Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween at the Chicago French Market

Over 200 children celebrated Halloween at the Chicago French Market Saturday, October 29

Today may be Halloween, but 100s of kids celebrated this past Saturday at the Chicago French Market. Teaming with the Fulton River District Parent Networking Group, more than 200 people gathered for to enjoy a family-fun-filled Saturday afternoon.

People came from near and far, many bringing aunts and grandparents, to enjoy pumpkin decorating with stick-on color-form faces for the younger guests and traditional carving for the older ones. 

James, Rebecca, Dan and Elizabeth Broderick (Lincoln Park)
Costumed children ranged from silly to scary – the most popular being princes, mermaids, dinosaurs, animals and even a number of law enforcement officers.

Families mingled, enjoyed cider and cookies and admired the array of creative and fun Halloween costumes. Concentra hosted a spinning game contest, distributed helium balloons and provided families with information about their services.

Following the pumpkin decorating, French Market vendors provided treats for families meandering throughout the market. 

Madelin Callahan (Lakeview) of Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine with Kate Wollin (Fulton River District)

Even without a holiday, the French Market is a treat, but the Pumpkin Party made the day an extra special one. All the families seemed to have a lovely time at Saturday’s event and agreed that it was a great way to start celebrating Halloween.

Carter Holland (West Loop) really enjoyed his treats from the French Market
Hi-resolution photos may be purchased here: Chicago French Market Halloween Photos

Friday, October 28, 2011

Living Healthy Chicago Visits the Chicago French Market

Could you prepare a delicious meal for two for less than $20? That’s the challenge that you’ll find on one of Chicago’s most fun television shows that airs frequently on CLTV and starting this Sunday, October 30, at 11:30 a.m. on WGN. Living Healthy Chicago, starring WLUP diva and personality host Jane Monzures, stopped by the Chicago French Market Wednesday for the second time to film a segment.
Joining Jane was nutrition knowledgeable Chef Joe Rosetti from Market Bar on Randolph. The challenge was not only to create a meal for under $20, but to make it healthy and local. Chicago French Market offers a number of farm stand vendors selling local, fresh vegetables and many organics.
Jane and John sampling cheese at Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine

During their visit, Joe and Jane shopped at Produce Express, Pastoral Artisan Cheese Bread & Wine, Chicago Organics and City Fresh Market to pick up the necessities. The rather humorous Joe was holding out in telling Jane what was on the menu and made a game of keeping her guessing until the end. Kale here. Scallions there. Turnips. Ground turkey. Bread. Cheese. What could they be making?

As Jane and Joe made their way through the market, they sampled a little bit of what each vendor has to offer and were amazed at the quality of food they could find for such a reasonable price! From the locally grown fresh produce to delicious gourmet cheeses to great-tasting bread, they were impressed with what the market had to offer. They got a great selection of ingredients and still had change left over! Keep your eyes open for the segment to air on Living Healthy Chicago to find out what Jane and Joe made from their trip to the French Market.

John and Jane modeling the delicious ground turkey they found at City Fresh Market
Living Healthy Chicago also taped a segment at the Chicago French Market a few weeks ago that will air this Sunday, October 30, at 11:30 a.m. on WGN. Tune in to see what other delicious choices there are at the Chicago French Market!  Make sure to like the show and the Chicago French Market on Facebook and tune-in frequently for more ideas about living healthy in Chicago.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Hot Tamales and Pumpkin Treats Celebrate Fall at Prairie Fire Restaurant

Hot Tamale! Let Prairie Fire (215 N. Clinton; 312-382-8300) warm you up this Thursday, October 20 with fall-flavored tamales being served at 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. outside (or in the bar if it rains) of the restaurant for just $5 per tamale.

Praire Fire has partnered with Three Sisters Garden’s Tracey Vowell to offer guests three kinds of tamales: the Slow Braised Barbeque Grass-fed Beef Tamale, the Maple Creek Farm Guajillo Pepper Braised Pork Tamale and the Roasted Luxury Heirloom Pumpkin, Mushroom and Poblano Pepper Tamale, and will be joined by friend Chef Chris Djuric, making a special appearance at the event to help craft the tasty tamales.
Three Sisters Garden supplies Prairie Fire with vegetables throughout the year and has been growing 1,500 pounds of pumpkins specifically for this event. In addition to the tamales, Prairie Fire will be serving grilled pumpkin brushed with a honey butter glaze. Pumpkin fans also will enjoy Prairie Fire’s delicious house made pumpkin.

But wait, there’s more. Friend and neighbor from Chicago’s French Market, Sweet Miss Givings bakery’s famous cupcake truck will be parked in front of Prairie Fire with proceeds from cupcake sales going to the Chicago House charity providing housing and supportive services to HIV-affected patients and at-risk families.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar Debuts Small Plates; New 99 Calorie Cocktail

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar continues to set the standard in steakhouse dining with its introduction of seven Small Plates to its menu this week.

These lighter, healthier dishes represent a whole new way to dine at Fleming’s (25 E. Ohio St., Chicago; 312/ 329-9463 and 960 Milwaukee Ave., Lincolnshire, Ill.; 847/ 793-0333)– to be enjoyed anytime with a glass of wine, shared with friends, or as a starting course to a meal. 

They can even be an alternative to a large entrée. Fleming’s Small Plates are reminiscent of a Mediterranean style of dining and dishes like the Sliced Filet Mignon with Shiitake Risotto blend Asian influences with European flavors. Others like the Lobster Tempura are a variation on a Fleming’s favorite.

“One of my favorites is the Lobster Tempura,” says Russell Skall, Fleming’s Executive Chef. “We took a guest favorite that was an indulgent, high-calorie appetizer, and recreated it.

"You still have the succulent lobster and dipping sauce only now it’s paired with a salad and has only half the calories.”

Skall began creating and testing Small Plate combinations nearly two years ago. What started with close to 100 original dishes was paired down to 25, then 10, and finally the best seven that join the Fleming’s menu starting on September 21.

The seven new Small Plates include: Sliced Filet Mignon on shiitake risotto, chili oil, drizzled with porcini butter; Jumbo Shrimp Scampi Skewers with chimichurri dipping sauce and avocado citrus salad; New Zealand Petite Lamb Chops with pistachio-mint pesto, “F-17” sauce, and polenta fries; Ahi Tuna Skewers with wasabi aioli, sweet tomato vinaigrette, and homemade wonton chips; New Bedford Scallops with meyer lemon-honey glaze, baby carrots, green beans, and asparagus; Filet Mignon Skewers with gorgonzola-bacon fondue, mozzarella and sweet tomato salad; and Fleming’s Lobster Tempura with soy-ginger dipping sauce, arugula, jicama and apple salad.

“Small Plates let our guests customize their meal and their dining experience,” says Skall. “They are a direct response to requests we’ve received for more choice in portion size, light options and items to share.”

Fleming’s Small Plates range in price from $15.50 – $22.95. As with the majority of Fleming’s menu, they can be modified to be gluten free upon request. Guests also will find a contemporary new look and feel to Fleming’s menu designed to be lighter and easier to read and including original artwork from noted artist Thomas Arvid.

Also debuting this week is Fleming’s newest “5 6 7” bar menu with five wines from the new Fleming’s 100, Widmer Brothers Hefeweizen (available 2 for $6), and the Stiletto – a 99-Calorie cocktail in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Guanajuato Celebrates National Taco Day October 4


Guanajuato is the brainchild of chef/owner Margarita Challenger, who is a native of Dolores, Guanajuato, Mexico. Since she opened the restaurant in 2010 she has been wowing the Chicago North Shore crowd with her deliciously authentic, freshly made Mexican cuisine. The atmosphere is decidedly friendly and beautiful, and the tequila bar, with more than 40 tequilas to choose from, is becoming a North Shore legend in its own time.

The Earl of Sandwich apparently never traveled to Mexico, for if he had, he would have had an even better idea: take colorful, delicious, and perfectly herbed and spiced vegetables, cheeses and meats, fish and seafood and tuck them neatly into a freshly baked corn tortilla. Fortunately someone else got the idea and thus we celebrate National Taco Day on October 4. 

At Guanajuato Mexican Grill and Tequila Bar (73 Green Bay Road; 847-242-0501), this is a special day. To celebrate National Taco Day, Guanajuato presents a special assortment of unique, surprisingly good taco creations that are sure to be a hit.

If you’re looking for an authentic Mexican taco recipe, you can’t miss with her specialty: the Barbacoa (Goat) Taco Dinner, three tortillas filled with slowly cooked, pulled apart goat meat, and garnished with onions and cilantro, and served with rice and beans ($10.95). Two excellent choices for fish lovers are the Salmon or Tilapia Tacos (Tilapia $13.95/Salmon $15.95), three tacos served with chipotle mayonnaise, pico de gallo and avocado, with rice and beans. If you’re in a seafood mood, choose the Grilled Shrimp Tacos, three grilled shrimp tacos with avocado and Pico de Gallo on flour tortillas, served with rice and beans ($15.95).
Tacos Santa FeGuests who would prefer a lighter taco experience will enjoy the vegetarian Tacos Santa Fe (photo, left) in which she replaces the corn tortillas with light and sumptuous Romaine lettuce.

If you’re a traditionalist, you can opt for Chef Margarita’s Three Taco Dinner, three corn tortillas filled with choice of chicken, ground beef, pork, steak or chorizo, garnished with lettuce, tomato, onions and cilantro, and served with rice and beans ($9.95). If you want a basic taco, choose the Tacos: chicken, ground beef, steak or chorizo on corn tortillas with cilantro, onions, lettuce and tomato, or the Pork Tacos, served the traditional Mexican way with cilantro and onions only.

Your kids will love the tacos, too, for Chef Margarita knows what kids like: Tacos Niños, three mini tacos on either soft or crispy tortillas, served with rice, beans and your choice of chicken, steak or ground beef ($5.50).

Your taco feast won’t be complete without a delicious homemade dessert. Helado Frito is a traditional Mexican favorite of fried vanilla ice cream and fresh strawberries ($6.50), or you might want to try the Flamed Bananas, warm caramelized plantains served with vanilla ice cream ($6.50). For a crispy sweet try the Sopapillas, sugar cinnamon crisps served with fresh strawberries ($6.50).

Chef Margarita’s home town of Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato is famous for its ice cream street vendors who offer some amazingly good, offbeat flavors. Guanajuato replicates these creations in their own dessert kitchen. Try flavors such as Avocado, Cajeta, Cheese, Corn, Mole, and Tequila, or go with classic favorites such as Chocolate, Pecan, Rum, Strawberry or Vanilla ($6.75).

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Chicago French Market October 2011 News & Events

Canady ready to debut fall candy for October

Patrons will find Canady Le Chocolatier not only at a new location, but also decorated with plenty of fall treats as October hits at the Chicago French Market. Owner Michael Canady said he plans to add a variety of tasty items unique to the autumn season that will have chocolate-lovers ready to indulge.

Canady Le Chocolatier won’t have the typical Halloween candy found in trick-or-treaters bags at the end of October, however. Instead patrons can enjoy treats teaming with European tradition and rich flavor and taste.

As patrons walk down the aisles they will see pumpkin-filled ganaches and chocolate marzipans specific to the fall season. Canady also will offer chocolate orange slices and chocolate ginger slices, which will surely leave customers feeling as if they can taste the ephemeral beauty that comes with the change of colors from summer to fall. Also changing will be the temperature, and to combat the cold chill of the Chicago air, apple cider and hot chocolate will be offered.

Canady’s shop in the Chicago French Market (131 N Clinton St # 5, Chicago) has been open for two years, with his main shop open for seven at 824 South Wabash Avenue, Chicago. He views his business as a craft. He’s studied in Switzerland and Belgium and came to love the art of making chocolate while living overseas. What sets Canady’s shop from other specialty chocolate shops is customers can see their delicious choice made right in front of their eyes. Canady doesn’t rely on imports and added that every delectable item has been crafted by his shop. For a chance to upgrade your chocolate tastes this fall beyond the typical Halloween candy, dropping in Canady Le Chocolatier is a must.

Celebrate Sweetest Day 
at Chicago French Market, October 15

Looking to get that special gift for a significant other? The Chicago French Market is the best place to get plenty of treats for that special someone. You can head to Canady Le Chocolatier if they are looking to satisfy their loved one’s sweet tooth. Customers also can collect a variety of European pastries at Vanille Patisserie. If you’re looking for more than just tasty treats, swing by Les Fleur and sweep her off her feet with a beautiful bouquet of flowers. Also if you want to make a scrumptious dinner for your partner, pick up some of the freshest food at City Fresh Market and a bottle of wine at Pastoral Artisan Cheese and Wine. 

October 2011 
Chicago French Market Events Calendar

October 3, 2011

Join the well-known Chef Carole Jones at Raw (131 North Clinton Street Chicago, (312) 831-2729) from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. as she teaches how to prepare amazing foods including create Raw’s own recipes: Energy Soup, Fresh Spinach Lasagna and Honey Fig and Pecan Pie. The event is part of the Vegan Food Prep Class Series. Purchase your tickets online for $50 at

October 6, 2011 ---Listen to some bluegrass over a great meal
Avoid rush-hour traffic and listen to the eclectic sound of musician Dean Milano from 4 to 7 p.m. Milano plays anything from rock to bluegrass and has highlighted events including Milwaukee Summerfest and Taste of Chicago. Enjoy some of the freshest food in the Chicago-area and listen to his new album Typewritten and Burned. Visit to sample his songs!

October 6, 2011

Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine (131 North Clinton Street, Chicago, (312) 575-0306) will be hosting their monthly wine tasting from 5 to 7 p.m. Savor several varieties of artisan wines for free!

October 10, 2011

Pastoral Artisan Cheese Bread & Wine (131 North Clinton Street, Chicago, (312) 575-0306) will be closed all day Monday, Oct. 10th as their team travels to Wisconsin to visit different artisan cheese producers as they continue their education of this craft.  They will reopen to share their knowledge on Tuesday, Oct. 11.

October 12, 2011 --- Enjoy acoustic jams with Annalee Hooson

Join us for to listen to the soothing sound of acoustic jazz singer Annalee Hooson. The singer, who has enchanted audiences since she was 13, will play from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Listen as she plays a variety of tunes from her new album “Seul.” Annalee is playing as part of the Lunch Hour concert series. Check out to get more information about Hooson.

October 15, 2011

Interested in learning the art of the French Crepe? Join the Flip Crepes team as they teach the art of the French crepe during the Savory Couples Crepe Class from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15 at Flip Crepes (131 North Clinton Street, Chicago, (312) 504-2541). This is a couple’s class so find a partner who wants to make savory crepes. Tickets cost $95 per couple. Purchase your tickets on-line
October 15, 2011

Looking for a checkup on your health? Concentra Immediate Care and the Chicago French Market will be hosting a Health and Wellness Fair from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.  Glucose testing, blood pressure screening and a question and answer from well-respected physician Dr. Scott A. Cole, M.D.  A health brunch will be offered as well as free games, prizes and face painting for kids and kids at heart. The event is free. Scott A. Cole, M.D. is the Center Medical Director for the Concentra Immediate Care center in Chicago, Ill.  Dr. Cole manages the all medical services provided in the center, and leads the center team, including staff physicians, mid-level providers, and supporting clinicians. He also serves as the primary contact for many client companies, ensuring consistent and ongoing communications with many businesses.  Dr. Cole joined the Concentra team in 2004.

October 18, 2011

Enjoy a cooking demonstration and tasting with Executive Chef Matt Riordan from Saigon Sisters (131 North Clinton Street, Chicago, (312) 496-0094) from 12 to 1 p.m. The event is part of the “Dine around the Market” event and several dishes will be demonstrated followed by sampling of Chef Riordan’s contemporary Vietnamese creations. Chef Riordan brings extensive executive experience to his role and most recently was the Executive Chef at Pops for Champagne. 

October 20, 2011 --- Enjoy acoustic jams over dinner

Join us for to listen to the soothing sound of acoustic jazz singer Annalee Hooson. The singer, who has enchanted audiences since she was 13, will play from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Listen as she plays a variety of tunes from her new album “Seul.” As the week winds down, pick up dinner, something to drink and listen to the sweet sounds. Check out to get more information about Hooson.

October 22, 2011

Interested in learning the art of the French Crepe? Join the Flip Crepes team as they teach the art of the French crepe during the Savory Couples Crepe Class from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15 at Flip Crepes (131 North Clinton Street, Chicago, (312) 504-2541). This is a couple’s class so find a partner who wants to make savory crepes. Tickets cost $95 per couple. Purchase your tickets on-line

October 26, 2011

Enjoy the melodic tunes of folk singer Steve Justman play all of his hits from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Justman hails from the Chicago-area and has performed live on WGN radio and specializes in performing Americana music. Justman is playing as part of the Lunch Hour concert series. Visit to listen to some of Justman’s music.

October 29, 2011

Celebrate Halloween at the Chicago French Market
The Chicago French Market has teamed up with The Fulton River District Parent Networking Group to host a Halloween event. Kids of all ages are invited to come in costume and decorate a pumpkin at the Pumpkin Decorating Fair and Kids Costume Part from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. for free. The event will be hosted by the Fulton River District Parents Networking Group and The Chicago French Market Adults will be able to carve their pumpkin followed by trick or treating in The Chicago French Market at 11:30 a.m. To ensure, that we have plenty of pumpkins, please RSVP your small pumpkins to decorate or large pumpkin to carve at

What’s new in October?

Here’s a breakdown of what’s coming to 
Chicago French Market as fall begins:

Bowl Square

Bowl Square has created a convenient, healthy and fast method to enjoy their Korean delicacy called The “DOSIRAK” or the Korean Lunch box. Five different choices are all packaged in a compact box for your convenience. Choose from the Salad & Big Veggie Dumpling $4.00/each, the Salad & Chicken or Beef Dumpling $4.50/each, the Orange Chicken & Big Veggie Dumpling $7.50/each, the Orange Chicken & Chicken or Beef Dumpling $8.00/each or the Big Veggie Dumpling & Chicken or Beef Dumpling $5.50/each.  All of these five items can be paired with a rice container for an additional $1.50/each.

Canady Le Chocolatier

Canady Le Chocolatier will be relocating its booth.  As of the first week in October, Canady will move next to Saigon Sisters. To celebrate their move, they will be featuring home-made caramel apples. Customers can choose from peanuts, pecans and plain amazing caramel. They also will be featuring a pumpkin pie truffle, home-made pumpkin filled truffle enrobed in dark chocolate. (131 N Clinton St # 5, Chicago, (312) 454-8700)

City Fresh Market

City Fresh Market is pleased to share a new hot sandwich: the Potato Crushed Tilapia Sandwich with lettuce, tomato, onions and tartar sauce on a soft sandwich roll for only $5.99/each. (131 N Clinton St, Chicago, (312) 575-0230)

Lavazza Espression

Lavazza Espression is featuring two seasonal drinks: Pumpkin Choco Èspessone™, which is a double pleasure: the delicacy of a light pumpkin mousse combined with the intensity of hot Italian drinking chocolate. (131 N Clinton St, Chicago, (312) 207-0500)

Also savor the season with our Pumpkin Butter Latte, a comforting blend of artisan crafted pumpkin butter, steamed milk, and smooth espresso that delivers the perfect flavor.  Wrap your scarves around your neck and your hands around this seasonal specialty. (131 N Clinton St, Chicago, (312) 207-0500)

Les Fleurs

Les Fleurs has added Halloween gift items to their assortment; trick or treat bags, glittered skills for decorating your office or home and seasonal Halloween signs to be hung on your door as you welcome your trick or treaters.  Don’t forget the flowers for your holiday parties.  Choose from a wide variety of seasonal flowers: sunflowers, lilies or chrysanthemums, just to name a few. (131 N Clinton St, Chicago, (312) 463-1111)  

Provo’s Village Bakery

Provo’s Village Bakery will be celebrating the pumpkin in the month of October.  They will be featuring Pumpkin Bread $6.00/loaf and Pumpkin shaped sugar cookie $2.00/each. (131 N Clinton St, Chicago. (312)-207-1261)


Raw recently launched a new bottled juice program. You can call ahead to order one of their new, raw, freshly-made beverages for pick-up. The sky is the limit for how you would like to have your drinks prepared. All juices are guaranteed to be the freshest and highest of quality. Raw. will make custom juices upon request! Your juice will come in custom-made bottles that are 100% recyclable and can be reused, returned and refilled!  We ask for a 24-hour notice via email or phone call for your order will be ready for pick up.  Visit or call Raw. at 312.831-2729. (131 North Clinton Street Chicago,(312) 831-2729)

Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine

Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine will celebrate American Cheese Month in October with a number of special events at the Chicago French Market location and throughout the Chicago-area. Pastoral will help celebrate the first-ever Wisconsin Cheese Week, being held from Oct. 9 to Oct. 16. Pastoral’s staff will attend a two-day retreat in Wisconsin that will enhance Pastoral’s expertise in artisan cheese. A variety of free tastings and demos will also be held at the Chicago French Market, headed by artisan cheesemakers from Wisconsin.  For more information on Wisconsin Cheese Week, visit

Wine Dinner at Prairie Grass Cafe with Fritz Underground Winery Oct. 13

Clay Fritz is the mild-mannered son of the founder of Fritz Underground Winery, but his passion for all things Sonoma shows every time we meet up.

"Fritz is unlike any place you've ever visited. A visionary wonder built ahead of its time by namesake Jay Arthur Fritz [Clay's father] in the late 1970's, this monumental Gaudi style masterpiece represents a viticultural passion for sustainability, quality, and tradition."
- Sonoma County Vintners.

"[Prairie Grass chefs] Sarah Stegner and George Bumbaris - formerly from The Dining Room at The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago - bring a whole lot of restaurant experience to the table, and it shows. The contemporaryAmerican menu skews toward comfort food, blended with a sense of adventure." - Gayot 

"Two-time James Beard award-winning chef and co-owner, Sarah Stegner, turns out inventive, high-quality food. Chef Stegner supports Green City Market and local sustainable farms. She selects the freshest seasonal ingredients to create homemade products. At Prairie Grass Café, the concept is to use fine dining cooking techniques to produce approachable, casual food. Quality ingredients are front-and-center for Chef Stegner." - Online review.

Don't miss this fabulous dinner, Thursday, October 13, 6:30 p.m.  at Prairie Grass Cafe. 


Family-style appetizers: Crab cakes, baked feta, Vegetables served with Fritz Sauvignon Blanc 2010


Mixed Greens – Seasonal Vegetables served with Fritz Chardonnay 2009                           

Main Course:

Crispy Half Boneless Chicken or Ancho-Marinated Skit Steak or Parmesan-encrusted Tilapia served with your choice of Fritz Pinot Noir 2009, Fritz Zinfandel 2007 or Fritz Cabernet 2007


Double Chocolate Cake served with Fritz Late Harvest Zinfandel 2009

$80 per person, tax and tip included, with a special menu. Six wines, four courses. Call Schaefer's at 847-677-9463 to reserve seating. The restaurant's address is 601 Skokie Boulevard, Northbrook. Visit for more information.