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Outdoor eats: Chicago food blogger Amanda Topper’s favorite alfresco dining spots in the city

With alfresco season suddenly upon us, asked Amanda Topper, founder of food blog, for her favorite spots to eat outdoors in Chicago.

St. Lou’s Assembly: Just west of downtown, you’ll find St. Lou’s Assembly, a “meat and three” spot with a large, casual patio. Enjoy comfort food like pickled brined chicken and mac & cheese while washing it all down with a house-bottled cocktail or boozy float. 664 W. Lake. 312-660-0600. read more

The Big City Blog: North Coast Music Festival lineup, ROOF on TheWit’s Monday Movie Series, Shore Club expansion and more

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By Jeremy Lindenfeld

The lineup is out for the ninth North Coast Musical Festival, which takes over Chicago’s Union Park from Aug. 31-Sept. 2. The three-day festival will feature notable musicians in many genres from R&B to rock and roll. With established, world-renowned bands like Miguel, DJ Snake, Jamiroquai and many more performing on four different stages, the festival promises to have music for every preference imaginable. See the full lineup and ticket options at read more

Local Corner: Exploring Chicago’s popular Six Corners intersection in Wicker Park

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Exploring Chicago’s neighborhoods one intersection at a time
Featured Corner: Milwaukee, Damen, and North in Wicker Park

By Jonathan Mandel

Publican Anker
1576 N. Milwaukee Ave.

With an aesthetic mixing industrial and modernist styles, Publican Anker, a new addition from the popular One Off Hospitality Group (think Publican, Avec, Big Star, The Violet Hour, etc.), is a creative take on the classic gastropub. Inventive American cuisine, mostly meat- and fish-focused, is priced in the $10 range. With a good selection of local craft beers and a full bar, this makes for a great date spot. But make sure to reserve a spot — by 6 p.m., it’s packed! read more

The Big City Blog: Randolph Street Market, Mamby on the Beach lineup, Mercadito’s Mixology Academy, Blue Man discounts and the new Parlay at Joy District

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By Brooke Nagler

Parlay at Joy District is now open at 112 W. Hubbard, expanding past the Joy District rooftop and second-floor nightclub to feature this first-floor “ultramodern sports parlor.” The elevated bar-fare menu lists many rich and delectable options such as foie gras fries, lobster roll sliders, chickpea fries and a massive ice cream submarine sandwich to top it off. read more

Good Eats at Artango Bar & Steakhouse: Authentic Argentinian dishes, wonderful ambiance, live entertainment (tango!) and more in Lincoln Square

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By Trent Modglin

Where it’s at: 4767 N. Lincoln Ave. in the heart of Lincoln Square. (872) 208-7441.

The scene: Artango is built around a shared passion for quality steak, fine wine, art, Argentine tango and good company. Maria Casanova, who in 2008 opened Artango Center, a dance studio in Ravenswood, fell for one of her students, Buenos Aires-born artist Sebastian. The now-married couple’s goal with their establishment is to transport visitors back to the Golden Age of Argentina, when Buenos Aires was flourishing with restaurants, nightlife, tango clubs and stunning neo-classical and art nouveau architecture. read more

Winter neighborhood markets: Where to escape the cold and do a little local shopping around Chicago

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By Brooke Nagler 

Hyde Park Handmade
5311 S. Lake Park Ave. West

Filled with beautiful original crafts, Hyde Park Handmade is a great place to visit over a weekend. Located in the event space on top of The Promontory restaurant, the bazaar brings together local artisans in a room illuminated by the large, sunny windows. The ambiance is relaxed, with soulful music playing in the background curated by DJ Sean Alvarez. read more

The Big City Blog: Hope you’re hungry because Chicago Restaurant Week 2018 is on

Time to get your grub on. The 11th annual culinary celebration that is Chicago Restaurant Week returns from Jan. 26-Feb. 8 with two weeks of dining deals sure to get your taste buds revved up.

This event is perfect for sampling a variety of what 370 participating Chicago restaurants have to offer, featuring special prix-fixe menus starting at $22 for brunch and lunch and $33 or $44 for dinner (excluding beverages, tax and gratuity). read more

The Local Corner: Exploring the Damen and Lawrence intersection in Ravenswood

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Exploring Chicago’s neighborhoods one intersection at a time

Featured corner: Damen and Lawrence in Ravenswood

By Jina Bute

Siam Country
4637 N. Damen Avenue

Rated four stars for dining, take-out and delivery services, Siam Country opened in 1999 as a family business. Many products and ingredients are imported from Thailand, and the restaurant specializes in curry and noodle dishes like pad Thai and tom yum. read more

The Big City Blog: Bar Roma’s Chef’s Table dinner, new bird exhibit at Notebaert Nature Museum, “skinny sips” at Cantina Laredo and more

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“Chef’s Table dinner” at Bar Roma Jan. 16

On January 16 at 6:30 p.m., Bar Roma will be hosting their first ever “chef’s table” consisting of executive chef Fred Ramos’ traditional Roman dishes. For $60, and an extra $30 if wine pairings are requested, diners will be treated to a seven-course meal containing dishes such as fried zucchini flower, handmade pasta and tiramisu. read more

Chicago’s Signature Dishes: The taco trio at Big Star and el filet at Tango Sur

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Big Star
1531 N. Damen in Wicker Park

From esteemed chef Paul Kahan, this bourbon- and beer-focused, taco-slinging, honky-tonk joint is a local favorite in the heart of hipster haven Wicker Park. Housed in an old 1940s gas station and boasting a sought-after patio that’s packed in the warmer months, the rotating menu is inspired by authentic Mexican street fare. read more

Chicago Insider Sheena Lawrick on ice skating at the Maggie Daley ribbon, cocktails at The Sixth and celebrating at Homestead on the Roof

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Sheena Lawrick

How long you’ve lived here: Seven years this October.

What you like best about Chicago: Easy. The Blackhawks! I absolutely love going to games at the United Center. Even as a Canadian, I get goose bumps when the Star Spangled Banner is sung to the applause of the crowd. It’s an experience so unique to any sporting event I’ve been to. read more

The Big City Blog: “Free Days” return to the Field Museum in 2018 for Illinois residents

What: The Field Museum’s “Free Days” are back in 2018. This includes an entire month of free basic admission for Illinois residents during Free February, plus additional specific free days in January and June. Free Days are about an $80 savings for a family of four, making them the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the many adventures at the museum — from exploring the pyramids of ancient Egypt to witnessing the history of life on earth, and, of course, plenty of dinosaurs. Free Days this year fall during a time of big change coming to the museum, including the introduction of the largest dinosaur ever found, the Titanosaur. read more

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