Eli's Cheesecake Festival, a hen of the woods mushroom hunt, Octoberfeast, and a couple free beer tastings.
Festiv-Ale, a benefit for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation at Half Acre’s new brewpub, features small bites and tastings of beer from craft brewers including Half Acre, Great Lakes, New Belgium, and Magic Hat. There’s also music, a silent auction, and a raffle. 7:30-10:30 PM, Half Acre Beer Company, 4257 N. Lincoln, 312-236-4491, $50, $75 VIP, 21+.
Colleen Taylor Sen, author of Curry: A Global History, discusses the origins of curry and its iterations around the world, from the Caribbean to Japan to Malaysia, at the Chicago Foodways Roundtable program All the World Loves a Curry. The talk will be followed by a lunch of samosas, lamb qorma, chicken biryani, malai kofta, bagarey baigan, and mango kulfi. BYOB. 10 AM-1 PM, Bhabi’s Kitchen, 6352 N. Oakley, 847-432-8255, email@example.com, $20.
The annual Eli’s Cheesecake Festival features a culinary pavilion with cooking demos and free samples, plus cheesecake-eating contests, cheesecake bingo, a classic car show, tumblers, and live music. Sat 10/3, 9 AM-5 PM, Sun 10/4, 11 AM-5 PM, Eli’s Cheesecake Company, 6701 W. Forest Preserve, free.
Eight midwestern microbreweries—Bell’s, Two Brothers, Capital, Three Floyds, Goose Island, Metropolitan, Lakefront, and Dark Horse—offer free samples of their beers at Midwest Microfest. First come, first served. Noon-7 PM, Park Grill, 11 N. Michigan, 312-521-7275, 21+, free.
Participants meet at Courtright’s for a presentation on mushrooms before heading out to Bullfrog Pond, Horse Collar Slough, and Tomahawk Slough for a "Hen of the Woods Mushroom Hunt." A luncheon at the restaurant follows, with mushroom soup, pickled hen of the woods salad, whitefish with hen of the woods risotto, and tarte tatin. 9:30 AM, Courtright’s, 8989 S. Archer, Willow Springs, 708-839-8000, $60, $50 for luncheon only.
Birchwood Kitchen hosts its first farm dinner, featuring ingredients from Mint Creek Farm in a four-course meal: salad with duck-egg dressing, braised goat ravioli, lamb spare ribs, and spiced apple crumb pie. BYOB. 7 PM, 2211 W. North, 773-276-2100, $45.
Twenty-five restaurants including Ai Sushi, Mercadito, Naha, Prosecco, and Sunda offer tastings of signature dishes at River North’s first Octoberfeast. Participants choose one of eight routes, each of which features 45-minute stops at five restaurants, and end up at Martini Park for an afterparty. a 5-10 PM, 312-645-1047, $50.
Andy Jenkins of Two Brothers Brewing Company serves and discusses the brewery’s "real ale" version of its Heavy Handed IPA, which is cask conditioned, meaning no carbonation is added. He’ll also be serving samples of the bottled (and carbonated) version of the ale for comparison, as well as other beers from Two Brothers. Pints of the cask-conditioned IPA will be on sale for $6. 6 PM, Smoke Daddy, 1804 W. Division, 773-772-6656, 21+, free.