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Friday Foodie Forecast: Beers, Bears, and dining down under


Attention all beer aficionados and Bears fans: no need to go hungry or thirsty as this week's forecast has plenty in store to satiate appetites for both foodies and football fans alike. Whether you enjoy authentic food and brew from Australia's finest, or fine fare and cold beer crafted right here at home, experience it all in the days ahead without ever missing the action.
Aussies Embrace Chicago
Enjoy a spirited taste of Australia in Chicago as Executive Chef Frank Brunacci of Sixteen hosts the third annual Australia Week celebration at the Trump International Hotel and Tower from Friday, Jan. 21 through Wednesday, Jan. 26. As in past years, guests who join in the festivities will have the opportunity to experience unique menus, beers and wines from Down Under, as well as also enjoy art, travel and live music indigenous to the region. Highlights of the week include: An Evening with the Chefs and a Week-Long Menu, as well as Escape the Winter: Experience Australia, which will not only turn the entire 16th floor at Trump Tower into an Australian marketplace, but will give Chicago Bears fans the opportunity to view the NFC Championship game from multiple high-definition flat-screen TVs positioned throughout.
An Evening with the Chefs will take place at Sixteen on Friday, Jan. 21, where Chef Brunacci will be joined by New York's Le Cirque Chef Craig Hopson to collaborate in a special, six-course Australian dinner menu, interacting with guests as they drink wine provided by Negociants and poured by Sommelier Rachel Lowe. The menu for this evening is priced at $125 per person including wine pairings, and $105 per person,($155 with wine pairings) from Saturday, Jan. 22 through Wednesday, Jan. 26. Reservations are highly recommended and can be made by calling 312-588-8030.
Escape the Winter: Experience Australia and the Chicago Bears viewing party takes place Sunday, Jan.23 from 1p.m. to 5p.m. Showcasing more than 30 wines provided by Wine Australia and brews from Cooper Beer, attendees can browse an aboriginal art fair, attend hourly wine seminars and enjoy in Chefs Brunacci and Hopson's authentic Australian cuisine from dozens of food stations. Raffle tickets for sale ($5 each) will provide a chance to win prizes, some of which include a 7-night trip for two to Australia and overnight stays at Trump Chicago and New York. The cost to attend is $45 per person with proceeds benefitting Chicago's Mercy Home for Boys & GirlsTrump International Hotel & Tower is located at 401 North Wabash. For more information, visit
Beer Dinner at Branch 27
After sampling Aussie's finest, head to Branch 27 for a taste of locally crafted brew as they host a Founders Beer Dinner this Wednesday, Jan. 26 at 7:30 p.m. Diners will be welcomed with a Dry Hopped Pale Ale before beginning a four-course beer and dinner pairing. Featured fare includes a Dr. Pepper braised bbq pork belly served with Red Rye Ale, and smoked brisket with braised cabbage, bacon and barley risotto alongside a glass of Dirty Bastard. The entire "four-chapter" menu is $50 per person. Reservations are required to attend and can be made by emailing Branch 27 is located at 1371 W. Chicago Avenue.
More Beer and Dinner at Nana's
Wrap up the week of beer-inspired food offerings with "A Spirited Dinner" at Nana Organic on Thursday, Jan. 27, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Offered monthly during the winter, Executive Chef Guy Meikle's January's dinner series features a family-style, locally-sourced, four-course menu highlighting products from the Goose Island Beer Company and Whole Earth Meats. Featured beverages will appear on the food menu in the form of braising liquids, sauces, and more. Jim DeBolt of Goose Island will be on hand to discuss the evening's pairings while Qured Hasson of Whole Earth Meats will share information of his local, grass-fed, free-range meats and poultry. Menu items include Prince Edward Island mussels, chicken-truffle sausage, cassoulet, lamb shank and dark chocolate bread pudding paired with various Belgian-style ales and Bourbon County stout. The seated dinner is $50 per person and reservations are required and may be made by calling 312-929-2486. Nana Organic is located at 3267 South Halsted St. For more information, visit

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