Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Enjoy Half-Off Neapolitan Pizzas 4-7 pm Monday through Thursday at Big Chef Burgers Dine-In Only

If you haven't tried Big Chef Burgers that just opened in early January at 1602 E. Algonquin Rd. in Schaumburg, now's the perfect time. The robust 6 ft. 6 inch "Big Chef" Owner Cristiano Bassani is offering an introductory special every Monday through Thursday, featuring the restaurants homemade wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas at half off. The deal is good through February 28.
Big Chef features a number of pizzas to suit all tastes including: Pizza Con Buffalo with Mozzarella, Prosciutto, Arugula and cherry tomatoes; Pizza Con Pancetta E Grana with tomato sauce, Pancetta and shaved Parmesan; Pizza Con Prosciutto Cotta E Funghi with tomato sauce, sautéed mushroom, Italian ham, and Mozzarella; Pizza Margarita with tomato sauce, Mozzarella and basil; Pizza Salsiccia E Cipolla with tomato sauce, homemade mild Italian sausage, onion and Mozzarella; Quattro Formaggi with Mozzarella, Gorgonzola, Brie, and Fontinella cheeses; Quattro Stagioni with tomato sauce, Italian ham, artichokes, sautéed mushrooms, and black olives,. And Pizza Vegetariana with tomato sauce, Mozzarella, roasted pepper, grilled eggplant, zucchini, and sautéed spinach. All pizzas are $8 each; $4 Monday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. dine in only.
Mushroom Pizza KCI 1373 etPizza Vegtariana KCI1380 et
In addition to pizza, the new eatery offers gourmet burgers, homemade gelato milkshakes, artisan salads, desserts and full bar service.

For more information, please call Big Chef Burgers at (847) 221-8539 or visit the website at

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Lunch Hour Music with Chris Goranson at the Chicago French Market this Wednesday

Wednesday January 29
Lunch Hour Music
Chris Goransen
11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Chris Goranson

Noted Chicago jazz guitarist and Chicago French Market favorite, Chris Goranson returns 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, January 29 for the market's lunch time entertainment. Chris Goranson is a 26-year-old musician that grew up in Libertyville. Goranson is a guitar teacher with a degree in Jazz Performance from Northern Illinois University. Currently, he plays in a rock band called OurGlass, who has had several gigs at Ace Bar in Lincoln Park and Our Glass recently performance for JBTV.  

Celebrate an Exquisite Valentine's Weekend at Oceanique

Evanston, IL -- If you're looking for an exceptional dining experience this Valentine's weekend, look no further than Oceanique (505 Main Street, 847-864-3435) in Evanston. Recognized as the best seafood restaurant in the Chicago area and one of the top in the nation, Chef Mark Grosz has prepared a special meal - perfect for couples wishing to enjoy one of the most delicious and memorable meals ever. Valentine's will be celebrated both Friday, February 14 and Saturday, February 15.

Planning to pop the question? Think about doing it at Oceanique. The dining room is intimate, the atmosphere is sexy and the service is superb. 

The beautiful special Valentine's menu features five courses with or without a Champagne or wine pairings. The cost is $99 per person without pairings, excluding tax and gratuity. Add an additional $150 per person with Champagne or $69 for the "Intro", $125 for the "Premiere" or $250 for "The Grand wine pairings."

The meal begins with a Chef's Surprise, followed by your choice of Wild Maine Diver Sea Scallops, Country Pate, Butternut Squash Ravioli, Chilled Maine Basket Island Oysters, Pear Maytag Blue Cheese Salad, or Wild Maine Lobster. The third course is an intermezzo of Passion Fruit Sorbet. Choose from Wild Maine Skate, Organic Arctic Char, Nebraska Prime Filet Mignon, Organic Spanish Turbot, Eggplant Heirloom Carrots and Pea Tips, or Wild Maine Lobster for your entrée. Finish with the dessert from the chef's pastry selections.

Oceanique serves dinner from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Monday-Thursday and from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The restaurant is closed on Sundays. For more information or to make reservations, please contact Oceanique at 847-864-3435 or visit the website at
Friday, February 14, 2014
Saturday, February 15, 2014

Without Pairing - $99 per person
 Champagne Pairings - $150 per person
Wine Pairings - Intro - $69 per person
Wine Pairings - Premier - $125 per person
Wine Pairings - Grand - $250 per person  
(excluding tax and gratuity)

Chef's Surprise

Wild Maine Diver Sea Scallops
Lobster-Soy Broth       Kimchi      Cilantro

Country Pate
Almonds   Parsley-Apple Salad     Blackberry Gelée     Poilâne Toast   

Butternut Squash Ravioli 
Fennel      Prosciutto      Crispy Sage       Walnuts

Chilled Maine Basket Island Oysters (6)
Jalapeño-Red Onion Salsa    Radish      Seaweed       

Pear   Maytag Blue Cheese Salad
Red Watercress      Pecans      Buttermilk       

Wild Maine Lobster   
Bufala Mozzarella     Caviar     Basil     Avocado                 

Passion Fruit Sorbet

 Wild Maine Skate
Fennel     Pea Tips     Green Beans    Porto    

 Organic Arctic Char
       Elote       Butternut Squash       Turmeric     Poblano      

Nebraska Prime Filet Mignon
         Escargot       Purple Potatoes      Chanterelles    Red Onion     

Organic Spanish Turbot
   Fennel      Heirloom Carrots     Purple Potatoes     Lemongrass    
Eggplant   Heirloom Carrots   Pea Tips
Chanterelles        Red Onion        Leek-Basil Broth       

Wild Maine Lobster
          Golden Beets     Pea Tips     Basil Potato     Yuzu-Saffron     

Chef's Pastry Selections

Mark Grosz
Chef de Cuisine / Entrepreneur
Roasted Oysters 300 pixels
Maine Basket Island Oysters
 Maine Lobster with boarders
 Wild Maine Lobster 
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Monday, January 27, 2014

Oceanique in Evanston to Host Marimar Estate Wine Dinner, January 31

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Marimar Estate 2 with borderOceanique restaurant in Evanston, Ill. (505 Main Street; telephone 847-864-3435; website: will host a special six-course Wine Dinner Friday, January 31, 2014, featuring the award winning wines of Marimar Estate in Sonoma County. The special guest for the evening is Marimar Torres from Marimar Estate. The price is $120 per person, excluding tax and gratuity. The dinner begins at 6:30 p.m.

For the Marimar Estate Wine Dinner, Oceanique's Chef de Cuisine and owner, Mark Grosz, has prepared an exceptional six course menu. The first course features Lightly Smoked Salmon with Horseradish Crème Fraîche Cucumber Mint Tarragon. The first course is paired with 2012 "Acereo" Chardonnay, from Marimar's Don Miguel Vineyard in the Russian River Valley. The second course presents Manila Clams Pork Belly with Piquillo Peppers and Spanish Onion, paired with 2010 "La Masia" Chardonnay from Don Miguel Vineyard.

The third course is Oeufs Meurette, paired with 2009 "La Masia" Pinot Noir from Don Miguel Vineyard. For the fourth course, Chef Grosz will prepare Roasted Squab with Foie Gras Renee's Cabbage, paired with 2008 "Cristina" Pinot Noir, from Don Miguel Vineyard. The fifth course is a cheese course of Burgundy Cheeses with Fig Compote and Plum Mostarda, paired with a 2009 "Mas Cavalls" Pinot Noir from Marimar's Doña Margarita Vineyard on the Sonoma Coast. The final course is the dessert finale, Litchi & Apple Sorbet with Cape Gooseberries and Dragon Fruit, paired with a 2012 "Acero" Kir.

Marimar Estate 1 with borderAbout Mirimar Torres
Marimar Torres has been involved in the wine business all her life. Born in 1945 in Barcelona, Spain, she is fluent in six languages and holds a degree in Business and Economics from the University of Barcelona. She is also a graduate of the Stanford Executive Program, and studied Enology and Viticulture for a year at the University of California in Davis. At Marimar Estate, she directs the activities at the winery and its two vineyards: Don Miguel, named for her late father, in Sonoma County's Russian River/Green Valley; and Doña Margarita, after her mother, in the Sonoma Coast Appellation. For more information about Marimar Estate Vineyards & Winery, please visit their website

About Oceanique
Main Dining Room Good lo res with borderOceanique, celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2014, is one of the Chicago area's finest and most acclaimed restaurants, serving contemporary French-American cuisine in a beautiful, new dining room.  Oceanique's Pastry Chef is Abel Garcia and the Wine Director is Philippe André. The bar area has been expanded and features a new small plates menu to accompany the fine selection of wines, craft beers and artisan cocktails. Guests are encouraged to enjoy a casual meal in the bar area or enjoy the full à la carte and dégustation menus in the dining room. The bar even includes a communal table to encourage single dining or groups.

The restaurant is owned by Chef Mark Grosz and his wife, Renée André. Chef Grosz worked under the tutelage of renowned chef Jean Banchet from the acclaimed Le Français in Wheeling, Illinois. He further refined his skills in France and Hong Kong. 

Oceanique serves dinner from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Monday-Thursday and from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The restaurant is closed on Sundays. Valet parking is available and all major cards are accepted. A private room is available for group events. For more information or to make reservations, please contact Oceanique at 847-864-3435 or visit the website at

# # #    

Do It Yourself Artisan Valentine’s Day Dinner Courtesy of Madison & Rayne

Madison & Rayne has a beautiful 3-course artisan dinner planned for your Valentine's Day. Order by Saturday, February 8 and get ready for a special home-made meal, perfect for foodies, that’s prepped by Chef Josh Jones and cooked at home by you. The cost is $28 per person inclusive. The Valentine’s menu will be delivered on Tuesday, February 11. Delivery is complimentary. Visit for details.

The menu includes:
- 1st course:  roasted chestnut soup, pickled shallots, black truffle oil
- 2nd course: ricotta gnudi, braised Amish chicken, Shishito peppers, preserved lemon
- 3rd course:  flourless chocolate cake, fig jam

For those of you not familiar with Madison & Rayne, it’s a new concept in “delivery” where Chef Josh Jones, formerly of Spring restaurant in Chicago, prepares the food and delivers all of the ingredients, complete with a detailed explanation on how to cook the meal. You finish the meal at home. Most meals take between 10-30 minutes from start to finish. All are delicious and costs between $12 to $18 per person.

Madison & Rayne has redefined the cooking experience. It’s like having a personal chef but the chef is you. They make the cooking experience easy. The food is pre-measured, pre-marinated, washed, chopped, sliced, and ingredients are ready for assembly. All you need to do is create a wonderful meal in the comfortable privacy of your own home.

“Think about having a personal shopper, personal assistant, and personal delivery all rolled into one,” says Melanie Mityas, founder and partner. There’s minimal prep and minimal clean-up time, meaning your valuable time is better spent cooking and enjoying dinner. All ingredients and a detailed recipe card are provided - you just need to have basic kitchen tools, and olive oil and seasoning on hand. Josh sources high-quality meats, vegetables and grains from local farms. Madison and Rayne maintains a strong focus on organic and sustainable products and meals are inspired by seasonal produce.

Valentine’s weekend is the perfect time to try Madison & Rayne, especially if you want to avoid packed, expensive and noisy restaurants. Create your own romantic meal at home and spend a leisurely evening with your loved one.

Friday, January 24, 2014

It isn’t too late to make fabulous reservations for Chicago’s Restaurant Week Running Through February 6

Don’t let the name fool you. Chicago’s Restaurant “Week” runs for 14 days providing a great opportunity at some of the area’s best restaurants. Chicago’s premier dining event takes place at restaurants throughout downtown, the neighborhoods and suburbs running through February 6. 

The annual culinary celebration will feature prix fixe menus starting at $22 for lunch and $33 and/or $44 for dinner (excluding beverages, tax and gratuity).

With 286 participating restaurants throughout Chicagoland, according to Choose Chicago, the event saw an increase in participation over last year by 8%. The impact of the promotion was more than $26.9 million in direct dining spending in Chicago area restaurants, serving 513,000+ diners over the course of 14 days.

Restaurant Week gives local foodies and visitors an opportunity to enjoy prix fixe menus from more than 280 participating restaurants ($22 lunch, $33 and/or $44 dinner). To make a reservation, you may book through or call the restaurant directly.
Deals can be had at many restaurants including some of our favorites:

505 Main St., Evanston

Through February 6
$44 per person
excludes beverages, tax and gratuity

Chef’s Surprise
Choice of Starter
Butternut Squash Ravioli
Fennel      Prosciutto      Crispy Sage       Walnuts
Venison Pate
Hazelnuts   Parsley-Apple Salad     Blackberry Gelée      Poilâne Toast
Pear   Maytag Blue Cheese
Red Watercress      Pecans      Buttermilk

Seasonal Sorbet
Choice of Entrée
Wild Maine Skate
Pea Tips    Green Beans    Fennel      Porto
Organic Icelandic Arctic Char
Elote       Butternut Squash      Turmeric      Poblano
Chef’s Pastry Selection

This menu is significantly discounted
Please adjust your gratuity accordingly
Cannot be combined with any other offers

425 Fawell Boulevard
 in Glen Ellyn, Ill,

Waterleaf Restaurant in Glen Ellyn will be celebrating in the “spirit” of Restaurant Week with a special three course $35 Prix Fixe dinner menu featuring an appetizer, entrée and dessert. The menu will change during the promotion so patrons can come enjoy a meal more than once during the promotion, running through February 6.

Lunch Hour Music with Anselmo Marquez at the Chicago French Market this Saturday

Saturday January 25
Lunch Hour Music
Anselmo Marquez 2
11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Anselmo Marquez

Singer and solo guitarist Anselmo Marquez has played a variety of music genres for more than 35 years. His repertoire includes pop, rock, jazz, classical, folk, blues, Latin and flamenco music.   This will be Anselmo first time playing at the Chicago French Market. He performs frequently at the Mecenat Wine Bistro in Western Springs and has performed at the French Market in Western Springs and Lisle.  Anselmo also performs with rock and blues bands as a lead guitarist and singer. You can catch Anselmo at the Chicago French Market 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, January 25.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Enjoy a complimentary Pastoral "Staff Favorites" wine tasting after work!

Thursday January 23Pastoral WineTastingMagento ET
Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine - Pastoral Wine Tasting
4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

It's no secret that at Pastoral, they love wine. That's why they're excited to celebrate a selection of staff favorites for the month of January.  Stop by Pastoral at the Chicago French Market to learn why these wines made the cut and pick up a bottle or two to take home!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Celebrate National New England Clam Chowder Day at Da Lobsta January 21

Now's the perfect time to try Da Lobsta's delicious New England Clam Chowder.

On January 21, National New England Clam Chowder Day, Da Lobsta is offering $2-off da lobsta 0114 clam chowder its homemade clam chowder with the purchase of any of its lobster rolls.  While New England doesn't have a monopoly on clam chowder, it is probably the most recognized regional style of this soup. Finding the perfect cup in the Midwest hasn't always been easy. However, since Da Lobsta opened in Streeterville and at the Chicago French Market, getting a perfect cup is just around the corner. New England Clam  Chowder is a delicious stick-to-your-ribs soup using a cream-base and thickened with starch from potatoes. Other base ingredients include onions, celery and bacon. Once you've tried Da Lobsta's version, you won't have the need to rush east.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Waterleaf Restaurant to Host Alexander Valley Vineyards Wine Dinner February 6

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AVV_Core_Wine_Photo_smaller_size 300 pixels ET
Glen Ellyn, Ill. - Waterleaf restaurant, located at 425 Fawell Boulevard in Glen Ellyn, Illinois (telephone: 630-942-6881), overlooking the scenic lake on the campus of College of DuPage, will host a special 4-course wine dinner with wine pairings on Thursday, February 6, featuring the wines of the Alexander Valley Vineyards in northern Sonoma County. The price of the dinner is $65 per person, plus tax and gratuity.

Alexander Valley Vineyards has earned numerous awards, with recognition given to many of their varietals, including their Cyrus, Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandels, Chardonnay, Estate Syrah, Estate Pinot Noir, Estate Cabernet Franc and Rosé of Sangiovese.

Waterleaf’s special wine dinner begins with a Champagne reception and Amuse Bouche at 6:30 p.m., followed by a special four-course menu, prepared by Executive Chef Nadia Tilkian, at 7 p.m. The first course features Seared Foie Gras with Kumquat Compote, Toasted Brioche, paired with 2012 Alexander Valley Vineyards Gewurztraminer. The second course presents Duck Consommé, Baby Leeks, Carrot, Duck, paired with 2012 Alexander Valley Vineyards Pinot Noir 4. For the third course, guests will enjoy Osso Bucco, Mirepoix of Vegetables, Persillade and Veal Reduction, accompanied by 2011 Alexander Valley vineyards Redemption Zinfandel and 2009 Alexander Valley Vineyards Cyrus Cabernet. The fourth course is a dessert finale featuring Trifle, Vanilla Cake, Vanilla Cream and Pear Jam.

About Alexander Valley Vineyards
AVV_Winery_Tasting_Room 300 pixels ETAlexander Valley Vineyards were founded by Maggie and Harry Wetzel in 1962 when they purchased a large portion of a homestead built by Cyrus Alexander, the valley’s nineteenth century namesake, in northern Sonoma County. In 1963 the Wetzels began planting premium grape varieties, among the first in the area. They sold the grapes for a number of years to other wineries and often produced a little homemade wine as a family project.

In 1975 the family built a small winery and Hank Wetzel, oldest son of Maggie and Harry, produced Alexander Valley Vineyard’s first wine in 1975. AVV quickly established a reputation for estate grown wines with distinctive varietal character. Acclaimed for crisp Chardonnay and luscious Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley Vineyards brought recognition to the appellation and became a leading winery in Sonoma County.

Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Merlot constitute over one-half
AVV_Caves_2013_smaller 250 pixels ET of total production. Other varietals include Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Cabernet Franc and Syrah. Proprietary wines include CYRUS, a limited production Bordeaux style blend, Gewurz, and a trio of Zins: Temptation Zinfandel, Redemption Zinfandel and Sin Zin, a voluptuous Alexander Valley Zinfandel.

Today the Alexander Valley is a prominent appellation known worldwide as the source of elegant, age worthy wines. The Wetzel Family Estate grows fourteen grape varieties, on diverse sites stretching from the banks of the Russian River up onto the hillsides. Each grape variety is matched to a specific soil type and exposure. Barrel fermentation and aging take place in the cave, where the cool, constant temperature and high humidity are ideal for aging wine.

About Waterleaf
Nadia Tilkian_Headshot ETWaterleaf restaurant is located at 425 Fawell Boulevard in Glen Ellyn, IL. The 150-seat restaurant led by General Manager Jean-Pierre Leroux and Executive Chef Nadia Tilkian is a hidden gem, nestled on the campus of the College of DuPage.

Featuring moderately priced brunch, lunch and dinner options, expect to find locally-sourced ingredients on its approachable menu. In addition to a seasonal a la carte menu, Waterleaf features specials events like wine dinners, a prix-fixe 3-course dinner for $35 and an annual food & wine festival every fall.

The contemporary light filled dining room is the understated counterpart to exciting eclectic cuisine. The main dining room has a modern decor and dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows. Its walls display a collection of black-and-white lithographs by renowned American artist Richard Serra. There’s a cozy bar area to enjoy libations and light snacks.

Waterleaf  restaurant has earned Diner's Choice Awards for Best Ambience, Best Overall, Best Service, Fit for Foodies and Special Occasion on, where it maintains a 4.8/5.0 rating. Most recently, Waterleaf received its second consecutive 2013 Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. This award, given annually to restaurants in the U.S. and 65 countries worldwide, acknowledges that Waterleaf's beverage program is consistent with its dining concept, style and price point. The restaurant is widely recognized as the dining destination of choice for foodies living and visiting Chicago’s western suburbs.

Waterleaf serves lunch and dinner Wednesday through Sunday. It is closed on Monday and Tuesday. Lunch hours are 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday; dinner hours are 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday; 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, and 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sunday. Brunch is served 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Call 630-942-6881 for information or reservations or