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Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-12-13



SAVOR these holiday options
by Andrew Davis

This article shared 1903 times since Wed Dec 6, 2023
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Fine and Dandy: The second annual "A Very Dandy Holiday" will pop up at The Dandy Crown, 694 N. Milwaukee Ave., throughout December, starting at 3 p.m. daily.

The Dandy Crown's outgoing beverage director and award-winning bartender Sarah Syman, in collaboration with head bartender/manager Ricky Cordt, will offer some indulgent cocktails. They include the Choquito (Bacardi Ocho, Fernet Branca Menta, Mr. Black Coffee, chocolate and coconut), the Sleigh Ride (white rum, spiced orange, angostura cocoa and lime) and the Ghost of Christmas Past (Real del Valle Reposado, Bianco, Genepy, chocolate and lemon), among others.

There will also be several festive (and FREE) events, such as Professional Photos with Santa Claus (Mon., Dec. 4; see, "Ugly Sweater Night & The Dandy Crown's 4th Birthday" (Tuesday, Dec. 12); holiday trivia (Tuesday, Dec. 19); and "A Very Dandy New Year's Eve Party with DJ Gloria."

See and .

Thanks a latte: The Goddess and Grocer (various locations) is offering some unique coffee-related items, including the Brown Butter Pumpkin Latte, the Raspberry Toffee Pretzel Latte and the Sugar Pom Fairy Latte (espresso, chocolate, hazelnut, pomegranate, oat milk—and edible gold flakes), each for $6.50.

Rooftop revelry: Cindy's Rooftop (12 S. Michigan Ave.) wants people to consider celebrating Christmas Eve there with exclusive specials, available 10 a.m.-10 p.m., from Chef Kaleena Bliss.

Christmas Eve specials will include crispy whole branzino with kimchi-fried rice and bonito aioli; and 12-ounce prime rib. There will also be wine specials, such as Billecart-Salmon Brut champagne ($130) and Laurent-Perrier Cuvee Rose champagne ($195).

Also, Cindy's will be open New Year's Eve at 10 a.m.-1 a.m. and New Year's Day at 10 a.m.-6 p.m. One of the brunch offerings you might want is the strawberry-stuffed French toast, with white chocolate and champagne creme anglaise.

Shake it up: Following its Halloween pop-up, JoJo's ShakeBAR (in Naperville and Chicago's River North neighborhood) now has a Winter Wonderland Pop-Up—complete with various classics and, of course, the classic shakes.

The festive decor includes an eight-foot tall nutcracker, giant ornaments and thousands of string lights, among other things. Also, among the Christmas trees is JoJo's signature Patron tree that includes four mega margaritas. Classes/workshops offering ornament painting, wreath making and gingerbread-house decorating will also take place. Visit .

Hanukkah feast: Northbrook's Prairie Grass Cafe is offering a Hanukkah feast for dining in. (Unfortunately, the deadline for pick-up orders has passed.)

For those who prefer the warm ambiance of a restaurant setting, Prairie Grass Cafe opens its doors for dine-in starting at 5 p.m. on Dec. 7. Call 847-205-4433 to place orders.

That's Greek to me: Avli River North (702 N. Wells St.) is offering a holiday feast for pickup from Executive Chef Panos Chalikiopoulos designed as a festive dinner for two. (Don't worry; reheating instructions are included.)

Some of the items included in the dinner are spanakopita (handmade spinach pie); chicken riganati; slow-cooked lamb shoulder with a spiced herb sauce; thyme mashed potatoes; and Greek Christmas cookies.

The dinners are $110 each; visit .

—Good things: Good Ambler, known for its pastries, is offering seasonal items. (Customers can pre-order their holiday desserts to be picked up on Dec. 22—24.)

Items available for pre-order and that are in store include peppermint crunch Santas, holiday bonbon sets, candy-cane croissants, gingerbread spice bundt cake with eggnog glaze, and more. Offerings such as chestnut coffee cake and peppermint ice cream are exclusively for pre-order. See .

Exclusive: Michelin-starred Esme (2200 N. Clark St.) will have two seatings on New Year's Eve.

Seatings will be at 5 p.m. ($295/ticket) and 8 p.m. ($350/ticket). Chef Jenner Tomaska is known for creating some very innovative dishes. See

Party time: Aba (302 N. Green St.) is hosting an exclusive mezze on Tuesday, Dec. 12, at 6 p.m.

Get comfortable by the bar and enjoy a one-night-only, four-course mezze menu prepared in Chef CJ Jacobson. Tickets to "Eat, Drink & Be Mezze" are $124.95 per person, plus tax (gratuity not included). Visit Tock for more info.

That's Italian: The Florentine (151 W. Adams), which I recently reviewed, has unveiled Christmas specials.

They include crab salad tartine ($24); Lyonnaise potato espuma with pork belly-onion jam, poached hen egg and frisee ($19); deconstructed ribeye "Wellington" ($67); and a tiramisu mille-feuille ($15).

See .

How suite it is: This holiday season, the Swissotel Chicago Santa Suite makes a dazzling return.

For its 10th consecutive season, Santa Claus will check into Swissotel Chicago's 2,000-square-foot Presidential Suite, debuting a sparkling "Holiday Jewel" theme (and there are, of course, some sweets to sample). Moreover, you can book the Santa Suite with up to 20 guests for an exclusive visit with Santa Claus himself—or even purchase the Holiday Penthouse Package, which sleeps up to six guests at $1,600/night. Visit .

Steak and bake: Chicago Italian-American steakhouse Fioretta (318 N. Sangamon St.) will offer a four-course tasting menu ($110 per person) from 4 p.m.- 9 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Options include meatballs or shrimp scampi; burrata, butternut squash soup or Caesar salad; filet mignon, bay scallops or macaroni alla vodka; and olive oil cake, lemon meringue pie, tiramisu or sorbet. (Substitutions and enhancements are available.) Check out .

Also, Prime & Provisions (222 N. LaSalle St.) will offer a signature three-course Christmas Eve tasting menu ($110 per person), complete with options like lump blue crab cakes, petit cut filet, dry-aged Rohan duck, red wine braised lamb shank, tres leches cake, clam chowder and many more. Visit .

Lastly, Kinzie Chophouse (400 N. Wells St.) is offering a one-of-a-kind tasting menu experience to celebrate Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.

The Festive Odyssey Tasting Menu—an iteration of its recently launched Sunday-only Odyssey Tasting Menu—will be available. Priced at $150 per person (with the option to add on an expert wine pairing for $60), items will include items such as duck ravioli, shellfish trilogy (crab, shrimp and scallop) and dry-aged lamb chop; wet-aged center-cut filet or grouper; a cheese plate with infused honey and the "Call Me Rosa" cocktail; and fondant tsoureki with vanilla-bean gelato and eggnog sauce.

Fondue you do: Longtime Lincoln Park fondue spot Geja's Cafe has added some items to its winter menu.

In addition to Geja's gruyere cheese fondue, protein fondue (lobster, shrimp, steak, chicken—you name it) and Belgium chocolate fondue, Geja's will offer roasted garlic with fontina cheese and peppermint-chocolate variations. See .

Also, reservations for Geja's annual New Year's Eve celebration will be available for 4, 6:30 and 9:30 p.m. There will be a three-course fondue dinner that will include Swiss gruyere cheese fondue with breads, vegetables and fruits; a beef tenderloin, Australian lobster tail and Gulf shrimp entree; and Geja's Belgian chocolate fondue, with marshmallows. The cost is $100-$140/person, depending on the time of the seating; visit

Ho, ho, ho!: Santa will be setting up shop in Santa's Southern Workshop at Chef Art Smith's Reunion, located at Navy Pier, and greeting families there through Saturday, Dec. 23.

Prix fixe lunch and dinner experiences in Santa's Southern Workshop are available through Reunion's Open Table page. Families are welcome to visit with Santa whether or not they eat at the restaurant. Professional photo packages are available. Reservations are recommended and can be booked online. In addition, letters to Santa can be written in the Family Pavilion in front of the restaurant.

Getting your goat: Ring in the New Year at Girl & the Goat (809 W. Randolph St.). This inventive Stephanie Izard-owned spot will offer food and a bubbly toast. The cost is $125, not including tax or gratuity. See OpenTable or for reservations.

This article shared 1903 times since Wed Dec 6, 2023
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