Dining out: National Brownie Day, Artic Winter Bar & an Elf pub crawl
Mission BBQ pays tribute to World War II veterans on Friday, Dec. 7, with a free meal to commemorate National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. All locations will play the national anthem at noon. Friday hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. New seasonal specials include prime rib, creamed corn and caramel bread pudding. Mission BBQ has locations at 6430 Grand Ave. #101, Gurnee, (847) 278-4577, and 1570 Butterfield Road, Downers Grove, (630) 824-3606 or mission-bbq.com.
Calling all chocolate lovers: National Brownie Day is Saturday, Dec. 8. Olive Garden's chocolate brownie lasagna just might satisfy your craving. It's eight layers of brownie fudge and sweet vanilla cream cheese frosting, topped with a chocolate drizzle and chocolate shavings for $7.29. Olive Garden has locations throughout the suburbs. olivegarden.com/.
Naughty or nice?
Have you been nice or naughty this year? Find out when German holiday folklore icons St. Nicholas and his devilish companion Krampus visit Hofbräuhaus in Rosemont from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturdays, Dec. 8-22. Bring the whole family for Hofbräuhaus Chicago's Holiday Kinderfest from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16. Kids 12 and younger can nosh on $5 meals plus take advantage of free activities such as visits with Santa, face painting, ornament decorating, magic acts and more. Adults can enjoy the special holiday lager Festbier, which will be available through December. Hofbräuhaus Chicago is located at 5500 Park Place, Rosemont, (847) 671-BREW (2739) or hofbrauhauschicago.com.
Arctic Winter Bar
Embrace the chill at Broken Oar's limited-time Arctic Winter Bar. The enclosed outdoor bar and lounge serves seasonal martinis, iced shots, craft cocktails, winter warmers and appetizers from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. Thursdays through Saturdays (entry times are at 6, 8 and 10 p.m.). The $5 entry includes a specialty drink. Registration is required. Broken Oar is at 614 Rawson Bridge Road, Port Barrington, (847) 639-9468 or arcticwinterbar.com.
Channel your inner elf at Highwood's inaugural Elf Invasion Pub Crawl from 7 to midnight Saturday, Dec. 8. Start at 210 Live, 210 Green Bay Road, at 7 p.m. and enjoy music from Josh Ronen and specials such as $5 small plates, $10 elf mules and $5 candy cane shots. Head to The Humble Pub, 336 Green Bay Road, at 8 p.m. for music from The Westerlees and complimentary Wisconsin beer cheese with pretzels and flavored popcorn. Next up is The Toadstool Pub & Marco's Northside Grill, 327 Waukegan Ave., for 25 percent off all appetizers and music from Zydeco Voodoo from 9 to 10 p.m. At 10 p.m., stop at Teddy O'Brian's, 432 Sheridan Road, for $4 sloppy joes with chips and music from Hot for Teacher. Last up is The Wooden Nickel, 444 Lakeview Ave., at 11 p.m. DJ/Karaoke with Tony Gogo will keep the party going. Late-night munchies include $5 mac and cheese stuffed bratwurst with chips. It costs $20 and includes a commemorative Elf Invasion Pub Crawl glass to use at each venue and five raffle tickets. Registration is required. For details, see celebratehighwood.org/elf-invasion-pub-crawl/.
Toys for Tots party
Skeleton Key Brewery is hosting a night of music, food, beer and prizes starting at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, all for a good cause: Toys for Tots. Bring an unwrapped toy or give a $5 donation to get a raffle ticket. Headliners include Jimmy Steinkraus, David Rokos and Owl Meets Rabbit starting at 7 p.m. Hungry? The Roaming Hog will be serving bites from 5 to 9 p.m. Buy a pint starting at 7 p.m. and $1 from each one sold will go to Toys for Tots. Skeleton Key is at 8102 Lemont Road, Suite 300, Woodridge, (630) 395-9033 or skeletonkeybrewery.com.
In the spirit
Truluck's Seafood, Steak and Crab House in Rosemont is getting in the holiday spirit (or spirits) with new seasonal cocktails. Drink options include the Holiday Nog (Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Buffalo Trace Bourbon Crème, egg whites, condensed milk, nutmeg, cinnamon and star anise) for $14; Rum Fashioned (Gold rum and pecan/chicory bitters with a dash of cinnamon syrup) for $14; Fireside Chat (bourbon, Averna, Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur, cinnamon syrup and bitters) for $14; Stay Classy (gin, dry vermouth, orange bitters and elderflower liqueur) for $14; and the Upper Manhattan (butter-washed rye, chinato vermouth, maple syrup and black walnut bitters) for $18. Truluck's Seafood, Steak and Crab House is at 9860 Berwyn Ave., Rosemont, (847) 233-9404 or trulucks.com/locations/rosemont-illinois.
For bourbon lovers
Bourbon enthusiasts will want to check out Discovering Fine Spirits with Brant Herrel at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 10, at Niche in Geneva. The event, which focuses on new bourbon releases, features pours from Elijah Craig Barrel Proof, Old Fitzgerald 9 Year Bottled in Bond, Kentucky Owl Rye Batch #2, Wild Turkey Revival, Little Book #2 and Buffalo Trace "Wally's Holler" Niche Single Barrel. It's $65 for six pours. Stick around afterward as a special pour will be available for an additional charge. Niche is at 14 S. Third St., Geneva, (630) 262-1000 or nichegeneva.com.
Orin Swift Wine Dinner
Come hungry: The Modern Tavern in Naperville's The Craftsman is hosting a five-course Orin Swift Wine Dinner starting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12. The first course features torchon of foie gras served with pears three ways paired with Orin Swift Blank Stare. Next up is grilled swordfish casoulete with Orin Swift Papillon. Then try grilled quail and Orin Swift Machete. The fourth course is N.Y. strip steak with French lentils, caramelized endive and fig demi with a glass of Orin Swift 8 Years in the Desert. For dessert, try the white chocolate cranberry cheesecake with Orin Swift Slander. Dinner costs $125, including tax and gratuity. The Craftsman by Two Brothers is at 16 W. Jefferson Ave., Naperville, (630) 615-7100 or twobrothersbrewing.com.
The Yard House is plating a new three-course holiday menu featuring a choice of an appetizer, entree and dessert for $36 through Dec. 31. App options include poke nachos; fried calamari; lobster, crab and artichoke dip; and spinach cheese dip. Choose from Parmesan-crusted pork loin, skirt steak arrachera, ginger-crusted salmon or lobster and shrimp agnolotti for a main course. Desserts feature the mint chocolate souffle cake, mini cheesecake brûlée or mini peach apple cobbler. Yard House is at the Glen Town Center, 1880 Tower Drive, Glenview, (847) 729-9273, and 2301 Fountain Square Drive, Lombard, (630) 495-1912 or yardhouse.com/.
Shop and dine
Shop at the Streets of Woodfield in Schaumburg and then. as a bonus, get a discount at Tokio Pub. All you have to do is show your shopping receipt to your Tokio Pub server to receive a 25 percent discount on your food and beverage. Restrictions apply. The special runs through Dec. 31. Tokio Pub is at 1900 E. Higgins Road, Schaumburg, (847) 278-5181 or tokiopub.com/.
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