Eat this, drink that: Bucktown Apple Pie Contest, Great Highwood Pumpkin Fest and more

Eat this, drink that: Bucktown Apple Pie Contest, Great Highwood Pumpkin Fest and more

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Pumpkin pies at the Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival 2010 (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)

Friday, October 12

Every year I wonder, what makes the annual Celebrity Chef Ball benefitting Meals on Wheels Chicago one of the industry favorites? This year it’s at Venue One, but I have to admit, I’m still not sure. Perhaps it’s the great cause and the always fun mix of local chefs and mixologists, including Paul Virant of Perennial Virant and Vie, Michael and Patrick Sheerin of Trenchermen, Charles Joly of The Aviary, and many more. The ball even draws visiting chefs: Matthew Accarrino of SPQR in San Francisco, Elizabeth and Tim Dahl of Nostrano in Madison and Gerard Craft of Niche in St. Louis. MOWC raises private funds for home delivered meals and home modification programs for homebound seniors and individuals with disabilities in an effort to fill the gaps in limited government funding. Admission $175 at the door only, advance tickets sold out.

Saturday, October 13

What does it take to change a food system? Hear from revolutionaries making gutsy choices to change the way we eat at Good Food: Stories of a Revolution at Growing Power’s Iron Street Farm, a Chicago Ideas Week affiliate event. Tour Iron Street Farm, speak with the good food revolutionaries themselves, and eat lunch together provided by Gourmet Gorilla. Take the afternoon to volunteer at the farm or use the open studio art space. Admission $25.

Sunday, October 14

Where will you find the most kinds of apple pie in the world? At 8th annual Bucktown Apple Pie Contest at Holstein Park fieldhouse, benefitting Friends of Holstein Park. They’re accepting up to 168 double-crusted apple pies this year, but not a single apple crumble, apple crisp, apple betty or apple pan dowdy will be allowed. Yeah, you know who you are. Please note there is no apple pie eating contest, officially anyway. How you eat the slices you buy is up to you. Admission FREE, $3 per slice of apple pie; $25 to enter a contest pie.

Monday, October 15

Where’s the next hot dining micro-destination in this country? My vote goes to Logan Square, which makes this Northwest Side native extremely happy. The Logan Square Chamber of Commerce presents the 7th annual Harvest Dinner at the Logan Square Auditorium, benefitting the Logan Square Farmers Market and the other programs of the Chamber. Neighborhood restaurants will serve a buffet dinner; with a cash bar for wine, beer and soda. Admission $40 adults advance, $10 children under 12.

Tuesday, October 16

Soup weather yet? Yes, and in Chicago it comes with a side of social discourse. Re-thinking Soup at the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum serves sweet potato soup with fried spicy chickpeas as a garnishas as its soup of the day this week. The topic of the day: Racial Wealth Inequality, African Americans and Economic Justice. Featured presenter Dr. Rose Brewer, a Social Justice Initiative Visiting Scholar at the UIC Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy (IRRPP), will discuss the racial wealth divide and its long history in the Unites States, now larger than ever, and what’s to be done about this issue. The event is co-hosted with the African American Cultural Center at UIC. Admission FREE.

Wednesday, October 17

What pairs with what, and why? Learn some of the many answers at The Flavor Bible book signing and reception with authors Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg at The Spice House in Old Town. Since its publication in 2008, this has indeed become a holy book for chefs in restaurant and home kitchens. Complimentary appetizers showcasing the book’s creative pairings and Spice House spices will be served. Admission FREE but RSVP is requested.

Thursday, October 18

Where will you find the longest line of pumpkin pies, the most lit jack-o-lanterns and a pumpkin pie eating contest? At the Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival in downtown Highwood! I was actually a judge at the inaugural Pumpkin Fest and look forward to it every year. It’s three days of pumpkin mania! The 30-feet high walls of glowing pumpkins is a must-see. Please note there is no pumpkin baking contest this year, but there is the pumpkin pie eating contest. Admission FREE, food/drink/some activities additional.