It’s Thursday, Chicago.
We hope you’re staying warm and dry amid the flurries this week.
Despite it being January, we’ve been waiting all year to try out new dishes during Chicago Restaurant Week. Our Food team rounded up five restaurants with budget-savvy courses not-to-be-missed. Also, the Lunar New Year parade returns Sunday, so check out critic Louisa Chu’s guide to eating around Chinatown to ring in the Year of the Rabbit the right way.
And just ahead of Black History Month, plan your next road trip to one of these five destinations with attractions relevant to Black history, most just a few hours away by car, and all offering the opportunity to learn more about important cultural contributions.
Enjoy the weekend. We’ll see you back here next week.
— Lauryn Azu, deputy senior editor
Big comedy names such as Sarah Silverman, Adam Sandler and Tim Allen are coming to Chicago this winter. So is a top-rated sketch comedy revue at Second City. In short, your options for a knee-slapping night of laughs are boundless for the next few weeks, so plan accordingly.
Chicago Restaurant Week is here, and our critics and food writers hope you’re hungry to score a great deal after snagging a hot reservation. Read here to see what made their list for the spots they’re most excited about.
Tribune food critic Nick Kindelsperger has been pondering whether the ascent of artificial intelligence could have consequences for writers like him. Testing out the theory, he asked ChatGPT to write a review of Alinea restaurant, to hilarious — and at times, poetic — ends.
Food critic Louisa Chu is revisiting Chinatown as the neighborhood evolves, connecting with deeply rooted food memories that shaped her into who she is. Among her picks for a perfect day in the neighborhood — perhaps for Lunar New Year? — include the Critics’ Choice Award-winning 88 Marketplace food court, where you can feast on dim sum, stuffed meat pancakes and longan black porridge.
But that’s just the start — check out the rest of her recommendations here.
Emma Roberts and Luke Bracey star as a young couple debating their relationship’s future in this romantic comedy in theaters now. Rounding out the cast are rom-com veterans including Diane Keaton, Richard Gere and Susan Sarandon in a film that examines loneliness in a long marriage, writes critic Nina Metz. Read more here.
With an award ceremony once again in Chicago for one of the nation’s highest honors in the dining industry, the city’s restaurants and chefs are also well-represented as James Beard Award semifinalists this year. Read which Chicagoland restaurants made the cut here.
Natasha Lyonne shines as a server on the run from a casino boss in the newly released Peacock series “Poker Face,” critic Nina Metz writes.
The “Columbo”-inspired show has a stacked list of guest stars for each episode, including Chloë Sevigny, Chicago-born Lil Rel Howery, Stephanie Hsu, S. Epatha Merkerson and Judith Light. Read more here.
The cost of eggs has run everyone afoul, restaurant owners included, with a dozen pricing out the cost of a gallon of gas. John Roeser IV, owner of Roeser’s Bakery in Humboldt Park, said prices were “unprecedented.” Read about what’s contributing to the cost here.
In Porch light Music Theater’s production of “Cabaret,” “there will be little you have seen before,” writes critic Chris Jones. He names it the best Chicago show so far this year, with Erica Stephan’s knockout lead performance as Sally Bowles and Josh Walker’s role as Emcee delivering musically. Read more of his thoughts on the musical here.
Take a short drive to Detroit or East St. Louis, or a longer one to Louisville or Kansas City, to witness re-enactments, take tours of historic buildings and explore unique museums all relevant to Black history this February and beyond.
Delve into the lives of notable activists such as Muhammad Ali and Rosa Parks, or learn something new about lesser-known figures, including “Mother” Priscilla Baltimore and Katherine Dunham. Read how you can plan your trip here.