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The Alzheimer's Association's annual benefit A Toast to Remember is Thursday from 6 to 9 PM at the River East Arts Center. It offers wines from small wineries including Scherrer, Guilliams, Ogden Olson, and Tensley; Joey Tensley will also be on hand to discuss his wines. $75 in advance, $85 at the door.
In an effort to liven up a tourism season, the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau has coordinated Chicago's first official restaurant week, Eat It Up. Starting Friday and continuing through 2/29, 35 local restaurants will offer three-course prix fixe lunches for $21.95 and dinners for $31.95.
Culinary Historians of Chicago presents Flavors of the Fruitland: An Ode to Michigan, a talk by Justin Rashid of American Spoon Foods, Saturday from 10 AM to noon at the Robert Morris College Institute of Culinary Arts, eighth floor. He'll discuss fruit varieties and history in Michigan, specifically the tart cherries of western Michigan and the role they've played in his company, and samples of American Spoon's products will be available. $5 ($3 for students; free for CHC members).
Provenance Food and Wine's Logan Square location celebrates its second anniversary with birthday cake, wine, food samples, and a drawing on Saturday from 3-6 PM.
Delilah's hosts its tenth annual Vintage Strong Beer Fest, with more than 70 beers from 50 breweries, Saturday from noon to 6 PM. As the name implies, most of the brews will be strong ales, and multiple vintages of some will be served—including the 1989 and 1999 J.W. Lees Harvest Ale and eight vintages of Sierra Nevada’s Bigfoot Barley Wine. Other offerings include Anchor Old Foghorn Ale, Dogfish Head Immort Ale, Unibroue La Fin du Monde, and Malheur Millennium. $20.
In celebration of winter and the Museum of Modern Ice exhibit in Millennium Park, Pastoral's new downtown location is offering a free tasting of ice wines—sweet wines produced from grapes that freeze on the vine—Saturday from 6:30 to 8:30 PM. Resident sommelier Jan Henrichsen will provide some background on the wines, which have a high sugar concentration because the grapes are allowed to ripen for several months longer than those harvested in the fall and are pressed while still frozen, allowing the sugars to be extracted while the water stays frozen inside the grapes.
Saturday is the ninth annual "Open That Bottle Night," created to give people a reason to open that special bottle of wine they've been saving, and Taste Food and Wine in Rogers Park is honoring it with a free wine tasting from 6 to 7:30 PM. BYOB Chicago author Jean Iversen will be signing books, and there'll be samples of food from BYO restaurants in the area.
Ashtrays to Art, an exhibition of work by 20 local artists using ashtrays collected from bars and restaurants since the statewide smoking ban went into effect January 1, ends with a silent auction of the art to benefit Erie Neighborhood House Tuesday from 6 to 8 PM at the Architrouve. Susan Goss of West Town Tavern, who’s been involved with the project since the beginning, will prepare cold turkey canapes with pomegranate seeds and apple, smoked pork butt biscuits, bruschetta with ash-coated goat cheese, and smoked trout rings, all with wine pairings. It's free to attend.
Fat Cat hosts a New Holland beer dinner, featuring a different beer selection from the New Holland Brewery with each of the five courses, Tuesday at 7 PM. Among the offerings are steamed mussels with tomato orange fennel broth, chili-braised pork rillettes, and for dessert, an "uptown car bomb" and creme brulee. $65.
Tuesday from 6 to 8 PM, Just Grapes offers a class on the principles of biodynamic farming and winemaking with Erinn Benziger of Benziger Family Winery and sommelier Don Sritong, owner of Just Grapes. They'll "demonstrate the principles we discuss" with wines from Benziger and other wineries. $65.