RSVP today for a “paczki fun day” at Delightful Pastries, Sunday from 2-3:30 PM. Participants can fry, glaze, and fill their Polish doughnuts with fillings including plum butter, rose petal jelly, raspberry, boozy custard, and whipped cream. $15.
The Grand Chefs Gala Benefit for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, this Friday from 6 PM to midnight, has a safari theme this year. Some of Chicago’s best chefs will prepare hors d’oeuvres, a four-course dinner, and desserts; there will also be live and silent auctions, a DJ, dancing, and cocktails, as well as the presentation of the Jean Banchet Awards for Culinary Excellence. Tickets are $400 per person, but $50 will get you into just the after-party, which starts at 10 and offers desserts, dancing, and an open bar.
Hart Davis Hart Wine Co. hosts its annual Comparative Bordeaux Tasting Friday from 6:30-8 PM at the Newberry Library. They’ll be comparing the 1995 and 1996 vintages from all five first-growth chateaux (Margaux, Mouton-Rothschild, Latour, Haut-Brion, and Lafite-Rothschild), plus 15 “super seconds.” $275. There’s also a wine auction at Tru Saturday starting at 9 AM; lunch is available for $75.
Saturday at 10 AM, historian Richard Lytle will give a talk titled George H. Hammond and Marcus M. Towle: Forgotten Pioneers of the Beef Packing Industry, about two Indiana business partners who owned a slaughterhouse and helped introduce refrigerated rail cars for transporting meat in the mid nineteenth century. It’s at Kendall College, 900 N. Branch, and costs $2 (free for Kendall students). Presented by the Chicago Foodways Roundtable.
An Edible Art Workshop at the MCA Saturday from 1-4 PM, led by artist and pastry chef Tara Strickstein, focuses on “transforming the edible into the aesthetic.” Strickstein will discuss artists like Janine Antoni, who makes sculptures from lard and chocolate, and Vik Muniz, who uses sugar, chocolate syrup, peanut butter, and jelly to re-create paintings by the likes of Leonardo and Monet. Participants can also make their own art from materials including candies, bread, sugar, and chocolate syrup. Reservations required. $45.
ChicaGourmets‘ Art, Food, and a Play (PDF) Saturday at 12:30 PM offers salads, gourmet sandwiches, brownies, and wine along with a viewing of paintings by students at the Palette and Chisel gallery and a performance by Shaw Chicago of The Cassilis Engagement, about a proper British mother who disapproves of her son’s fiancee, next door at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts. 708-383-7543, $50.
Local nonprofit Purple Asparagus holds its first event for Project Dine Out, designed to help parents eat out with their kids, Tuesday from 5:30-8:30 PM at May Street Market. Chef Alex Cheswick will prepare a four-course dinner with wine pairings and Olivia Gerasole of Spatulatta will demonstrate a recipe from her new cookbook. $65 for adults, $25 for kids under 11.
Fat Cat has a Mardi Gras Fat Tuesday bash on (big surprise) Tuesday, starting at 4 PM and going until 2 AM. An all-you-can-eat buffet ($9.95) features crawfish boil, oyster po’boys, jambalaya, and king cake; there’s also a costume contest. Some of the proceeds will benefit Make It Right, Brad Pitt’s project to rebuild the lower Ninth Ward community destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
The Wine Discount Center features its new wines for February at its First Look Tasting Wednesday from 6:30-8 PM. The 35 to 40 on offer include La Posta’s 2006 Cocina malbec-bonarda-syrah blend from Argentina, Selvapiana’s 2005 Chianti Rufina, Mumm’s Carte Classique champagne, and Beckman’s 2005 Santa Ynez Valley cabernet sauvignon. Reservations required. $10.