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BON VIVANT: May 16-21, 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.

ChefMichaelDeStefano2Thursday, May 16
Most royal-watchers may miss it but today marks the debut of The Monarch’s new Spring menu, an aristocratic-inspired gastropub and comfort-food haven in Wicker Park. Executive Chef Michael DeStefano (photo left) (who recently took up the reigns for outgoing chef, Andrew Brochu) delivers a few culinary jewels of his own including grilled pork steak, served with charred ramp pesto, pickled ramps, and fresh herbs; chilled english pea soup, prepared with coconut three ways (coconut milk and pickled curried coconut, garnished with an oversized shaving of dehydrated coconut); crispy confit chicken thigh with melted onion, grilled maitake and cremini mushrooms, and blackberry jus. Paired with one of Monarch’s “Legacy” cocktails, named after European rulers and historical hotspots, you’ll be quoting Shakespearian sonnets in no time. Monarch Restaurant and Bar, 1745 W. North Avenue. For reservations, call 773-252-6053.

John ManionFriday, May 17
We now understand why Flight Chicago’s 3-hour epicurean tours are so popular with the culinary crowd: schmoozing with the city’s leading chefs like La Sirena Clandestina’s John Manion (photo left), Nellcôte’s Jared Van Camp or Three Aces’ Matt Troost in their own restaurants is just so…cool. But it may be the act of sharing an intimate meal with a group of virtual strangers, whose only link to one another is the simple passion for gastronomic adventure, that makes this experience truly memorable.


Monika LotterAmber TillettEach month, Flight Chicago’s co-founders, Monika Lotter (photo left) and Amber Tillett (photo right), take groups on a different culinary excursion to a different neighborhood known for its customized menus and seasonal offerings. Depending on the flight, guests will visit between three and four restaurants, enjoy multiple chef-prepared courses, wine and spirits pairings, personalized restaurant tours and more. Come hungry and don’t forget your iPhone, these chefs are social media savvy and they welcome taking photographs with their favorite foodie fans: you.

Today’s Flight #002 West Chicago features: Mexique (Chef Carlos Gaytan), Branch 27 (Chef Doug Holly), and Carriage House (Chef Mark Steuer). 2:30 – 5:30 p.m. $145 per person. If you’d like to join this flight, please email Monika and Amber directly at: monika@flightdeckchicago.com and amber@flightdeckchicago.com TONIGHT! For more information about Flight Chicago, call 312-554-5358 or visit the WEBSITE .

Zoo-ologie 2013Saturday, May 18
Zoo-ologie: Not exactly your typical culinary extraordinaire food event, but we assure you that some of the party animals will think of lunch when they look at you. Hosted by the Auxiliary Board of Lincoln Park Zoo, this yearly fun-raiser will teleport over 1,000 guests back in time to ancient Rome complete with a lavish VIP lounge, live music, a silent auction, access to the zoo grounds, and a luxurious spread of Chicago’s tastiest offerings. Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N. Clark Street. For more information and to purchase tickets, click HERE.

Chef Edward LeeMonday, May 20
Judge and critic Gail Simmons once described Top Cheftestant Edward Lee(photo left) – a Korean-American and Brooklyn-bred chef who also helms one of the most creative kitchens in the state of Kentucky – as a “vital force in modern American cooking”. Now, the talented toque can add “cookbook author” to his growing list of accomplishments. From 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., guests will have the opportunity to meet Chef Lee who will be on hand signing his new culinary tome, “Smoke & Pickles: Recipes and Stories from a New Southern Kitchen”. Enjoy a selection of cookbook-inspired canapés – including tamarind glazed strawberry ham, cornmeal fried oysters with lettuce wraps, pork cracklins, and white pear kimchi – prepared by bellyQ’s executive chef Bill Kim. Live bluegrass, a Jefferson’s Reserve Whiskey tasting, and beer from Three Floyds round out the evening. $60 per person, includes a signed copy of Smoke & Pickles. Cash bar. 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. 1400 W. Randolph Street. 312-563-1010. To purchase tickets, click HERE.

Fulton's on the RiverTuesday, May 21
One of Chicago’s most renowned farm-to-table supporters, Kevin Schulz of Fulton’s on the River is hosting one of his must-attend “Meet the Farmers” dinners, this time featuring quality angus beef from Riley Bros., a leading cattle farm located in nearby Darlington, WI. For those not-in-the-know, we were also inclined to note that Riley Bros. also offers up some of the finest steer semen in the Midwest. Still hungry? Good! The six course menu will feature carpaccio of tenderloin served with shaved raw root vegetables, sweetbread lyonnaise salad, pan seared strip loin with salsify and porcini emulsion, short rib raviolo and grilled ribeye with celery root puree and chanterelle mushroom. $70 per person; plus $30 for optional wine pairings. Seating is limited. 315 N. LaSalle Street. Purchase tickets HERE.

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 of Michael DeStefano courtesy of DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser
Photo of John Manion courtesy of Chicago Sun-Times: SPLASH/Rich Hein
Photos of Monika Lotter and Amber Tillett courtesy of Rick Aguilar Studios

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