Big Gay Ice Cream Dessert Takeover at Nico Osteria (1015 N Rush St.)-In celebration of Chicago's Gay Pride weekend June 23rd-24th, the gold-star duo behind New York City's Big Gay Ice Cream shops, Douglas Quint and Bryan Petroff and Nico Osteria Pastry Chef, Leigh Omilinsky are joining forces to bring an array of decadent summer treats including Dirty Banana soft serve, rainbow macaron ice cream sandwiches and fruity tequila-dunked freeze pops to the dessert menu of the Italian restaurant for two days only. If that's not sweet enough, a portion of the proceeds from sales will benefit Howard Brown Health, a local non-profit dedicated to eliminating the disparities in healthcare experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
The Violet Hour Pop Up at Revival Food Hall's First Friday Series (125 S Clark St.): On June 1st from 5-9pm, James Beard Award winning bar The Violet Hour steps out from behind its unmarked Wicker Park facade to bring its pre-prohibition-style cocktails to The Loop. For one-night-only, Revival Food Hall’s Revival Cafe-Bar transforms into The Violet Hour’s speakeasy aesthetic with glowing candles, absinthe droppers and cozy blue lounge furniture. Sip on selections from Managing Partner Eden Laurin inspired by the lounge’s current menu, which includes the C’est La Vie with Apologue Persimmon Liqueur, vodka, hibiscus, lemon and champagne, and The Violet Hour Old Fashioned, featuring TVH+, Violet Hour’s retail Old Fashioned Mix.
NOTE: House Rules at The Violet Hour typically prohibit cell phone usage, so if your thumbs have been itching for the perfect VH Instagram photo, this may be your one and only chance.
Al Fresco Adopt-a-thon with One Tail at a Time and Asher House (1015 N Rush St.): What better way to usher in the dog days of summer than by welcoming a new four-legged family member into your home? On June 20th from 4-6pm, coastal-Italian restaurant Nico Osteria’s canine-friendly patio will cater to dogs and puppies in need as it hosts two special animal welfare organizations for an on-site adopt-a-thon. Featuring local no-kill rescue One Tail at a Time and Asher House, a traveling animal advocacy group founded by Lee Asher with the mission of saving the lives of shelter dogs across the US, the event allows potential adopters to meet and greet adorable pups in search of their forever families. Guests can learn about the beautiful bonds that can be formed with rescue pets and possibly begin the adoption process while enjoying food and drink selections from Nico Osteria’s Aperitivo Hour menu on the posh Gold Coast patio. More details on the event are available here.
Blackbird at 20 Dinner Series featuring Philadelphia Chef, Marc Vetri (619 W Randolph St.):To celebrate its 20th anniversary, Blackbird (Executive Chef Paul Kahan and Chef de Cuisine Ryan Pfeiffer) is inviting a handful of the best chefs in the country with a collection of special dinners, titled Blackbird at 20. The second installation in the series will take place on Monday, June 25th and features a coursed out dinner presented by iconic Philadelphia chef Marc Vetri (Vetri Cucina, Osteria, Amis, Pizzeria Vetri, Lo Spiedo and Alla Spina). Considered by Paul Kahan to be one of the best Italian chefs in America, the two were both honored with Food & WIne’s “Best New Chef” award in 1999.
Blackbird at 20 will continue in the coming months with dinners by acclaimed chefs Sean Brock (July 23), Chris Cosentino (September 25), Wylie Dufresne (October 22) and Jeremy Charles (November 13). Tickets on sale soon at this link: http://www.blackbirdrestaurant.com/blackbirdat20/
Country Ham Tamal (1545 N Damen Ave):Known for its upscale takes on Southern and Mexican-inspired dishes, Dove’s Luncheonette’s new Country Ham Tamal is equal parts South of the Border as it is American South. Chef de Cuisine Tom Carlin takes traditional corn tamals and fills them with a combination of braised country ham and carnitas, before topping the dish with tangy mole verde, queso fresco, cilantro, and an assortment of spring vegetables, including peas, green garlic, ramps, delicata squash and crimini mushrooms. ($15)
“I love country ham and think it’s one of those quintessential Southern ingredients,” says Chef de Cuisine Tom Carlin. "I wanted to highlight the ham in a few different ways— braised in the tamal, sliced raw and crispy chips. The mole verde keeps it light and bright while the spring vegetables rotate depending on what comes available.”
Chicken Shawarma Pizza (615 W Randolph St.): Don’t you hate it when you’re out at night and hungry but can’t decide what it is you're craving? avec, the West Loop’s Mediterranean eatery delivers two sought after delights: shawarma and pizza. Chef de Cuisine Perry Hendrix takes chicken marinated in traditional shawarma spices then grills it over open fire. The chicken is pulled and added to housemade pizza dough, hearth-baked with herbs and red onion and finished with a salad of crushed cucumbers, mint and dill. The pizza sauce is also a winning combination of white sauce (garlic toum - garlicky, black pepper aioli) and red sauce (piri piri hot sauce) that complements the robust spice and cooling herb elements. This savory option is available on the late night menu after 10pm and goes well with several of avec’s natural wine selections ($15).