Expert Picks

Your Weekly Guide for What to Do, See, Eat, and Drink in Chicago: December 2–8

Photo by Ethan Jollie/Courtesy of Porto

This week in Chicago, take your kids to teddy bear tea, treat yourself to a lavish tasting menu dusted with white truffles, attend a sure-to-be-hilarious John Waters Christmas special, and peruse paper works at the International Small Print Show.

Photo courtesy of Hotel Zachary

Weekends through December 29: Teddy Bear Tea at Hotel Zachary 
Grab your favorite teddy bear and head to this Wrigleyville hotel for a special teddy bear tea, running weekends November 30–December 29. Sip teas from Rare Tea Cellar, drink house-made hot chocolate, savor tea sandwiches and sweets, and listen to a tale from a guest storyteller. Details: Saturday and Sunday, November 30–December 29, at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.; adult tea service is $55 and children ages 2–12 is $35
—Samantha Lande, Family Fun

December 2-6: John Gondelman at Zanies Chicago 
Current writer-producer for Showtime’s ​Desus & Mero​, Gondelman was previously a writer for HBO’s ​Last Week Tonight With John Oliver​. His stand-up credits include ​Conan, Late Night With Seth Meyers, ​and ​The Late Late Show With James Corden. ​The comedian and author has also penned two books, and his writing has been featured in The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, and New York magazine. Details: Showtimes vary; $25
—Matty Ryan, Comedy

December 3: White Truffle Dinner at Summer House Santa Monica  
Turns out snow isn’t the only thing raining down upon Chicago. With white truffle season nearly upon us, Summer House Santa Monica is celebrating this ritzy ingredient with a special four-course dinner on December 3, featuring such dishes as classic Acquerello risotto with Parmesan, and scaloppine di cappone with spaghetti squash, sage, and savoy cabbage. All savory courses get white truffles shaved table-side and paired with both an old-world and new-world wine. Details: 7 p.m.; $75
—Matt Kirouac, Food/Beverage

Photo by Anjali Pinto/Courtesy of Summer House Santa Monica

December 3: A John Waters Christmas at Thalia Hall 
The legendary filmmaker and author returns to Chicago this holiday season for his annual show, A John Waters Christmas. The event is different each year yet always promises to be rapid-fire, bizarre, crazy, and, most important, hilarious. This one will find Waters with “…a bagful of tricks for the despised and depraved, spreading Yuletide corruption and cockeyed piety.” He’ll answer questions like “Is Mrs. Clause a chubby chaser?” and “Is Santa a bear or a silver fox?” Clearly the questions to which everyone needs answers. Details: 8 p.m.; $35–$55
– Matty Ryan, Comedy

December 4: Curator’s Tour at the Arts Club of Chicago 
Learn about Abraham Cruzvillegas’s current exhibition at the gallery, “The Ballad of Etc.,” during this public walk-through, which will be followed by a performance interpreting texts by the Mexican artist. The installation of assemblages that draws connections between Chicago’s laboring class and indigenous people from Michoacàn closes at the end of the month, so this is a prime opportunity to catch it.
—Claire Voon, Art

December 5: Good Grief 
I am the production manager for this solo show, and I’m proud of it from top to bottom. The drama is Melissa DuPrey’s fourth solo production, and it casts a loving and honest light on mother-daughter relationships beset by abuse, violence, and mental health challenges. It’s an example of what a small team of dedicated theater-makers can do with a modest budget when they believe in a story that needs to be told. Details: Preview show December 5, runs December 6–21 at Free Street Theater
—Tanuja Jagernauth, Theater

Good Grief / Photo courtesy of Melissa DuPrey

Through December 5: I Am Going to Die Alone and I Am Not Afraid: A Furious History of the Holocaust
Devised by the ensemble, this play asks: How do you fight for a future you won’t live to see? In a time when fascism is on the rise and history threatens to continue repeating itself with permanent, global, environmental, and social consequences, can this play be more relevant? Part reminder, part call to action, I don’t think it is one to miss right now.
—Tanuja Jagernauth, Theater

December 7 and 8: The 30th International Small Print Show 
Here’s the perfect opportunity to really grow that salon-style wall you’ve always wanted. On view will be works on paper by 75 artists, all on sale to fit every budget, from etchings of the natural world to surreal photorealistic pictures.
—Claire Voon, Art

December 8: Holiday Gingerbread Decorating and Cookie Party With the Chicago Dogs 
Baseball season may be over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with two of the cutest mascots in town: Squeeze and Ketchup. Head to Impact Field for an afternoon of delicious cookies, cocoa, and plenty of fun decorating gingerbread houses. Santa will make an appearance, too! Details: 1–4 p.m.; $15 for adults and $12 for kids
—Samantha Lande, Family Fun

Restaurant Opening of the Week: Porto
The folks from Bonhomme Hospitality Group (Beatnik, Black Bull) have another stunner on their hands with this West Town restaurant and bar inspired by the seafaring cuisines of Galicia and Portugal. Look for such dishes as uni toast and wood-fired Spanish turbot served from a massive chef’s counter “island,” along with an ample wine list largely sourced from the same region.
—Matt Kirouac, Food/Beverage