It’s hardly one of the city’s big events, but precisely because it’s modest and homey it’s one of my favorite celebrations of the changing of the seasons in Chicago—and if I don’t go, it at least inspires me to do a little bit of it at home. It’s Osteria Via Stato’s annual heirloom tomato dinner, at which Chef David DiGregorio prepares a whole feast around the summer fruit in its final moments of peak freshness. This year’s has special guest Nick Nichols of Nichols Farm & Orchard, a familiar Green City Market vendor; it’s Wednesday, September 23, starting at 6:30 pm, and is $68 per person, wine pairings included. Call 312-642-8450 for a reservation.
• For ten days starting on Tuesday, September 15, Lincoln Park French restaurant Chez Moi will celebrate one of the great bistro dishes—mussels with french fries, or as they call it (it’s like they have a different word for everything!), moules frites; $25 per person gets you all the moules frites you can eat, in four different styles: white wine and shallot, Belgian beer and cream, tomatoes and saffron rice, or with lobster bisque.
• We’ve been reading about young chefs lately, so this sounds pretty interesting: you can attend a live competition, run by top chefs including some affiliated with the American Bocuse d’Or team, as four young cooks compete for a $10,000 prize and a chance to stage at a restaurant of their choice. It’ll take place at Boka on Thursday, September 17, and the judges include Gavin Kaysen, Graham Elliot, Gerard Craft, Lee Wolen, and others. The public can hang out in the kitchen and enjoy dinner at Boka for $100 a person. Go here for more information.
• Schnitzelfest! Need I say more? Bohemian House is having it, with a different guest chef every night (September 21: Thomas Rice and Kurt Guzowski of Tete Charcuterie, September 22: Sean Pharr of the Bristol, and September 23: Nathan Sears of the Radler). Go here for more info.
• Dusek’s will celebrate its two year anniversary with Blocktoberfest, a free block party on Allport on Sunday, October 27. It’s family friendly (also beer and sausage and music friendly). Find out more here.
• There are really interesting things happening in Filipino-American food culture these days, and they’re going to have a celebration of their own on October 4 at Emporium Arcade Bar in Logan Square. It’s called Kultura, a festival put on by the online magazine Filipino Kitchen, with over a dozen young Filipino-American chefs (including Yana Gilbuena, who I wrote about here). Get more info here.