Outside of America, the big sports news isn’t the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup win or the NBA Finals. The global buzz is all about the FIFA World Cup. While Chicago revels in the Hawks’ victory at today’s parade, the rest of the world has all eyes on South Africa. Though we’re going to be celebrating the Hawks’ title for a long while, there is a distinctly international flavor to the upcoming culinary events around town: a foie gras festival, French-Vietnamese cuisine paired with Hum cocktails, a South African wine dinner at Oceanique and a visit from a well-known “bizarre” traveler.
Chicago Foie Gras Week
English writer Sydney Smith wrote: “My idea of heaven is eating pƒ¢tƒ© de foie gras to the sound of trumpets.” Learn the history of foie gras, understand why the dish causes so much controversy and taste chef’s signature foie gras recipes during Foie Gras Week, June 11-19. Cyrano’s Bistrot & Wine Bar will host a week of events, including the opening of the first US foie gras museum, guest chefs and an appearance by Mark Caro, author of The Foie Gras Wars. The Foie Gras Museum, hanging on Cyrano’s walls, traces the history of foie gras from its origins in 3000 BC Egypt. Chef Kent Kaufman will be a guest chef on Friday, June 11, and Michael Foley will be a guest chef on Thursday, June 17. Mark Caro will visit Cyrano’s on Tuesday, June 15 at 6 pm to discuss his book “Foie Gras Wars”. Foie gras dishes will be available all week for $12, including recipes by Cyrano’s Didier Durand, Michael Tsonton of Hotel Sax, Mark Grosz of Oceanique and Michael Lachowicz of Restaurant Michael. Cyrano’s is located at 233 E. Wacker Drive. Reservations can be made by calling (312) 467-0546.
World Cup Wine Dinner at Oceanique
Oceanique’s chef Mark Grosz and wine director Philippe Andre have created a six-course dégustation menu inspired by South Africa’s wines. On Thursday, June 24 at 7:30 PM, Oceanique will celebrate the festivity of the World Cup and the outstanding wines of South Africa. Wines on the menu include a 2008 Ken Forester Petit Chenin Blanc, a 2004 Meinart “Synchronicity” Cabernet/Merlot and a 2005 De Trafford “Straw Wine” Chenin Blanc and will be paired with dishes including a salad of Alaskan crab, buffalo mozzarella and heirloom tomatoes, a prime beef filet mignon with porcini and snails and a Michigan strawberry tiramisu. The cost of the dinner is $90 per person, excluding tax and gratuity, and reservations can be made by calling (847) 864-3435. Oceanique is located at 505 Main Street, Evanston.
Le Hum Fizz at Le Colonial
Hum Spirited Dinner at Le Colonial
Le Colonial’s chef Chan Le pairs his signature French-Vietnamese cuisine with the new Chicago liqueur, Hum, created by mixologist Adam Seger. The five-course dinner will pair dishes such as a crabmeat soup with lobster broth and lemongrass, and suon nuong, charcoal-grilled baby back ribs with a honey and Hum glaze with Hum cocktails, prepared by Adam Seger himself. Cocktails include Le Hum (Hum, House Ginger syrup, soda, cucumber and Thai basil) and the Sidecar “Colonial” (Hum, VSOP Armagnac, yuzu, lemongrass and kaffir lime). The cost of the dinner is $65, excluding tax and gratuity, and reservations can be made by calling (312) 255-0088. Le Colonial is located at 937 N. Rush Street.
Chicago Botanic Garden’s 4th Annual Wine Festival
Wine tastings and food pairings are even better when enjoyed in the lush surroundings of Chicago’s Botanic Gardens. On Saturday and Sunday, June 12-12, the Chicago Botanic Garden’s wine festival will feature events for novices and experienced wine-lovers alike. Seminars, demonstrations, winery exhibitions and food from Bluegrass, Morton’s Steakhouse and Caoba will be available from noon to 6:00 PM both days. More than 40 wineries will offer samples of over 250 wines, and a Belgian beer cafe will offer samples. Local bands will also perform live music. Tickets are $25 in advance, $35 at the door (discounts for Botanic Garden members) and include 10 tasting tickets, access to all demonstrations and seminars, a commemorative wine glass and transportation to and from the Glencoe Metra Station. The Botanic Gardens are located at 1000 Lake Cook Road in Glencoe.
Dine Out for the Gulf Coast
Despite being far from the oil spill in the Gulf Coast, Chicagoans can still support the cleanup efforts by participating in Dine Out for the Gulf Coast from June 10-12. Chicago’s North Pond, Blackbird, avec and The Publican will participate, donating a portion of proceeds from those three days to the Gulf Coast Oil Spill Fund, a fund administered Greater New Orleans Foundation that makes emergency grants to nonprofits helping victims of the spill. All reservations can be made through the individual restaurants.
Andrew Zimmern Visits Chicago for “Bizarre Food” Tour
On Sunday and Monday, June 13-14, Travel Channel’s Andrew Zimmern, host of “Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern” will tour Chicago. On Sunday from noon to 3 PM, curious fans can catch Zimmern as he visits Alinea. Later that night at 7:30 PM, Zimmern will visit Hae Woon Dae Korean in West Rogers Park. On Monday, Zimmern will tour the Vienna Beef factory from 9 - 10 AM, will eat at Wings Around the World from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM and will conclude his Chicago tour at Uncle John’s Ribs on the South Side from 1 - 3 PM.