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You know about the largest food event happening downtown this weekend, so let's go straight to the second largest: the Windy City Smokeout, a barbecue, beer, and (mostly country) music fest taking place at Grand and the Chicago river, which food-wise will include barbecue from locals like Smoque, Chicago Q, Lillie's Q, and Bub City, as well as visiting teams from Austin's the Salt Lick and "winningest man in barbecue" Myron Mixon. (It'll also be your first chance to have, locally, Gus's Fried Chicken from Memphis, which opens later this year.) There are also some special events to take note of, including two whole-hog dinners cooked by Mixon on Friday and Sunday, a rib dinner from Mixon and Revolution Brewing on Saturday, a Craft Beer Release Party from a ton of local breweries (Moody Tongue, Founders, etc) on Saturday, and a Sunday brunch hosted by Man v. Food's Adam Richman. You can see the full schedule here.
• What if the Taste only had top-level chefs doing fancy cheffy food? Then it would be the Green City Market Chef BBQ, and it would cost a lot more than eight tickets. The annual Green City Market BBQ is pricy, and it has a record of falling on blazing hot (or very wet) days, but for all that, it is the classiest culinary event of the summer, dozens of name chefs cooking up high-quality bites (or drinks) in a civilized atmosphere where the lines only get crazy for Rick Bayless and Stephanie Izard. It would cost a million bazillion dollars to eat at all their restaurants, so instead, have a taste for just $125 (kids for $25), much of which benefits the Green City Market. See the list of top drawer restaurants—including a few that don't exist yet, like Armour & Swift—here; it's next Thursday, July 16.
• The Trotter Project, for establishing a culinary institute named for Charlie Trotter, will have a benefit dinner and silent auction Monday, July 13 at Taus Authentic with chefs Michael Taus, Chris Anderson (Moto), Jimmy Pappadopoulos (Bohemian House), and Michael Kornick (MK). Go here for tickets and info.
• I mostly ignored people trying to pitch me Bastille Day specials but there was one brewery that punningly won me over. Be at Bar on Buena on 14 July to celebrate the craft beer revolution with . . . Destihl Day.
• If you're not canning the beautiful stuff growing now, why the heck not? Chef and canning master Paul Virant (of Perennial Virant across the street) will do a canning demo at 10 AM, and there will be a booth where people can answer your questions at the Green City Market, Saturday, July 18, from 9 AM to noon.
• Nana will host a farm dinner featuring items from the Plant, the food business incubator in the Back of the Yards neighborhood, including aquaponics tilapia and prawns, hydroponic greens, and more. It's $45 and Saturday, July 18 at 7 PM; call 312-929-2486 to make a reservation.
• The Berkshire Room will celebrate its second anniversary and unveil a new menu from chefs Chris Davies and Chris Teixeira and mixologist Benjamin Schiller on Sunday, July 19. The party starts at 4 PM with the tapping of a single-barrel Wild Turkey bourbon.
• Need Lollapalooza tickets with a side of pasta? Dine at Quartino on July 20-22 and you're in for a drawing of three Lollapalooza tickets each night (must be present to win).