Coming up in Chicago, food and drink events include a couple intriguing pop-ups (bagels!), a boy band brunch, Frontier’s ever-popular annual Shuck Off, and more!
Margeaux Brasserie Celebrates Julia Child’s Birthday
As a huge fan of Julie & Julia and, you know, Julia Child herself, I’m totally down to celebrate the culinary queen’s birthday. It falls on August 15, and Chicago’s chicest French restaurant is going all out with a Julia-inspired tasting menu for one night only, in honor of what would be her 107th trip around the sun. Courtesy of chef Greg Biggers, guests can look for dishes like Parisienne gnocchi with Maine lobster and Vadouvan curry, and spiced banana tarte tatin. A portion of proceeds from this special menu will go toward the Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts.
Details: August 15, 5:30 p.m.; $55
Chef Rosio Sanchez Cooks at Elske for One Night Only
Copenhagen is among the hottest culinary epicenters in the world, and one of its star chefs is coming to Chicago for a one-night-only pop-up at Elske. As part of the Chicago Tribune Food Bowl, Sanchez is working alongside Elske’s David and Anna Posey on a special tasting menu, in addition to the restaurant’s regular fare. Dishes include octopus tostasas, roasted potato tacos, and open-faced churro sandwiches.
Details: August 15, 6–10 p.m.; $65
Underground Butcher Bagel Pop-Up at All Together Now
August is turning into quite the red-hot month for pop-ups, because another can’t-miss event is taking place at All Together Now, as Madison’s Underground Butcher Bagel sets up shop on the 18th. Boiled bagels—in flavors such as everything, salt, sesame, and plain—serve as the foundation for locally sourced cured fish, including smoked whitefish and lake trout, along with pickles and house-made cream cheese.
Details: August 18, 9 a.m.–2 p.m.
Boy Band Brunches at AceBounce
Calling all Backstreet Boys/N*Sync fans: AceBounce has a special brunch promo lined up that’s equal parts nostalgia and comfort food. The Boy Band Brunch series takes place every Saturday in August, featuring dishes like breakfast sausage casserole and loaded Cronuts alongside boy band karaoke and trivia, a DJ, ping-pong, and a Bloody Mary bar.
Details: Saturdays in August, noon–3 p.m.; $49
Ninth Annual Shuck Off and Seafood Fest at Frontier
Let’s be honest: At this point, nine years in, Frontier’s annual Oyster Shuck Off and Seafood Fest is the shellfish equivalent of Lollapalooza. The spectacle takes place August 26, with local chefs vying for a $1,200 prize and the coveted title of Chicago’s Fastest Oyster Shucker. This year’s culinary talents come from the likes of GT Fish & Oyster, Cantina Laredo, Shaw’s Crab House, and others. For attendees, in addition to shucking entertainment, there will be a crawfish and crab boil, an oyster happy hour, and a bevy of drink specials.
Details: August 26, 5:30 p.m.; $35 (happy hour is open to the public with no cover, running noon–3 p.m.)
Cool Off With Chilled Ramen
The dog days of summer are upon us, and while there’s plenty of great ice cream and cool treats around the city to indulge in, one dish that’s worth seeking out to beat the heat is tsukemen, aka chilled dipping ramen. It’s a bowl of chilled noodles tossed with ground white sesame seeds and sesame oil, available at Fulton Market newbie Kinton Ramen. It’s adorned with pork belly and shredded nori, and served with a savory sauce for dipping.
Bottomless Brunch at Walton Street Kitchen + Bar
The words bottomless and brunch go together so nicely, don’t they? Buzzy Gold Coast newcomer Walton Street Kitchen + Bar is embracing the concept with its new weekend promo, wherein guests get endless brunch cocktails—sangria, Aperol Spritz, mimosa, or house wines—with an entrée purchase of $22. And with enticing dishes like chicken sausage hash, grilled steak and eggs, sushi rice salmon bowls, and blackened chicken BLTs, it’s a no-brainer.
Details: Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Nightcap Book Event at the Violet Hour
As if I ever need an excuse to revisit one of my favorite cocktail bars, here’s a good one: Wine Enthusiast’s Kara Newman is talking up her fascinating new book, Nightcap: More Than 40 Cocktails to Close Out Any Evening, with a special event at the Violet Hour. The event will feature a chat with Newman and the bar’s Toby Maloney, plus samples of drinks inspired by the book.
Details: August 14, 7–9 p.m.; $85
Ayurveda Pop-Up at Chiya Chai
What do you get when you combine chai with pilates? Chailates? It works. Logan Square’s Chiya Chai is partnering with Logan Square Pilates for a special Ayurveda pop-up in honor of National Wellness Month (it’s a thing). The event consists of a 45-minute yoga class, followed by a tea tasting with brunch items like cauliflower peas, potato-kale pie, and veggie momos.
Details: August 17, 9–10 a.m.; $30
National Bao Day Is a Thing!
It seems there’s a food holiday for everything nowadays, but one that stands out is National Bao Day. As a dumpling lover, I’m here for it. And Wow Bao is celebrating accordingly by offering free lunch (up to a $10 value; let’s not go nuts) on August 22 in honor of the doughy holiday. Available at all locations.
Details: August 22, 11 a.m.–1 p.m.
Celebrate Grandparents Day With Sundae Funday
Speaking of holidays, you haven’t forgotten Grandparents Day, have you? It’s coming up September 8, and Chicagoland Culver’s locations are taking part in an adorable promo that allows kids to celebrate with their grandparents in a truly sweet way: Beginning September 8, 25 area outposts are offering a free frozen custard sundae to a lucky—and hungry—grandparent. The offer is limited to one per customer, dine-in only, and with the purchase of another frozen sundae. Because Grandma or Grandpa shouldn’t be dining alone on Grandparents Day. Even cuter, all participating Culver’s will have a life-size pop-up picture frame for selfie opportunities, with the hashtag #GenerationsUnited as a shout-out the company’s efforts to engage all generations. The free custard offer is available on the remaining Sundays in September.
Details: Check out participating locations here