by Julia Thiel
National Corndog Day, the Maple Syrup Festival, Ben & Jerry's Free Cone Day, and more.
To celebrate National Corndog Day, Wiener and Still Champion is offering its "Dipping Dogs" (corndogs that can be ordered with sauces including spicy aioli, curry ketchup, and chimichurri) at half price, or $1.25 apiece. 10:30 AM-8 PM, 802 Dempster, Evanston, 847-869-0100.
Tickets go on sale today for the popular Outstanding in the Field, a traveling outdoor dinner series eloquently described by one participant as "a traveling culinary carnival, led by cowboy-hatted epicurean evangelist Jim Denevan." They'll be stopping at City Farm on August 5 for a dinner by Mindy Segal and Aric Miech of Hot Chocolate ($220); also within driving distance is an August 2 dinner at Dietzler Farms in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, with Paul Virant of Vie ($200) Each event features a tour of the farm followed by a five-course dinner with wine pairings.
The Chicago Foodways Roundtable presents a talk on Chicago Victory Gardens: Yesterday and Tomorrow; LaManda Joy will discuss the resurgence of interest in vegetable gardening. 10 AM, Kendall College, 900 N. North Branch, 847-432-8255, chicago.foodways.roundtable.@gmail.com, $3.
Ben Pao executive chef Jim Hoveke discusses where and how to buy the ingredients and utensils needed for Chinese cooking, then demos how to make steamed dumplings, Shanghai shrimp noodles, and Mongolian beef at the cooking class "Wok This Way: Chinese Cooking Demystified." Participants will lunch on the prepared dishes; reservations required. 10:30 AM-noon, Ben Pao, 52 W. Illinois, 312-222-1888, $35.
Learn how to tap a maple tree for sap, watch the sap boil, and taste fresh syrup hot off the fire at the 29th annual Maple Syrup Festival. There’ll also be music, arts and crafts, guided nature walks, storytelling, and a farmers’ market. Sat-Sun 3/20-3/21, 10 AM-3 PM, North Park Village Nature Center, 5801 N. Pulaski, 312-744-5472, free.
World Water Week starts Sunday, kicking off the Tap Project, UNICEF’s initiative to provide safe drinking water to children worldwide. Through Saturday 3/27 you can make a direct contribution to the project by paying a buck—enough to supply a child with clean drinking water for 40 days—for a glass of tap water at more than 100 local restaurants including Blind Faith Cafe, Browntrout, Feast, and Chicago Diner.
Hard on the heels of Restaurant Week comes the second annual Chicago Chef Week; through Sun 3/28, participating restaurants--which include Green Zebra, Perennial, Vie, Sepia, Mado, Elate, Lockwood, the Publican, Blackbird, Piccolo Sogno, and Kith & Kin--will offer $30 three-course prix fixe dinners and $20 lunches (at the restaurants that are open for lunch).
Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry's is today; from noon to 8 PM stores will offer one free cone per customer. There are locations at Navy Pier (600 E. Grand, 312-595-5496) and in Oak Park (1025 W. Lake, 708-358-8081). The Midway location isn't participating.
In honor of Women’s History Month, Judith Dunbar-Hines, director of culinary events and programs at the Department of Cultural Affairs, leads "Culinary Conversations With Food Women," a discussion of women-owned businesses with Nicole Bergere (Nicole’s Divine Crackers), Jessica Volpe (Pasta Puttana), Jenny Yang (Phoenix Tofu), Meg Dhamer (Pigtale Twist, which makes dressings and sauces), and Elizabeth Madden (Rare Bird Preserves). Reservations required. 6-8 PM, Chicago's Downtown Farmstand, 66 E. Randolph, 312-742-8497, free.