service organizations, including <a href="http://www.edgealliance.org/"><u>Chicago&#39;s EdgeAlliance</u></a>, a non-profit organization which assists its members in developing and operating quality housing and providing life enriching services to vulnerable individuals and families. Admission FREE, food and drink additional.</p><p><em>Follow Louisa Chu <a href="http://twitter.com/louisachu" target="_blank">@louisachu</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 19 Apr 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2013-04/whiskyweek-smelt-month-top-list-best-chicago-food-and-drink-events-week Tony Award-winning troupe turns to dinner theater with Rick Bayless http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-09-20/tony-award-winning-troupe-turns-dinner-theater-rick-bayless-92224 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-September/2011-09-20/rickbayless_flickr_Ed Fisher.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><a href="http://lookingglasstheatre.org/content/">Lookingglass Theatre</a>, winner of the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-05-03/lookingglass-theatre-company-snags-2011-tony-award-85992">2011 Tony Award as Outstanding Regional Theatre</a>, will experiment with a dinner theater policy for a limited run, next March 23-April 22.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-September/2011-09-20/rickbayless_flickr_Ed Fisher.jpg" style="margin: 10px; float: left; width: 266px; height: 400px;" title="Rick Bayless tweets in his kitchen (Flickr/Ed Fisher)">It won’t be your suburban grandmother’s dinner theater, however. The chef de cuisine will be superstar TV Mexican cookery guru<strong> </strong>Rick Bayless. Each three-course meal will be prepared in the kitchen of his Frontera Grill before being trucked to Lookingglass to be finished and served to 150 guests nightly.</p><p>But wait, there’s more! Bayless also will co-star in the theater portion of the evening playing—what else?—a love-struck cook in a 1940’s Mexican guest house. Bayless is co-author of the work, too, along with Lookingglass Ensemble member<strong> </strong>Heidi Stillman, who will direct it.</p><p>But that’s not all! There are three wings to flap on this particular Mexican chicken (we dare not call it a <em>pavo</em>, which is Spanish for “a turkey”). The third co-creator is circus artist Tony Hernandez, a Lookingglass associate. That means that various circus acts will be part of the performance, too.</p><p>It’s all summed up in the title of the work: <a href="http://lookingglasstheatre.org/content/box_office/cascabel"><em>Cascabel: Dinner—Daring—Desire</em></a> featuring a sumptuous feast, world-class circus acts and a love story, as the press materials describe the show. The Lookingglass theater in the Water Tower Pumping Station will be turned into the outdoor courtyard of a Mexican hacienda, where guests will be seated at long tables to enjoy the meal and, perhaps, interact just a touch with the performers.</p><p>Bayless explained that cascabel has three meanings. It’s a spicy type of Mexican pepper, also a small silver bell and, finally, the rattle of a rattle snake.</p><p>You probably can guess that this sort of dinner theater doesn’t come cheap. Tickets for hors d’oeuvres, three courses, non-alcoholic beverages and the show are $180-$205. Wine pairings are extra. Lookingglass subscribers have first crack at the tickets from now through Oct. 17. Whatever places at the table are left then will be offered to the general public, but the press announcement warns, “Prices will go up, based on demand.” Preview performances, March 20-24, are a bargain at $130-$155.</p><p>Now, who will Chicago Public Media send to review <em>Cascabel</em>? Food writer <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu">Louisa Chu</a> or the Dueling Critics . . . or both?</p></p> Tue, 20 Sep 2011 16:48:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-09-20/tony-award-winning-troupe-turns-dinner-theater-rick-bayless-92224