This time of year the common idea seems to be that Thanksgiving is about the food, but in reality it’s about family and friends. So don’t feel bad if you don’t feel like sweating over a kitchen on Thursday as long as you’re with loved ones. Here are some Chicago restaurants who would love to do the cooking for you and might still have reservations available.
350 N. State St.
For a classic take on Thanksgiving Day dinner don’t miss out on the Tortoise Club’s holiday buffet. Enjoy mouthwatering staples like brown-sugar-brined turkey, celery root mashed potatoes, and apple-sage cornbread stuffing. To add some variety take advantage of the iced seafood bar, meats and charcuterie, and house-smoked salmon. Pricing is $79 for adults, $25 for kids 12 and under, and children 3 and under are free.
DMK Burger Bar
2954 N. Sheffield Ave.
If you want to skip that whole fancy dinner affair but get the same flavors then DMK Burger Bar has the perfect burger for you. The Gobbler is a burger that includes a little bit of Thanksgiving in every bite. The sandwich includes two turkey patties, gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and celery, with a housemade cranberry relish on top. If you’re not able to have it tomorrow then don’t worry as it’s available for the rest of November.
Mercat a la Planxa
638 S. Michigan Ave.
For some Latin flare to go with your Thanksgiving make sure to go to Mercat a la Planxa, who already have a deliciously comforting fall menu. For the holiday enjoy a three-course dinner that includes Ruta de Xato al Mercat, a salad made with house smoked salmon, bitter greens, Cornicabra olives, and nora chile picada; as well as Mercat’s signature truita de patata made with potatoes, eggs, smoked wild char roe, and potato aioli. The star of the meal has to be the pavo in the style of turkey ballotine with razor clam stuffing and sherry pan gravy. The Thanksgiving menu is $75 per guest and it’s available from 3 p.m. until close.
McCormick and Schmick’s Seafood and Steaks
41 E. Chestnut St.
1 E. Upper Wacker Dr.
If you want to stick back to the classics then head to both of McCormick and Schmick’s locations in the city. Their roasted turkey dinner includes butternut squash bisque, walnut mixed greens, mashed potatoes and gravy, cornbread stuffing, seasonal vegetables, apple squash casserole, and cranberry sauce. Pricing is $24.99 per adult and $9.99 per child 12 and under.
Back by popular demand, the Chicago Shakespeare Theater at Navy Pier will once again play host to A Q Brothers’ Christmas Carol, the cheeky holiday classic developed by hip-hop sensations the Q Brothers.
This feisty reinterpretation of the perennial holiday favorite by Charles Dickens enjoyed wildly successful runs in 2013 and 2014 to rave reviews and packed houses, garnering Joseph Jefferson Award nominations for Outstanding New Musical and Outstanding Ensemble. A Q Brothers’ Christmas Carol will be presented in the theater Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare for a limited engagement, Nov. 28 through Jan. 3.
Written and performed by GQ, JQ, Jackson Doran and Postell Pringle, this tour de rap wrestles the cherished tale from its classic roots with irreverence, an irresistible score and a lot of heart. The story is underscored with beats spun live at the turntables by DJ Super Nova, mashing up everything from reggae and dance hall music, to dub-step and epic rock ballads. Audiences will encounter the story’s signature characters in unexpected forms—from a miserly Ebenezer Scrooge with a penchant for penny-pinching to a Rastafarian Jacob Marley and a rapping Lil’ Tim, the tiniest Cratchit with a slew of maladies. The time-traveling Ghosts take Scrooge on a voyage through the hip-hop ages documenting the evolving musical form.
Amanda Cooper, our director of concierge relations, is our concierge contributor this week with a recommendation of a must-see production.
The Hypocrites are bringing back the holiday hit “Burning Bluebeard” by Jay Torrence, directed by Halena Kays. This tale influenced by the horrific true story of Chicago’s 1903 Iroquois Theatre fire has been a crowd favorite for two years running. In the beginning, the cast emerges from the charred remains and shares a bit of Chicago history about the Iroquois Theatre. The grand Iroquois Theatre opened in November of 1903 in Chicago’s Theatre District on Randolph Street, one month before the fatal fire that killed more than 600 of its audience members. Yes, that is 300 more people than the actual Great Chicago Fire of 1871.
The cast, six ash-smudged clown performers, attempt to perform the entire Bluebeard tale in hopes of reaching the happy fairy-tale ending of the second act that was never performed due to the fatal fire. I have to admit being an audience member of a show about a show whose audience dramatically burned was a bit unsettling, but true to The Hypocrites theatrical style. “The Burning Bluebeard” is a vaudeville-style performance, with song and dance, acrobatics, and comedy. As the second act nears, the story takes a very dramatic turn as thoughts of the fire is forever burned in the actors minds, but is then out-shined by hope and happiness.
Burning Bluebeard will run now through Janu. 10, 2016 at The Den Theatre’s Heath Main Stage, 1329 N. Milwaukee Ave. The production will include two performances on the 112th anniversary of the actual Iroquois Theatre fire: Wednesday, Dece. 30 at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at the-hypocrites.com.
Serving as grand marshal this year is actor, writer, director, producer, and star of Broadway In Chicago’s “Sherlock Holmes,” David Arquette along with Ronald McDonald. Joining Arquette on the parade route will be “Master Chef” judge Graham Elliott, “Chicago Fire’s” Yuri Sardarov, and “Once Upon a Time” star Jessy Schram. Parade goers will enjoy the sounds of some of the country’s great marching bands along with some of your childhood favorite characters like Tweety, Hello Kitty, Plex from “Yo Gabba Gabba,” Arthur, and more. One of the great things to see every year is how they get those enormous helium-filled balloons under the El tracks.
If you’re having trouble picking which of the city’s great productions to attend while you’re in town the parade has teasers from many of the great productions. Audiences can expect performances from Goodman Theatre’s “A Christmas Carol,” Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey®’s “Circus XTREME,” Black Ensemble Theater’s “Dynamite Divas,” “Million Dollar Quartet,” Emerald City Theatre’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” and more.
The State Street Council started the parade in 1934 to boost spirits during the Great Depression, and it has been succeeding in that ever since. The parade does a great job of representing the different types of cultures in Chicago with floats and performances.
The 2015 McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade starts at 8 a.m., so you’ll want to get there early to beat the crowd of hundreds of thousands that usually attend. The parade will take place on State Street from Congress Parkway to Randolph Street. Also, if you can’t make it downtown you can tune into WGN as they will be broadcasting all three hours of the parade. For more information visit chicagofestivals.org.
Fight the urge to stay indoors and watch Netflix, and get out and spend some energy enjoying the cooler weather at these ice skating rinks.
The newest addition to Chicago’s parks is Maggie Daley Park, and its quarter-mile ice skating ribbon is about to open for the season. It is completely different from a skating rink not just in its size but the fact that it has some slopes and inclines to make it a bit more interesting. The location gives you a great view of the skyline, Lake Michigan, Millennium Park, the climbing walls, and other attractions at the park. The ice for the ribbon started making this week and takes a couple of days, so stay tuned to their Facebook and Twitter feeds for the official opening of the ribbon.
Maggie Daley Park Ice Skating Ribbon
337 E. Randolph St.
Skate Rental: $12
Through March, 2016
Monday – Thursday, 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.; Friday, 12:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.; Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.; Sunday, 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
If you’re looking for more of a traditional experience it’s hard to beat Millennium Park’s McCormick Tribune Ice Rink. During the winter the delicious Park Grill removes all the furniture on their front patio and transforms the space into a magical skating rink. It doesn’t get more Chicago than skating in the Loop with the skyscrapers on one side and the Bean on the other. If you’re not the greatest skater in the world then you can show up an hour before the rink opens on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays and take a free lesson.
Millennium Park’s McCormick Tribune Ice Rink
201 E. Randolph St.
Skate Rental: $12
Through March 6, 2016
Monday – Thursday, 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.; Friday, 12 p.m. – 10 p.m.; Saturday (Nov. 14 – Jan. 2), 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Saturday (Jan. 9 – March 5), 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
If you’re headed to ZooLights next week to check the spectacular light display and animals then don’t miss out on the ice skating rink. Located at Farm-in-the-Zoo you can enjoy some refreshments inside the main barn before braving the cold weather and strapping on some skates.
Ice Skating at Lincoln Park Zoo
2001 N. Clark St.
Skate Rental: $5
Nov. 27 – Feb. 28, 2016
November 27–29 12 p.m. – 10 p.m and on Saturday and Sunday; 4–10 p.m. on Wednesday through Friday
If you’re a guest of The Peninsula Hotel, their spa, or their restaurant don’t leave without trying out their Sky Rink. This 2,100-sq. ft. rink is on the fourth-floor terrace of the hotel with excellent views of the skyscrapers and architecture on Michigan Avenue. They also have an outdoor chalet with treats like cider and beignets.
The Peninsula Sky Rink
108 E. Superior St.
Opening Saturday, Nov. 21
Must be a guest of the hotel, spa, or restaurant
Suggested Donation: $15 per adult and $10 for children 12 years and under
All monies collected will be donated to the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital and Hephzibah Children’s Association
Monday – Thursday, 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.; Friday, 3:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.; Saturday 12:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., Sunday 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Tags: Chicago ice skating
Chicago’s best holiday village is back to help you get in the spirit.
A little bit of Germany returns with Christkindlmarket Chicago. For the 20th year this tiny European village pops up in the heart of the city with over 50 vendors in their traditional wooden huts selling one-of-a-kind holiday ornaments, toys, beer steins, jewelry, and more along with sweet treats and delicious food. Christkindlmarket is as authentic as it can get with over 65 percent of the vendors flying in from Germany. The strudel, schnitzel, sausages, and imported beer will also help bring out the German culture. For the real cold days make sure to take advantage of the glühwein (hot spiced wine) inside the Grand Timber House and Festival Tent.
The strudel and glühwein not German enough for you? How about the rotating array of musicians and performers that will grace the market like the Alpine Brass Band, Glen Sorgatz Phenix Trio, and the name sake and gift-bringer of the market Christkind. There will also be some non-German entertainment like the Apollo Chorus of Chicago, Barefoot Hawaiian Dancers, and some college a cappella groups.
Don’t forget to bring the kids to enjoy Kinder Korner where they can participate in some holiday arts and crafts, scavenger hunts, and visits from Christkind. In addition, for those who might not be able to make it into the city they can still enjoy the magical tradition in Oak Brook at the Oakbrook Center. In Oak Brook you can find the same German spiced wine, beer, food, and gifts along with a a special selection of vendors from the Christkindlmarket Chicago.
Christkindlemarket Chicago will run Friday, Nov. 20 — Thursday, Dec. 24 at the Daley Plaza located at 50 W. Washington St. The market opens from Sunday – Thursday from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. For a full schedule of events and more information visit christkindlmarket.com.
Christkindlmarket Oakbrook opens Friday, Nov. 27 – Thursday, Dec. 24 at Oakbrook Center located at 100 Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook, IL. The market will be open Thursdays – Sundays. The hours are Thursdays, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.; and Sundays, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. For more information on Christkindlmarket Oakbrook at christkindlmarket.com/oakbrook.
The days are shorter and the lack of sun can start to create a lack of energy, but Michigan Avenue will brighten your nights when they turn on the holidays.
The BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival returns to flip the switch on the over one million lights on the trees on Michigan Ave. from Oak St. to Wacker Dr. The 1.2 million spectators will watch as Mickey and Minnie Mouse light the mile in a parade of helium balloons of some of your favorite characters along with some of your favorite entertainers including Michelle Branch, “American Idol” finalist Lazaro Arbos, Million Dollar Quartet, Charles Perry, The Girl and the Dream Catcher, and more.
However, the parade isn’t the whole festival as earlier in the day you can enjoy special offers from retailers and hotels on the Magnificent Mile. Some offers include a 10 percent savings certificate from Bloomingdale’s when you mention the festival and present an out-of-state identification, $25 off a $100 purchase at Brooks Brothers, a free pound of Gummy Bears when you spend $20 at Candyality, 10 percent off at Timothy O’Toole’s Pub, and much more.
The BMO Harris Bank Magnificent Mile Lights Festival is Saturday, Nov. 21 on Michigan Ave. from Oak St. to Wacker Dr. The festival starts at 11:00 a.m. with the BMO Harris Bank Stage and the Lights Festival Lane. The parade kicking off at 5:30 p.m. through 7:00 p.m. and the fireworks show at 6:55 p.m. at North Michigan Ave. and the Chicago River. For more information including a full schedule of events and a festival guide make sure to visit themagnificentmile.com/events/lights-festival.
The 13th annual Chicago Toy and Game Fair (ChiTAG), the largest toy and game fair in the U.S. open to the public, returns to Navy Pier’s Festival Hall this weekend (Nov. 21-22).
Fair attendees will have the opportunity to explore the booths of more than 100 toy and game exhibitors—including SpinMaster, Mayfair Games, Hasbro, Uncle Milton, Razor, and more—offering a jam-packed weekend chock-full of discovery, interactive events, playful contents, and an overall extravaganza of holiday fun for people of all ages.
Tickets are $10 for adults (13+) and $5 for children (ages 3-12), available now at ChiTAGfair.com. Fair hours are Nov. 21 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Nov. 22 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Held at the Bloomingdale’s on North Michigan Avenue, The Makeup Date holds an exclusive, up close runway show presenting all the new beauty trends and products you need for the season. It would be a crime to show these new trends and not know how to achieve them at home, so guests will also receive a one-on-one session with an expert makeup artist.
If you purchase $125 in beauty products you will also receive three makeup pouches to go with the limited edition train case that you’ll get just for attending the event.
The Makeup Date takes place Sat., Nov. 14 at Bloomingdale’s located at 900 N. Michigan Ave. There is a show at 9:30 a.m. with a 7:30 a.m. check-in time and one at 10:30 a.m. with a 10:00 a.m. check-in time. To book your appointments for the runway show and the makeup session, RSVP to Mi Lee at 312-440-4553 or email@example.com. Registration is $25 but that goes towards a beauty purchase of your choice. For more information visit shop900.com/events/757.
Many times French food gets tagged as either being either too high-class, too exotic, or both. However, if you’ve ever seen me furiously dive into a bowl of mussels and French fries at a restaurant you’ll see that it definitely doesn’t have to be high-class and who cares if it’s exotic if it’s absolutely delicious. A la Carte Chicago will try to demonstrate the wonders of French food this week.
Through a combination of prix fix menus and culinary events and demonstrations A la Carte Chicago is doing a great job at presenting the soul of French cuisine. Several restaurants across the city are participating is showing off the best of the French table from the food to its world-class wine.
Taste some mouthwatering wild boar ragu at Mon Ami Gabi, the quintessential coq au vin at Ristorante Angelina, a Provence roasted chicken at Fig and Olive, and even decadent chocolate hazelnut bars from Bistornomic. There are 21 participating restaurants that are offering prix fix meals that range between $33 and $45 depending on the meal. In additions, six other locations are offering special deals through the week like 10% on all French-themed books at Read It and Eat, a six-macaroon box for $9.90 at La Fournette, and buy one eclair get one free from Vanille Pâtisserie.
Along with the prix fixe menus there are several French-themed events being held across the city. Get a hands-on cooking class from Madelaine Bullwinkel Nov. 11 at 6:30 p.m. at Read It and Eat, a petits and Grands Bordeaux and Cognac tasting Nov. 13 at 5 p.m. at Chevalier Fine Wines, or a family cooking class Nov. 14 at 2 p.m. at Alliance Française de Chicago.
The celebration ends with Passport to France a French tasting event with over 50 chefs, delicious drinks, and music Nov. 19 at 6 p.m. at the French American Chamber of Commerce.
A la Carte Chicago runs until Nov. 19 at various locations. For a full list of participating restaurants and events along with pricing make sure to visit alacartechicago.com.