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Thursday, February 22

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Restaurant Tue Jan 21 2014

Wine and Cocktail Bars Joining Chicago Restaurant Week

rsz_1rsz_20130107-235968-chicago-restaurant-week-picks2.jpg Chicago Restaurant Week launches Friday and for two weeks, nearly 300 restaurants in the Chicago-area will be serving prix-fixe lunch or dinner menus for a mere $22 for lunch or $33 or $44 for dinner. How's a girl to choose?

Of course, there's the big guys like Blackbird and Carriage House and Embeya and Nightwood and Sepia and on and on. But tucked in this gargantuan list are a handful of (mostly) smaller affairs and wine bars, spots where I've grabbed a cocktail or two or a glass of wine with some friends afterwork. Though Restaurant Week is the perfect opportunity to check out a restaurant I've been meaning to get to, at a more reasonable price, it's also a chance to explore more of the cuisine served at a place I mostly just drink, a place I know I already like. Again, how's a girl to choose?

Bar Pastoral
2947 N. Broadway
$33 for dinner
This place has the kind of juju that makes you want to linger with a glass of wine for hours. For restaurant week here, I'd order cauliflower, taleggio and truffle tart, petit salad, followed by parisian gnocchi, and ending with "cheese" cake with salted caramel. Cheese is their thing and my mouth really wants to know what they do with it in dessert form.

BIN 36
339 N. Dearborn St.
$33 for dinner
It's been so long since I've been to BIN 36 that I forgot the wine I drank when I was last there, so I obviously need to go back. I'd order heirloom apple salad followed by Scottish salmon, because I simply love apples and salmon, and ending with Chef Tom's "Creme Brulee of the Day" because I like surprises.

CH Distillery
564 W. Randolph St.
$33 for dinner
I have fond, inebriated memories of the melon salad and the cocktails I had a few months back. This time around, I'd order butternut squash soup to warm the bones, the gravalax plate because I had to look up what "gravalax" was, and finally a pumpkin martini because I prefer to drink my desserts.

City Winery
1200 W. Randolph St.
$33 for dinner
I've enjoyed their wines at events before have yet to eat the restaurant. I'd order carrot-ginger soup, seared scallops because I'm curious about the "kalamata soil" aspect of the dish, followed by a hot chocolate mousse cake because this sounds like all the best things rolled into one. And yes, I'll definitely take advantage of the $12 wine pairing.

Signature Room on 95th
875 N. Michigan Ave.
$44 for dinner
I've only taken family visiting up here for cocktails so this is the chance to find out with the food is like. I'd order lobster bisque because I can't remember the last time I had a lobster or a bisque, pumpkin lasagna because if it's only half as rich and comforting as the butternut squash lasagna I made for Thanksgiving, then this will be divine. Dinner will conclude with red velvet cake.

Volo Restaurant and Wine Bar
2008 W. Roscoe Ave.
$44 for dinner, including a wine flight
Date night or girls night, I've always enjoyed my time at Volo. For restaurant week, there's no special prix-fixe menu, rather guests choose their three courses based on their regular menu. I'd order tuna shiitake tempura because I love all kinds of fried things, mussels because I can't get enough, and rugulah because even after reading the description ("walnut and apricot filled, cream cheese ice cream") I'm still not sure what to expect.

Chicago Restaurant Week runs January 24-February 6. See the website for a complete list of participating restaurants.

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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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