Ramps, Morels Usher in Chicago’s Spring

The Bristol is one of several Chicago restaurants featuring ramps on its menu. Photo courtesy of Neil Burger.
The Bristol is one of several Chicago restaurants featuring ramps on its menu. Photo courtesy of Neil Burger.

by Jennifer Olvera

 

In Chicago, spring has sprung! We’ve had a few warm days, and ramps—among the season’s first edible indicators—are at-the-ready. (Cue the swooning sound.) We just love these wild, potently flavored beauties, which are foraged locally in cool, forested areas. And we’re psyched to share where you can find them around town.

 

Blackbird’s Mike Sheerin will serve puréed ramps with halibut; upping the ante further, they’ll also be pickled, alongside.

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Paolo De Marchi Makes Appearance at Sepia in Chicago

Paolo De Marchi will host a wine dinner at Sepia in Chicago on April 26
Paolo De Marchi will host a wine dinner at Sepia in Chicago on April 26

by Jennifer Olvera

 

So, you can’t make the trip to Tuscany you long for. It’s a bummer, for sure. On the other hand, you can sip seriously good wine from the region—with Paolo De Marchi, no less—at Sepia on April 26.

 

The storied (some say visionary) winemaker from small-production Isole e Olena will pour six of his rare vinos, including his complex flagship Sangiovese, Cepparello, and Uvaggio, a blend of Nebbiolo, Vespolina and Croatina from Proprietà Sperino, his Piedmont estate in the shadows of the Alps.

 

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Chicago’s Bin 36 Enters New, Cheese-Centric Era

Steak tartare is one of many new offerings on the revamped menu at Bin 36.
Steak tartare is one of many new offerings on the revamped menu at Bin 36.

by Jennifer Olvera

 

Earning a following that hasn’t waned, Chicago’s decade-old Bin 36 entered a new era. After closing for a few days for a quick face-lift, the menu changed.

 

 

Just like its down-to-earth wine program, Bin’s new cheese selection takes a 101 approach. Themed cheese classes will begin in April, and they’ll mimic the approach of Wine Director Brian Duncan’s take on vino education. Expanded and affordable, the cheese program continues to focus on small producers from the world over—including those from lesser-known American farmers.

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Atypical Easter Brunch in Chicago

 

Eve is among the Chicago dining destinations challenging convention this Easter. Photo courtesy of stevenjohnsonphotography.com.
Eve is among the Chicago dining destinations challenging convention this Easter. Photo courtesy of stevenjohnsonphotography.com.

by Jennifer Olvera
Easter is right around the corner, and we’re mighty excited about the ridiculously tasty-sounding—not to mention, atypical—options out there. Since we like a bit of savory with our sweet, we’ve set eyes on the three-course spread at one sixtyblue. You can choose between items like grilled shrimp with curried cucumber-yogurt sauce and fried chickpeas and slow-cooked pork belly with buttermilk biscuits and spicy sausage gravy. From there, opt for a flat iron steak with braised spring radishes, fiddlehead ferns and spring onion gratin or, perhaps, ricotta-English pea ravioli with Parmesan gratin, followed by sorbet with rosemary shortbread. The cost is $39 per person, and a waffle bar ($12) is available for kids under 12. On the other hand, Eve’s $32, three-course brunch features the likes of Toulouse sausage with caramelized onions and sauerkraut; slow-cooked Swan Creek Farm ham with fennel-poached eggs and caramelized fennel; and eggs Sardou with soft-shell crab, creamed spinach, poached eggs, crispy artichokes and béarnaise. Are you thinking Greek? Then head to Taxim, where the $55, five-course lineup includes items like kokoretsi, charcoal-grilled caul-stuffed offal; magiritsa, hearty lamb offal soup; tsouknidopita, nettle pie with house-made phyllo, sheep’s milk butter and feta; and tsoureki, braided sweet bread baked with a red-dyed egg. For the main course, it’s on to whole charcoal-roasted, milk-fed spring lamb. Seatings are at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Want some more ideas on where to eat? Check out our comprehensive list of the best Easter Brunch restaurants in Chicago
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Chicago’s Sixteen Launches Week-Long Theme Menus

Sixteen's dining room will honor beef in many ways during a week-long themed dinner.
Sixteen's dining room will honor beef in many ways during a week-long themed dinner.

by Jennifer Olvera

 

We love a good, posh meal—especially when it’s based on our favorite ingredients. That’s why we’re excited about Sixteen’s newest promotion, “Feasting at Sixteen with Frank Brunacci.”

 

The skyline-framed, 16th-floor restaurant in the Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago will shift its focus to serve an a la carte menu for a week each month, from March through September, while emphasizing a single, indulgent ingredient.

 

First up is beef from March 29-April 4. The carnivorous component will be honored in various ways, starting with dishes like Kobe carpaccio with chickpea crunch and cucumber-cilantro salad and Waygu beef cheek ravioli with foie gras-port sauce and chipotle mayo.

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