Did you know this is the week of not only the quadrennial Leap Day but also the first day of meteorlogical spring? Me neither, on the latter, until my friend, Illinois Master Gardener Catherine Lambrecht told me. So with meteorlogical spring in the air and the sap flowing, I’ll be road-tripping down to the National Maple Syrup Festival this weekend—after the fullest week in food events since the holidays, that is.
Monday, February 27
Food meets art again, as Tru Exec Chef/partner Anthony Martin cooks for The Dinner Party at Mayne Stage, presented by Fear No ART. It’s a live talk show, with live music and painting, streamed live, taking questions live via Twitter—and giving away prizes—and recorded for audio and video podcasts.
Tuesday, February 28
The CTA bus turned mobile produce market, Fresh Moves, stops at the Hull-House Museum, for Re-Thinking Soup, the weekly Tuesday lunch hour program. Tour the bus, buy produce, eat soup, and hear Dara Cooper—Fresh Moves Senior Project Manager—speak.
Awaken Your Palate: An Exploration of the Senses at Kendall College, presented by the Chicago Food & Nutrition Network, features special guest, Dr. Alan R. Hirsch, director of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation. Dr. Hirsch will lead tastings with chocolate, apple, onions, and wine, so you can learn nose-and-tongue-on, “[s]mell and taste basics, [from] their association to weight loss, to how they relate to the culinary world and their relationship in food preference and personality”.
Wednesday, February 29
Take a Lunch Break for Schools at mk, chef Michael Kornick’s flagship restaurant, with a menu following the White House recommended school lunch guidelines, and benefitting kids nutrition education and outreach. Kornick is the MK of DMK, Fish Bar, the upcoming Ada Street.
All proceeds from the Top Chef Texas finale viewing party at the Spiaggia private dining rooms, benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Top two chef Sarah Grueneberg will be in New York when the winner is announced, but celebrate on her home turf with heavy hors d’oeuvres with beer and wine. RSVP at 312-280-2750.
Thursday, March 1
The third annual Little City Food Frenzy at the Loft on Lake, presented by the Little City Junior Board, benefitting the Little City Foundation, includes restaurants Vincent, Café Milk & Honey, MANA Food Bar, IPO, City Provisions, Coco Pazzo, Farmhouse, and Lula Café—and beverages from Goose Island.
The Act of Drinking Beer with Friends is the Highest Form of Art at the Smart Museum is actually art. Really. I actually joined the artist, Tom Marioni, at the opening of Feast: Radical Hospitality in Contemporary Art. GO.
Soup & Bread visits the Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, benefitting the Hyde Park and Kenwood Hunger Programs. “Join the Chicago Studies Program for a reading—and soup!!!—with Martha Bayne, author of Soup and Bread: Building Community One Pot at a Time.”
The Strawberry Fair at Mitsuwa brings in not the fresh fruit but strawberry flavored snacks from Japan, including Tohato strawberry Caramel Corn (which tastes like Corn Pops) and strawberry Angel Pie—but sadly none of the seasonal Strawberry Cake Kit Kits I brought back from Japan. But there will be lucky daifuku, sweet red bean stuffed mochi, for Girls’ Day on Saturday, throughout this weekend only.
Friday, March 2
As if the Bee Movie Weekend at Logan Square Kitchen benefitting the Chicago Honey Co-op wasn’t buzzy enough, with a screening of Vanishing of the Bees, the concessions by Lula Café chef/owner Jason Hammel and Yusho chef/owner Matthias Merges may just steal the show.
Saturday, March 3
The Chiditarod VII is possibly the world’s largest mobile food drive, in the form of a people-pulled customised shopping cart race, this year benefitting the Greater Chicago Food Despository and Growing Home.
The Tough Man Barbecue Challenge kicks off the Sky Lantern Festival in Highwood and actually calls out tough women too. Attendees can sample competing Q, and all remaining BBQ will be donated to participating Veteran Support Organization food banks.
The Butcher & Larder’s chef/butcher Rob Levitt joins the Sunday Dinner Club on Saturday and Sunday for demo and a dinner, that starts with a whole pig butchering demo; includes a dinner of porchetta, chicharrón, housemade hot dog, pork shoulder; and ends with pork fat crust sour cherry pie.
I will be a judge at the National Maple Syrup Festival with celebrity maple syrup maker, the one and only Tim Burton of Burton’s Maplewood Farm in Medora, Indiana. See you there, or go the following weekend; the festival is “always the first and second weekend in March”. I’ll be there with my dog Kiba, because as Jimmy Fallon said, dogs are allowed (watch the video here).
Have an event recommendation? Please email me here. Thanks!