by Julia Thiel
The Daley Plaza Farmers' Market hosts its second Country Chef Challenge Thursday from 11 AM to 1 PM. Mark Mendez of Carnivale, Jimmy Madla of Coobah, and Kaminsky Thomas of Anteprima will each have 30 minutes to choose ingredients from the market, and another 30 minutes to create a dish; a panel of judges will determine the winner.
The Palm Chicago hosts a dinner Thursday at 7 PM devoted to the tequilas of Jalisco’s 130-year-old Casa Herradura. Each of four courses will be paired with a Herradura blue agave tequila—a lump crab and cantaloupe margarita starter with Herradura Silver, for instance, or an entree of oven-roasted cumin-crusted mahimahi with Herradura Añejo. Company rep Ruben Aceves will discuss Herradura history and describe the process behind each tequila. Guests get goody bags and will be entered into a raffle for a bottle of Selección Suprema, the company’s highest-end blue agave. (At retail it goes for about $300.) Reservations required. $95.
Friday at 5 PM, Chuck’s Southern Comforts Cafe starts its three-day-long Cajun Fest, a smorgasbord of southern, Mexican, and of course Cajun dishes, all between $2 and $5—including cochinita pibil tacos, beef kebabs with ancho-mushroom sauce, pulled pork, jerk chicken with mango sauce, jambalaya, muffulettas, and a shrimp boil. Abita Beer, from Abita Springs, Louisiana, will have its Turbodog, Purple Haze, and Amber brews on tap. Blues, zydeco, country, and rockabilly bands perform all three days. Friday 5-11 PM, Saturday noon-11 PM, Sunday 1-9 PM, Saint Albert’s Church parking lot, 5555 State, Burbank, 708-229-8700. No admission charge.
Friday’s the last day to make reservations for ChicaGourmets dinner [PDF] at Va Pensiero Wednesday, 8/13, 6:30 PM, with Count Niccolo Capponi of Villa Calcinaia, a wine- and olive-oil-making estate in Italy’s Chianti region overseen by his brother Count Sebastiano. Capponi, an archivist and professor of medieval and Renaissance history at Iowa State University, will discuss the history of the estate, which has been in his family since 1524, and demonstrate his recipe for orange risotto with taleggio and garlic, which will be served at dinner. The menu also includes a garlic-and-rosemary-marinated pork loin, a goat cheese-stuffed onion, and a chocolate-almond torte; each course will be paired with a Villa Calcinaia wine. Guests also get a bottle of Villa Calcinaia olive oil. $98.
Saturday from 10 AM to noon at the Chicago History Museum, Culinary Historians of Chicago presents The History of Greektown's Parthenon. Yanna Liakouras, a partner at the Parthenon and daughter of the restaurant's founder, and Camille Stagg, author of The Parthenon Cookbook, will discuss the history of Greektown and the Parthenon. They'll also serve samples of some Greek specialties and sign copies of the cookbook. $5.
Harpoon Brewery holds a release party at Sheffield's Monday from 7 to 9 PM. The $15 admission price ($10 for "Friends of Harpoon") includes three drink tickets good for Harpoon's IPA draft or bottles of UFO, plus appetizers and samples from the 100 Barrel series.
(Contributing: Katie Buitrago)