Dining out: Chicago Ramen Annex opens in Schaumburg with free ramen giveaway today

Free ramen!

Chef Kenta Ikehata is welcoming diners to the grand opening of his third ramen restaurant - Chicago Ramen Annex in Schaumburg - with 100 free bowls of Jiro-style ramen on Thursday, Feb. 2. Specifically, the first 50 diners at lunch (begins at 11 a.m.) and dinner (starts at 5 p.m.) to follow Chicago Ramen Annex on Instagram will get a free bowl of the Japanese-style ramen, which consists of thick, dense noodles in a broth of shoyu and tonkotsu soup bases and pork fat, plus vegetables and garlic. Besides Jiro-style ramen, the menu features 18 appetizers, plus beef curry ramen, shrimp won ton ramen, white mabo tofu ramen, chicken ramen, vegetable ramen and more. Hours are 11 a.m. to midnight on weekends and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekdays.

Chicago Ramen Annex is at 1608 E. Algonquin Road, Schaumburg, (847) 907-4755,

Enjoy live music, outdoor games, craft beer and more during Buffalo Creek Brewing's Alpine Fest Jan. 27-28. Courtesy of Buffalo Creek Brewing

Alpine Fest is back

Bundle up, as Buffalo Creek Brewing's free Alpine Fest takes over the brewery's new outdoor Alpine Biergarten Village starting at 4 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27, and 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28. Take part in outdoor games (stein-holding in the snow, hammerschlagen and corn hole) while listening to live music, sipping on craft beers, noshing on food truck fare, and warming up in one of the 11 custom-built lodges outfitted with heaters, benches and tables. For the fest, owner and brewmaster Mike Marr will be releasing Buffalo Gose, a German sour ale. There will be outdoor table service and hot chocolate for the kids. Expect music from The Ex-Bombers from 6-9 p.m. Friday and Jaik Willis from 3-6 p.m. and Mid Atlantic from 6-9 p.m. Saturday. Part of the proceeds from the fest will benefit the Long Grove Lions Club.

Buffalo Creek Brewing is at 360 Historical Lane, Long Grove, (847) 821-6140,

Warm up in a custom-built lodge during Buffalo Creek Brewing's Alpine Fest Jan. 27-28. Courtesy of Buffalo Creek Brewing

Giving back

Prairie Grass Cafe co-owner and chef Sarah Stegner is joining with chef Sebastian White for a fundraising dinner at the Northbrook restaurant starting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 2, for White's The Evolved Network, which provides culinary art and gardening training to underserved youth in the Chicago area. The special menu features wild striped bass, sea scallop, duck leg and butter squash ravioli, all-natural prime New York strip and dessert. The dinner is $145 per person, plus $29 for gratuity, with 100% of the proceeds going to the nonprofit's 2023 spring programming. Tickets are available at

Prairie Grass Cafe is at 601 Skokie Blvd., Northbrook, (847) 205-4433,

Alter Brewing recently opened its third location in Oak Brook featuring beers brewed on-site and a full-service restaurant. Courtesy of Alter Brewing


Alter Brewing recently opened its third location in Oak Brook featuring beers brewed on-site and a full-service restaurant. Using a Solera Brewing System, Alter brews up sours, lambics, saisons and more. Also on offer are craft cocktails, spirits and wine to go with the comfort menu featuring dishes such as beer-braised pot roast ($27), wagyu meatloaf ($25), hot honey fried chicken ($27), and a variety of burgers, sandwiches, salads, apps and desserts. Hours are 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. Alter also has a tap room in Downers Grove and a full-service restaurant in St. Charles.

Alter Brewing + Kitchen is at 1170 W. 22nd St., Oak Brook, (630) 819-8411 Oak Brook,

Stan's Donuts & Coffee is offering the Salted Caramel Old Fashioned Donut now through Jan. 31. Courtesy of Stan's Donuts

Salted caramel bliss

To celebrate Morton Salt's 175th anniversary, the salt company is partnering with Stan's Donuts & Coffee to offer the limited-time Salted Caramel Old Fashioned Donut. Available now through Jan. 31, the caramel-flavored doughnut with a caramel glaze comes sprinkled with Morton Coarse Sea Salt. They're $3.25 each.

Stan's Donuts & Coffee is at 5 Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg, (224) 353-6092; 529 Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook, (630) 590-1060; 17W615 Butterfield Road, Oakbrook Terrace, (630) 317-7044; and locations in Chicago and other surrounding suburbs;

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