Dining news and events: Taste of the Gold Coast; trends in chocolate
The 4th Annual Taste of the Gold Coast, benefiting The Israel Sports Center for the Disabled, will take place Thursday, Aug. 16, 6-9 p.m., at the Sofitel, 20 E. Chestnut St. More than 15 restaurants will participate, including Saloon Steakhouse, Gaylord, Hendrickx Belgian Bread and Bar Toma, among others. Tickets are $75-$250; see www.TasteOfTheGoldCoast.com .
Among the top chocolate trends for 2012 are craft chocolates and spreadable items, according to FoodChannel.com . Other trends include the sweet with an ethnic twist (think green tea), in unexpected places (think biscuits and chocolate gravy), with an increased use of cinnamon (including ancho-chile cinnamon) and even sorted by gender (with men preferring milk chocolate and women choosing dark).
Hamburger Mary's, 5400 N. Clark St., is making its voice heard in the Chick-fil-A controversy by offering a Southern-style chicken sandwich while advocating diversity. Twin brothers Ashley and Brandon Wrightthe owners of the Chicago and Milwaukee Hamburger Mary's franchiseshad enjoyed Chick-fil-A's sandwiches in the past, but the situation prompted them to seek alternatives. A portion of the sales will benefit Equality Illinois; see www.HamburgerMarys.com .
Square One is now open at 1400 S. Michigan Ave. The neighborhood-driven bar has 30-foot high ceilings, chalkboard walls and reclaimed wine barrel chandeliers. There are also extensive lists of beers (including Hitachino White Ale and Arcadia Whitsun) and cocktails (such as the MayDay and the Sheriff Pepper). Light bites are also available. See www.SquareOneChicago.com .
Lillie's Q chef/owner Charlie McKenna will throw a charity fundraiser party featuring seven of his Chicago chef friends (including Girl & the Goat's Stephanie Izard) for the Lillie's Q Inferno Imperial IPA release Tuesday, Aug. 21, 7-10 p.m., at 1856 W. North Ave. All of the ticket-sale proceeds will go directly to The Katherine McKenna Brothers Scholarship Fund. Tickets are $100 each; see lilliesqfundraiser.eventbrite.com .
The Hot Dog Guy has settled into Chicago French Market (131 N. Clinton St.; 312-575-0306). The Hot Dog Guy is now serving hot dogs and Polish with all the Chicago-style fixings for lunch and dinner. It's open 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday.
On Labor Day (Monday, Sept. 3), both locations of Shaw's Crab House will allow diners to enjoy a half-priced oyster deal. (Because Shaw's opens all its oysters upon request, the restaurant is requesting patrons to limit per-person orders to two dozen at a time.)
Chicago VIPs, influencers and wine lovers recently convened at Maude's Liquor Bar to celebrate the launch of Clos du Bois Winery's newest wine, Rouge, along with Clos du Bois Winery Ambassador Katie Lee and winemaker Gary Sitton. Clos du Bois Rouge was feted with traditional can-can dancers and a "Lady Marmalade" musical performance. There were also a French-themed caricature artist and French bites such as pommes frites.
Eduardo's Enoteca, 1212 N. Dearborn St., is adding summer flavors to its menu. There will be a variety of small plates such as a Barolo steak skewer, peach salad, and sea scallops and rockmelon. Summer cocktails include apricot sangria, 4 Aces (Exchange vodka, ginger liqueur, grapes and basil) and The North Shore (North Shore aquavit, honey, lemon and sage). See www.EduardosEnoteca.com or call 312-337-4490. Downers Grove restaurant Calucci, 1801 Butterfield Rd., is celebrating the Olympics with the $6 Olympic Martini, which features Ketel One Oranje, Limoncello, Chambord, fresh sour mix, cranberry juice and gummy candies. This and other specials will be available through Sunday, Aug. 12. See www.CarlucciRestaurant.com .
The restaurant 2 Sparrows, 553 W. Diversey Pkwy., is offering a five-course tomato dinner Aug. 10. Among other things, the menu will feature Sun Gold tomato gazpacho with summer succotash and blue crab; and tomato and peach mochi with Belgian beer and green tea. The dinner is $50 per person; call 773-234-2320 to reserve.
Lillie's Q, where chef/owner Charlie McKenna serves BBQ along with Southern favorites and sides at 1856 W. North Ave., is brewing a signature beer at Goose Island Clybourn with head brewer Jared Rouben called the Lillie's Q Inferno Imperial IPA. The Lillie's Q Inferno Imperial IPA is a double India pale ale brewed with a trio of hops, and it is infused with inferno chili peppers.
Lawry's The Prime Rib, 100 E. Ontario St., and The Chicago Architecture Foundation have announced the Sunset River Cruise & Lawry's Dinner Package, which people can take part in every Thursday and Friday evening through Oct. 5. The package is priced at $92 per guest (includes tax and gratuity); advance reservations are required. Call 312-787-5000 and ask for the sales department.
Michael Jordan's Steak House, 505 N. Michigan Ave., will mark its one-year anniversary Aug. 23 with a variety of highlights. Among those will be surprising 23 tables by covering the check of the group assigned with the 23rd ticket. There will also be a $10 special for the six-ounce Italian beef-style hanger steak with fries, onion jus and spicy giardiniera. For reservations, call 312-321-8823 or visit www.mjshchicago.com .
Old Town Pour House, 1419 N. Wells St., has a new brunch menu with items such as Bailey's Stuffed French toast, adult bacon and eggs made with smoked pork belly and a wide variety of morning cocktails such as the Churchill Bloody Mary. Old Town Pour House brunch is available Saturday and Sunday, 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Visit www.oldtownpourhouse.com or call 312-477-2800.
Cornerstone Restaurant Group has announced that Gregory Elliott is the new executive chef of WAVE, located in the W Chicago-Lakeshore, 644 N. Lake Shore Dr. This announcement comes as W Hotels Worldwide recently revealed a plan to reinvent more than 10 properties across North America, including the W Chicago-Lakeshore. See www.waverestaurant.com .
Bar Umbriago, 6 W. Hubbard St., is now open for lunch. Chef Michael Ponzio is offering items such as seafood salad, steak tartare, porchetta sandwich, muffuletta, goat cheese gnocchi and spaghetti amatraciana. Additionally, Bar Umbriago will now offer a hospitality industry discount; guests who show their industry business card will receive 15 percent off on food and alcohol on Mondays and Tuesdays.
The Florentine, 151 W. Adams St., is now offering picnic dinners for two. For example, the "Italian Summer in the City" basket ($40) includes homemade beet chips; chicken-and-avocado panini; heirloom tomato, watermelon and buratta salad; baby arugula, toasted hazelnuts and pickled fennel; and ricotta cheesecake. Call 312-660-8866 at least 12 hours prior to pick-up.