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BON VIVANT: April 18-24, 2013

BON VIVANT: April 18-24, 2013

For our culinary-addicted, dolce vida-loving readers, “24/7” tracks down and uploads the most delicious food fêtes and gastronomic happenings going on this week.

Kelly Jenness House by Edward HopperThursday, April 18

“So an art lover walks into a restaurant and orders a plate of Picasso…” No joke. Anyone who loves superbly prepared, art-inspired cuisine needs to hurry to JW Marriott Chicago for “An Artful Affair”. In conjunction with Christie’s, the legendary hotel is giving guests a sneak peak of more than twenty exquisite paintings that will be up for auction this spring.

To celebrate, Lobby Lounge’s Executive Chef Michael Reich has designed a series of superbly crafted dishes, each highlighting a different work of art. Childe Hassam’s In a French Garden was the inspirational source for plump Diver Scallops served with ramp pesto, crisp kale, and red pepper oil was while Edward Hopper’s famed watercolor, Kelly Jenness House (pictured), was the motivational force behind locally-sourced Chanterelle Fava with chanterelle mushrooms, fava beans, a lentil cracker, and tangerine gastrique. For guests who’d rather sip than sup, sample one of the blended elixirs from the lounge’s “Art of the Aroma” cocktail program. For more information, click HERE.  JW Marriott Chicago, 151 W. Adams Street.

prasino's Jared CaseFriday, April 19

Calling all grape nuts! Here is a not-to-be-missed event for you or the wine snob in your life. When we first heard prasino’s was calling its Fred Scherrer winemaker dinner, “Age Before Beauty”, we were like “Come again?”  But then we learned the name was actually derived from the non-traditional order in which the wines would be poured – from older varietals to more recent releases, instead of the other way around. Executive Chef Jared Case (pictured) takes his cue from the spring season, pairing each glass with a savory soulmate. For tickets, click HERE.  prasino, 1846 W. Divison Street.

Saturday, April 20

If a nail-biting peek at your bank statement has officially grounded your dreams of a wine soaked weekend in Napa, don’t fret. Pinot Days Chicago is making dreams come true (and giving new meaning to “wine hour”) by offering Chicagoans a whirlwind tour of incredible food and exquisite grapes from 65 of the country’s most notable pinot-friendly wineries. Pinot geeks and afternoon sippers alike will love meeting and mingling with winemakers, enjoy interactive wine seminars, and intimate wine-and-food tastings from local wine bars and restaurants set against Chicago’s stunning Lake Michigan skyline. But hurry, tickets are going fast. Click HERE to purchase tickets.

Cru Kitchen & BarMonday, April 22  (Earth Day)

When you told your mother you wanted to reduce your carbon footprint, she handed you a bar of soap. This Earth Day, Chicago’s hosting a plethora of informative and interactive events that promote sustainability, carbon neutrality, and benefit the environment. Here are two of our soap-free favorites.

Because most of us will not be spending the day down on the farm, the Gold Coast’s popular Cru Kitchen & Bar (interior pictured) is thoughtfully bringing the farm to us. Executive Chef Alex Shalev creates an earth-honoring, four-course Farm Dinner menu showcasing fresh, seasonal produce and meats from a handful of the area’s leading farms and purveyors (wine pairings optional). Evening kicks off at 7:00 p.m. $52 per person. For reservations, call the restaurant at 312-337-4001. Cru Kitchen & Bar, 25 E. Delaware Place.
Here is a sample of the menu:

Grilled Asparagus Salad
La Quercia speck, slow cooked farm egg, truffle vinaigrette and fried bread
Wine: And Co. The Supernatural, 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand

White Fish

Spring vegetable risotto, spinach, spring onion and brown butter aioli
Wine: Copain Tous Ensemble, 2010 Chardonnay, Anderson Valley, California

Duck Breast

Rhubarb mustard, green garlic, fingerling potatoes, wild mushrooms and five spice
Wine: Jean-Paul Dubost Brouilly, 2011 Gamay, Beaujolais, France

Parsley Root Cake
Vanilla-miso ice cream, strawberry compote and aged balsamic
Wine: Andrew Rich, 2008 Gewürztraminer, Washington/Oregon

Jared Van CampMonday, April 22 (Earth Day)
As one of Chicago’s most celebrated chefs (Nêllcote, Old Town Social), Chef Jared Van Camp (pictured left) embodies the ultimate momma’s boy, in a sweet, Mother Earth-y kind of way. That’s not an insult. As his fans may already know, the Illinois native is a huge supporter of the environment, working diligently with area farms and using only sustainable ingredients in his dishes. He also loves his piggies. Boasting a quartered pig tattoo on his forearm, the chef is very particular about sourcing his swine from local, pig-friendly farms to create his homemade cured charcuterie.

This Earth Day, Van Camp gives back again. For the month of April, a portion of the proceeds from the sales of the popular Old Town Social entrée, Country Style Heirloom Pork Paté, will be donated to the Nature Conservancy.  Van Camp’s so excited about it, he even shared his recipe with “24/7” so readers who could prepare the dish at home. Bon appétit!

PateCountry Style Heirloom Pork Paté
1 lb. heirloom pork shoulder (as is the case with all the pork products in this recipe, preferably from a local, sustainable farm)
½ lb. pork fatback
4 ozs. pork liver
5 ozs. pancetta
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 shallots, finely diced
1-½ ozs. brandy
1-½ ozs. white wine
2 sprigs Italian parsley
2 allspice berries
3/4 cup caperberries, sliced in half
1 egg
4 ozs. smoked bacon, thinly sliced

Cut pork shoulder, fatback, pork liver and pancetta into rough 1” x 1” pieces. Combine with shallots, garlic, brandy, white wine, parsley and allspice. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate overnight. The next day, line a ceramic terrine mold with thinly sliced bacon. Grind the marinated pork mixture through the large die of a meat grinder. Mix the ground farce with the egg and caperberries. Work by hand to combine. Preheat oven to 325 °F. Pack the ground farce into the bacon-lined terrine. Cover and bake in a water bath for 2 ½ hours. Place in refrigerator to cool overnight. Slice and serve on a baguette with Dijon mustard.

So You Think You're A Foodie, FrontierWednesday, April 24

Are you the culinary know-it-all of your social clique? Know the difference between a lobster and langostino? On Wednesday, April 24, foodies can prove their mettle (and win major bragging rights) at the “So You Think You’re a Foodie” chef’s table at Frontier. Guests will indulge in a mystery five-course tasting game-focused menu showcasing imaginative rabbit dishes prepared by Frontier’s Executive Chef Brian Jupiter, who is receiving raves for his snout-to-tail wild animal dishes including house-smoked goat and wild boar. Wine or beer course pairings will be offered for an additional $15. 8:00 p.m – 10:00 p.m. $65 per person. Click HERE to purchase tickets. Frontier, 1072 N. Milwaukee Avenue.

Have an upcoming event you don’t want “24/7” to miss? Contact Kerry Shorr at: silvershorr@hotmail.com

Kerry Shorr, 24/7 Contributing Writer
Co-Founder, Luxe File Chicago

Photo Credits:
Photo 1: Kelly Jenness House by Edward Hopper
Photo 2: prasino’s Executive Chef Jared Case
Photo 3: Cru Kitchen & Bar interior
Photo 4: Chef Jared Van Camp
Photo 5: Country Style Heirloom Pork Paté
Photo 6: Frontier’s “So You Think You’re a Foodie” chef’s table

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