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Show: Basia Bulat returns to Schubas, playing music from the terrific new Heart of My Own (Rough Trade). "A couple years ago, when I first heard her fine debut album, Oh, My Darling, I was immediately hooked by her strong, distinctive voice, which shaped the pretty, delicate melodies with unassuming confidence," writes Peter Margasak. "The new album, produced by Montreal scene fixture Howard Bilerman, is even better."
9pm, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508
Dinner: Julius Meinl A classy place for those of moderate means, this is the first American outpost for Viennese coffee purveyor Julius Meinl. The coffee is made from beans roasted in Austria; strong but not acidic, it's superb. The menu's tasty cafe fare: sandwiches (including one with European-style sausage, caramelized onions, apple-horseradish sauce, and Dijon mustard on a French roll), custardy quiches, salads, and a couple of soups.
3601 N. Southport Ave., 773-868-1857
Show: Masters of Persian Music The group plays music governed by a form called a dastgah that provides a sort of seed motif and a framework within which the performers add layers of modulations and melodic patterns, then circle back to the motif. "Dastgahs are usually monophonic—meaning that everyone plays the melody together, without harmonizing—but the Masters of Persian Music depart in small but important ways from the tradition, improvising brilliant lattices of contrapuntal lines, extending delicate curlicues and trills into the spaces in the tunes, and taking showstopping solos by turns," writes Peter Margasak.
7:30 PM, Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan, 312-294-3000, $20-$70.
Dinner: Trattoria No. 10 At Trattoria No. 10 chef Douglas D'Avico has long been green, featuring organic and naturally raised products on his seasonal menu. It changes daily, but current offerings might include a salad of organic beets with fennel, arugula, and goat cheese or an octopus carpaccio with watercress, blood oranges, and capers.
10 N. Dearborn St., 312-984-1718
Show: 30% Chance of Hailey This being a one-woman sketch show, your chance of Lyndsay Hailey is actually more like 100 percent. But that turns out to be the right amount: this is one of the best, most inventive solo productions in years.
$12, 8pm, iO, 3541 N. Clark St., 773-880-0199
Dinner: Cullen's Bar & Grill The chicken potpie is a monster, and the mac 'n' cheese, made with real cheddar, is significantly better than most. Glazed meat loaf, served with mashed potatoes and a vegetable of the day, was homey; and alongside the burgers, sandwiches, and salads there are Bass ale onion rings and an artichoke dip that draws raves.
3741 N. Southport Ave., 773-975-0600
Lit & Lectures
Show: "Where the Arts Meet" Discussion with author Alex Kotlowitz (Never a City So Real: A Walk in Chicago) and filmmaker Steve James (Hoop Dreams).
5:30pm, Northwestern University, University Hall, 1897 Sheridan Rd., free
Dinner: Bistro Bordeaux 26-year-old executive chef Frank Mnuk (Thomas Keller’s Bouchon, Eleven Madison Park in New York, NoMi) has mastered the art of French cooking.
618 Church St., Evanston, 847-424-1483
Show: Martha Nussbaum The University of Chicago law and ethics prof presents From Disgust to Humanity: Sexual Orientation and Constitutional Law.
6:30pm, 57th Street Books, 1301 E. 57th St., 773-684-1300, free
Dinner: Cedars Mediterranean Kitchen This Lebanese restaurant offers the usual suspects: marinated chicken kebabs, falafel, and hummus to spread on unusually good pita. Portions are generous, which makes it a great stop for those on a student budget.
1206 E. 53rd St., 773-324-6227
Show: Thaw: A Night of Hot Winter Ballyhoo This annual benefit for Links Hall features a 1930s-theme and includes performances by NYC-based puppet company Great Small Works, toy theater by Meredith Miller and Chantal Calato, fire spinners, burlesque dancers, and more.
6:30 PM-midnight, Red Canary, 695 N. Milwaukee, $30-$75
Dinner: Coalfire As pizza goes, it's pretty great. The thin, blistered crust is sooty and crunchy on the outside and soft and chewy toward the center of the pan, with a dense, toasty flavor. The sauce, applied sparingly, is fresh and slightly sweet; toppings include buttery prosciutto, hot Calabrese salami with fennel, and a terrific spicy Italian sausage.
1321 W. Grand Ave., 312- 226-2625