World Kitchen, a series of cooking classes at the new Gallery 37 Center for the Arts, starts Thursday with marinara sauces and continues Saturday with vegetarian meals. Other January classes include Caribbean cuisine, low-fat comfort food, snacks, whole grains, and chocolate; Thursday classes are at 6 PM and Saturday classes meet at 11 AM. The series continues through March and costs $30 per class.

Mark Ukra (aka “Dr. Tea”) will sign The Ultimate Tea Diet, a guide to using tea as part of a weight-loss plan, Thursday at 7:30 PM at the Evanston Borders

The Chinese Cultural Institute‘s new Chopsticks Club (PDF) promises to help diners overwhelmed by all the choices at Chinese restaurants by ordering the most authentic dishes for them to try. This Friday from 6:30 to 8:30 the club ventures out to Chinatown’s Mandarin Kitchen to sample hot pots. $25.

In recognition of National Tea Month, Vong’s Thai Kitchen offers a “traditional high tea with a Thai twist” every Saturday this month. Along with a choice of herbal, green, or black tea, the restaurant serves gingered butternut squash soup, canapes including tea-smoked duck, and sweets like chocolate beignets and mango rolls. Tea runs from noon to 4:30 PM and costs $15 per person ($13 per person for shared service). At dinner on Tuesdays throughout the month, patrons can also blend their own tea by choosing from 20 ingredients, including hibiscus flowers, rooibos, dragonwell, and verbena, for $4.95 per pot. A tea-inspired three-course tasting menu, available all month, includes black tea-crusted scallop salad and “mochi bonbons” of green tea ice cream wrapped in rice-flour pastry (29.95).

A ChicaGourmets dinner Sunday at 5 PM features recipes from Anne Byrne’s What Can I Bring? Cookbook prepared by Jeannie Lukow and Kim Shambrook of Bespoke Cuisine, as well as an appearance by the author. It’s in the private dining room at Bespoke Cuisine, 1358 W. Randolph. Byrne will also be signing her newest book Monday at noon at the Book Stall at Chestnut Court.