Friday Foodie Forecast: Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Friday Foodie Forecast: Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Friday Foodie Forecast: Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Friday Foodie Forecast: Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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Corned beef & cabbage mac & cheese from Rockit Bar & Grill

Believe it or not, spring is almost here. What does that mean for foodies in Chicago? Things start going green. St. Patrick’s Day is this Thursday, and in a city that dyes its river green-er, Irish-inspired cuisine and cocktails can be found at almost every pub and restaurant throughout the city. But if you’re looking to toast the holiday with something other than green beer and shamrock shakes, head to a Burgundy Wines tasting in between feasting on the corned beef and cabbage varieties of mac & cheese at Rockit Bar & Grill and sliders at The Fifty/50. Whatever your preference, everyone can enjoy being Irish this week. Sláinte!

Mac Madness

Kicking off the same week as St. Patrick’s Day and March Madness, basketball fans, revelers and foodies alike can celebrate Rockit Bar & Grill’s second annual Mac Madness with a week-long fest of mac n’ cheese from March 14 – 18 in River North, and from March 17 – 19 at the Wrigleyville location. Chef James Gottwald and Chef De Cuisine Amanda Downing take one of America’s most beloved dishes one step further with new and innovative twists on the comfort casserole every day of the week. Beginning Monday, the daily specials include: hog-a-roni & cheese (braised pork belly, bacon, bbq, baked beans, smoked gouda, $14), lamb sausage & ratatouille (with goat cheese, $14), French onion & beef brisket (caramelized onions, gruyere cheese, $14), corned beef and cabbage (Irish Cheddar, whiskey mustard cream, $14 – in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day), oyster mac-a-fella (creamed spinach, fried oysters, pecorino, $14) alongside existing favorites including Rockit’s signature mac & cheese ($8), and last year’s reining Mac Madness king, Buffalo chicken mac & cheese (four cheese mac, buttermilk blue cheese, chives, $14). Rockit River North is located at 22 W. Hubbard, and Rockit Wrigley at 3700 N. Clark. For more information, visit

Goin’ Green on Division St.

Celebrate the luck of the Irish twice this week as The Fifty/50 hosts two parties featuring food and drink specials in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. During the St. Patrick’s Day parade this Saturday, March 12 and for the actual holiday Thursday, March 17, patrons can feast on corned beef and cabbage sliders ($3), Mickey’s hand grenades ($3), 16oz Guinness cans ($6), Jameson shots ($6), Irish Car Bombs ($8) and “Irish Threesomes”(a corned beef and cabbage slider, an Irish Car Bomb, and a Mickey’s hand grenade, $12) alongside Executive Chef Martin Arellano’s made-from-scratch menu of smoked/fried foods and sandwiches. The Fifty/50 is located at 2047 Division St. For more information, visit

Burgundy Wine Tasting

If wine is your libation of choice to toast St. Patrick’s Day, head to the free Burgundy Wine’s Terroirs & Signatures de Bourgogne 2011 tasting Thursday, March 17 at the Chicago Illuminating Company. Oenophiles and wine novices alike can take the opportunity to meet with more than 35 wine growers and merchants from Burgundy as they introduce a new theme to the American market, “Climats & lieux-dits de Bourgogne.” From 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., a training seminar to improve your knowledge of Burgundy wines will be presented by Jay Youmans, Master of wines and official Burgundy wines educator. A tasting of eight different village appellations from throughout the vineyard will follow from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. The Chicago Illuminating Company is located at 19 E. 21 Street. For more information and to RSVP, visit

- Dimitra Apostolopoulos