It's our job to tell you about all of the best things to eat, see, listen to and do in Chicago and we love doing it, but now we want to hear from you. Tell us about all of the events, places and people you think help make Chicago tick in our first Best Awards. We want you to vote for everything from the best place to eat your feelings to the best up-and-coming theater company, and everything in between.
Spread the word about your top picks on Twitter using #TimeOutsBest. Voting ends October 27, so cast your ballot now.
We lamented Great Lake's closing, and now the Andersonville space has a new restaurant—Hoppin' Hots (1477 W Balmoral Ave), a gourmet hot dog restaurant from the team behind Ravenswood brunch spot Over Easy. Hoppin' Hots opened on Wednesday, and the menu features sausages, all of which are $10, and $5 shakes. The toppings take things to Hot Doug's level—the "modern" Chicago dog sports cheese curds and a deep-fried pickle spear, and fried eggs appear.
RECOMMENDED: We review the 31 top hot dogs in Chicago
For each dog, you can choose a beef, duck or veggie dog and the Sassy, Modern Chicago, Elotero, Frazzled and Hometown hots can all be made vegetarian. Gluten-free buns are also available.
Read the full menu after the jump.
Earlier this week, Absolut released Absolut Chicago as part of its city series of vodkas. The bottle, designed by Threadless, is super adorable, with a hot dog, ferris wheel, Chicago flag and a goat all appearing in the design (although the skyline itself looks pretty generic). Here's what Absolut has to say about Chicago on its website:
"ABSOLUT CHICAGO celebrates a city that is grounded in history and tradition yet constantly looking to the future. From Neoclassical architecture to the country's largest skyscraper. From old-school hot dog joints and Italian beef to a thriving culinary scene. From soulful blues and jazz dives to modern rock and hip-hop festivals. The city is a dynamic, vibrant mecca, continuosly striving toward improvement while never forgetting from where it came."
And that, inexplicably, translates to a vodka flavored with olive and rosemary.
Wolfgang Gartner + Tommy Trash Hats off to Concord for recognizing that teenagers are a major fanbase for EDM—and that some of us are too old to rage until 2am. Hence the 5:30pm show. While the rest of the boys were duking it out on the playground, 31-year-old Gartner, a.k.a. Joey Youngman, was firing up the drum machine. Since then, he's produced dozens of tracks for Ministry of Sound, Toolroom and Ultra. His jacking melodic techno is the main attraction here. Currently a member of the hipster electro elite, Aussie Tommy Trash got his start as a rocker before the dance floor won him over. Now he's releasing grungy dance remixes for mau5trap, Dim Mak, Subliminal and Toolroom. Concord Music Hall. 5:30pm; 11pm. Early show $27.50 (all ages), late show $35 (18 and older).
@DadBoner Live Power move, you guys. Mike Burns, the creator of the one-of-a-kind Twitter character @DadBoner, brings some pals (including former Chicagoan Matt Braunger) to the Abbey Pub to get loose and conversational. Abbey Pub. 7pm. $15–$20, VIP $60–$80.
Editor's Note: When Karl Klockars, who penned the massive preview story about all the upcoming Chicagoland breweries, says he wants to write a beer review column, you say yes. Klockars is co-creator of GuysDrinkingBeer.com, a site that's been focusing on Chicago beers, Midwestern brewing politics, cellar reviews, other various alcohol legislation and booze dorkery since 2010. Each Thursday, he's going to cover a Midwest craft beer that's available in Chicago. Here's his first installament.
One of my happier drinking accidents of the past few months was stumbling into the Milwaukee Ale House in our northernmost suburb’s Historic Third Ward. The riverside bar and restaurant is the birthplace of the Milwaukee Brewing Company (a.k.a. MKE Brewing), which opened in 1997 and expanded 10 years later from the brewpub to another 50 barrel production facility.
I can’t quite explain why MKE doesn’t have more awareness in Chicago—they have a good sense of humor (see the explanation for why they named their stout Polish Moon), they’ve got some great South Park–style cartoony branding, and most importantly, they make some good beer, including a variety of year-round and seasonal offerings like the tea-infused wit O-Gii that will kick your summer-drinking ass with a 9.2% ABV.
We’re also in a moment where everyone is either enamored or repelled by pumpkin beers. Whether you swear an oath to the deity Pumking or abhor any ale spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, I do suggest you seek out MKE’s Sasquash Porter.
Very few pumpkin beers veer away from the straightforward ale, so this porter version is notable for style points alone. Similarly, MKE’s nearby compatriots at Lakefront also make a unique pumpkin lager, which sets them apart as well. Maybe there’s something going on north of the cheddar curtain that makes one gravitate toward weirder types of gourd beers. If so, I’m not complaining.
Brewed with both pumpkins and sweet potatoes, this beer is heartier than your usual pumpkin ale, and isn’t anywhere close to as cloyingly sweet as some can be. If you’re hunting for whipped cream and pumpkin pie crust, look elsewhere—with the dark, roasty malts you’re probably closer comparing this to pumpkin coffee.
Sasquash pours a near-opaque deep brown with just a hint of ruby; the mocha head has decent retention and lacing on the glass but it’s not too pillowy. Instead of smelling like pure pie spices, the aroma is savory and rich, like opening a can of pumpkin preserves. The sweet potatoes add a buttery ribbon that pops in and out as the beer warms, but for the most part this is a subtle, easy-drinking porter first, pumpkin beer second.
The body isn’t too hefty, and the finish is smooth and satisfying with a slight lingering bitterness. At 5% ABV it’s easy to polish off a few of these while sitting on a stoop enjoying the waning days of moderate temperatures. The army of gourd-based-beer detractors can talk shit about pumpkin beers all they want, but I defy you to try this and not find something redeeming about it.
Sasquash can be found at Binny’s and is also available by the bottle at Lillie’s Q, so it probably goes well with beans. MKE’s other beers can also be occasionally found on tap handles scattered around the city.
Chicago Food Truck Rally Eight food trucks are pulling up to Daley Plaza for Chicago's first food truck rally. The food trucks taking part in the event include Beavers Coffee & Donuts, Chicago Lunchbox, Jerk 312 and more. Mike & Lisa and DJ Lisa René will be supplying the tunes. Daley Plaza. 11am–8pm. Free.
Surfer Blood + Team Spirit + Andy Boay Floridians Surfer Blood play catchy indie rock lined with light reverb, hooky guitars and, yes, surf stylings. Appropriately, the group's new album, Pythons, was recorded at EASTWEST Studios in Los Angeles, where the Beach Boys crafted Pet Sounds. Bottom Lounge, 9pm.
If you're running the 2013 Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Sunday, you're going to want to carbo load the night before. A good number of Chicago restaurants are dishing up big servings of pasta that will put your boxed mac and cheese to shame. After you've finished the race, hang onto your race bib: You'll have your pick of food and beer specials. If you didn't run the race? Well, tag along with a friend who did and you'll get to partake in cheap beer as well.
Bad Dog Tavern Carbo-load at Bad Dog the day before the race with $6 pizzas. Then come back to refuel post-race for 26% off your bill with your race bib. Bad Dog Tavern. 4535 N Lincoln Ave. Oct 12–13, 11:30pm–2am. Pizza $6.
Benny's Chop House After the race, head to Benny's Chop House for a celebratory steak and a 26.2% discount. Just present your 2013 marathon medal and you and your party can partake in the discount. Benny's Chop House. 444 N Wabash Ave. Oct 13, 3pm–12am.
Brasserie by LM Pasta specials include rigatoni with Italian sausage, rapini, tomato, red chili and parmesan for $14 and bowtie pasta with crushed tomatoes and basil for $12. Brasserie by LM. 800 S Michigan Ave. Oct 12, 5am–10:30pm.
The Chicago International Film Festival kicks off tonight with a screening of James Gray's latest, The Immigrant, at the Chicago Theatre. (Check back tomorrow for red-carpet coverage.) In its 49th year, the two-week fest includes 180 films from some 60 countries showing mostly at the AMC River East 21. Pretty overwhelming. Even the most dedicated cinephile wouldn't be able to see much more than a fraction of the event. So consult our CIFF 2013 guide for showtimes and recommendations on everything from likely Oscar contenders to more obscure fare, and choose your viewing wisely.
RECOMMENDED: 10 best things to do this week
Here's what Time Out's film critics are saying about this week's new movies:
"The tiny list of classic Shakespeare-to-screen adaptations won’t be lengthened with this serviceable version of the playwright’s popular bummer—shouldn’t we expect something edgier for a new generation?"—Joshua Rothkopf on Romeo and Juliet
"Don’t these House Republicans know how hostage stories always end? Just to remind them, here comes a prestige-grade action movie about refusing to negotiate with head-in-the-sand types"—Joshua Rothkopf on Captain Phillips
"Intestines tangle in helicopter rotors, heads pop in spring-loaded decapitations, and there’s even a new fake trailer up top"—Joshua Rothkopf on Machete Kills
"[T]he movie shows no such restraint, steering its preteen protagonists through a series of terrifying heartbreaks while populating its cast with more guest stars—Jordin Sparks! Anthony Mackie! Jeffrey Wright!—than a Love Boat episode"—Sam Adams on The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete
"Ingratiatingly hosted by Robert Klein but marred by cheeseball re-creations, the film makes a case for New York resorts as the ultimate testing ground for Semitic stand-up from the 1930s through the ’60s, as well as an integral shaper of contemporary Jewish-American identity"—Andrew Schenker on When Comedy Went to School
Chicago Bears at Soldier Field Smokin' Jay Cutler and company bear down to take on the competition at Soldier Field. Soldier Field. 7:25pm. $104-$420.
Messing With A Friend Each week, legendary improviser Susan Messing and a different friend segue from scene to scene, creating characters and situations along the way that are weird, wild and wonderful. Annoyance Theatre. 10:30pm. $5.
Well-respected artist Ellen Lanyon, born and raised in Chicago and based in New York, died Monday of a heart attack. She was 86 years old. The former SAIC instructor, painter, printmaker and champion of many causes—artistic, feminist and otherwise—specialized in surrealist, collage-based works featuring flora, fauna and assorted curios. An active and engaged member of arts communities in both Chicago and New York, Lanyon never retired from her practice or advocacy work.
We wrote about Lanyon many times over the years. Whether naming her Riverwalk Gateway mural, at Lake Shore Dr and Wacker, one of our favorite public artworks, or reviewing her exhibitions in some of our earliest issues, TOC kept a close eye on her long and luminous career. A few highlights:
"More Strange Games" at Printworks, April 2005 Containing two different series of works on paper, this exhibition highlighted Lanyon's signature "realistic renderings of fish and fowl in fantastical settings." But for this show, the then 80-year-old artist appeared to be reacting to present-day technology. "It’s not clear what Lanyon is mourning with these visual elegies," wrote former TOC art critic Ruth Lopez. "But that doesn’t make these prints any less striking. And isn’t life, at all stages, more interesting with a little mystery?"
TimeLine Theatre Company's striking revival of Lorraine Hansberry's seminal Chicago story A Raisin in the Sun, which has virtually sold out its initial run through November 17, will extend by three weeks, TimeLine reps said today. Tickets for additional performances through December 7 will go on sale tomorrow, October 10, at 2pm, via TimeLine's box office at 773-281-8463, ext 6 or timelinetheatre.com.
During the extension, TimeLine will also have three special performances for students from Noble's Hansberry College Prep, a charter school in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood that was renamed in honor of the playwright at the beginning of the school year last month. These performances are underwritten by the Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation.
Unrelated to TimeLine's production but shrewdly timed, a new production of Clybourne Park, Bruce Norris's Pulitzer Prize–winning contemporary companion piece to Hansberry's work, opened this weekend at Redtwist Theatre in Edgewater; read Oliver Sava's four-star review of Clybourne Park and my five-star review of A Raisin in the Sun and consider making a double feature of them.
The Stanley Cup is back in Chicago! Nearly four months after the Blackhawks became champions, the Cup will be making one of its last public displays in the heart of our beloved city.
This may be your last chance to get your picture with Chicago's most prized possesion of the year before it returns home to Toronto. On Saturday, Oct 12 from 10am–1pm, fans and visitors alike will have an opportunity to stand next to Lord Stanley's Cup at the Field Museum. This event is free with a general admission ticket and guests can meet Tommy Hawk while they wait for their photo op. Rocky Wirtz, Blackhawks Chairman and Field Museum Trustee, will introduce the Cup.
Get there early.
Where should you eat brunch this weekend? With so many restaurants offering new brunches that extend way beyond bacon, eggs and bloody marys, it can be hard to pick one. The TOC staff just checked out the new brunches available at avec, Takito Kitchen, DryHop Brewers and RM Champagne Salon. Read our reviews here.
New York Fashion Week is over. Paris Fashion Week recently ended. So now it's time for Chicago's stylish set to take center stage. Fashion Focus is back and kicks off a week's worth of fashion shows and other designer events starting on October 15. Last year, we reported that the annual event's future seemed bleak, so I'm glad the event is not only back but is offering some new and creative programming. Here are our picks for the five must-attend events. You can find the complete list of Fashion Focus events on the official website.
Inspiration: Designer and Muse
The City of Chicago and Michigan Avenue magazine host this kick-off event, which features a local designer creating a look for a Chicagoan muse. Pairings include Maria Pinto with Jeanne Gang and Azeeza Khan with Alpana Singh. The event is private, but you can get a limited number of tickets via the Fashion Focus Chicago twitter feed (@FashionFocus). Location TBA. October 15 at 6pm.
ART & DESIGN
"Amanda Gentry: Expanding" The Chicago-based artist focused on functional clayware before turning to non-functional pieces, such as the minimal modular relief sculptures exhibited here. Her first major solo show, "Expanding" features pillows as a metaphor for the mental and physical weight of the human experience. Hyde Park Art Center. 9am–8pm.
Drowning in the Bathtub: the Films of John Cassavetes Perhaps the pioneer of American independent filmmaking, the late Cassavetes is known for his raw, often improvised form. His films tend to center on the problems that exist within the domestic space; not for nothing did the director's wife, the wonderfully unhinged Gena Rowlands, frequently star in his pictures. Check out some of his lauded films such as Faces (1968) and A Woman Under the Influence (1974). Ida Noyes Hall, University of Chicago. 7pm, 9:30pm. $5.
It's no secret that we love Scofflaw, so when we found out they were releasing their new fall menu today, we immediately canceled plans so we could go check it out this week. Here's what to expect:
Smithers Jones: Broker’s Gin, Lustau East India Sherry, Bitter Truth EXR Liqueur, Angostura
Morton Ave: Old Heaven Hill Bourbon, Rosemary Syrup, Chamomile-Angostura Syrup
Last Light: Letherbee Gin, Lemon, Ginger, Cherry Heering, Angostura, Egg White
Sly Devil: Scofflaw Old Tom Gin, Maurin Quina, Chai Syrup, Lime
The soundtrack to your rebellious years may have been Kiss, Mötley Crüe or Metallica, but today's teenagers are listening to Avenged Sevenfold and getting ill-advised death bat tattoos. Arguably one of the most popular modern rock bands in existence, the California heavy metal outfit is the kind of group that can release new singles in the latest Call of Duty video game. Bringing its Hail to the King tour to Allstate Arena in Rosemont last Thursday, Avenged Sevenfold headlined a bill that included the Deftones and Ghost (the band that inspired the most controversial cheeseburger of the year). We were these to capture all the pyrotechnics, tattooed arms and tight leather jackets.