At Dove's Luncheonette in Wicker Park- Created by chef de cuisine Dennis Bernard, the Breakfast Cemita starts with scrambled eggs and tender green chile chicken sausage. Then the sandwich is topped with melty muenster cheese, crispy French-friend onions and smoked pepper aioli. The dish is finished with a sprinkling of smoked sea salt and is served on a traditional, Mexican-style sesame bun, which has been generously dipped in maple syrup. It’s sweet, savory, spicy and “represents everything Dove’s Luncheonette is about— comfort food with a twist,” says Bernard. The Cemita is available daily at Dove’s Luncheonette as a morning special and can be purchased from opening to 3pm for $9.
At Publican Quality Meats- Channel your inner cookie monster at Publican Quality Meats on the first Friday of each month (next is February 5th) beginning at 9am when they host the Chocolate Chip Cookie Case Takeover by two-time James Beard award finalist for "Outstanding Pastry Chef" and author of Hello, My Name Is Ice Cream, Dana Cree. Each takeover will contain a mix of PQM's classic chocolate chip cookies (offered all month), along with new and exciting twists on the cookie such as Chocolate Mint Chip Cookie made with garden mint infused butter and dark chocolate mint chunks, a Caramel Milk Chocolate Blondie and more. All selections are $3 each and are available while supplies last.
At Nico Osteria and Publican Anker- Bret Heiar, Wine Director for both Nico Osteria in the Gold Coast and Wicker Park’s Publican Anker has created an unorthodox yet surprisingly approachable list of Old World, European-focused varietals and natural wines collected through world travels and estate sales at the two wine-friendly food havens. A current selection from both restaurants and the details on what makes it a standout can be found below.
- Name and varietal: Pelaverga, Comm.G.B. Burlotto, Verduno, Piedmont — $13 per glass; $52 per btl
- Tasting Notes: Pelaverga is a rare, heirloom varietal almost extinct by the 1970’s and rarely seen outside of Verdunoeven today. Once prized by the Royal Italian court and thought of as an aphrodisiac, the Burlotto family have been growing and championing it since 1800. This light-bodied, juicy wine has expressions of hibiscus and spicy red fruit.
- Name and varietal: Aladasturi, Vartsikhe Marani, Baghdati, Georgia — $13 per glass; $52 per btl
- Tasting notes: Aladasturi, a varietal whose name literally translates to "God approves" was named by Islamic invaders who loved it so much they proclaimed "God Approves!” and therefore, are allowed to drink it. This light, perfumed rare red wine selection is natural, organic, unfiltered and aged in Kvevri, large buried clay vessels used for the fermentation.
"These two relatively unknown, non-mainstream wines are super attractive; pretty, elegant, thoughtful wines offer great complexity and balance if you pay attention but still have a feral, wild streak like a beautiful woman covered in tattoos that is impeccably dressed. Try something different! You can always drink the same old wine at home. Bottom line: the wine is good, they pair great with the food at each restaurant, it's not as expensive as it should be and you will want more.” —Bret Heiar
At avec- Gather some friends to enjoy avec’s Lamb Roti, a delicious, communal feast inspired by the sun drenched lands of the Mediterranean. Feeding up to six guests, the star of the meal is a slow-roasted whole lamb shoulder accompanied by freshly baked pita and seasonal vegetables, mezze and sauces. Guests also have the option to pair their meal with a 2012 Ouled Thaleb Aït Souala Red, Zenata, Morocco for $49. A blend of 50% Arinarnoa, 50% Tannat and 25% Malbec, this inky, garnet-colored wine has aromas of blackberry and brambles with a touch of green bell pepper while flavors of cherry, blackberry, oregano, black olive and coffee make for a lively mix on the palate, backed by a core of chewy tannins. Avec’s Lamb Roti is priced at $250, requires a reservation at least 24 hours in advance, and does not include tax and gratuity. Reservations can be made here.
Also at Publican Anker- On January 28th, head to the Sunday Fish Fry at Publican Anker, One Off Hospitality's newest Wicker Park gastropub paying homage to the early 20th century saloons and breweries that once comprised the neighborhood. Celebrating beer and classic pub fare, this fish fry gets a Wisconsin-style twist by chef de cuisine AJ Walker using one of Milwaukee’s leading breweries' German-style pilsner to create the classic beer-battered fried walleye experience complete with house-made slaw, frites, and relish plate all for $19. Then guests can wash it all down with refreshing Lakefront Pils drafts for $5, a Chicago exclusive for Publican Anker. This special event begins at 3pm and available while supplies last, so make sure to get there early or make a reservation here.