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Turnovers on Wheels

Three Argentines plan to launch an empanada food truck. Plus: the Trencherman, Taco Joint, and more.



For about a year and a half three native Argentines have been operating the catering and delivery service 5411 Empanadas (, named for the country's international area code. Now the team's poised to start a food truck. They're awaiting inspection and hope to hit the streets beginning on Valentine's Day. Co-owner Nicolás Ibarzabal says that they're also looking for a retail space. Currently there's a minimum order of 24 at $1.99 each, with 24-hours advance notice; catering—they bring in an oven—is $20 per person. The empanadas, which are made at Kitchen Chicago, come in beef, barbecue chicken, onion and Parmesan, ham and cheese, spinach and cheese, and corn with red peppers and sauteed onions; they'll be available individually from the truck, still priced at $1.99. None of the trio has a background in food service, Ibarzabal says: he studied communications at Northwestern, Andrés Arlia is in advertising, and Mariano Lanfranconi is working on his PhD in economics at the U. of C.

On Saturday, January 29, at 7 PM, the Butcher & Larder (1026 N. Milwaukee, 773-687-8200) will host a book signing with Marissa Guggiana, author of Primal Cuts: Cooking With America's Best Butchers, which features owner Rob Levitt and was part of what inspired him to open his Noble Square shop. Deborah Krasner, author of Good Meat: The Complete Guide to Sourcing and Cooking Sustainable Meat, is slated to make an appearance signing her book, copies of which will be on sale, on Wednesday, February 2, from 5 to 8 PM.

Mike Sheerin, this week's chef in our Key Ingredient challenge, says that Mindy Segal of Hot Chocolate put him on to his current gig as consulting chef at Three Floyds Brewpub in Munster, Indiana. "Being out in northwest Indiana isn't as bad as it once sounded," he says. He's still rounding up investors and scouting locations for his next project, The Trencherman, with Logan Square, Andersonville (where he grew up), and River West as possibilities.

The tenth annual D'Vine Affair (, featuring more than 250 wines, plus hors d'oeuvres and desserts, takes place Sunday, January 30, from 2 to 6 PM at the Union Club. All proceeds go to Catholic Charities' self-sufficiency programs. From 1:30 to 2 PM and 2 to 2:30 PM Patrick W. Fegan, founder of the Chicago Wine School, and longtime Ambria sommelier Bob Bansberg will hold wine appreciation sessions. There's also a raffle with $1,000 and $500 wine cellars as the prizes and a silent auction of wine and wine-related paraphernalia. It's $100; for an additional $45 there's a four-course dinner at Quartino available from 5 to 8 PM, with complimentary transportation to the restaurant.

Taco Joint (1969 N. Milwaukee, 773-687-8200), an "Urban Taqueria and Cantina" from Edgar Castaneda of Zocalo, opened in Lincoln Park on Tuesday, offering tacos, tortas, huaraches served with house-made salsas, and handmade tortilas. There's a full bar and late-night hours, and a takeout window is in the works.

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