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Sunday, March 26

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Restaurant Sun Feb 10 2013

Eat Your Heart Out: Valentine's Day Picks

valsday1f.jpgV-Day is on the horizon, and there's not better day to romance someone through their stomach. We've selected a few places that are bound to impress that special someone. All you have to do is make a reservation and show up. And don't forget the flowers.

Our picks

Grass Fed
Opt for a romantic candlelight dinner at Bucktown's quaint go-to for delicious beef sourced from Wisconsin grass-fed farms. And what's sexier than steak?

Grass Fed's $45 prix fixe menu includes salmon tartare that's so soft and buttery it melts in your mouth, crunchy brussels sprouts salad with almonds, a soothing and addictive glazed carrots soup seasoned with cardamom, and sirloin steak worthy of fist-pumps. Other options on the menu: house-made gnocchi, bone in rib eye and skillet chicken served with butternut squash puree and warm kale salad - and three dessert options, including a rum infused bread pudding that sounds orgasmic.

The menu is also available Friday and Saturday. Call 773-342-6000 for reservations. 1721 N. Damen Ave.

Lula Café
You just can't go wrong at Lula Café. It's cozy and intimate, and it always serves up whimsical plates of food so satisfying, you'll wonder why you'd dine anywhere else. This year they're whipping up a three-course ($45) and a five-course ($75) menu, and each come with wine pairings ($25). The three course menu includes a sea scallop and its roe, duck breast and a fruity confection by Mas Brothers Chocolate. The five course menu includes all of the above, and chilled lobster served in a buttermilk or panna cotta or custard (it's still in the works), dry aged beef carpaccio and brin d'amour cheese. The vegetarian menu will be posted on the website soon!

The two seatings for the evening are at 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Call 773-489-9554 for reservations. 2537 N. Kedzie Blvd.

Le Colonial
Bit of a Francophile and love Asian food? Do French-Vietnamese at Le Colonial. The ambiance is warm and beautifully decorated in a French colonial theme from the '20s; you'll forget you're in Chicago. The evening's menu ($65) includes pho with oxtail soup and rice noodles, a grilled sea scallop salad with garlic noodles, salad rolls and a seared filet mignon, followed by steamed fillets of Chilean sea bass, sautéed jumbo shrimp, and rice noodles with a choice of beef, chicken, shrimp or tofu.

Call 312-255-0088 for reservations. 937 N. Rush St.

Other Notable Options

West Town Bakery & Diner
Indulge your sweetie's sweet tooth with a Heart Cake ($20), a devils food cake with dark chocolate ganache, decorated with gold leaf; or a classic box of chocolates ($15). West Town Bakery & Diner is also selling hand-decorated short bread cookies ($2.50 each), chocolate covered strawberries ($1.75 each), or cupcakes ($2.25 each and $25 per dozen). We think the chocolate covered bacon ($3 a piece) or red heart macarons with raspberry and rose ganache ($1.50) will melt his/her heart.

Call at 773-904-1414 to place an order. 1916 W. Chicago Ave.

Ceres' Table
The husband and wife team behind Ceres' Table picked some of their most romantic dishes for Valentine's Day. Diners may order off a three-course menu ($50) Thursday through Saturday, which includes tuna tartar, seafood and saffron risotto and roasted salmon, and grilled filet mignon. A chocolate truffle cake is served with dessert.

Call 773-878-4882 for reservations. 4882 N. Clark St.

Bread & Wine
Lamb lovers, this is your spot. Bread and Wine's Chef Curtis Gamble is bringing in a lamb from Catalpa Grove Farm for a special feast. On the three-course menu: lamb shoulder rillet ($14), lamb loin wrapped in lamb belly served with whine bean puree and braised leeks ($25), and another plate that's TBA.

Call (773) 866-5266 for reservations. 3732 W. Irving Park Rd.

Slurping Turtle
Probably one of the most fun Valentine's Day weekends is going down at Slurping Turtle. Two cheeky menus are being served from Thursday through Saturday: the "I Kind of Like You" five-course dinner ($50) and the "I Think I love You" eight-course dinner ($85). Classic movies, such Casablanca and Breakfast at Tiffany's, will be screened on the wall during dinner. If you thought that was cool, there's going to be a chocolate fondue fountain and a cotton candy machine.

The five-course dinner includes oysters (an aphrodisiac, of course), a choice of duck fat fried Chicken, Hamachi tacos or Kani croquets, Bincho grill, noodles and a dessert. The eight-course menu includes oysters, truffles, sashimi, duck breast with foie gras, Bincho grill, noodles and a dessert.

There's also a Pajama Party Brunch on Sunday. Come in your PJs; that's what the employees will be wearing. The Bento Brunch includes with hot and cold tapas, noodles and items from the bincho grill, served from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Call 312-464-0466 for reservations. 116 W. Hubbard St.

Skydeck Chicago at Willis Tower
Forget dinner. Live on the edge a little and have a romantic breakfast on the 99th floor of Willis Tower. We can't promise that the feast ($60) of scrambled eggs, new potatoes, pork sausage links, smoked bacon, fresh fruit, bagels, etc. will be the most amazing thing you've ever had, but we're sure you won't find a better view.

Call Skydeck at 312-875-9447 for reservations. 233 S. Wacker Dr.

Due Lire Vino & Cucina
Celebrate San Valentino like the Romans. Due Lire Vino & Cucina's three-course tasting menu ($50) includes roasted beet carpaccio, creamy polenta with gorgonzola and wild boar ragu; shrimp filled agnolotti, petite filet with potato tortino, chocolate creme brulee, and caramelized pistachios mousse with espresso. Salivating yet?

Call 773-275-7878 for reservations. 4520 N. Lincoln Ave.

Kit Kat Lounge
Three words: Bad Romance Party on Wednesday. This singles mixer at Kit Kat Lounge is definitely off the beaten path, but sounds like a dream night for Lady Gaga fans. Expect several sassy, diva-inspired cocktails and martinis; order a Bad Romance (Three Olive grape and vanilla vodka and splash of cranberry, served with gummy lips. $6.75). The most exciting part of the night will be when one lucky guest wins two tickets to see Lady Gaga at the United Center!

Call 773-525-1111 for a table reservation. 3700 N. Halstead St.

What are we missing? Let us know in our comments section.

Image by Laura Berger.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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