Friday, December 30, 2016

Celebrate New Year's at Tony n' Tina's Wedding


Looking for something spectacular to do for New Year's Eve? How about a wedding? Tony n' Tina's Wedding has been entertaining audiences for decades and there's still time to get your tickets to take in their last show of 2016. The early show has sold out, but you can still get tickets for the 9 p.m. wedding and reception! Check below for more details!




You are Cordially Invited to Celebrate the Wedding of Tony n’ Tina with Two Extraordinary New Year’s Eve Performances

Due to Popular Demand, Performances of Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding Extended through April 2017

CHICAGO, IL— Ring in the new year with your favorite bride and groom to celebrate Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding, with two special New Year’s Eve performances at Resurrection Church, 3309 North Seminary Ave. Immediately following the ceremony, guests are invited to Vinnie Black’s Coliseum (Chicago Theater Works), 1113 W. Belmont Ave for a flashback 80’s reception. This hysterical shows takes place Saturday, December 31 at 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. In addition, the entire show will run through the end of April 2017.

Guests will be transported back into the 80’s, complete with an Italian-style buffet dinner, dancing to those 80’s hits and for the late night guests at the second show, a midnight champagne celebration to toast the happy couple. While it's certainly not required, all are encouraged to attend in their finest 1980's regalia, as they take part in this charming and hilarious occasion.

The show is presented by the original New York producers, in conjunction with Chicago Theater Works and has been one of Chicago’s longest running, smash hit shows that played an incredible 16 years in Chicago. Hailed as "Audaciously imaginative!" by The New York Times, proclaimed “It’s a Hit!” by People Magazine, and said to be "Just like a real wedding...only funnier!" by the Chicago TribuneTony n’ Tina’s Wedding has won over the hearts of fans in more than 150 cities worldwide. Now, a new generation of theatre goers and fun lovers get to experience this national treasure on a special night.

Directed by Paul Stroili, a cast member in the original Chicago production, Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding is a hilariously interactive production that is guaranteed to make guests feel like they are truly friends and family of the bride and groom. From the wedding ceremony to the high-energy reception, guests will have the opportunity to celebrate alongside this larger-than-life couple and the large cast of 23 of Tony n’ Tina’s closest family and friends. 

Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding will run through the end of April 2017. Tickets are $75 for the two-part event, which includes the ceremony and reception, featuring an Italian-style buffet dinner, dancing to 80’s hits and a midnight champagne toast. Tickets for premium seating closest to the stage and dance floor are $85. Discounts are available for groups of 16 or more by visiting GroupTix.net or by calling 773.327.3778. Seating is limited so make your plans now.  For more information or to purchase tickets visit http://tonylovestina.com/.

Seven places to ring in 2017 in Chicagoland

Medieval Times
Schaumburg

If you're looking for a festive atmosphere to ring in 2017, Medieval Times is a great place to do so. Take in an early show with the kids or make it a late night celebration for just the two of you. The 9:30 showtime has some added goodies - party favors, music and dancing, admission to the Museum of Torture, hors d'oeuvres, champagne toast and balloon drop in addition to a four-course dinner. Click here for tickets. There are also several shows scheduled on New Year's Day.

LaVoute Bistro and Bar
Homewood

This lovely bistro serving classic French cuisine inside a historic hotel is a lovely setting for a celebration - a perfect way to celebrate by retreating to your room instead of heading out for home in the chilly wee hours of a Chicagoland winter. Purchase tickets for a dinner seating between 4 and 7 p.m. or get tickets for the late bash with an open bar, appetizers, entree and dessert. $75 per person for dinner only and $125 for the New Year's Eve party starting at 9:30 p.m.

Hofbrauhaus
Rosemont

If you're looking for a jolly place to Prost! in the New Year, head to Hofbrauhaus where you can partake in one of two celebrations to welcome the new year. An afternoon bash will help you celebrate at 5 p.m. along with all of Germany as the clock strikes midnight in Deutschland. The party features a parade and lots of swaying and dancing with their amazing band. Then later in the evening, count down with complimentary champagne and a festive fireworks display at MB Financial Park. P.S. MB Financial Park offers free skating right across from Hofbrauhaus through February 26. Skate rental is $8.

Trader Todd's 
Chicago (Lakeview)

If you're looking to celebrate even a little early or after the celebrations are over and you're looking for a way to nosh through that hangover, visit Trader Todd's for their Lucky Food Menu running all week. Among the menu items are Black Eyed Peas ($8) served a warm pork broth soup with fresh herbs and jalapeño corn bread - a traditional southern dish consumed on New Year's Day for good luck and prosperity in the new year along with Collard Greens ($4), Trader Todd's Meatball Sandwich ($11) and Soba Noodle Salad ($9.) Also enjoy lucky cocktails made just for the occasion.

On New Year's Even, you can enjoy brunch starting at 10 a.m. and ending at 3 p.m. Then there's a 4-hour happy-hour running from 4 - 8 p.m. with half-price specialty drinks and 25% off food. The New Year's even party kicks off at 8 p.m. with karaoke and free party favors with two complimentary toasts - one at 11 p.m. for Key West and one at midnight for Chicago.

Fogo de Chao
Chicago, Naperville and Rosemont

Spend your last day of 2016 or first day of 2017 overindulging in a luxurious, culinary experience at a Fogo de Chao location. The Brazilian Steakhouse offers an expansive market table of cold treats followed up by meat, meat and more meat served on swords. This churasco dining experience is something everyone needs to try - and what better time to do so than as 2016 comes to a close.

True BBQ and Whiskey Bar
Munster, IN

Hope across the border and dine and party like a Hoosier this year. The upscale bbq bar is serving up some delicious dinner package to celebrate the new year. Available December 31 and January 1, get a dinner package for $24.95 of BBQ ribs, smoked prime rib, bourbon chicken or more or upgrade to a $28.95 with entree choices such as ahi tuna, 18 ounce porterhouse steak or filet and lobster tail.

Stained Glass
Evanston

Enjoy a four-course meal and champagne toast priced at just $60 and choose from such dishes as escargot, shrimp and crab galette, grilled bone-in ribeye and cassoulet of shellfish. Finish off the meal with a Meyer lemon tart or hazelnut and roasted almond mousse cake. Make your reservation here.



Enjoy New Year's Eve & Day Brunch at Uncommon Ground Edgewater


I'm scanning through email today and sharing some of the fun events happening at Chicagoland eateries to celebrate the arrival of 2017. Here's some yummy happenings at Uncommon Ground Edgewater!

New Year's Eve 
& Day  
Brunch

Phone Now For Reservations
773-465-9801


9AM-3PM Availability
Menu Additions

Cider Braised Duck Benedict
poached eggs, english muffins, spinach
and cherry hollandaise

Farmer's Market Scramble
fluffy eggs, andouille sausage, green onion,
cheddar cheese

BIRTHDAY pan CAKEs
traditional buttermilk pancakes laced with festive 
sprinkles and topped with a buttercream glaze
Make your reservations by calling 
(773)-465-9801   
OR
make reservations online


LATE NIGHT DANCE, DRINK & FOOD PACKAGE
   
 LATE NIGHT DANCING 
come enjoy the FUNKY sounds of  
LOW SPARK!
 FUNK, MOTOWN, and  
TOP 40 HITS!
dance, dance, dance!
ENTERTAINMENT & DRINK PACKAGES
10PM-1AM
$55 package
Includes drink package
live dance band, champagne toast 
& late night snack buffet

$35 package
Includes dance package
champagne toast 
& late night snack buffet 
***
New Year's Day Brunch
  
NEW YEAR'S DAY BRUNCH!
OPEN ON NEW YEARS DAY 
FROM 9AM - 9PM
BRUNCH-LUNCH-DINNER
RESERVATIONS AVAILABLE
or phone 773-465-9801

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Give the best last minute gift ever

Scanning through the sea of emails this week (most of which are from retailers pushing deals to entice procrastinators to make purchases), I spotted this press release below. It's a great one-size-fits-all gift - tickets to Baconfest. Bacon really does make everything better. And there's nothing better than hours of noshing on everything bacon at the uber fun and delicious annual fest. I attended last year and it immediately became one of my favorite food events of the year. So, surprise that bacon lover in your life with this meaty ticket.

9th ANNUAL BACONFEST TICKETS ON SALE IN TIME FOR HOLIDAYS
Unique, Experiential Gift Perfect for Fun-Loving Foodies and Bacon Cult Fans
December 20, 2016 (Chicago, IL) -  Just in time for the holidays, tickets for Baconfest Chicago 2017 are on sale now. "Snuggies, Chia Pets, Lazy Mop Slippers, let's stop the holiday gift giving madness. Instead of more stuff, give a once-in-year bacon experience," said Seth Zurer, co-founder of Baconfest Chicago. "Bacon is the one gift that everyone loves, it always fits, and it never goes out of style. "

On March 31 and April 1, more than 150 of the city's best chefs will gather together with members of the bacon community to celebrate pork and culinary ingenuity at the ninth annual Baconfest Chicago. Baconfest Chicago 2017 will unfold over the course of three sessions at the UIC Forum located at 725 West Roosevelt, each with its own unique menu of creative bacon dishes and its own lineup of celebrated chefs.  
Baconfest Chicago Tickets 
Early Bird pricing for General Admission tickets will be $75 plus ticketing fees; Early Bird VIP tickets will go for $175 plus fees. Once Early Bird tickets are sold out, prices rise to $100 for General Admission and $200 for VIP. All ticket holders get access to their selected General Admission session, including unlimited bacon dishes from more than 50 chefs as well as seven drinks tickets good for beer, wine and cocktails.  VIP ticket holders are allowed one hour of early access to the session selected, with no crowds and unfettered access to bacon pleasure. Tickets to the event are on sales now at baconfestchicago.com/ticket. A limited number of discounted Early Bird tickets will be available for purchase. 


Baconfest Chicago supports the Greater Chicago Food Depository with a donation from event proceeds, a raffle on site and a food drive at the event. Over its eight year history, the event has generated more than $360,000 in donations to the area's largest food bank. This translates to more than 1.1 million meals for hungry people in our community. 
About Baconfest:
Baconfest Chicago holds its ninth tasting event on March 31 and April 1, 2017 at the UIC Forum (725 West Roosevelt). Ticketholders gain access to a bacon-wonderland where the city's best chefs hand out amazing creative bacon snacks. Luxury brands, artisan bacon-makers, and bacontrepreneurs display, sample, and sell a multitude of bacon products. The best mixologists and brewers hand out bacon-inspired cocktails, beer and wine. To celebrate special achievement in the bacon arts, Baconfest gives out Golden Rasher Awards (the Oscars of the bacon world). Best of all, Baconfest is good for America. In addition to hosting a food drive and raffle at the event, Baconfest Chicago donates a portion of proceeds from ticket sales to the Greater Chicago Food Depository.  Since 2009, Baconfest's support has resulted in more than $360,000 for Chicago's food bank, which translates into more than 1,100,000 meals for hungry people in the area.

Helpful and Mouthwatering Links:
Photos, videos and press coverage of Baconfest:http://baconfestchicago.com/media/ 
A recap of Baconfest Chicago 2016 (including Golden Rasher winners): http://baconfestchicago.com/2016recap/
The Baconfest Manifesto: http://baconfestchicago.com/about-baconfest/

Social Media:

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Give the gift of wings


Got this announcement in my inbox today. I'll bet you've got someone on your list who likes wings. And if you need a last minute gift for them, the first block of tickets went on sale today. If you really want to win them over, go for the VIP.


The 18th Annual "Chicago's Best WingFest" Announces Tickets On Sale
Festival Spreads Its Wings, Adding More Space, More Restaurants at UIC Pavilion
WHAT: The 18th Annual WingFest announces today that the first block of 2017 tickets went on sale at noon. Due to the overwhelming popularity of the annual chicken wing festival, it is moving to UIC Pavilion, a larger venue that can accommodate more people and more restaurants, which means more chicken wings to enjoy. The event includes a nearly endless supply of Chicago's best chicken wings from area restaurants, competitive wing eating, four categories of wing competition and lots of fun! 
WHEN: Sunday, March 5, 2017 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
 
WHERE: UIC Pavilion (525 S Racine Ave, Chicago, IL 60607)
TICKETS: General Admission Ticketssell for $50 and include admission, all-you-can-eat wings and access to the day's entertainment.

VIP Tickets sell for $100 and include all of the above, plus access to VIP lounges, five drink tickets and a fabulous SWAG bag.

Grab tickets early, as this annual event sells out every year. Tickets are available on Ticketmaster. Details about participating restaurants, vendors and additional information will be announced at a later date.

Friday, December 16, 2016

10 Holiday Gift Ideas for Foodies

In my world, food is an ideal gift. No worrying about getting the wrong size. There are so many options to find something that appeals to anyone. It's consumable and not something you have to find a permanent space for. And who doesn't love to eat? Here are a few of my suggestions for foodie gifts this season.


1) Villa Gabriella Organic Olive Oil and 8-Year Aged Balsamic

I am so hooked on this amazing balsamic. I've never used one at home like this. Aged for 8 years, this balsamic has a wonderful flavor that is perfect on a bruschetta, pizza or salad. I love to make a little salad of spinach and fresh mozzarella with grape tomatoes and drizzle it with this balsamic. It's delicious. Their oils are no less spectacular. This is a lovely indulgence for any foodie on your list.




2) Fannie May Cubs Candy

I am one of the biggest Cubs fans out there and I was so ecstatic that this was finally our year! If you know someone who loves the Cubs as much as I do - and who also loves chocolate, they'll be in heaven with the Cubs wrapped candy bars and Wrigley Field Mix of fine chocolates.





3) Tastefully Simple mixes

When you're planning a party or just want to put out a spread for your family on a lazy weekend or to watch a special event together, Tastefully Simple makes it easy to whip up some goodies that taste like they were more work than they really were. Some of my favorite products are the beer bread, lava cakes and spinach dip mix. But my favorite of all is this baby below - the Bold Buffalo Bleu Cheese Dip Mix. You can simply add the powder to some sour cream and mayonnaise or get more creative with it. I've also adapted it to create a warm dip that always goes fast!



Despite having spent my entire life living in the Chicago suburbs, I somehow had never tried Lou Malnati's until a couple years ago at the Taste of Chicago. There are just so many wonderful pizza places and I didn't think their deep dish could be that much better than Giordano's or Gino's East or Sanfretello's. But there's just something about it that nudges it just above the rest of their stiff competition. If you have a foodie friend who hasn't tried it or have someone on your list who is just an overall fan of pizza, this is a gift they will be very happy to get. Get a gift card or schedule a dinner together. And for those outside of the area, you can also ship it and give them a test of what the best pizza in the country tastes like. It's also great for those who have moved from the Chicago area and long for a taste of authentic Chicago-style pizza.





I first got a taste of the delicious small batch treats when I attended the Good Food Festival earlier this year. I love chocolate and I have to admit that I've become a major chocolate snob. American candy bars just don't do it for me any more. I'd rather have one bite of gourmet chocolate than a case of Hershey bars. A lot of the chocolate I eat is from foreign countries - Switzerland, France, Belgium and others. However, this is made in the Midwest with local ingredients and they are every bit as good as the stuff that comes from across the ocean. Treat a friend or family member - and treat yourself. 




6) Tickets to a beer dinner

I'm a big fan of food. My husband's a big fan of craft beer. So, when we recently attended a beer pairing dinner at Bohemian Joe's in Lansing, we were both in our glory sampling several courses of what we loved. The dinner included four courses plus an enormous cheese/nut/fruit tray to start off for only $40 per person (if you order tickets at least a week in advance, after that it goes up to $45.) I was amazed at the chef's creativity in not just pairing foods with the beer, but using the brews in making the dishes. I can't wait to go back again. If you know someone who would love the experience, they'll be doing these dinners monthly on the third Tuesday. In January they'll feature Lagunitas and in February, they'll have 18th Street there to host. 




7) GourmetGiftBaskets.com Presidential Cookie Cakes

If you want to present a gift that will be the talk of your holiday celebration, these presidential candidate cookie cakes will. Buy individually or get all three. If you were wondering, the guy in the middle isn't Ronald Reagan (although he bears a striking resemblance.) That's Gary Johnson. When our cookies arrived, my kids wanted to dig in right away. My son said, "Maybe we should have the Gary Johnson one, so at least he can be first in something." These big sugar cookies are a gift that will not soon be forgotten.



8) Dinner at The Florentine

One of the top 5 meals I had this past year was at The Florentine, a fine Italian dining spot located inside the JW Marriott. Everything exceeded expectations and it's a meal that I still dream about and want to go back and duplicate. Read about what we tried here. If you make dinner plans for your significant other for a meal in their dining room, it will be one that will score you some big points. Want to double your points? Extend your visit with an overnight stay and this luxurious hotel. Want to triple them? There's a spa there that will blow you away and leave you so relaxed and mellow and rejuvenated.

















9) PopcornFactory.com Cubs World Series Tin

Celebrate the exciting win of my beloved Chicago Cubs with a big ol' tin of gourmet popcorn. Not only are you getting a delicious gourmet snack, but you'll have this souvenir tin to hold on to commemorating the long awaited win. The back lists the players of the 2016 World Series Team.







10) Urban Accents seasoning sets

If you have never tried Urban Accents seasonings, you don't know what you're missing. I love that this is a local company and the product they put it out is top notch. My pantry is full of different seasonings from their line. They have some really awesome gift packs that any foodie would be thrilled to get. They have barbecue gift packs. Popcorn gift packs. One that I really loved was the pizza gift pack that had several ethnic seasoning blends to switch up your pizza. I adore the Grecian Pizza seasoning set. It's a great way to get more creating in the kitchen. Take a few minutes to browse their website - or if you see it in a local shop, be sure to grab a few bottles.




Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Winter Seasonal Beer Bucket makes great gift for craft beer lovers

The holidays are inching closer and if you're stumped on what to get for a guy (or gal) in your life who is a fan of craft beers, GourmetGiftBaskets.com has a new Winter Seasonal Beer Bucket available that they're sure to enjoy with every sip.

The basket comes in a study steel bucket that will work great in your home bar or for those outdoor parties next summer to chill your bottles. You get six unique winter brews along with some fun snack items. My husband was excited when our sample product arrived as he is a big craft beer fan. I'm a fan of lighter saisons, ales and summer brews. His favorites are stouts, porters and dark heavy, hoppy ales, so he really has enjoyed gradually making his way through these new bottles. The upscale munchies all pair well with beer - popcorns, cheese, snack mix, flatbread crackers and salami. The bucket retails for $69.99. Here's a list of the full contents:

  • Winterhook Dark Ale by Redhook - 12 oz. - Brewed differently each year, this Winterhook’s bold flavors and dark colors come from the addition of flaked oats and Munich malts that pair perfectly with three kinds of hops.
  • Sick Day by Long Trail - 12 oz. - This hoppy brown ale is built for the cold, with pine and hop flavors balancing perfectly toasty malts for a smooth and easy to drink brew.
  • Peak Organic Winter Session - 12 oz. - A winter wheat beer that uses dark malts to give it subtle toasty notes while still remaining quite hoppy due to the single-hop, dry hop process using Citra hops to give it the aroma of pineapple.
  • Prelude Special Ale by Shipyard - 12 oz. - A rich, full-bodied English ale that's the perfect winter warmer - it boasts a hoppyfinish and a rich malty taste with nuances of holiday spices.
  • Trösten by Von Trapp - 12 oz. - German for "comfort," Trösten is a smoked black lager with rich flavor that finishes smooth and clean.
  • Goose Winter Ale by Goose Island - 12 oz. - Layered with roasted caramel flavors and rich chocolate undertones, this beer is perfect for long winter nights.
  • Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper Kettle Corn by KingOfPOP.com - 1.4 oz. - A delicious merging of salty and sweet, this popcorn pairs well with all of these beers!
  • Toasted Sesame Flatbread Crackers by Partner- .75 oz. - Sesame seeds are integrated throughout these crisp crackers, giving them a consistent and distinctive toasted sesame flavor.
  • Savory Garlic Cheddar Cheese by Mountain View Cheese Co. - 2 oz. - Premium cheddar cheese made zesty with the addition of fresh garlic.
  • Salami by Bavaria - 3 oz. - Smoked salami made in the European tradition, and made with only the finest ingredients. 
  • Chichester Snack Mix by Merrimack Valley Snack Company - 2 oz. - A crunchy snack mix composed of premium nuts, crisp pretzels, and savory cheddar crackers.
  • Zesty Ranch Popcorn by KingOfPOP.com - 1.1 oz. - Cool buttermilk and zesty spices combine to form a unique popcorn flavor that might become this gift recipient's new favorite snack!
***I did receive a product sample for the purpose of a review. I was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Corner Bakery Offers Choose Any Two Limitless Menu

Corner Bakery Cafe has a new option on their menu for those really indecisive people like me. No longer do you have to pick a full menu item after agonizing over if you want a sandwich or a salad. Yes, I'm one of those people who stands and stares at a menu waving people to go around me as I need another minute or two to finally make up my mind. Corner Bakery has a new "Choose Any 2" Mix and Match option on the menu that allows you to pick out two of your favorites instead of just one.

I stopped by the Oak Lawn location recently to check it out. Priced at $8.79, you could select two of any of the items on the menu to customize your meal. You could choose from a half of any of their sandwiches or paninis, a single grilled flat, a cup of soup, a scaled down serving of their cafe handcrafted pasta or cafe fresh salad.

There are a lot of sandwiches places out there, but the addition of pasta to the menu is something that makes it stand out from the others. I dined there with my husband and three hungry boys (ages 11, 13 and 17) and they all went for the pasta along with a half sandwich. We each tried something different.
I got a Harvest Salad with my sandwich and the portion was huge. Each meal also came with a bag of bakery chips.

It was my first time visiting a Corner Bakery and I was very impressed with the quality of the food. The atmosphere was also quiet and soothing. I also tried a bite of my son's Chicken Carbonara and I liked it so much I got an order to go and enjoyed it for lunch the following day.

The best thing about the Choose Any 2 meal options is that it is limitless. Your favorite sandwich or pasta isn't excluded. There's not an upcharge for a sandwich that has avocado or bacon. You look at the menu and you pick two things - easy as that. For more info on the menu, visit cornerbakerycafe.com.

BBLT with loaded baked potato soup
Ham and Swiss Pretzel with Chicken Carbonara
Steak and Cheese (minus the veggies) with Cafe Linguine with Meatballs
Club Panini with a Harvest Salad
Steak and Cheese (minus the veggies) with Mac and Three Cheese

*** I did receive a complimentary meal for the purpose of a review. I was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Home Alone and Yelp Eat24's top spots for cheese pizza

Pizza at Homeslice (photo credit: GetSomeHomie.com)
It's Christmas time in the city and among the shopping and baking and wrapping and decorating and planning, there's sure to be some viewing of holiday classics. One holiday movie with special ties to the Windy City is Home Alone. Remember little Kevin McAllister, who got left behind in his suburban home as his family got on a plane without him for Christmas? And remember his desire for a lovely cheese pizza? 

Well, to celebrate Kevin and his cheese pizza, the people at  Yelp Eat24 have compiled a list of the top pizza places in Chicago (ranked by star rating). Yelp Eat24 hopes that this list will help you to also enjoy the pizza of your dreams in the comfort of your own home, just like Kevin. And what better way to spend a blistery Chicago evening in December than curled up with pizza and Home Alone on the tube. Seasons Greetings ya' filthy animal!

1.      Pi-Hi Cafe (Roscoe Village)
2.      Forno Rosso Pizzeria Napoletana (Multiple locations)
3.      The StopAlong (Bucktown)
4.      Homeslice (Lincoln Park)
5.      Bongiorno’s Italian Deli & Pizzeria (Near North Side)
6.      Pizzeria Del Mercato (Near West Side, West Loop)
7.      Si-Pie Pizzeria (Lakeview)
8.      Mama Milano’s Pizza Bar (Near North Side, Old Town)
9.      West Town Pizza Shop (Humboldt Park, West Town)