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Friday Foodie Forecast: Top chefs, an Oscar party and lunch at the Hilton

If the winter chills have left you reaching for take out menus over party invites, there’s nothing like a good bash, great food and plenty of booze to get you to bundle up and venture out. Chicago landmarks set the scene for a chef-driven charity event at Soldier Field and a historic lunch and tour at the Palmer House Hilton. If a night in Hollywood is more your style, head to Lakeview for an Oscar-themed dinner and "Black Swan" martinis at the Kit Kat Lounge & Supper Club. Wherever your destination, grab your coat and scarf and celebrate the last weeks of winter.

World Festival at Soldier Field

Join some of Chicago’s - and the country's - most notable chefs as they bring their culinary expertise together for Common Threads’ sixth and final “World Festival” on Monday, March 7 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Soldier Field. Stephanie Izard (Girl & The Goat), Bill Kim (Urban Belly and Belly Shack), Paul Kahan & David Posey, (Blackbird), Chris Pandel (The Bristol) and Anita Lo, (Annisa Restaurant, NYC) are among more than 60 of this year’s celebrity chefs joining Common Threads’ founder Art Smith, (Table Fifty-Two and Oprah’s former personal chef), serving up global cuisine in the non-profit’s annual culinary event benefiting health and nutritional education for Chicago’s youth. In addition to global food stations, guests will enjoy a live performance by singer/songwriter and worldwide superstar K’naan, a silent auction including weekend getaways and tickets to sporting events and culinary experiences. Tickets are $250 per person, $500 for VIP - which includes a unique, exclusive fashion show beginning at 5 p.m., and can be purchased online at For more information, call Erica Stimac at 312-329-2501 ext. 208, or email

Black Swan Oscar Party

For those not attending Wolfgang Puck’s Governor’s Ball following the Academy Awards, enjoy a night inspired by his official soiree’s menu at the Kit Kat Lounge & Supper Club this Sunday, Feb. 27 at 5:30 p.m. – 2 a.m. Chef Mark Kasper’s special Oscar night menu features black truffle chicken pot pie with homemade crust and baby heirloom vegetables ($18), tempura tiger prawns with carrot-ginger remoulade ($9) and mini Wagyu burgers with aged cheddar and tomato jam ($12). Movie-themed, half-price martini specials ($5) – The Black Swan (Effen vodka, black sambuca, garnished with a black feather) and the White Swan (Effen black cherry, a splash of St. Germain, Hypnotiq and a splash of champagne garnished with a white feather) will also be served alongside seven screens airing the ceremony, live ballet performances and decorations inspired by the nominated Natalie Portman film, Black Swan. Prizes and giveaways will also be awarded including Joffrey Ballet tickets and movie merchandise. There is no fee to attend, and table reservations are available by calling 773-525-1111. Kit Kat Lounge & Supper Club is located at 3700 N. Halsted Street.

Historic Tour and Lunch

Mix historic art with modern dining as the Palmer House Hilton launches an interactive luncheon and tour series beginning March 1 at 12:30 p.m. From Tuesday through Sunday, the two-hour experience kicks off with a 45-minute lunch inside Lockwood where guests will dine on Executive Chef Greg Elliott’s prix-fixe American menu featuring a salad and entrée along with the hotel’s world famous brownie (invented there in 1893 by the request of socialite and owner Bertha Palmer), and a glass of wine “to go.” After lunch, guests will meet Ken Price, a 28-year resident historian of the property, for a 45-minute tour featuring an exclusive, insider’s peak at the hotel’s historic art-deco lobby, grand ballrooms, guestrooms and vintage artifacts not typically open to the public. The tour will conclude at 2 p.m., and participants will each receive a commemorate gift that embodies the true spirit of the hotel. Reservations are $50 per person and need to be made 24-hours in advance by calling 312-917-3404, or online at The Palmer House Hilton is located at 17 East Monroe Street.

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